The French Wars of Religion lasted from 1562-1598, and was a time of unrest between the Catholics and Protestants in France, which culminated into multiple wars. But who were the contending parties in these religious wars? What was the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre? Finally, what was the Edict of Nantes?
Who were the Contending Parties in the French Wars of Religion?
The French Wars of Religion had two main contenders: the Catholics of France, and the Protestants of France, also known as the Huguenots. Catholics and Protestants in other countries had conflicts also, but the conflict between the Catholics and Protestants in France was probably the longest lasting.
What was the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre?
The St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, which occured in 1572, was a wave of Catholic mob violence directed towards the Huguenots, specifically towards the leaders of the Huguenots. But it went far out of control, and caused more issues. This is traditionally thought to have been instigated by Catherine de Medici, who was convinced by her son Charles IX. The outcome of this was the massacre of thousands of Huguenots, in Paris, and other French provinces.
What was the Edict of Nantes?
The Edict of Nantes was issued by Henry IV, in 1598, which granted religious freedom to the Huguenots, and in turn ended the French Wars of Religion. Also at this point the Catholics and Protestants of France concluded that religious toleration was far wiser an idea than constant destruction and fighting.
During the French Wars of Religion, both the Catholics and the Protestants committed some pretty horrible things to one another; and for the longest period could not maintain peace with each other. Finally in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes, both parties concluded that it was best to be tolerant than constantly fight each other.