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Edict of Pacification of Boulogne, July 1573

Edict of Pacification of Boulogne, July 1573

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Edict of Pacification of Boulogne, July 1573

The edict of Pacification issued at Boulogne in July 1573 ended the Fourth War of Religion, and restricted the religious freedoms granted to the Huguenots at the end of the each of the first three wars of religion.

By the terms of the edict the Huguenots were given the freedom to worship in public in La Rochelle, Nismes and Montauban. Huguenots throughout France were allowed freedom of conscience, meaning that they wouldn’t be punished for not attending Catholic services, but only noblemen who held land with the high jurisdiction were given the right to conduct marriages and baptisms with Protestant rights.

Although the Fifth War of Religion didn’t break out for two years, this Edict failed to produce peace in much of France, and there were at least two major Huguenot plots to free Condé and Navarre from captivity at the court during 1574. The death of Charles IX on 30 May 1574 led to a temporary lull, but the Fifth War broke out soon after the coronation of Henry III in February 1575.

Henry III of France

Henry III (French: Henri III, né Alexandre Édouard Polish: Henryk Walezy Lithuanian: Henrikas Valua 19 September 1551 – 2 August 1589) was King of France from 1574 until his death in 1589 as well as King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.

As the fourth son of King Henry II of France, he was not expected to inherit the French throne and thus was a good candidate for the vacant throne of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, where he was elected monarch in 1573. During his brief rule, he signed the Henrician Articles into law, recognizing the Polish nobility's right to freely elect their monarch. Aged 22, Henry abandoned Poland upon inheriting the French throne when his brother, Charles IX, died without issue.

France was at the time plagued by the Wars of Religion, and Henry's authority was undermined by violent political factions funded by foreign powers: the Catholic League (supported by Spain and the Pope), the Protestant Huguenots (supported by England and the Dutch) and the Malcontents (led by Henry's own brother the Duke of Alençon, a party of Catholic and Protestant aristocrats who jointly opposed the absolutist ambitions of the king). Henry III was himself a politique, arguing that a strong and religiously tolerant monarchy would save France from collapse.

After the death of Henry's younger brother Francis, Duke of Anjou, and when it became apparent that Henry would not produce an heir, the Wars of Religion developed into a succession crisis, the War of the Three Henrys. Henry III's legitimate heir was his distant cousin, King Henry III of Navarre, a Protestant. The Catholic League, led by Henry I, Duke of Guise, sought to exclude Protestants from the succession and championed the Catholic Charles, Cardinal of Bourbon, as Henry III's heir.

In 1589, Jacques Clément, a Catholic fanatic, murdered Henry III. He was succeeded by the King of Navarre who, as Henry IV, assumed the throne of France after converting to Catholicism, as the first French king of the House of Bourbon.

The Huguenots vs France: who were the Huguenots and what did they believe?

Who exactly were the Huguenots and why were they such a concern to the French crown? Emma Slattery Williams explores the Huguenot rebellions of the 16th and 17th centuries, their roots in the Reformation, and what Cardinal Richelieu has to do with it all

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Published: December 4, 2020 at 9:00 am

At a General Assembly in La Rochelle on 25 December 1620, after decades of persecution and discrimination, the Huguenots – French Protestants who followed the teachings of theologian John Calvin – declared their intention to create a ‘state within the state’, in defiance of French king Louis XIII and what they perceived as threats to the Protestant religion. The move sparked a chain of events that would create chaos and violence for decades to come. But trouble for the Huguenots had been brewing long before this rebellious act.

Seventeenth-century France was predominantly Roman Catholic, but since the European Reformation – which had begun in the early-16th century – Protestantism had slowly grown in popularity in France, boasting more than two million followers by the end of the 16th century. These French Protestants were known as Huguenots.

During the late-16th century, the clash of Catholic and Protestant religious beliefs came to a head with a series of conflicts known collectively as the French Wars of Religion, a period between 1562 and 1598 during which there were eight civil wars. Other European countries such as England and Spain became embroiled in these conflicts: England – which had broken with Rome twice, first in the 1530s and again in 1559 – wanted to prevent a Catholic victory, while staunchly Catholic Spain wished to see a Protestant defeat.

