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The French Civil/Religious Wars. The Religious Wars. Between 1560 (The League of Augsburg) and 1648 Two Major Wars caused devastation for Europe. But the memory of the Religious Wars would go a long ways toward bringing about a religious freedom and the separation of church and state.

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after these wars religion would cease to have a major role in european warfare

But the memory of the Religious Wars would go a long ways toward bringing about a religious freedom and the separation of church and state

After these wars, Religion would cease to have a major role in European Warfare

It must also be considered, that though religion has been cited as the main catalyst for these wars,ECONOMICS and POLITICAL ALLIANCES were perhaps equally important


Therefore, when you hear a person say “I’m not religious because religion has caused so much destruction in history.”

  • Say to them, politely, “Don’t blame religion, buddy, it was economics and political alliances that caused many problems.”

The French Religious Wars…

  • France was largest country in Europe
  • Calvinism spread quickly into France (Calvin himself was French)
in france a large proportion of the nobility became protestant
In France, a large proportion of the nobility became Protestant
  • Like Germany, these nobles wanted the right to choose the religion of their area
  • Many towns converted to Protestantism
the kings of france opposed calvinism
The Kings of France opposed Calvinism
  • This includes Francois I
  • And Henry II

Lutherans in Germany and Anglicans in England also opposed the spread of Calvinism—they believed there wasn’t enough room for another religion. Besides, Calvinism was troubling because of its independence


Remember, Calvinism did not respect state authority over religious independence. One’s allegiance was to God

These three kings—Francis—1560, Charles IX 1574, and Henry III, 1589 never have a firm hand on the monarchyHenry II dies in a joust—Catherine Medici, his widow, is left with three young sons.

The Guises fought to eliminate Calvinism, but they also fought for control of France. Henry III ordered the assassination of the Duke of Guise


Matters came to a head when Henry, King of Navarre came to Paris to marry Margot, daughter of Catherine de Medici, and sister to the King (1572)


Catherine de Medici orders that the Huguenot leaders are to be killed. Henry of Navarre escapes—but Coligny is murdered.


This occurred on St. Bartholomew’s Day. Mob violence broke out as both sides killed each other

Thousands of Huguenots were murdered across France. Hell broke lose as mercenaries were hired to participate in the killing


In Rome, the pope was delighted with the murder of the Huguenots. He ordered a celebration mass. Medals were struck to remember this Catholic victory.

Elizabeth looked at the events in France with horror. She became even more determined to prevent this happening in her country.The Protestants appealed to Elizabeth of England to invade France.

The French royal family also tried to lure Elizabeth into marriage with one of their members, the younger son of Catherine, the Duke of Anjou


Wisely, Elizabeth kept out of the French mess—she focused her aide on the Netherlands revolt—an area where she could have the most impact


This religious fighting in France was chaotic, with armed bands roaming the countryside and many mini-truces among different areas.


The final son, Henry III, of Catherine de Medici was assassinated in 1589.

  • Now the throne went to the next legal heir, Henry of Navarre—He would now be Henry IV.
  • Henry had the choice to convert to Catholicism before the Guise family would accept him—he converted in order to gain the throne.
he entered paris supposedly saying paris is worth a mass
He entered Paris, supposedly saying “Paris is worth a Mass”
  • The Catholics were delighted
  • The Huguenots were horrified
  • But Henry took the steps necessary to provide state order and end the French religious wars.

He never consulted the French Parliament, the Estates General---Taxes (the taille) were administered directly. Parliament was not consulted.


Over time, Cardinal Richelieu of France gained great influence during the childhood and adulthood of Louis XIII—only dying a year before Louis did. (1642)

Richelieu tried to maintain the order of Henry IV—he was the de facto ruler for 32 years