French Wars

Wars of Religion


The French Religious Wars was from 1562-1598, the war consisted of the French Catholics who were supported by the house of Guise and Burbons fighting the Protestants and the Huguenots. The French were weak after the death of king Henry ll in 1559, the french were ambitious and tried to take over. The war went on between these religions until 1598. The reason for these events was because a group of Huguenots were attending a service of worship in the town of Vassy. In those days, attending a Reformed worship service in public was considered illegal in France. The 2nd Duke came to the prayer with armed men and asked them to stop the prayer, the men refused and the armed men killed the Protestants. Thus, leading to war.

Cause- Effect

The effect of this war was a treaty signed by King Henry IV. The treaty is known as The Edict Of Nantes. It is called this because it was signed in Nantes France. The edict stated the Protestants would be regulated to show they’re religion in France. Virtually ending the war in the year 1598.

The First War


The first religious war was initiated by the Massacre at Vassy in 1562. Catherine de Medici, a French ruler persuaded by Calvinism, showed toleration for the Huguenots. A powerful Roman Catholic, the Duc de Guise, anger by this, massacred the Huguenot congregation at Vassy. This caused an uprising between Roman Catholics and Protestants. One battle fought at Dreux that ended with a win for the Catholics. But then Duc de Guise and Antoine de Bourbon are assassinated. This ended the first generation of Catholic leadership. The edict of Amboise was issued in March of 1563, that restricted Protestant freedom. This leads to more resistant and strife, moving French into their next war.

The Second War


The Second War began after an unsuccessful attempt of the Huguenots to capture the king. This then led to an uprising by the Huguenots. The Catholics responded with the help of Spain. The Treaty of Longjumeau was received but did not state anything different from the treaty of Amboise so the fighting kept going.

The Third War


Peace did not last, Cardinal de Lorraine plotted to capture Condé and Colligny. Many alliances formed such as the Guise and Spain. This war involved an even larger number of foreign interests. The Protestants held out and pushed out the crown in the rural Southwest. The cost of fighting for the crown was substantial and soon an agreement was made. This agreement being more favorable for the Protestants. This war raised the cultural tensions even more between the Catholics and Protestants.

The St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre


Under orders from his mother, Catherine de Medici, King Charles IX of France ordered the assassination of Huguenot Protestant leaders. This killing led to the murdering of thousands of Huguenots. Although Charles tried to end the killing on August 25, the killing did not end until October. The massacre led to around 70,000 protestants killed in France.

The Fourth War


The Fourth War was declared by the king because of the city of La Rochelle refusing to pay taxes and accept control of a governor due to the massacre. The army came in February and took Henri de Navarre as a hostage. The city fought back and both sides lost many casualties. A treaty was eventually made, the Treaty of Rochelle, but came to a lost for the Protestants.

The Fifth War


The fifth war took place in 1576 when Navarre escaped from court and brought an army with him. One member of this army was the king’s younger brother, the Duc d’Alencon. He portrayed himself as someone who would cut taxes and side with the anti-royalists to gain followers. It became known as the Peace of Monsieur.

The Sixth War


The Sixth War began with in the spring in 1576 when the Estates General was held. This was an attempt to unite France through religion. As a result royal forces attempted to take back protestant towns, but many of these towns in Southern France withstood these attacks. Later in July the Peace of Bergerac was signed. It was almost the same as before, but was now slightly more restrictive on places of protestant worship and didn’t allow leagues and/or associations in order to stop any more movement away from catholicism.

The Seventh War


Noted as a “brief flurry of activity” in 1580 when Henri de Navarre seized the city of Cahors. It was also called the Lovers War because of Navarre’s involvement with the crown and Queen Margot. Navarre and Medici signed the treaty of Nerac, and the Peace of Felix. Henri de Navarre soon became the next heir to the throne after Duc d’Anjou died.

Key Figures

Overall Signficance

The significance of these wars is not just the fighting that went on, but the reasons why they happened, how religion was such a huge part of a country and how they would do anything to protect what they believe. Two nations fighting for beliefs and power, even if it costs them a fortune, death, and 40 years of time.
The Edict of Nantes

The Edict of Nantes put a temporal end to the wars going on, signed by King Henry IV. This granted the Protestants rights in france. In theory this is what ended the war in the year of 1598.

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