About APW Digital

The Acta Pacis Westphalicae (APW) digital edition, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), went online in 2014. By 2008, forty volumes of the edition had already been published, and by the end of 2012, around 28,000 pages of these volumes were digitized and made interactive. The project is being carried out by the Early Modern History Department of the Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn and by the Bavarian State Library in Munich.

The “APW Digital” digitization project is a pioneer among online historical publications focused on the early modern era. Before the APW, very few editions on the topic of early modern history were internationally available online. Out of the ones that were, they either provided very few sources, or if they did have a comparable amount of comprehensive sources, they did not offer nearly the same extent of functions as “APW Digital”.

So much more is possible with the digitized edition than with any of the print versions. A plethora of search functions offer various ways to approach one’s research, which leads to an improved overview and understanding of events. The texts therefore have greater academic value.

The online version provides users with both a basic and an advanced search function, the latter of which can search across all volumes and series by specific criteria. By running a fuzzy search, names and words in all their orthographic variants can be found, including their Early New High German spelling or historical forms in other European languages.

All texts dated on a certain date can be called up by inputting that date using the chronological search option. This function now makes it possible to quickly glean an overview of coinciding proceedings and the various parties involved in both cities where the peace congresses took place.

Future volumes of the edition can easily be integrated into “APW Digital”. Some of these volumes are already completed, while others are still works in progress.

Besides extensive search options, “APW Digital” offers two chronological overviews. The first is meant for “beginners” and presents, in the simplest possible layout, nearly 100 entries on a timeline dating from 1641 to 1650, with a focus on the process of negotiations. The second overview for “experts” also chronicles the central negotiation processes, plus it documents other political and military events in the Holy Roman Empire and the rest of Europe. These events influenced contemporary negotiations as well as later ones. This overview contains entries going as far back as 1627 and also includes some information on the public and private lives of the ambassadors. It is possible to view data on specific themes (such as military events) separately.

“Biograms” (concise biographies) of the main players involved in the Westphalian Peace Congress can be called up as well. Their names are linked to the Integrated Authority File (GND), which makes it possible to categorically identify each historical figure, and call up further biographical information.

Furthermore, with the help of Georeferencing, the user can identify and map the places mentioned in the texts.

The digital form of the APW also supports access to other online sources. One such available document, which can be viewed page-by-page, is the “Acta Pacis Westphalicae Publica” by Johann Gottfried von Meiern. Published in the 18 th century, it was the most important publication of records and documents on the Peace of Westphalia before the APW.

The “Acta Pacis Westphalicae. Supplementa electronica” can also be directly accessed through “APW Digital”. It contains the original Latin texts of both peace treaties dated October 24, 1648, as well as several German translations, which can be viewed and compared side-by-side. Translations into other European languages are also offered.

Translated by: Julia Rosenfeld