Between 1562 and 1598, the kingdom of France was torn by incessant civil wars, punctuated by brief periods of peace, between Protestants and Catholics. Although there are traditionally eight Wars of Religion, these are more like a long and unique thirty-five year conflict. Peace will not be restored until 1598, the date of the promulgation of the Edict of Nantes (April 13) by Henry IV.
Chronology of the Wars of Religion
1560: Protestant Conjuration of Amboise. Execution of plotters.
First war (1562-1563)
1562: Massacre of Wassy (March); the "triumvirate" (Guise, Saint-André, Montmorency) seizes Rouen (October).
1563: Death of Duke François de Guise at the siege of Orleans (February); Amboise's edict of appeasement (March).
Second war (1567-1568)
1568: Peace of Longjumeau (March).
Third war (1569-1570)
1569: Invasion of Béarn; victory of the Duke of Anjou and death of Condé at Jarnac (March); victory of the Duke of Anjou at Moncontour (October).
1570: Peace of Saint-Germain granting freedom of conscience and giving four strongholds to Protestants (August).
1572: Massacre of Saint-Barthélemy (August 24).
Failure of the Duke of Anjou before La Rochelle (February-June); Treaty of La Rochelle, giving the city, Nîmes and Montauban to the Protestants (July).
Fifth war (1574-1576)
1575: Victory of the Duke of Guise (le Balafré) at Dormans (October).
1576: Edict of Beaulieu (May) which grants freedom of worship to Protestants, everywhere except Paris and eight places of safety; birth of the League (June).
Uprising of Henri de Navarre: the Duke of Anjou seizes La Charité (May); peace of Bergerac (September), restricting the edict of Beaulieu.
Seventh war (1579-1580)
1579 Peace of Nérac, giving fifteen places to Protestants (February).
1584: Alliance of Guise and Philippe II of Spain (Treaty of Joinville).
1585: Henri III joins forces with the League (July). Henri de Navarre, heir to the throne, forfeited his rights (September).
Eighth war (1585-1598)
1587 Victory of Henri de Navarre at Coutras (October).
1588 Day of the barricades in Paris and the flight of Henri III to Chartres (May); States General in Blois (October); assassination of the Duke of Guise in Blois (December).
1589: Alliance of Henri III and Henri de Navarre (Plessis-lez-Tours, April); siege of Paris by the two Henri (July); assassination of Henry III (August); victory of Henry IV at Arques (September).
1590 Victory of Henri IV at Ivry (March), but he cannot take Paris (May).
1593: Henri IV abjures Protestantism (July).
1594: Henri IV enters Paris.
1595: Victory of Henri IV over the Spaniards at Fontaine-Française (June); submission of the Duke of Mayenne claiming Catholic to the throne of France.
1598: Edict of Nantes (April); peace of Vervins with the Spaniards (May).
- The Wars of Religion 1559-1598, by Nicolas Le Roux. Belin, 2014.
- A. JOUANNA, J. BOUCHER, D. BILOGHI, G. LE THIEC, History and dictionary of the wars of religion, Gallimard, 1998.