France's Wars of Religion

France's Wars of Religion

The Wars of Religion were eight civil conflicts that developed in France between 1562 and 1598.

These clashes began due to the quarrels between Catholics and Huguenots, who received the support of different noble houses such as the Bourbon and the Guise, as well as from foreign countries.

The First War of Religion

The First War of Religion happened between 1562 and 1563. The Huguenots had the help of Switzerland, England and the Protestants of the Holy German Empire, while the Catholics were supported by Spain and the Italian states. It was a bloody confrontation that ended up beheading both armies.

The Duke of Guise died and the Prince of Condé was captured by the Catholics, which led to the beginning of the peace talks, which would culminate in the Edict of Amboise on March 19, 1563.

The Second War of Religion

But the failure of the application of the edict in the provinces, added to international tensions and the rivalry between the Prince de Condé and the Duke of Anjou, caused the outbreak of the Second War of Religion on September 28, 1567.

That day, the Huguenots, led by Condé, attempted to seize the royal family and the Cardinal of Lorraine, unleashing a wave of revenge and battles throughout France.

The weakening of the two sides led to the signing of the Peace of Longjumeau on March 22, 1568, in which Huguenots They promised to return everything they had conquered, in exchange for imposing without restrictions the Edict of Amboise.

Again, peace was not enough, as many Protestants refused to leave the conquered places. Seeing that another war was about to break out, the queen ordered the capture of the Prince of Condé, who fled the country.

The Third War of Religion

In addition, the monarch revoked the Edict of Amboise through the Declaration of Saint-Maur, which resumed the conflicts and unleashed the Third War of Religion.

The confrontations were repeated until the signing of the Edict of Saint-Germain on August 8, 1570, by which freedom of conscience and worship was restored in France.

The Fourth War of Religion

The parties were not satisfied with this new territorial and administrative organization, so the different conspiracies were soon resumed until they led to the Fourth War of Religion.

On August 22, 1572, one of the Huguenot leaders was the victim of an attack, which kindled the spirits of his followers. But on the night of August 23, the so-called "Massacre of St. Bartholomew" took place, in which most of the Protestants were killed by Catholic troops. Finally, in July 1573 a new treaty was signed that was to once again guarantee freedom of conscience throughout the kingdom.

The Fifth War of Religion

The Fifth War of Religion It took place in 1574, when Condé left the Court and invaded the country from the border with the Holy Empire, commanding a mercenary army.

Henry III, newly crowned king, had to sign the Edict of Beaulieu on May 6, 1576 to prevent the disintegration of the country.

The monarch blamed his mother and brother for such a catastrophe, since the edict was an incalculable advance for the Huguenots: titles were distributed to some deserters and Protestants; the Massacre of St. Bartholomew was condemned; and widows and orphans were compensated by the crown.

The Sixth War of Religion

The humiliation of the new treaty prompted the Catholics to form the Catholic League and force the king to act in the Sixth War of Religion.

The Duke of Anjou noted for the massacres he carried out and condemned the Huguenots again.

This time, the Catholics reached a much more favorable pact with the Edict of Poitiers on October 8, 1577, where the conditions of Protestant worship were restricted and the humiliations of the Edict of Beaulieu were terminated.

The Seventh War of Religion

The Seventh War of Religion it broke out in 1579. It was of less intensity and was due to the sexual scandals of Enrique de Navarra, which reached the ears of King Enrique III.

The Catholics scoffed at the news and provoked a new Protestant attack. It was a conflict that ended up prolonging the concessions to the Protestants for 6 years and whose peace was signed in Fleix on November 26, 1580.

The Eighth War of Religion

The eighth and last of the Wars of Religion it was the longest and fiercest of them all. It began in 1585 with the nickname "War of the three Enriques”, Following the fighters Enrique III, Enrique de Navarra and Enrique de Guisa.

After a great deal of conflict and death, Henry of Navarre, leader of the Huguenots, became the new King of France.

Although there was reluctance on the part of the Catholic League, the newly appointed Henry IV joined Catholicism in July 1593, which gave him the recognition of Catholics.

On April 13, 1598, the Edict of Nantes was signed, which put an end to the religious problem and granted freedom of worship to the Huguenots.

The Wars of Religion ended the Valois-Angouleme dynasty and reinforced the rise to power of Henry IV of Bourbon.

However, the conflicts reappeared periodically until the arrival of Louis XIV, the Sun King, who replaced the order of Henry IV by the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

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