(Spire[s]; Speier). 1. 1526. First ordered to meet February 1 at Esslingen, later at Speyer May 1; began deliberations June 26 under Ferdinand (see Reformed Confessions, E 3) in the name of Charles* V; recess August 27.
Background includes threatened invasion of Ger. by Turks and formation of the League of Torgau* (formed at Gotha February 1526, ratified at Torgau in May, enlarged in the first part of June [and in September]).
Charles V had claimed Lombardy, N It., for his empire. Francis I (see France, 8) challenged the claim with an army but was defeated and captured at Pavia 1525. To obtain release, he renounced claims in It. and over other disputed territories in the January 1526 Peace (or Treaty) of Madrid. This would have left Charles V free to enforce the 1521 Edict of Worms.* But Francis I soon claimed that his concessions had been obtained by coercion and helped form the Holy League of Cognac (see Holy Leagues and Alliances, 5) in May. Problems besetting the emp. forced a tempering of imperial views in the interest of consolidating forces by winning evangelicals. Ferdinand agreed to a council within a yr.; meantime every state should be allowed so to arrange its religious affairs that it would be able to give account thereof to God and the emp. This opened the door for the spread of Lutheranism, allowing indep. from Rome; it divided Ger. religiously, gave Lutheranism a recognized existence, and offered hope for territorial constitutions on a formally legitimate basis. It was a great hist. landmark. See also Augsburg, Peace of.
2. 1529. Charles V neither signed nor opposed the 1526 edict of Speyer. The contemplated council did not materialize. The emp. dealt with the intractability of Francis I by engaging in a war (152729) against the Holy League of Cognac; Rome was sacked 1527 by rampant imperial forces, unpaid and mutinous; the pope was besieged in the Castle of St. Angelo. Naples was invaded by Fr.; but Genoa revolted (with indep. promised by the emp.) and a plague epidemic forced the Fr. to return home. See also Cambrai, Peace of.
Victorious over the Holy League of Cognac, Charles V appointed commissaries, headed by Ferdinand, and ordered another diet at Speyer, first set for February 1, later for February 21, finally March 15. RCs were in the majority, strengthened and embittered by the O. v. Pack* episode. Decisions of the 1526 Diet of Speyer were declared ineffective. The 1521 Edict of Worms was declared in effect where it had been recognized; where RCm could not be reinstated without danger, evangelicals were to be tolerated but put under certain restrictions till the next gen. council. The evangelicals drew up and presented (April 19/20) a protest (We protest ; hence the name Protestant), holding that in matters concerning God's honor and the salvation of souls each one must for himself stand before God and give account, so that herein no one can in any way (or to any extent) excuse himself by the action or resolution of others. Ferdinand rejected the protest. The recess of the diet was issued April 22. Subsequent efforts by Prots. to present their case to the emp. himself resulted in temporary imprisonment of their delegation late in 1529. Meanwhile the protest was pub. in Germany beginning in May.
3. 1542. The 3d Diet of Speyer opened February 9, 1542, under Ferdinand; purpose: to deal with needs for defense against Turks. Prots. refused support unless the 1532 Nürnberg* Religious Peace (extended by the 1541 Regensburg Interim [see Regensburg Conference] to the next gen. council) be observed. The April 11 recess of the diet included a compromise recognizing Prot. claims in exchange for support against Turks.
4. 1544. The 4th Diet of Speyer opened February 20, 1544, under Charles V, who appealed for support against Turks and Francis I (who, he claimed, had made an alliance with Turks), with the first move to be made against Francis I. The Prots. demanded settlement of religious questions before giving war support. RCs were dissatisfied with some imperial proposals. Neither side was satisfied with the final compromise, which provided for maintenance of an army and a diet to be held at Worms within a yr..
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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