The French Wars of Religion

1557. Henry II goes bankrupt. His "Great Deal" at 16%. At death owes 40,000,000 livres with yearly income of 12,000,000. High taille drives peasants from land and helps Huguenot cause.

With Peace of Cateau Cambrésis the lower nobility have no wars for profit and no benefices--only debts from keeping up appearances. Spread of Protestantism.

June 1559 Henry II killed; 4 sons, oldest Francis II only 15. Catherine de Medici becomes leader of Court: a Medici, niece of Pope Clement VII, married to Henry at 14. Mésalliance!

3 Rival Parties at Court

1. Bourbons--princes of blood, next in line to throne. Vacillating Henry of Navarre official family head; Louis, Prince of Condé, younger brother turned Huguenot in 1558 and real leader of the Huguenots.

2. House of Guise. Catholic. Mary of Guise the Queen Mother of Scotland and mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, who is married to now Dauphin Francis II.

3. The Montmorency. Its leader, The Constable Anne de Montmorency, supreme military leader of France and Catholic. But he has 3 protestant nephews--especially Gaspard de Coligny, the Admiral of France.

Guise freeze out Bourbons to control young Francis II; Condé and the Conspiracy of Amboise.

Death of Francis II puts 9-year-old Charles IX on throne. Catherine as regent tries to make peace between Guise and Bourbons.

The "Colloquoy of Passey" Theodore Beza and Peter Martyr. Consequences.

March 1, 1562. Duke of Guise and the "Massacre of Vassy." The First Religious War--Anthony of Navarre killed; Duke of Guise assassinated by young Huguenot noble who admits (then denies) that Coligny had hired him. So Guise out to get Admiral Coligny.

Peace and war alternate 1563-1570.

"Politiques" appear at court; another compromise: Catherine married her daughter Margaret to Anthony's son Henry of Navarre (great nephew of Francis I), the head of the Huguenots! So Politiques and Huguenots again rule at court.

Coligny's plan of war against Alva in the Netherlands as a distraction. Catherine is jealous, plots with Henry, Duke of Guise, son of assassinated Duke Francis.

Bungled attack on Coligny. The Massacre of St. Bartholomew (Aug. 24, 1572). 8,000 killed in Paris and suburbs. Philip II rejoices, pope orders a Te Deum. Henry of Navarre spared and temporarily converts.

Results of massacre: Huguenots rebound under their ministers; Rochelle becomes a Huguenot fortress; Death of Charles IX and escape of Henry of Navarre; Peace of Monsieur May, 1576 gives Huguenots virtual freedom.

Henry III becomes king. His poodles and "mignons." When his younger brother dies, Henry of Navarre is the only available heir.

Henry de Guise and Catholics form a Holy League with Spain and proclaim Henry of Navarre's old uncle as king. July 1585 Henry III forced to revoke toleration of Protestants.

The War of the 3 Henrys

Henry of Guise and his sister, Madame de Montpensier openly defy the king. Murder of Mary, Queen of Scots inflames Catholics. Day of Barricades, May 1588. In July Herny III signs humiliating Edict of Union, making Guise Governor General of France.

Defeat of Spanish Armada frees Henry III from fear of Spanish intervention. Assassination of Guise at Chateau de Blois. Death of Catherine.

Catholic League declares war; Henry III joins Henry of Navarre; their siege of Paris ends with assassination of Henry III.

1593. Henry converts to Catholicism and becomes King Henry IV.

The Edict of Nantes (1598)

Henry is absolute monarch who nonetheless hires and promotes for ability.

The Duke of Sully in charge of finance, agriculture, industry, and commerce. Surplus of 1,000,000 livres a year.

taxes: the taille, gabelle, and paulette.

agriculture less successful: absenteeism, la chasse the peasants

Henry supports local industry to reduce inports and thus save gold.

1608. Champlain founds Quebec

Henry IV plans anti-Spanish wars in Italy and on Rhine opposite the French Netherlands when he is assassinated.