9.11.2013 – France in 1610
On May 14, 1610, the first Bourbon king, Henry IV (of Navarre) is assassinated by
François Ravaillac. This causes a sense of anxiety among the population because they
realize that religious hatred is not yet dead. They still remember the French Wars of
Religion (1562-1598), and are afraid of another civil war. Furthermore, the Bourbon
dynasty was still young, with the heir, Louis XIII only 8 years old. This means that there
would have to be a regency, held by the Italian Marie de Médicis, who was not trusted.
There were also some rebellions by the Condé.
The French Wars of Religion was a war between the French Calvinists (Huguenots) and
the Catholics. While there were 20 million Catholics, there were only 2 million Calvinists.
But, 40% of the nobility had concerted to Protestantism. The followers of Henry of
Navarre had converted. The Wars are also a war of resistance and demonstrate the
weakness of the Valois dynasty. In the Wars of Religion, the crown generally sided with
the Catholics. There was a fear that the presence of a minority religion in a community
was a pollutant and invited the wrath of God upon them.
The most significant event of the Wars was the St. Bartholomew's massacre (Aug. 24-
25, 1572). The marriage of Henry of Navarre with Marguerite de Navarre invited a
rebellion, and thousands of people were massacred.
This led to the breakout of the War of the Three Henris, between Henri de Guise (of the
radical Catholic League) and, Henri of Navarre (of the Hugenots), with Henri III
moderating ("politique"ing). In 1589, Henri III of Valois was assassinated by a Catholic
monk. His most direct heir was Henri of Navarre, who was crowned and titled Henri IV.
The war culminated in peace in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes.
Henri IV was responsible for restoring peace and stability after the previous years of
warfare. His claim to the throne was incredibly storng. He was a direct descendant of
Louis IX, and also was the 2nd cousin (by his mother) as well as brother-in-law of the
last three Valois kings. He converted for Catholicism for the sake of the monarch