April 1624: Re-Catholicisation of Czech lands begins

Jaroslav Čermák (1854): Counter-reformation. Spreading the catholic faith in Bohemia after the battle of White Mountain

On April 9, 1624 Ferdinand II issued a patent allowing only the Catholic religion in Bohemia. A few days later he banned royal towns from accepting non-Catholic burghers and also forbade non-Catholics to practice their trade in such towns.

The Battle of White Mountain in 1620 was fatal for the Protestant Estates. With the victory of the imperial troops, a new phase of re-Catholization began under Emperor Ferdinand II.

Battle of White Mountain by Adolf Liebscher | Photo: VHÚ,  public domain

Re-Catholization took basically two forms: a strict, harsh and uncompromising approach using all means of coercion; and a gradual, consistent and non-violent approach with an attempt to awaken a genuine and sincere interest in the Catholic faith. Any rebellion was nipped in the bud.

Almost all of Bohemia and Moravia gradually became Catholic territories, though small groups of non-Catholics remained in areas near today’s Germany and in mountainous areas of Eastern Bohemia and Moravia.