FRENCH WARS (1562-1598)

By: Brytney Gray, Shellby Barrington, and Sariah Beal


The French wars of religion were a period of civil infighting and military operations that were faught between French Catholics and Protestants (also known as Hugenots). This period of time consisted of multiple wars where both sides were assisted from forgein sources. It is agreed between historians that the Massacre of Vassy (1562) began the wars and the Edict of Nontes ended the series of conflicts.

Causes include:

  1. The financial weakness of the monarchy
  2. Calvinism and the Roman Catholic Church
  3. Factional rivalry between major families in France; these families included Montmorency, Guise, and Bourbon
  4. Economic depression


There were multiple key figures in the French wars of religion, due to the fact that there were seven wars involved. The Hugenots, Duc De Guise, the League, and the three Henries were the main figures throughout these wars.


The main significance of the French Wars of Religion was both negative and positive for both sides. The Hugenots were granted substantial rights and freedoms yet the hostility toward them still remained. As for the monarchy, it's authority was weakened causing them to lose some respect from the citizens of France.


It is agreed that the end of this war was the Edict of Nantes. It granted the Hugenots substantial rights. France remained Catholic, but protestism was recognized instead of ignored or frowned upon. The Edict of Nantes seperated religious and civil unity.


This is an entry written by a first hand witness at the St. Bartholomew's day Massacre: