The French Wars of Religion - Chronology

1547 - Death of Francis I and accession of Henry II. End of the First Schmalkaldic War of Religion in Germany with the victory of the Emperor Charles V.

1551 - Second Assembly of the Council of Trent. Edict of Châteaubriand against heresy.

1552 - Alliance of Henry II with the German Protestant princes. Second Schmalkaldic war. Henry II seizes Metz, Toul and Verdun. Duke Francis of Guise defends Metz against Charles V.

1555 - Peace of Augsburg provides a religious settlement in Germany. Election of Pope Paul IV. Foundation of the Genevan Company of Pastors to evangelize France. The syndicate of the Grand Parti at Lyon consolidates the debts of the French Monarchy.

1556 - Abdication of Charles V in favor of Philip II of Spain. At the invitation of Paul IV, Henry II renews the war with Spain.

1557 - The French army under the Constable, Anne de Montmorency, defeated at Saint-Quentin. Bankruptcy of the Spanish monarchy. Protestant riot in Paris in the rue Saint-Jaques.

1558 - Guise captures Calais. Protestant demonstrations in Paris at the Préaux-Clercs.

1559 - Failure of the Grand Parti scheme and bankruptcy of the French monarchy.

1559 - April: Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis. Death of Paul IV.
May: Deputies from the Huguenot churches meet in Paris and establish a common French Protestant confession and discipline.
JUNE: Arrival in Paris of Philip II's envoy, the Duke of Alva, for the marriage by proxy of Elizabeth of Valois, daughter of Henry II and Catherine de Medici, with Philip II. Henry II mortally wounded in a tournament.
JULY: Death of Henry II. Accession of Francis II. France governed by Francis of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine, uncles of Mary Stuart, the Queen of France.
AUGUST-DECEMBER: Increased persecution of the Huguenots. Growth of discontent against the Guises. Election of Pope Pius IV.

1560 - February: A plot to deprive the Guises of power organised by a group of Huguenot squires led by La Renaudie.
March: The plot fails at Amboise.
May: The Edict of Romorantin remits the trial of heretics to ecclesiastical courts. Michel de L'Hôpital appointed Chancellor. He supports the Queen Mother's policy of moderation. - June: Massacre of Protestants at Lyon.
July: Death of Mary of Guise, regent of Scotland. Admiral Coligny, the Protestant nephew of the Constable, demands liberty of worship for the Huguenots.
DECEMBER: Condé, the Bourbon Protestant leader, sentenced to death for complicity with the conspiracy of Amboise. Death of Francis II, Release of Condé. Meeting of the Estates-General at Orleans. Catherine de Medici secures the regency in the minority of her second son, Charles IX. Anthony of Navarre, elder brother of Condé and First Prince of the Blood, accepts the title of Lieutenant-General and renounces his claim to the regency. His wife, Jeanne d'Albret, publicly professes Calvinism.

1561 - January: Catherine de Medici dismisses the Estates-General. APRIL: The Catholic leaders, Guise, Montmorency and Marshall Saint-André, form a 'triumvirate'.
AUGUST: The Estates-General meet at Pontoise in anti-clerical mood. Demands for the confiscation of Church property.
SEPTEMBER: The French Catholic Church undertakes partial responsibility for the monarchy's debts by the Contract of Poissy. Catherine de Medici arranges a meeting of Catholic and Calvinist clergy at Poissy, but hopes of compromise are disappointed. Clash between the Cardinal of Lorraine and Calvin's lieutenant, Theodore de Bèze. The Jesuit leader, Lainez, denounces the intentions of the regency. Sympathies for Calvinism revealed at court and within a section of the episcopy.
OCT-DEC: Religious riots in Paris and other large towns. Military organisation of the Huguenot churches completed.

1562 - January: Edict of Saint-Germain grants toleration to the Huguenots. Opening of the third assembly of the Council of Trent.
MARCH: Massacre of Huguenots at Vassy by the Duke of Guise. The Queen Mother appeals to Condé, but is escorted to Paris with Charles IX by the triumvirate. Anthony of Navarre associated with the Catholic party.
APR-MAY: Condé establishes his base at Orleans, Massacres and religious riots occur throughout the principal towns. Cruelties of the Huguenot commander Des Adrets, in Dauphiné and of the Catholic, Blaise de Montluc, in Gascony.
JULY: Negotiations for peace fail. General hostilities begin. AUG: Campaign of Guise and Saint-André on the Loire. Spanish and Papal troops reinforce the Catholic armies. Mercenaries are hired in the Swiss cantons by the triumvirate and in Germany by D'Andelot, Coligny's brother. SEPT: Alliance between Elizabeth of England and Condé. English occupation of Le Havre. OCT: Capture of Rouen by the Catholics. NOV: Death of Anthony of Navarre. DEC: Battle of Dreux. Death of Saint-André. Capture of Montmorency by the Huguenots and of Condé by the Catholic forces.

