The Persecution of the French Huguenots
Dr. Brigitte Hamon-Porter
At the start of the sixteenth century, the French Protestants, also known as Huguenots, came to play a major role in the history of France, threatening the overarching power of the Catholic Church, and inadvertently, the power of the French monarchy. Strongly influenced by Reformation leader and theologian, Jean Calvin, this new religious movement suffered immense persecution in France throughout all periods of their existence. Although the Edict of Nantes (1589) temporarily granted religious tolerance to the Huguenots, it was subsequently revoked during the reign of Louis XIV in 1685, and the persecution and violence worsened. During this time, many Huguenots who were mostly tradesmen and members of the bourgeoisie decided to flee France, taking refuge in countries that would later reap the benefits of their skills and industriousness. Not only was the persecution of the Huguenots unjust, but it also caused a major economic downturn in France and deteriorated the reputation of the French monarchy in Europe. This research explores the reasons behind the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the manner in which the Huguenots were persecuted, and the consequences of the Huguenot exodus from France.
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