POLITICS AND DIPLOMACY IN VAUD
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The Pays de Vaud in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was a political plum ripe for the picking. Its geographical location and resources, together with the weakness of its overlord, the duke of Savoy, led neighboring expansionist powers to fight for dominance in the region. Understanding the perpetual tug-of-war over the territory is vital for explaining the course of the Reformation in Vaud and the mentality that informed the response of the Vaudois people. Scholars have given scant attention, however, to the impact of political and diplomatic history on the Reformation in Vaud. There has been some acknowledgment that the Bernese conquest played a role, but this has inspired little close examination. Imperial fortunes in Germany, diplomatic negotiations between France and the Swiss Confederation, the rise of a new duke of Savoy, Emmanuel-Philibert, and the tenuous alliance between Bern and Geneva created an international political backdrop that would shape the priorities, strategies, and fortunes of the reformers and affect the response to their efforts. Variations in the relative strength of these forces left the people of Vaud in a constant state of uncertainty. Between 1536 and 1564, the possibility remained strong that the region would revert to imperial or Savoyard rule and, hence, to Catholicism as well.
KeywordsSixteenth Century City Council General Council Protestant Politics Charles Versus
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