The Holy blood pilgrimage attracted a large number of pilgrims to Rothenburg, which at the time rose to be one of the 20 largest cities of the Holly Roman Empire. Within the city walls there was a population of around 5,500 people, with a 14,000 people in the surrounding territory. During the Thirty Years’ War, in 1631, the Protestant town was attacked by 40,000 troops sent by the Catholic Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly. Ultimately, Tilly’s troops defeated Rothenburg and left the town poor and nearly empty. Additionally, in 1634, the bubonic plague killed more townsfolk.
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