I know that Cardinal Richelieu subsidized a large portion of Gustavus Adolphus' Protestant forces during the 30 Year War - despite France, ironically, being a Catholic power (citation obviously googleable).

However I was at a loss to find just how much was it costing (per year or total) to pay for Gustavus Adolphus' army in Germanies and how much of that was subsidized by Richelieu?

1 Answer 1


According to this source by the Treaty of Bärwald:

Richelieu, however, turned against the Habsburgs young Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, paying him a subsidy of a million livres a year by the treaty of Bärwald of the 23rd of January 1631.

Wikipedia states:

The treaty obliged Sweden to maintain an army of 36,000 troops, and France to fund the Swedish army with an annually 400,000 Reichstalers.
While the French subsidies to Sweden agreed on in Bärwalde made up for no more than one fiftieth of the French state budget, they amounted to one quarter of the Swedish one

According to Money and Exchange Rates in 1632:

In much of Germany the unit of account was based on either the gold Rhenish florin or the silver Reichsthaler which was generally considered to be worth 1.5 Rhenish florins.

For example the Swedish Riksdaler was 25.5 grams {of silver],

... the French Livre was approximately equal to 2 Guilders/ReichsTalers in 1632

The above suggests that Wikipedia might have reversed the exchange rates between the Swedish Reichstaler and the French Livre in their research.

This source states the value as being 400,000 ecus per year, for five years:

[The King of Sweden] accepted the financial support of France: on January 23rd, 1631, by the treaty of Bärwald, Louis XIII promised to him annual payments of 400 ' 000 ecus in return for its intervention in Germany; Gustave-Adolphe committed himself respecting the exercise of the catholic worship and the independence of Bavaria, allied of king de France. The treaty was concluded for five years.

  • 2
    Great response to an interesting question. Hmmm, 2 percent of France's budget versus one quarter of Sweden's. Meaning that Sweden's economy was 8 percent the size of France's. If Sweden was a great power, it was clearly "punching above its weight."
    – Tom Au
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 13:09

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