First Huguenot War

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The First Huguenot War ( 1562 - 1563 ) was an armed conflict between French Protestants , the so-called Huguenots , and Catholics as well as the politically vacillating Queen Mother Catherine de Medici , who had been responsible for her underage son Charles IX since the end of 1560 . led the reign. It ended with the Edict of Amboise , which granted the Huguenots limited religious freedom and two security posts. The military and political leader of the Huguenots was Louis I de Bourbon, Prince of Condé , while the Catholic troops were under the command of Duke Franz von Guise . The conflict was the first of eight Huguenot Wars .


Under Katharina's eldest son Franz II (1559–1560) and his wife Maria Stuart - whose mother Marie was a member of the Guise - this family had a dominant position in French politics. The regent Catherine de Medici therefore intended to limit the political power of the Guisen . For this reason, a religious conversation between Catholics and Huguenots took place at Poissy in 1561 , but this did not lead to the agreement sought by the Queen Mother. That is why Katharina de Medici turned to the Huguenots - although she was a Catholic herself . In Michel de L'Hospital, she appointed a moderate chancellor who formulated the Huguenot-friendly Edict of Saint-Germain in 1562 . In it, the Huguenots were assured free religious practice outside of the fortified cities. In addition, the Bourbone Anton of Navarre was made governor- general.


Due to the bloodbath of Wassy carried out on peaceful Huguenots by the disempowered Duke Franz von Guise , Katharina's attempt at a policy of tolerance failed in March 1562. There are only contradicting records about the number of deaths, some sources limited the number of deaths to 23, while other records reported a few hundred victims. However, the bloodbath of Wassy did not correspond to the political will of Catherine de Medici.

The Prince de Condé then organized a protectorate in favor of the Huguenot communities. The Huguenots handed over Le Havre , a city on the Seine estuary, to Queen Elizabeth I of England , who wanted to exchange this pledge for Calais , which had been lost in 1558 . As a result, only minor battles took place in Normandy , but cities like Rouen were devastated. However, the Catholic army failed to translate its military superiority into a victory.

The Huguenot troops under the command of Prince de Condé and Admiral Gaspard von Coligny lost the Battle of Dreux on December 19, 1562 . The Prince of Condé was taken prisoner by the Catholic army under Duke Franz von Guise. This in turn was murdered in February of the following year during the siege of Orléans. An armistice followed, which led to the Edict of Amboise .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Barbara B. Diefendorf: Beneath the Cross. Catholics and Huguenots in Sixteenth-Century Paris. Oxford University Press, New York / Oxford 1991, ISBN 0-1950-7013-5 , p. 64
  2. Andrew Pettegree: Calvinism in Europe, 1540-1620. Cambridge University Press, 2010, ISBN 0-5215-7452-8 , p. 100