The growing power of the French nobility was another underlying cause of these conflicts. The sudden death of Henry II in 1559 had seen three of his sons successively take the throne: Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III. Inexperienced and ineffective, these three kings showed little ability in being able to control their French nobles – allowing the warring noblemen to vie for places in the line of succession – and allowed the seeds of religious rebellion to bloom.

The French Wars of Religion: when did they begin?

A small act of tolerance towards Protestantism in France came in January 1562 with the Edict of St Germain – delivered by Catherine de Medici, France’s regent and mother of Charles IX, who was then 11 years old. The edict was a decree of tolerance that recognised the rights of Huguenots to worship, providing that they did so in private, not within towns, and not at night. But less than two months later, on 1 March, Francis, Duke of Guise, sent his troops to the town of Vassy, where a group of Huguenots were worshipping in a barn.

The soldiers massacred more than 80 Huguenots, sparking the first of the Wars of Religion. Horrific acts of violence would be committed by both sides, across France, and the Duke of Guise was eventually assassinated. An uneasy peace was reached in March 1563 with the Edict of Amboise, which guaranteed the Huguenots their religious privileges.

Over the next few years, further skirmishes saw the Huguenots take up arms against the Crown, and the massacres of both Catholics and Protestants. Many Huguenots fled France during this time, with one group establishing a colony in modern-day Jacksonville, Florida, in 1564.

In August 1572, Catherine de Medici arranged the marriage of her daughter, Marguerite of Valois, to the Huguenot Henry of Navarre of the House of Bourbon. Henry was next in line to the French throne after Charles IX’s younger brothers – one another Henry, and Francis – and Catherine hoped that an alliance with the powerful Bourbon dynasty would placate the Huguenots for a time.

Thousands of Protestants gathered in Paris for the wedding and the city became a powder keg of tension. The Royal Council met and hatched a plan to assassinate some of the Huguenot leaders to prevent what they deemed a Protestant takeover – thousands of Huguenots were killed in Paris during what is now known as the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre, with violence spreading across the country over the following weeks. The Edict of Boulogne in July 1573 halted the bloodshed and restricted the Huguenots to worshipping in just three French towns: La Rochelle, Montauban and Nîmes.

What was the Edict of Nantes and what did it mean for the Huguenots?

Henry of Navarre ascended the throne in 1589, becoming Henry IV of France, and converted to Catholicism in 1593 as a way of consolidating his power. This ensured the favour of the majority of his subjects, but aroused the suspicion and dismay of the Huguenots.

The Edict of Nantes in 1598 was the greatest step towards religious toleration that France had seen. Protestants were now treated equally before the law and had the right to worship freely in private, and publicly in 200 towns that they could garrison. The Crown guaranteed their safety and subsidised the cost of their garrisons. Henry IV saw this attempt at civil unity as an exchange for the Huguenots accepting his Catholic faith. The French Wars of Religion had officially ended, but the Huguenots were still seen as inferior by France’s mainly-Catholic population, which was horrified at the prospect of showing toleration towards Huguenots, let alone their new royal protection. For the rest of his reign, Henry IV tried to ensure that the Edict of Nantes was upheld, but those who came after him would be far less tolerant.

In 1617, Henry IV’s successor, Louis XIII, proclaimed the annexation of the Protestant Principality of Béarn in the far south of France – which had been declared an independent principality in the 14th century – and restored Béarn’s Catholic property rights in 1620. Fearing the loss of their religious privileges, a Huguenot General Assembly – beginning in November 1620 – was called at La Rochelle. During the meeting a decision was taken to defy Louis XIII, who had established an all-Catholic government, and create a Protestant ‘state within a state’, with its own independent taxes and military. This act of defiance was led by Henri Duc de Rohan, who had become the leader of the Huguenots. It was a decision that would lead to three rebellions over the next decade and ultimately see Protestantism almost completely eradicated in France.

Why were the Huguenots a threat?

Louis XIII interpreted the decision at La Rochelle as an open rebellion to his authority and gathered his forces to march south – first capturing the Huguenot city of Saumur and then defeating Rohan’s brother, Benjamin, Duke of Soubise, during the Siege of Saint-Jean-d’Angély on 24 June 1621.

