Amish belong to a Protestant-based religious group that originated in Switzerland and Germany in 1500s. Martin Luther broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. Consequently, the Protestant Reformation, putting heavy emphasis on personal faith and the authority of the Bible, swept through northern Germany and Scandinavia.
Not satisfied with conservative reform, many sects developed other forms of worship. One point of contention for the reform movement was baptism which, it was believed, should only be performed on adults who consciously accepted the teachings of Jesus Christ. Adult baptisms became identified with the so-called Radical Reformation movement. Its reformers were called Anabaptists, meaning "Rebaptizers" because they had already been baptized in the Catholic church as infants. They also believed in separation of church and state.
This Swiss Anabaptists became known as Mennonites, after a Roman Catholic priest, Monno Simon, who led them in the Netherlands and Northern Germany in the 1530s. The Mennonites, regarded as heretics, were persecuted with torture, burning at the stake, jailing, drowning and general harassment during the 1600s. At the same time, a sect of stricter Mennonites, who followed Jacob Ammann, broke off from the group and became known as Amish.