Early Religious Wars
“In the long term we can hope that religion will change the nature of man and reduce conflict. But history is not encouraging in this respect. The bloodiest wars in history have been religious wars.” - (Quote from former President Richard M. Nixon) The timeline below depicts the major wars of Religion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that will be covered in this paper. The French Wars of Religion: 1562-1598 The “St. Bartholomew Massacre” was the “turning point in both French history and the history of the European Christian church”. (Hooker, 1999) Catholicism was not seen as a deluded church by the Protestants at this point, but rather “the force of the devil itself”. (Hooker, 1999) Protestants were not battling for a changed church, they were battling for survival over the Catholic Church whose brutality and intensity had no limits. Protestant activity transformed eventually to combative activity throughout Europe. “The Catholic League” was supported by Spain’s Phillip II; he donated his kingship to defeat the “Protestant churches” in multiple nations. The Catholic League controlled France in the mid-1580’s, after Henry III’s attempted assault on the “League” in 1588, he was driven out of Paris and the “League” continued with its orderly butchery of civilians, which was comparable to the “St. Bartholomew’s Massacre”. Henry III, while in banishment, started an alliance “Henry of Navarre”, which was his cousin, a Huguenot and a “politique”; he accepted France’s serenity and protection took precedence over forcing his religious beliefs. “Henry III was stabbed to death by a fanatical Dominican friar in 1589” (Hooker, 1999); it occurred before Paris could be attacked by the two Henry’s. Henry of Navarre became king of France as Henry IV (1589-1610) because he was next in line and Henry III had no children. This Henry understood that France’s only way to find peace would be to have it governed by an easy-going...
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