|The Treaty of Westphalia was signed at Munster on October 24, 1648 bringing to an end the Thirty Years War. The war, which was mostly fought in Germany, resulted in the destruction of 18,000 villages, 1,500 towns and 2,000 castles. Under the terms of the treaty the religious freedom of the Protestant Northern Germany as well as Saxony and Bavaria. Both Sweden and France were granted land. The German states independence was guaranteed, thus weakening the power of the Holy Roman Empire. The treaty also explicitly recognized the independence of the Swiss Cantons.