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HIS 2403E (100)
Lecture

France - Wars of Religion


Department
History
Course Code
HIS 2403E
Professor
Jeffrey Temple

Page:
of 3
Jan 14th France –Wars of religion
Power of the Monarch
French kings had siginificant control over their church
Signed Concordat (1516) French monarchs had the ability to appoint the high
positions in the Gallican Church i.e. Abbots, Bishops
Gallican French catholic church
Estates General (like the Cortez)
Three estates 1st Clergy 2nd Nobles 3rd everyone else
French kings had to call the estates general whenever they needed money ie had to
raise taxes
Parlement (French Law Courts)
Each territory has its own parlement
The parlement have the right to veto laws
If a French king wants to override a veto he must go to parlement physically to do
so
French Wars of Religion (1562-1594)
8 wars and 7 truces
Civil wars but they are different than what you would normally think of
They are fought in the absence of Government
Fought between two different world views and 2 different ideologies
French Catholics and French Protestants
There are men wandering around the country side. there are no clear armies just
bands of men that constantly change size. They ebb and flow
This civil war is made up of small battles and assassinations it is similar to a
blood feud, eye for an eye
There are no clear cut lines and battles often involve outsiders as combatants
English and low countries (Netherlands etc) assist the protestants/Huguenots and
the Spanish help the Catholics
Each side is able to cross the boundaries of class because of their common faith and
world views
Origin/Cause (Three Categories)
1) Poor royal leadership
2) Aristocratic factionalism clear divides
3) Religious extremism
This is a war of extremes each side wants to exterminate the other side.
Francis 1 (Ruled 1515-1547)
Enough personal strength that people listened to him
He is succeeded by his son Henry II
Henry II
Has none of the redeeming qualities of his father
Henry marries Catherine De Medici and they have Three sons (Francis II, Charles
IX, Henry III)
Henry allows his mistress Diane de Poitiers to govern for him (The French have a
problem with a woman ruler) This creates deep animosity
Treaty of Cateau Cambresis (1559)
France and spain are at peace
Nobles return and are bored and upset
Henry Dies soon after this and as soon as he is dead Diane is banished
Catherine de Medici
(like a mother bear) Maintains the safety of her sons
She wants to create an environment that is as peaceful as possible
She is never a monarch of her own right she acts as regent for her young sons
She is not above back ally politics
She is willing to pursue religious moderation (a treaty between protestants and
catholics)
She relied heavily on the Duke of Guise duke is the leader of the catholic
forces and is married to marry queen of scots
Francis II
Protestant persecution increases
Catherine told Huguenots privately that she would not hunt them but francis
does not do this and they protestants feel betrayed.
Francis dies from an ear infection and does not rule long. Only rules for 1 year
Charles IX
Becomes king at the age of 9
Catherine has more power she decides to give protestants leadership
positions
The protestants come out of hiding across France and destroy catholic things
i.e. churches and shrines
Catholics return the favour
This is when they appeal to international help
Catherine realizes that this is not working. She tries to weld catholics and
protestants back together. She calls July 1561 the colloquy of poissy
Catholics refuse to show up
She then threatens to let the estates general loose on them.
Both sides arrive with different ideas of what will happen
This is the last attempt to weild them together very first time the idea that
protestants and catholics could live together
Catherine does not get the peaceful solution she wants
Henry III rules 1574-1589
Not popular with the nobility
He does not produce a male heir
There is a succession crisis
(The person with the greatest claim to the throne is Henry Burbon a protestant)
Henry is is assassinated by a Dominican monk