Thirty Years War

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1643 May 19

Battle of Rocroi

Rocroi, France

The Battle of Rocroi, fought on 19 May 1643, was a major engagement of the Thirty Years' War. It was fought between a French army led by the 21-year-old Duke of Enghien (later known as the Great Condé) and Spanish forces under General Francisco de Melo, only five days after the accession of Louis XIV to the throne of France following his father's death. Rocroi shattered the myth of invincibility of the Spanish Tercios, the terrifying infantry units that had dominated European battlefields for the previous 120 years. The battle is therefore often considered to mark the end of Spanish military greatness and the beginning of French hegemony in Europe. After Rocroi, the Spanish abandoned the Tercio system and adopted the Line infantry doctrine used by the French. Three weeks after Rocroi, Ferdinand invited Sweden and France to attend peace negotiations in the Westphalian towns of Münster and Osnabrück, but talks were delayed when Christian of Denmark blockaded Hamburg and increased toll payments in the Baltic.