Protestantism in the strict sense of the word is the group of princes and imperial cities who, at the diet of Speyer in 1529, signed a protestation against the Edict of Worms which forbade the Lutheran teachings within the Holy Roman Empire. From there, the word Protestant in German speaking areas still refers to Lutheran churches in contrast to Reformed churches, while the common designation for all churches originating from the Reformation is Evangelical.
In a broader sense of the word, Protestantism is any of the Christian religious groups, of Western European origin, that broke with the Roman Catholic Church as a result of the influence of Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran churches, and John Calvin, founder of the Calvinist movement. A third major branch of the Reformation, which encountered conflict with both the Catholics and other Protestants, is sometimes called the Radical Reformation, or Anabaptists. Some Western, non-Catholic, Christian groups are labeled as Protestant, even if the sect acknowledges no historical connection to Luther, Calvin, or the Anabaptists. These sundry groupings, I.e. Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, and other sectarians, are characterized in part by a lack of apostolic succession, in the sense that their founders are not anointed successors of St. Peter.
Protestants are often considered to be another people 'of the book', in that they adhere to the text of the Bible, that they grew out of the enlightenment and universities, that they attracted learned intellectuals, professionals, and skilled tradesmen and silversmiths, that their belief is more abstracted than ritualized, and that the great dissemination of protestant beliefs occurred with the translation by Protestants into native tongues from Latin (Greek and Hebrew) with the new technology of the printing press. Protestants are also less fond of hierarchy, having relentlessly attacked the preistly cast and the Holy See's authority, and thus are closely associated with the local control and political democratization during the 16th and 17th century.
2 -[Protestantism : Origins of Protestantism]
3 -[Protestantism : Basic Protestant Theological Tenets]
4 -[Protestantism : Influences on the Development of Protestantism]
5 -[Protestantism : Protestant Denominations]