The Wars of the League, 1589-1598

The assassination left Huguenot King HENRI OF NAVARRA as the legitimate heir to the throne of France and thus drew the moderate Catholics into his camp; from now on only the Catholic League, supported by Spain, opposed him.
Navarre took the field and defeated the Leagist forces under the Duke of Mayenne at ARQUES (1589), and then in the BATTLE OF IVRY (1590). Having taken control of Normandy, Henri laid siege to Paris. After months of siege the inhabitants of Paris suffered severe famine; then a Spanish force under the Duke of Parma, ALESSANDRO FARNESE, invading from the Netherlands, broke the siege and brought in fresh supplies. Paris received a Spanish garrison; the siege, for the time being, was over. Parma undertook a second expedition toward Paris in 1592.
In 1593 the (Leagist) Estates General met in Paris to discuss the selection of a candidate for the throne - in disregard of Henri of Navarre's claim. In 1594, King Henri of Navarra then converted to Catholicism ("Paris is worth a mass"); Paris opened her gates to him, the Spanish garrison departed. While Navarra, now King Henri IV. of France, did his best to draw former opponents into his camp, resistance in the provinces, especially in the north toward the border of the Netherlands, continued.
In 1595 and 1596, Cambrai and Calais were taken, League leader Mayenne surrendered in 1596; in 1597 Amiens lost to the Spanish. The PEACE OF VERVINS of 1598 signed between France and Spain finally ended the war; ny then the last French Leagist lords had surrendered.

France under Henri III., from Renaissance Amboise, in French
The Wars of Religion, from Le Poulet Gauche (dates given notoriously unreliable)
Protestantism in France from the Death of Francis I. (1547) to the Edict of Nantes (1598), from History of Protestantism by J.A. Wylie, 1878; online book
Huitieme Guerre 1579-1580, from Protestants de Monflanquin sous l"ancien Regime, 1518-1789, in French
Guerres de Religion, from Yahoo Encyclopedie, in French
Article The League, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910 edition
REFERENCE David Potter (ed., trsl.) : The French Wars of Religion, Selected Documents, New York : St. Martin's 1997

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 3rd 2003, last revised on November 17th 2004

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