The year is 1305 in France. The French king is using his political power to influence the Roman Catholic Church for his own benefit; French popes are elected, and the center of the Church is moved from Rome, Italy, to Avignon, France. This makes people unhappy and creates a struggle for power within the Church.
The Church must change!
In 1378, the Great Schism occurs. Europe's two centers of religious power, Avignon and Rome, finally split. Two different popes are elected, each one demanding complete faith and loyalty from its people. As a result, many are left confused and cannot decide which side to follow. The Church grows weaker.
Reform the Church!!
The Holy Roman Emperor orders an end to the schism in 1414. Although several people try to reunify the Church, many begin to criticize it for its corruption. For one, the Church earned most of its money by selling false indulgences and taxing its people, meanwhile paying no taxes themselves. Additionally, it spent Church funds on personal pleasure and owned a majority of Europe's land.
Martin Luther is born into a German family in 1483. After a terrifying encounter with thunder and lightning in 1505, he devotes his life to God and becomes a monk. Luther is a devoted Christian, but sees that things are not the way they used to be. He becomes fed up with the Church's corruption of Christianity, particularly upset with the sale of indulgences. As a result, he writes out a long list of ideas that conflict with the Church. He sticks this list on the door of Wittenberg's Castle Church, and today it is known as the 95 Theses.
Luther's 95 Theses spread rapidly due to the invention of the printing press, and Bibles are printed in many languages, allowing the general public to interpret it for themselves. Luther faces steady opposition, but also gains many supporters. These individuals decide to break with the Catholic Church and band together to protest, which eventually leads them to being known as Protestants. The Reformation has officially begun.
Peasants in the 1500s, who live and work under extremely poor conditions, believe that Luther's ideas mean that God fully supports them, so they violently revolt against the nobility. Religious wars between Lutheran princes and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V are being fought all over Europe. By 1555, the Peace of Augsburg is signed.