The Beginning of The Major French Wars of Religion

How the Wars Begun

The situation that was in France after the end of the Italian wars and the peace made of Cateau-Cambresis in 1559 speed up the process. In the same year Henry II died and his heir took the throne, the young Francois II. But as always when there is a young king opportunities are seized. A conflict broke between the people supporting the new king and close family friends that were close to the king, the Bourbons. The central power and authoirty was rapidly decreasing and to make things worse, all of the soldiers that fought in the wars were jobless and didn’t have anything to do. They gathered and protested because they were out of their jobs, asking for their pensions. They were threatened with a death sentence and the group was disbanded, but the hatred was alive.

The Plot of Amboise

In 1560 the Bourbon dynasty made a plot. They wanted to remove the current influential characters from the throne and call an assembly that would seize the king. This would give them full control and could use the king as their puppet and as a second thing they wanted freedom of the protestants. The main reason for the plot was to free the King from corrupted advisors. But the plot was revealed and many of the characters that were in on it were imprison and later executed for treason. This so called “Plot of Amboise” was a failure. As the main leaders of this plot were found in hiding and were also executed, but suddenly the young king Francois II died.

On the throne came a new king called Carlo IX, but he was also pretty young to rule, he had only 10 years. His mother was appointed as his regent Catherine de Medici. She also shared the regency or the power with Anthoan Bourbon. But tension could be felt between the two houses.

Areas controlled by Huguenots are shown in dark purple

The Assembly of 1560

A general assembly was made in 1560. This assembly was called because a civil war was on its way and they were trying to stop it. There were many topics opened right there but overall it didn’t change anything. There is an interesting quote from Lopital: “Let us give up from those devilish words, political parties, protests and revolts, Lutheran and Huguenots, let us call each other what we really are, Christians.” Because it didn’t accomplish anything the current king’s party dissembled the assembly and the reason was that it wasn’t capable of stopping the angry crowds in the cities and some of the nobles. In the years 1560 and 1561 massive protests and riots begun in all of France, even later on in 1562 the nobles joined in on it as well. The main event that caused the wars was when soldiers of the king attacked and murdered some people while passing by, this was the spark that lit the fire and word of this spread through all of France.

This is how the French Wars of Religion or also known as the Huguenot Wars in the 16th century begun. This is a period of civil infighting, military operations and religious war that was fought between the Huguenots or Reformed Protestants and the Roman Catholics.

 

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