April 19, 1529

April 19, 1529

Five princes and fourteen cities formally protest the decision of the majority at the second diet (sort of like a parliament) of Speyer  to re-impose religious uniformity throughout the Holy Roman Empire. The first diet of Speyer, in 1526, had voted unanimously to give significant leeway to the individual princes and cities in religious matters—the protest stated that a majority had no right to overturn a previous unanimous decision. This protest is where the term “Protestant” comes from. Originally, it was more of a political designation than a religious one. The term used most frequently at the time to refer to the early Reformers and their followers, encompassing both those whose political leaders had signed the protest and those who had not, was some form of the word “evangelical.”