The long war ended in a draw, finalized by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. By the terms of the treaty, the sovereignty and independence of each of the almost 300 states of the Holy Roman Empire were fully recognized, leaving the emperor virtually powerless. In addition, as in the Peace of Augsburg, the religion of each German state was to be determined by its prince; this time, however, Calvinist Christianity was included with the Lutheran and Catholic faiths as an option. The religious status quo of 1624 was accepted, meaning that the Habsburg lands, the south, and the west remained predominantly Catholic, while Protestants were permitted to retain previously acquired lands.
The war had several devastating effects on Germany. Politically, the Holy Roman Empire continued in name, but it had lost all claim to effective governing power. Economically and socially, Germany lost about one-third of its people to war, famine, and emigration as well as much of its livestock, capital, and trade. Many towns, especially in the north, were destroyed or bankrupt, and manufacturing and middle-class investment were extremely low. Bands of refugees and mercenaries roamed the countryside, seizing what they could. In the midst of poverty and social unrest, many states became even more authoritarian, further weakening what little popular political autonomy remained. "Germany" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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