November 10: Fervor In France

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Written by Matthew Mendez, Journalist

November 10, 1567. French Catholic forces under the command of Anne, Duke of Montmorency, clash against Protestant rebels led by Louis, Prince of Condé, at the small French town of Saint-Denis. The Protestant forces, as valiant as they were, could only hold on for so long against a numerically superior catholic force, eventually retreating in defeat. During the 16th century, the Kingdom of France witnessed various conflicts between Roman Catholics and Protestant Huguenots in what would come to be known as “The French Wars of Religion”. Initially, the French government maintained a neutral stance on the religious conflicts, emphasizing the need to maintain order and stability throughout the kingdom. The French government though, could not stop feuding noble families and foreign powers from meddling in the religious instability. The House of Guise, a prominent and wealthy noble family, sided with the Catholic cause, even gaining the commander of the French armed forces, Anne de Montmorency, as an ally. The Guises also acquired the aid of the powerful Spanish Empire as well as the Kingdom of Savoy, located in present day Northern Italy. The House of Condé stood as the major Huguenot supporting house, garnering the support of the Protestant English Kingdom. The French wars of Religion eventually ended in 1598, with the formerly Protestant Henry of Navarre converting to Catholicism and ascending to the French throne, establishing the dominance of Roman Catholicism in France.