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On This Day… The St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

Written by: Peter Fishlock : 31 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 24th August back in 1572 when the massacre of French Huguenots in Paris began. The massacre was a result of religious conflict between Catholic France and French Huguenots who were Protestants. The massacre occurred because Catherine de Médicis, the King of France’s mother attempted to have the leader of the Huguenots killed at a wedding in Paris. Catherine didn’t like it that Admiral Coligny had influence over her son and wanted him to approve a war in the Low Countries against Spain.

The attempt on Coligny’s life failed, and as you can imagine the Huguenots were angry. The French Government were eager to calm the situation down and agreed to investigate the assassination attempt. This worried Catherine as she believed her involvement in the assassination would be discovered, so she met secretly with French nobles and plotted a scheme to kill the Huguenot leaders who were still in Paris for the wedding festivities. Eventually, even her son King Charles IX agreed. Just before dawn on this very day back in 1572, the killing began.

Catherine de Médici

Catherine de Médici

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