1563 - February: Assassination of Guise during his siege of Orléans. Coligny condones the act.
MARCH: Peace of Amboise, granting degree of toleration to Protestants according to social status.
AUG: Fourth Huguenot synod at Lyon purges the movement of congregationalist influences.

1564 - March: The court begins an eighteen month tour of the provinces.
APR: Peace of Troyes with England.
MAY: Death of Calvin.

1565 - January: Clash in Paris between the Cardinal of Lorraine and Marshall Francis of Montmorency, eldest son of the Constable.
JUNE: Catherine de Medici and Charles IX meet Elizabeth of Valois and Alva at Bayonne.

1566 - L'Hôpital's legal and administrative reforms issued at Moulins. Pius V elected to the Papacy. Religious riots and armed resistance to Philip II in the Netherlands.

1567 - July-August: Alva marches through Franch-Comté, Lorraine, and Luxembourg on his way to suppress the Netherlands. The French monarchy distrust the purpose of Alva's march and hires Swiss mercenaries. The Huguenots assume collusion between Alva and the monarchy.
SEPT: Huguenot conspiracy to seize the court at Meaux. Second civil war begins. OCT: Massacre of Catholics at Nimes. NOV: Indecisive battle of Saint-Denis. Death of Constable Montmorency.

1568 - MARCH: Edict of Longjumeau restores the peace of Amboise.
JULY: Alva defeats Louis of Nassau, brother of William of Orange, at Jemmingen.
AUG: Failure of an attempt by the monarchy to arrest Condé and Coligny. The Huguenot leaders retire to La Rochelle. Third civil war begins.
OCT: Expedition of William of Orange in the Netherlands, supported by Huguenots and German mercenaries.
DEC: Orange withdraws to France.

1569 - MARCH: The Duke of Anjou, Catherine's third son, defeats the Huguenot army at Jarnac. Death of Condé. Coligny as Huguenot leader.
MAY: Wolfgang von Zweibrücken leads a German army to support Coligny.
AUG: Coligny abandons the siege of Poitiers defended by Henry of Guise, son and successor of the Duke.
OCT: Anjou defeats Coligny. Anjou checked at Saint-Jean d'Angély. Coligny marches to the Rhône.

1570 - JUNE: Coligny, attempting to join a new German army led by William of Orange, fights an indecisive engagement with Marshal de Cossé at Arnay-le-Duc.
AUG: Peace of Saint-Germain, granting the Huguenots La Rochelle, Montauban, Cognac and La Charité as security towns.

1571 - February: Massacre of Protestants at Orange.
September: Coligny arrives at the French court.
OCT: Spanish victory of Lepanto against the Turks. Exposure of the Ridolfi plot against Elizabeth of England on behalf of Mary Queen of Scots.

1572 - MARCH: Negotiations between Catherine de Medici and Jeanne d'Albret for the marriage of their respective children, Marguerite of Valois and Henry of Navarre. Elizabeth of England expels the rebel Netherlands fleet under La Marck.
APR: La Marck seizes Brille. General revolt in the northern Netherlands. Alliance between France and England.
MAY: Death of Pius V. Election of Gregory XIII. Mons taken by Louis of Nassau with the support of Genlis' Huguenot contingent.
JUNE: Resistance of Catherine de Medici to the policy of war with Spain. Doubts about the support of Elizabeth of England. Coligny enters Paris. Death of Jeanne d'Albret. Coligny opposed in the Council on the question of war in Flanders.
JULY: Defeat of Genlis by Alva. Alva protests to Catherine de Medici.
AUG 4: Return of Catherine de Medici to Paris. Her endeavours to prevent war with Spain.
AUG 10: Coligny outvoted in the Council on the Spanish War. Massacre of Huguenots at Troyes.
AUG 18: Marriage of Marguerite of Valois and Henry of Navarre.
AUG 22: An attempt to assissinate Coligny fails. Charles IX promises satisfaction to the Huguenots.
AUG 23: Charles IX persuaded to sanction the killing of the Huguenot leaders.
AUG 24: Massacre of St. Bartholemew. Henry of Navarre and Henry of Condé (son of Louis of Condé) abjure Protestantism. Fourth civil war.
SEPT: Fall of Mons.

1573 - January-April: Siege of La Rochelle. Formation of a malcontent group round Catherine de Medici's fourth son, the Duke of Alençon, and the Montmorency family. This group provides the basis of the politique faction, favouring toleration.
MAY: Anjou elected king of Poland. JUNE: Treaty of La Rochelle. AUG: Formation of Huguenot federative republics in Languedoc and Upper Guienne.

