Central Arabian expression of the prevalent eighteenth-century theme of rural Islamic revivalism. Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792) labeled Sufism, for its veneration of saints, as polytheism and its practitioners as apostates. Wahhab insisted that the Quran and the Hadith were the only reliable sources for comprehending divine will, and he denounced unthinking adherence to any inherited practice. He believed that responsibility lies with individual Muslims to obey divine commands contained in the Quran and the Hadith. The Wahhabi message of self-generated purification is adhered to in parts of Islam. Wahhabism forms the ideological basis of the modern state of Saudi Arabia and has been exported from there to other locales such as Chechnya, Afghanistan, India, and the Philippines.
Wallenstein, Albrecht von (1583-1634) German general of the Thirty Years’ War. Born in Bohemia and a convert to Catholicism, Wallenstein became the leading commander of the forces of the Holy Roman Empire to crush the Protestant revolt. He defeated the Bohemian and Danish armies but was in turn defeated by the elite Swedish army under King Gustavus II, although Gustavus was killed. The emperor, Ferdinand II, feared that Wallenstein had intrigued with Gustavus and had him arrested. Trying to escape, Wallenstein was assassinated.
Walpole, Horace (1717-1797)
English author and wit, son of Robert Walpole, a prime minister. Walpole wrote voluminous correspondence as well as literature including the gothic novel The Castle of Otranto (1764). Walpole also served in Parliament (1741-1768), like his father.
Walpole, Robert (1676-1745)
English statesman and prime minister (not yet an official title). As first lord of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer, from 1721 until his resignation in 1742, Walpole was the most powerful man in Britain.