A siege of Montauban followed, but Louis was unsuccessful in capturing the city. His siege of Nègrepelisse in 1622, however, saw almost all of the inhabitants of that Protestant stronghold killed and the city burned to ground. The Treaty of Montpellier was signed later that year, which allowed the Huguenots to keep their fortresses at Montauban and La Rochelle, but ordered the one at Montpellier and the royal stronghold of Fort Louis, just outside La Rochelle, to be dismantled.

Louis did not uphold the treaty, though, creating further resentment among the Huguenots. The influential Cardinal Richelieu, who would become the King’s chief minister in 1624, advised Louis to refortify Fort Louis. Richelieu was wary of the Huguenot’s military power and saw them as a threat to the country’s stability, but he also knew that any unwarranted violence or persecution directed towards the Huguenots could affect France’s alliances with Protestant nations in Europe. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of La Rochelle sensed the threat of an imminent siege.

In February 1625, the Duke of Soubise led another rebellion against Louis and occupied the island of Ré, off the west coast of France near La Rochelle. He then successfully attacked the royal fleet during the battle of Blavet, and took command of the Atlantic coast from Bordeaux to Nantes. The Duke’s successes caused him to give himself the title of Admiral of the Protestant Church. La Rochelle voted to join Soubise but, by September, the Huguenot fleet and Soubise had both been defeated and the island of Ré returned to royal power.
It took a long period of negotiations before the Treaty of Paris was finally agreed between the King and the city of La Rochelle, on 5 February 1626 – the Huguenots retained their religious freedom, but limits were imposed and La Rochelle was no longer permitted to keep a naval fleet.

What does England have to do with Huguenot rebellions?

The final Huguenot rebellion of the 17th century was sparked by an English intervention – England and France had been enemies on and off for centuries, and Charles I of (Protestant) England was happy to assist in an upheaval against his French counterpart. Charles sent the Duke of Buckingham with an 80-strong fleet to assist the Huguenots, and in June 1627, the English landed near Ré, beginning the Anglo-French War. Buckingham eventually ran out of money and support, and returned to England after defeat at the siege of Saint-Martin-de-Ré.

The final stage of this bitter struggle was the siege of La Rochelle, which began in September 1627, with Richelieu commanding the French troops. The populace resisted for almost 14 months under their mayor, Jean Guiton – and with a little help from the English – before having to surrender in October 1628. By this time, the population of La Rochelle had decreased from around 27,000 to 5,000 as a result of famine, disease and violence. Peace was officially achieved with the Peace of Alès, signed in June 1629 – this time the Huguenots’ right to religious toleration was acknowledged, but they were forbidden from holding assemblies or fortresses. Louis could not risk further threat to his authority.

When did the Huguenots flee France?

In 1685, Louis XIII’s son, Louis XIV, enacted the Edict of Fontainebleau, which revoked the Edict of Nantes and essentially made Protestantism in France illegal. The Huguenots were now seen as heretics and persecution against them was officially sanctioned – although this had been happening for many years, unofficially. The children of Protestant parents were removed and given to Catholic families, and many Protestants were forcibly baptised into the Catholic faith. Protestants were soon banned from entering professions such as medicine and the law – almost everything was done to force people to convert. All Protestant ministers were banished, but Protestants themselves were banned from leaving France, often under pain of death.

Thousands of Huguenots, however, did flee France, with the majority settling in the Dutch Republic, Prussia and England. Some French cities lost as many as half of their working populations, with many educated and skilled craftsmen, such as those working in the textile industry, among those who left.

Protestant European countries were outraged at France’s new religious policy and the brutality with which it had been enforced. This furthered the idea that France and Louis XIV must be opposed and a Grand Alliance was eventually established in 1686 by Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, and from 1689 was supported by William III of the Dutch Republic. Although religious tolerance would increase over the years in France, it wasn’t until the French Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789 that full religious freedom was achieved.

Emma Slattery Williams is BBC History Revealed’s staff writer

The 2 nd war (1567-1568)

As from the autumn of 1567, the Huguenots leaders decided to take up arms once more. Worried by the increasing influence of the Cardinal of Lorraine on the young King Charles IX, they attempted to subtract the latter by forceful means from the Cardinal’s control. This attempt became known as the Meaux surprise. But the king was warned of it and outmanoeuvred it to return from Meaux to Paris under Swiss protection.