1574 - FEBRUARY: Politique conspiracy of Navarre, Alençon, and Marshals Montmorency and Cossé. Escape of Condé from court. His appeal to the German princes. Fifth civil war begins.
MARCH: Death of Charles IX.
AUG: A federal constitution drawn up by Huguenot deputies at Millau.
SEPT: Return of Anjou to France as Henry III. Alliance of Damville (the Constable Montmorency's second son) in Languedoc with the Huguenots.
DEC: Death of the Cardinal of Lorraine.

1575 - FEBRUARY: Articles of union between Huguenots and Politiques drawn up at Nimes. SEPT: Escape and revolt of Alençon. Invasion of John Casimir of the Palatinate in support of the Huguenots.

1576 - FEBRUARY: Escape of Navarre from Court.
MARCH: Junction of Alençon and Casimir. MAY: Peace of Monsieur. Extension of those conditions of toleration allowed at the peace of Saint-Germain. Alençon becomes Duke of Anjou. Government of Picardy given to Condé.
JUNE: Catholic League formed in Picardy under the leadership of the Guises to oppose the peace. Henry III attempts to prevent the spread of the League, and then declares his support for it.
DEC: Meeting of the Estates-General at Blois without Protestant representation. Demand for the renewal of war by the Estates-General hindered by their refusal to vote supplies. Representatives of the Estates admitted to the Council to supervise the royal administration.

1577 - MARCH: Dissolution of the Estates-General. Sixth civil war. Anjou deserts the Huguenots.
MAY: Damville makes a separate peace with Henry III. Capture of La Charité by Catholic forces.
SEPT: Peace of Bergerac. The Monarchy reforms the monetary system. Abolition of the livre tournois as the basic standard of value.

1578 - January: Defeat of William of Orange at Gemblours.
FEB-APR: Affrays at the French Court between the swordsmen of the King, Anjou and Guise.
JULY: Anjou at Mons as defender of the liberties of the Netherlands.
OCT: Death of Philip II's half-brother, Don John of Austria. Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma, appointed governor of the Netherlands in his place. Casimir of the Palatinate leads a German-English force to support Willian of Orange.

1579 - January: Union of Arras among the southern Catholic provinces of the Netherlands. The northern provinces respond with the Union of Utrecht.
FEB: Catherine de Medici journeys in Guienne and Languedoc and negotiates a pacification for the area. Ordinance of Blois reforms the royal administration.
MAY: The Union of Arras comes to terms with Parma. NOV: Condé seizes La Fère on the Netherlands frontier.
DEC: The Assembly of the Clergy at Melun denounces the sale of ecclesiastical property by the monarchy.

1580 - January: Seventh civil war begins in southern France.
FEB: Discussions at Nancy between Casimir, Mayenne (Guise's brother), and Duke Charles of Lorraine to concert action against Henry III.
MAY: Navarre takes Cahors. Rivalry of Condé and Navarre for the leadership of the Huguenot movement.
SEPT: Anjou accepts the sovreignty of the Netherlands.
NOV: Peace of Fleix ends the war in the south.

1581 - Anjou betrothed to Elizabeth of England.

1582 - French expedition to the Azores to aid the Portuguese pretender against Philip II.

1583 - January: Anjou fails in an attempt to seize Antwerp.
JUNE: The French defeated in the Azores. Anjou withdraws from the Netherlands.

1584 - MAY: The Duke of Epernon, Henry III's most powerful favourite, visits Henry of Navarre to urge him to accept Catholicism.
JUNE: Death of Anjou.
JULY: Assassination of William of Orange. Henry of Navarre heir presumptive to Henry III. Renewal of the Catholic League, opposing the succession of Henry of Navarre. Organisation of the Sixteen in Paris represents the popular element in the League.

1585 - January: Treaty of Joinville between Spain and the Guises.
JULY: Henry III submits to the League by the Treaty of Nemours.
AUG: Parma captures Antwerp.
SEPT: The newly elected Pope Sixtus V excommunicates Navarre and Condé.
DEC: Leicester's English army lands in the Netherlands.

1586 - Negotiations between Catherine de Medici and Henry of Navarre. The League obliges Henry III to declare war against the Huguenots.

1587 - MARCH: Execution of Mary Queen of Scots.
AUG: A large mercenary German army, recruited by Navarre and Casimir enters Lorraine.
OCT: Navarre defeats the royal army under Joyeuse at Coutras.
NOV: Guise defeats the Germans at Auneau. Epernon prevents the destruction of the German army, and escorts it to the frontier.

