Full name Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein (or Waldstein), born September 14th, 1583, died February 25th 1634.

Wallenstein was one of the dominating political figures in the Thirty Years' War. Born into the lower nobility of Bohemia, he made it big in 1609 by marrying rich: Lukrezia Nekesch von Landek was one of the richest women of the country, a widow, and died four years later. However, Wallenstein turned out to be talented at business, diplomacy, and war: he increased his fortune considerably through brewing and (later) minting licenses.

He had met the Austrian archduke Ferdinand in Vienna, and this acquantance helped Wallenstein become one of the most powerful men of Europe, since Ferdinand became king of Bohemia in 1617 and emperor Ferdinand II of the Holy Roman Empire in 1619, with Wallenstein's support, after the defenestrations of Prague.

After retaking his dominion of Bohemia in the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, the newly-crowned emperor sent Wallenstein to re-catholicize Bohemia, which he did efficiently and without mercy: protestants who did not convert of flee were stripped of their lands and offices, quite often also their lives.

However, the war had only just begon: first Denmark and then Sweden intervened on the side of the protestant German nations in order to prevent Ferdinand from wiping out protestantism in central Europe. During this time, Wallenstein, along with Tilly, became the main battle leader of the emperor's catholic forces. He defeated the Danes, but king Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden defeated Tilly in the battle of Breitenfeld and fought Wallenstein to a draw at Lützen in 1632. Since Gustavus Adolphus died at Lützen, it can be argued that Wallenstein won.

Unfortunately, this half-victory was also the last real success in Wallenstein's life. Afterwards, he became paranoid, isolated himself from his troops and became swamped in court intrigues that estranged him from his emperor and led to his assassination in 1634, which may or may not have been ordered by Ferdinand directly.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.