Several towns of southern France were taken over by the Protestants. Acts of violence are committed on both sides. In Nîmes, on St. Michael’s day – the 30 th of September 1567 – the so-celled Michelade takes place : the massacre of leading Catholic citizens by Nîmes Protestants in Paris, besieged by the Huguenot army, Catholics violently attack Huguenots.

Condé’s army captured St. Denis and went as far as Dreux. But on the 10 th of November 1567, the battle of St. Denis ends in favour of the royal troops, despite the fact that the High Constable Anne de Montmorency was fatally wounded.

After lengthy negotiations, on the 23 rd of March, a peace treaty was signed : the Edict of Longjumeau that confirmed the Edict of Amboise.

Huguenot Timeline

Immigration of French Huguenots in Berlin in the 18th Century. Woodcut after a contemporary etching (1771) by Daniel Chodowiecki from the book “Deutsche Geschichte (German history)” by L. Stacke (Volume 2). Published by Velhagen & Klasing, Bielefeld and Leipzig, 1881

1509 John Calvin (1509-1564) born. 1550 The Huguenot Threadneedle Street Church founded in the area of Spitalfields in London. 1562 Massacre at Vassy marks the beginning of the Wars of Religion and the persecution of the Huguenots. Soldiers sent by Francis, Duke of Guise, leader of a Catholic faction, killed many of a congregation of 1200 Huguenots worshipping inside town walls, a forbidden act.

Massacre de Vassy 1562 print by Hogenberg end of 16th century

Francois Dubois (1529-1584) Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, ca 1572-84, oil on panel, Musee cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne

French Huguenots grieving after the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day (August 24–25, 1572), in which thousands of Huguenots were killed by French Catholic forces.

The city’s leaders refused to accept a royal governor, sparking conflict with the crown. The six-month siege, led by the future Henry III, the Duke of Anjou, was brought to an end by the signing of the Edict of Boulogne.

The Siege of La Rochelle by the Duke of Anjou in 1573 (History of Henry III tapestry, completed in 1623), Musee d’Orbigny Bernon

Armed procession of the Holy League in Paris in 1590, Musée Carnavalet.

Edit de Nantes Avril 1598, Henry IV – Grands Documents de l’Histoire de France, Archives Nationales

La Rochelle during the 1628 siege, Orbigny-Bernon Museum

Three hundred families of persecuted Huguenots leaving La Rochelle, November 1661, engraving by the Dutch school. Wars of Religion, France, 17th century.

Charles II of England issued proclamation offering England as place of refuge for Huguenots. Londoners and their countrymen participated in house-to-house collections to aid in the relief of the Huguenot refugees. A soup kitchen was opened in Spitalfields for the Huguenot poor. Charitable groups were established to assist aged Huguenots and paid apprenticeships for the children. (Spitalfields became a French community depended heavily on the weaving trade.) 1683 The King and Françoise d’Aubigné (Madame de Maintenon), the former governess to the king’s illegitimate children, were secretly married. 1685 A petition was presented to Louis XIV stating that the Protestants have been refused admission to public office and have been dismissed from positions of authority in which they had served with honor and fidelity. Protestant children were taken from their homes. The petition pleaded for a return to the observance of the Edict of Nantes, which Louis XIV revoked. The new law ordered the destruction of churches, the closing of schools, the Catholic baptism of Huguenots and the exile of Huguenot pastors who refused to renounce their faith.

Persecution of the French Huguenots (After the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685), 1904, Maurice Leloir (1853-1940 French), Color lithograph

Tens of thousands of Huguenots fled to other countries including Holland, England, and Prussia. The Revocation gave Protestant ministers a fortnight in which to leave France, on pain of death or imprisonment if they delayed. Other Protestant subjects caught attempting to leave the country would be condemned to the galleys, if men, or confined to a convent, if women.

French Huguenots arriving in Dover (England) after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 1685. Coloured engraving

It is estimated that 200,000 to 250,000 Huguenots left France while 700,000 remained and abjured their faith. Most who left went to the Dutch Republic, then Britain, Germany, Ireland, and the American colonies.


