The Defenestrations of Prague

Triggerfish Writing
360onhistory.com
Published in
5 min readNov 30, 2023

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The New Town Hall in Prague, where the first Defenestration took place in 1419. Copyright: Triggerfish Writing

Have you heard of the Defenestration of Prague? First of all, how cool is the word defenestration? It means throwing someone out of the window.

It all starts with the House of Hapsburg, (also known as House of Austria) an initially nondescript family from the mountains of Switzerland, that rose up to become rulers of the Austro-Hungarian and Spanish Empires, and of various other parts of Europe for 700 years — one of the most prominent and important dynasties in European history from the 15th to the 20th centuries, ruling until 1918. The House of Hapsburg was quite fascinating on its own, but it was also around at a very turbulant time in Europe. The protestant reformation that began in Germany was causing all sorts of problems in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Hapsburgs were Catholics and did not subscribe to the Protestant agenda, especially in the Netherlands and Bohemia (now Czechia, with its capital at Prague).

(Read about the Hapsburgs and watch a video here).

Prague’s history is marked by not one but three extraordinary defenestrations, where individuals were thrown from windows: the first in 1419, the second in 1483, and the third, most well-known one, in 1618. The term “defenestrate” is believed to have originated from these very events in Prague. The most famous one is where disgruntled Protestants hurled the two royal…

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Triggerfish Writing
360onhistory.com

I write on science, history, nature, climate change, feminism, religion & politics. My members only stories on science & history are free on 360onhistory.com.