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Category: current events

Somaliland

If you’re like me, when you saw the title of this post you wondered, “Has the country of Somalia changed its name?” But, no, Somaliland is not an alternative name for Somalia, but rather the name for a region that is fighting for independence from Somalia (see map at right). I do not intend this …

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Catalonia and Westphalia

I recently learned that Catalonia is scheduled to vote on independence on October 1st, which is less than a week away.  How is this related to the Peace of Westphalia?  Very closely, as the fate of Catalonia was perhaps the touchiest part of the negotiations, and was certainly the main reason France and Spain could …

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Konrad Repgen, RIP

With sadness, I report the death of one of the giants of the history of the Peace of Westphalia, Konrad Repgen.  He passed away on Sunday, April 2nd in Bonn, his home for the last 50 years, at the age of 93.  In the early 1960’s, he and his advisor, Max Braubach, began the Vereinigung …

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Not A Westphalian Moment

History repeats itself, and historians repeat each other.  We are witnessing a case of one or the other in the current situation in Syria, where religious conflict has called to mind the religious conflicts of 16th and 17th century Europe. If Europe ended its religious wars with the Peace of Westphalia, the thinking goes, a …

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Republican Senators’ Letter to Iran and the Congress of Westphalia

The recent letter that 47 Republican Senators sent to Iran concerning President Obama’s authority to negotiate has a distant echo in events leading up to the Congress of Westphalia.  At the Diet of Regensburg in 1641-42, Imperial estates were disappointed with Emperor Ferdinand III’s unwillingness to accept negotiations with France and Sweden to end the …

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Comparative Religious Wars

Last Friday was Peace of Westphalia Day — the 366th anniversary of the signing of the treaties.  I was, appropriately enough, delivering a paper on the Peace of Westphalia.  I was at a conference at Columbia University that brought together specialists to compare early modern Europe’s religious wars with the current religious conflicts in the …

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