After repeated failures to take the capital of Paris, Henry IV converted to Catholicism and reportedly declared, "Paris is well worth a Mass". The war-weary Parisians turned on the Catholic League's hardliners, who continued the conflict even after Henry had converted. Paris jubilantly welcomed the formerly Protestant Henry of Navarre in 1593, and he was crowned King of France the following year. He later issued the Edict of Nantes in an attempt to end the religious strife that had torn the country apart. [4]

Table of Contents

In the new edict, Ludwig affirmed Catholicism as the state religion and not only issued a ban on Protestant worship , which in France was primarily based on the teachings of Calvin . It announced the destruction of the still existing Reformed places of worship ( French les temples ). Any pastors who were not ready to convert immediately were expelled from the country within two weeks. Protestants, however, were allowed to stay in France if they refused to gather to practice their religion. However, Protestants lost their civil rights, could no longer marry or acquire property. Therefore only a few made use of this possibility.

The ban hit the Reformed Church of France hard because it was consistently enforced. In particular from the southern French provinces of Languedoc , Roussillon and Dauphiné , where numerous Huguenots lived, as the Protestants were called in France, many of them fled to other Protestant countries, in particular to the Netherlands, the Palatinate, Switzerland and Prussia . Between 1685 and 1730, around 150,000 to 200,000 of the approximately 730,000 professing Huguenots left the country. These included a disproportionately large number of members of the nobility and the commercially active bourgeoisie, which meant considerable bloodletting for the French economy and ultimately a gain for escape destinations such as Switzerland and Prussia. The Brandenburg envoy Ezekiel Spanheim helped many emigrants to leave the country.

The French possessions in Alsace (including the city of Strasbourg ) were excluded from the Edict of Fontainebleau , as these were virtually considered foreign possessions of the crown. The Protestant denomination was allowed to continue to be practiced here, even if the French authorities tried to favor the Catholic Church.

The Edict of Fontainebleau also had serious foreign policy consequences. Opposition to England and the Netherlands intensified. Protestant states like Brandenburg-Prussia under the Great Elector turned away from France.

Since Protestantism could not be removed with the stroke of a pen, Ludwig tried a military solution in the years after 1700. He sent troops into the core areas of the Protestants, which resulted in cruel acts of war in the Cevennes . Here the rebellious camisards managed to offer resistance in the mountainous region for several years, but hundreds of villages were destroyed and depopulated.

Since most of the Protestant pastors had also left France, lay people often took over their functions. They preached secretly in remote places, called le désert ("wasteland / desert"). If caught, they could face galley or execution as punishment . These lay preachers were usually people who, through their ecstatic states and prophetic speeches, seemed called to their role by God. They created the movement of the inspired , which reached the rest of the continent via England, where they were called French prophets , and in the Protestant countries had a decisive influence on the wing of pietism that was critical of the church .

A few years after his death , his sister-in-law, Liselotte von der Pfalz , wrote the following about the motivation of Louis XIV, who in the first decades of his rule had given little importance to religious matters :

"Our s (eliger) king . didn't know a word about the h. script he had never been allowed to read it said that if he only listened to his confessor and talked about his pater noster , everything would be fine and he would be completely godly I often complained about it, because his intention has always been sincere and good. But he was made to believe , the old Zott and the Jesuwitter , that if he plagued the Reformed, that would replace the scandal that he committed with double adultery with the Montespan . This is how you betrayed the poor gentleman. I have often told these priests my opinion about it. Two of my confessors, pere Jourdan and pere de St. Pierre , agreed with me so there were no disputes. "

It is unclear what roles the Archbishop of Paris, Hardouin de Péréfixe de Beaumont , and the king's confessor, the Jesuit Père de Lachaise , and the king's secret wife, Madame de Maintenon , played in this, but they should not be negligible have been.

