The break of the 16th and 17th century was a period of religious conflicts not only in the Habsburg monarchy, but all around Europe. The Czechs felt inhibited by the Austrian absolutism, especially their religious dictate. After the Hussite revolution, most people including Czech nobility, were Protestant. In 1618, the nobles broke into the Prague Castle and defenestrated (threw out a window) three catholic officials. Then they established a ‘government’ and even appointed their own king, Fridrich from Pfalz, the leader of the international Protestant Union, who used his contacts with the already non-catholic Netherlands and England. The financial and militarily help was very small and the Czech Protestants lost the key battle in 1620. Ten noblemen and seventeen townsmen were executed at the Prague Old Town Square. Their heads were placed on spikes and put up as a warning.
The White Mountain battle in 1620 that took place near villa Hvězda in Prague, confirmed the Habsburg absolutism for years to come. Over 30 000 Protestants emigrated, among them John Amos Commenius, one of the greatest writers and intellectual minds. The Thirty Years War, a clash between Protestant and Catholic countries of Europe, began only months after the Czech conflict and Habsburgs played a major part in it. The Protestant Swedish invaded Prague and took away the most valuable historical writings, paintings and sculptures from the Rudolfinian collection. The war drained Prague and the whole Habsburg monarchy. 17th century has been called The Dark Epoch, it brought mental enslavement and inferiority for years to come.