Christian of Brunswick, administrator of Halberstadt (1598-1626)
Younger brother of the duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, and one of the main protestant generals in the first part of the Thirty Years War. He was a lover of cavalry warfare, who gained a reputation for cruelty and violence, particularly towards the church, which is probably undeserved and was probably started by pro-Imperial pamphlets at the time. At the end of 1621 he was one of the few men to rally to the cause of Frederick, elector Palatine, king of Bohemia, the leader of the Protestant side, and his wife Elizabeth, the daughter of James I, for whom Christian declared a chivalric love, giving his actions a tint of romanticism. By the end of 1621 he had managed to raise 10,000 troops, with whom he wintered in Westphalia, gathering a great treasure from the dioceses of Munster and Paderborn, which by spring 1622 attracted most of the other combatants towards him. Both Frederick and Ernst von Mansfeld were hoping to joint with his army, while the Imperial army under Tilly and Cordoba moved to intercept him. They caught up with him at Hochst, 20 June 1622, and although Christian was defeated, he was able to escape with much of his army and most of his treasure. The newly united Protestant army moved into Alsace, where their ravages were so extreme that Frederick abandoned what was in theory his own army, leaving them without a cause. Christian and Mansfled moved north in Lorraine, before hearing of the siege of Bergen op Zoom. They decided to march to the relief of the city, fighting the battle of Fleurus (29 August 1622) on the way, where Christian won the day through repeated charges, but lost his arm. Their united army reached the city in time to save it from the Imperial army. Christian spent the winter of 1622-3 in Lower Saxony. Maximiliam of Bavaria sent Tilly to dislodge him, and Christian was decisively defeated at Stadtlohn (August 1623), only ten miles from the Dutch border, and Christian was forced to flee to The Hague. The war was revived at the end of 1625 by a Dutch inspired alliance with England, Denmark with Mansfeld and Christian. The new alliance was well organised and funded, and had a clear plan for 1626. Christian's part was to move into the Rhineland, but Tilly moved his troops into Hesse, blocking Christian's path south. Christian was forced to withdraw, and already ill at the start of the campaign died at Wolfenbuttel on 16 June 1626, aged only 28.
The Thirty Years War
, C.V.Wedgewood. Despite its age (first published in 1938), this is still one of the best english language narratives of this most complex of wars, tracing the intricate dance of diplomacy and combat that involved all of Europe in the fate of Germany.
How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (7 November 2000), Christian of Brunswick, administrator of Halberstadt (1598-1626), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_christianbrunswick.html