1588 - February: Eleven Articles, prepared at Nancy by the Guises to restrict the King's authority, presented at court.
MARCH: Death of Henry of Condé. Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador, conspires with the League to neutralize the King and provide shelter for the Armada in the ports of Picardy.
APR: Epernon forced by the League to retire to Normandy.
MAY 9: Guise enters Paris in defiance of Henry III.
MAY 12: The King's guards and Swiss troops enter Paris. Barricades raised in the streets by the crowds supporting Guise. The King escapes from his capital.
MAY 17-20: A revolutionary commune established in Paris.
JULY: The King again capitulates to the League by the Edict of Union.
AUG: Defeat of the Armada.
SEPT: The King dismisses the secretaries of State appointed by Catherine de Medici.
OCT: The Estates-General, dominated by the League, meet at Blois. The Duke of Savoy invades Saluzzo.
DEC: Guise and his brother, the Caedinal of Guise, assassinated by order of Henry III. Certain members of the League in the Estates-General arrested.

1589 - January: Open revolt of the League in Paris and elsewhere. Mayenne as the leader of the League. Death of Catherine de Medici.
FEB: Mayenne declared Lieutenant-General by the League's Council of Forty.
APR: Alliance of Henry III and Henry of Navarre. Split within the League between aristocratic and popular pro-Spanish elements.
MAY: Sixtus V excommunicates Henry III and absolves his subjects from their allegiance.
JULY: Assassination of Henry III. Henry of Navarre's uncle, the Cardinal of Bourbon, declared King by the League as Charles X, but remains in captivity.
SEPT: Henry IV (Henry of Navarre) defeats Mayenne at Arques.

1590 - January: The League in Provence divided between the factions of the Count of Carcès and the Countess of Saulx.
MARCH: Henry IV defeats Mayenne at Ivry. MAY: Henry IV besieges Paris. Death of Charles X. Peasant revolt of the gauthiers in Normandy.
SEPT: Parma and the Spanish army of the Netherlands relieve Paris.
NOV: The Duke of Savoy enters Aix-en-Provence.

1591 - FEBRUARY: The regime of Charles de Casaulx established in Marseille. MAY: Spanish and English armies enter the conflict in Brittany.
JULY: Declaration of Mantes by Henry IV acknowledging Catholicism as the religion of the state.
AUG: The son of Henry of Guise acclaimed in Paris.
OCT: Death of Pope Gregory XIV.
NOV: The Sixteen terrorize Paris. They purge the Parlement and are suppressed by Mayenne.

1592 - MARCH: Parma relieves Rouen but dies (Dec) as a result of a wound received in the campaign. Destruction of peasant armies in Brittany.

1593 - January: The Estates-General convoked by Mayenne at Paris to choose a successor to Charles X. Growing anti-Spanish feeling amid the upper classes of the League.
MAY: Feria, the Spanish ambassador, proposes the Infanta as Queen of France.
JUNE: The Parlement in Paris upholds the Salic Law, forbidding the transmission of the crown by the female line. Brigandage and peasant revolt in Brittany.
JULY: Henry IV abjures Protestantism.

1594 - January: Epernon establishes himself as Governor of Provence and defies Henry IV. He negotiates with Damville, the ruler of Languedoc.
MARCH: Henry IV secures Paris and Rouen. The rising of the desparate peasant croquants of Périgord and Limousin.
NOV: The son of Henry of Guise comes to terms with Henry IV and is appointed Governor of Provence.
DEC: Charles of Lorraine makes peace with Henry IV.

1595 - January: Henry IV declares war against Spain.
FEB: Huguenot deputies at Saumur reveal the hostility of the movement to the King since his conversion. Withdrawal of the English contingents supporting Henry IV. Continued resistance of Mercoeur in Brittany and Mayenne in Burgundy.
JUNE: Henry IV wins a wreckless engagement at Fontaine-Française against the Spanish. AUG: Death of the Duke of Nemours, the Leaguer leader in Lyonnais.
SEPT: Absolution granted Henry IV by Pope Clement VIII.
DEC: Defeat of Epernon by Guise and Lesdiguières, the ruler of Dauphiné. Submission of Mayenne by the Edict of Folembray.

1596 - February: Overthrow of Casaulx in Marseille.
APR: The Spanish take Calais.
MAY: Henry IV evicts the Spanish garrison from La Fère, despite desertion by the Huguenot contingents.

1597 - March: The Spanish secure Amiens.
SEPT: Amiens regained by Henry IV.

1598 - March: Submission of Mercoeur.
April: The Edict of Nantes grants toleration to the Huguenots.
May: The Peace of Vervins ends the war with Spain.
September: Death of Philip II.

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