Short History of the Huguenots
Pictures show the persecution and the masacre of the Huguenots by French Catholics
The St Bartholomew Massacre: On the 24th August 1572, forces acting for the King executed several thousand Huguenots in Paris. These included Coligny, the nobleman that Catherine de Medici had tried to have assassinated. In the days that followed a further 30,000 Huguenots were tracked down and executed. Rarely to this day has such a sytematic 'witchhunt' been as rapid and brutal as those few days in 1572.

It was also a turning point for the Huguenots, until that point generally as peace-loving as was possible in those turbulent times. From the time of the St Bartholomew Massacre things changed, with the Huguenots newly enthused to battle against a church that they now saw as being dominated by the devil.

This launched the fourth and fifth civil wars, until in 1576 the Huguenots were granted freedom to worship anywhere in France except Paris. But history repeats itself, and the Catholics formed a Holy League, and succeeded in convincing Henry III - Henry III, the younger brother of Francis II and Charles IX had taken the throne in 1576 - that he should repeal the earlier freedoms. Inevitably this led to a further Huguenot uprising, a further peace agreement (that Henry III failed to carry out), and further civil wars. But the wars were now being fought between two almost fanatical opposed groups, and it was not at all clear how a solution could emerge. Henry III, like Catherine de Medici before him, tried to find compromise positions among and between the less radical groups.

In 1584 Henry III acknowledged that Henry of Navarre, a protestant, would be his heir. This prompted Henri de Guise to renew the Holy League, and a new civil war began (1585 - 1589). This time with the help of Philip II of Spain, the Catholic extremists took control of France, drove the King out of Paris, and again set forth on a series of terrible massacres of ordinary citizens.

1509-1564 Johannes Calvin, french reformer.

1559 First assembly of the reformed Christians in Paris, France

1561 to 1598. Religious Huguenot related wars

August 23th. 1572 Infamous night of St-Barthelemy in Paris and the savage massacre of some thirty thousand (30.000) Huguenots

April 13th. 1598 Declaration of the Edict of Tolerance in Nantes by the french King Henry IV.

October 28th. 1626 Capitulation of the Fortresse "La Rochelle" which resulted in the loss of refuge and security of the french reformed christians

1681 Start of the "Dragonades", forceful re-conversion to catholisme by assimilation

October 18th. 1685 Annulation of the Tolerance Edicts of Nantes by the french king Louis XIV which resulted in the exodus of at least 200.000 to 250.000 Huguenots all over the world of which more than 44.000 fled to Germany

October 29th. 1685 Proclamation of the Edict of Potsdam by the German King

More than 44.000 Huguenots which had fled to Germany settled in these regions:

20.000 in the region of Brandenburg-Preußen

3.800 in the region of Hessen-Kassel

3.400 in the region of the Rhein-Main

3.400 in the region of Kurpfalz und Zweibrücken

3.200 in the region of Franken / Hohenlohe

3.000 in the region of Württemberg

1.500 in the Hansestädte (Hamburg, Bremen.)

1.500 the region of Niedersachsen

Others went to Baden-Durlach, Kursachsen (Leipzig und Dresden), Saarland (Ludweiler im Warndt), Thüringen, Mecklenburg, Anhalt, Lippe-Detmold, Danzig, Neuwied, Waldeck, also to the "Bergische Land" Wuppertal (formerly Barmen-Elberfeld), where most of my ancesters (after 1600) were born.

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This page was last modified on 11/24/2008 ©