Liselotte, who was originally a Calvinist herself and had only converted to Catholicism because of her marriage, achieved the release of 184 Huguenots with her son, the now regent of France, Philippe II d'Orléans , just one month after the king's death in 1715 . including many preachers who had been held in French galleys for many years . However, she also saw the opportunities presented by the Huguenots' emigration to the Protestant countries:

“The poor Reformed . who settled in Germany will do the French in common. Mons. Colbert is supposed to have said that many are subject to kings and princes wealth, therefore wanted everyone to marry and have children: so these new subjects of the German electors and princes will become wealth. "

It was not until the Edict of Tolerance at Versailles in 1787 and shortly afterwards the Declaration of Human and Civil Rights of 1789 and the Constitution of 1791 during the French Revolution that religious persecution ended and established full religious freedom for Protestants and other religious minorities in France.


A complete list of works is impossible. The following are the most important: General Authorities. - Bulletin de la societe de l'histoire du protestantisme francais (54 vols.), a most valuable collection, indispensable as a work of reference Haag, La France protestante, lives of French Protestants (to vols., 1846 2nd ed., Henri Bordier, 6 vols., 1887) F. Puaux, Histoire de la Reformation francaise (7 vols., 1858) and articles "Calvin" and "France protestante" in Encyclopedie des sciences religieuses of Lichtenberger Smedley, History of the Reformed Religion in France (3 vols., London, 1832) Browning, History of the Huguenots (t vol., 1840) G. A. de Felice, Histoire des protestants de France (1874).

Special Periods. The 16th Century. - H. M. Baird, The Huguenots and Henry of Navarre (2 vols., New York, 1886), and History of the Rise of the Huguenots of France (New York, 1879) A. W. Whitehead, Gaspard de Coligny (London, 1904) J. W. Thompson, The Wars of Religion in France, 1559-1576 (1909) Th. Beza, Histoire ecclesiastique des eglises reformees au royaume de France (3 vols., Antwerp, 1580 new edition by G. Baum et Cunitz, 1883) Crespin, Histoire des martyrs persecutes et mis a mort pour la verite de l'evangile (2 vols. in fol., Geneva, 1619 abridged translation by Rev. A. Maddock, London, 1780) Pierre de la Place, Commentaires sur l'etat de la religion et de la republique (1565) Florimond de Raemond, L'Histoire de la naissance, progres et decadence de l'heresie du siècle (1610) De Thou, Histoire universelle (16 vols.) Th. Agrippa D'Aubigne, Histoire universelle (3 vols., Geneva, 1626) Hermingard, Correspondance des reformateurs dans les pays de la langue francaise (8 vols., 1866), a scholarly work and the most trustworth y source for the history of the origin of French reform. "Calvini opera" in the Corpus reformatorum, edited by Reuss, Baum and Cunitz,. particularly the correspondence, vols. x. to xxii. Doumergue, Jean Calvin, les hommes et les choses de son temps (3 vols., 1899) G. von Polenz, Geschichte des franzdsischen Calvinismus (5 vols., 1857) Etienne A. Laval, Compendious history of the reformation in France and of the reformed Church in that Kingdom from the first beginning of the Reformation to the Repealing of the Edict of Nantes (7 vols., London, 1737-1741) Soldan, Geschichte des Protestantismus in Frankreich bis zum Tode Karls IX. (2 vols., 1855) Merle D'Aubigni, Histoire de la reformation en Europe au temps de Calvin (5 vols., 1863).

17th Century. - Elie Benoit, Histoire de l'Edit de Nantes (5 vols., Delft, 1693), a work of the first rank Aymon, Tous les synodes nationaux des eglises reformees de France (2 vols.) J. Quick, Synodicon (2 vols., London, 1692), important for the ecclesiastical history of French Protestantism D'Huisseau, La Discipline des eglises reformees de France (Amsterdam, 1710) H. de Rohan, Memoires. jusqu'en 1629 (Amsterdam, 1644) Jean Claude, Les Plaintes des Protestans de France (Cologne, 1686, new edition with notes by Frank Puaux, Paris, 1885) Pierre Jurieu, Lettres pastorales (3 vols., Rotterdam, 1688) Brousson, Etat des Reformes de France (3 vols., The Hague, 1685) Anquez, Histoire des assemblees politiques des reformes de France (1 vol., Paris, 1859) Pilatte, Edits et arrets concernant la religion pretendue reformee,1662-1711 (1889) Douen, Les Premiers pasteurs du Desert (2 vols., 1879) H. M. Baird, The Huguenots and The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (2 vols., New York).

