30YW Participants timechart
An inevitable challenge for historians is how to mix narrative with analysis in their courses. I teach an upper-level undergrad course on European Warfare 1337-1815, and it’s no surprise that when you cover an entire war in 2-3 hours of classtime, it’s hard to ensure that students understand both the narrative (how the events unfolded) as well as why the events unfolded the way they did, and what these events teach us about the warfare of the period. This can be particularly difficult for many early modern wars, where a dozen or more combatants might be involved at different times, and even switch sides on occasion. The 30YW is particularly difficult in this regard. Geoffrey Parker’s Thirty Years War book attempts to address this by including a chart of participants by year (p. 138). I created my own, pimped-out version, taking advantage of color.
Note that this type of chart allows you to:
- see at a glance what periods have the most wars
- see at a glance the geographical spread of wars
- trace one country’s pattern of war and peace (follow column down)
- trace one year’s pattern of war and peace (follow row across)
- quickly look up the state of war and peace in any given year for any given country
- distinguish when participants join or leave a coalition (e.g. Saxony in 1619)
Let me know your thoughts on this type of chart: if there are any mistakes in this one, and if you have any suggestions for improvement.
Here is the symbol key.