Protestant, a collective name for a large body of Christian denominations, embracing in general all except the Roman Catholic and eastern churches. The name originated in 1529 in Germany, at the diet of Spire. The majority of the members of the diet, in union with the representative of the emperor, had passed a resolution that those estates which had shown themselves favorable to the reformation should prohibit, until the convocation of an oecumenical council, all further innovations in religious matters, and in particular should not allow any alteration in the celebration of the Lord's supper or the mass. To this resolution the evangelical estates, consisting of the elector of Saxony, the margrave of Brandenburg-Anspach, the duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, the landgrave of Hesse, the prince of Anhalt, and 14 imperial cities, refused to submit. They declared their readiness to obey the emperor and the diet in all "dutiful and possible matters;" but against any order considered by them repugnant to "God and his holy Word, to their souls' salvation and their good conscience," they entered, on April 19, a solemn protest.

Henceforth they were called Protestants. The signers of the first protest did not fully agree in all their theological views; but they did agree in the protest against the authority of secular or ecclesiastical boards to compel obedience in matters of faith, and the name Protestant therefore came early into use as the collective name for all the Christian denominations in Switzerland, France, England, Scotland, Holland, and other countries which proclaimed the Bible to be the only rule of faith. (See Hauff, Die protestantische Kirche in Deutschland, Munich, 1861; Sehen-kel, Das Wesen des Protestantismus, 2d ed., Schaffhausen, 1862; Frank, Ueber die Ge-schichte der protestantischen Theologie, 2 vols., Leipsic, 1862-'5; De Félice, Histoire des pro-testants de France, Paris, 1870; and Wylie, "History of Protestantism," London, 1874 et seq.) - Protestantism is the predominant religion in all the countries of the Teutonic race, excepting the German provinces of Austria; in the United States of America, the German empire, Great Britain, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and most of the colonial possessions of these states.

The aggregate population connected with or under the influence of Protestant churches at the close of 1874 is estimated in Schem's "Statistics of the World" (3d ed., 1875) as follows:

DIVISIONS.

Protestants.

Total population.

America..............................

33,000,000

84,500,000

Europe................................

71,800,000

301,600,000

Asia....................................

1,800,000

798,000,000

Africa.................................

1,200,000

202,500,000

Australia and Polynesia......

2,200,000

4,400,000

Total........................

110,000,000

1,391,000,000