18th Century. - Peyrat, Histoire des pasteurs du Desert (2 vols., 1842) Ch. Coquerel, Histoire des eglises du Desert (2 vols., 1841) E. Hugues, Antoine Court, Histoire de la restauration du protestantisme en France (2 vols., 1872) Les Synodes du Desert (3 vols., 18 75) A. Coquerel, Jean Calas (1869) Court de Gebelin, Les Toulousaines (1763).

19th Century. - Die protestantische Kirche Frankreichs (2 vols., 1848) Annuaire de Rabaut 1807, de Soulier 1827, de De Prat 1862, (1878) Agenda protestant de Frank Puaux (1880-1894) Agenda annuaire protestant de Gambier (1895-1907) Bersier, Histoire du Synode de 1872 (2 vols.) Frank Puaux, Les Ouvres du protestantisme francais au XIX e siecle. See also CAMISARDS, CALVIN, EDICT OF NANTES. (F. Px.)

Peaceful times

Protestants in the Midi did not disarm and organised themselves. The siege of La Rochelle, resistance movements in Sancerre, Nîmes and other cities in the Midi, showed that the protestants, who mistrusted their King, could resist as the population sided with them. Getting organised was paramount. The creation of the Union of Protestants in the Midi set up a real parallel government, which could be called a Huguenot State.

The situation in Paris was chaotic. Upon Charles IX’s death on the 30th of May 1574, Duke Henri de Guise suddenly left Poland, arrived in France in September 1574 and became Henri III. He was crowned King on the 13th of February 1575. He was back in a country where unrest had sprung up again the year before, as the Protestants had taken up arms again as early as February 1574 in the Dauphiné, Vivarais, Poitou and Saintonge regions. These combats marked the beginning of the fifth war of Religion.

This Disastrous French Royal Wedding Ended in Carnage and Became Known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

Edouard Debate-Ponsan. Un matin devant la porte du Louvre, 1880. A painting depicting Catherine de Medici witnessing the carnage after the St. Bartholomew&rsquos Day Massacre. Wikipedia.

Reigniting the armed conflicts between the Catholics and Protestants, the immediate aftermath of the massacre resulted in the Fourth War of Religion. Characterized by sieges on Protestant strongholds, the war ended in July 1573, with the Edict of Boulogne. The proclamation severely limited the religious freedoms of Protestants, only allowing them open worship in only three cities. As a result of the St. Bartholomew&rsquos Day Massacre, the civil war between the Huguenots and the Catholics would continue intermittently for over twenty years.

By 1589, there was only one male heir left to the French throne: Margaret of Valois&rsquo husband, King Henry of Navarre. The political marriage had been a disaster. On opposite sides of the French Wars of Religion, Henry and Margaret lived separately for most of their lives. After his coronation in 1594, Henry divorced Margaret so that he could remarry and have heirs. Henry welcomed his ex-wife at the French court, allowing her to keep her position as the last Valois princess and financing her income. She remained in Paris until her death, forming close friendships with the king and his new queen.

Jacques Boulbene. Henry IV, King of France and Navarre, ca. 1600. After the French Wars of Religion, the first and only Protestant King of France, Henry IV, brought growth and stability to the war-torn country. The reign of his grandson, Louis XIV, brought France to the height of its political and cultural power. Wikipedia.

The coronation of King Henry IV of France ended the Valois dynasty that had ruled France since the fourteenth century. Through Henry&rsquos descendants from his second marriage to Marie de Medici, the Bourbons would rule France for the next two centuries. Despite the opposition to a Protestant king, Henry IV helped France recover from decades of civil war. Converting to Catholicism, he signed the Edict of Nantes in 1598, promoting religious toleration throughout the country.

Maintaining a fragile peace between the Catholics and the Huguenots allowed Henry to rebuild the country during his reign. Without the threat of civil war, the king improved the infrastructure of the country. He promoted education and increased agricultural production, bringing France into a period of prosperity. Upon his death in 1610, Henry had earned the love of his people, embracing his nickname &ldquoGood King Henry.&rdquo France would eventually reach the epoch of its cultural and political power under the reign of Henry&rsquos grandson, &ldquothe Sun King,&rdquo Louis XIV.

Watch the video: French Religious Wars (August 2022).