French Huguenots

Want to learn more about the French Huguenots? Read on for a historical overview of this Protestant group of Christianity that originated from France during the 1500s...

The French Huguenots was a group of Christians local to the country of France who rebelled against the Roman Catholic Church and joined the Protestant reformed church of France. The group first established itself in the 16th century when they began issuing criticism against the words of the Roman Catholic Church and its interpretation of the Christian religion.

French Huguenots Persecution  

As expected the Roman Catholic Church went to the extent of fanaticism in their opposition to the Huguenots. They attacked their congregants and pastors whenever they would attempt to hold sacred worship meetings. One of the most gruesome events that took place between the two sects of Christianity is remembered as the St. Bartholomew’s Eve Massacre. Much blood has been spilled prior to this event as well.

However, the Roman Catholic Church was unable to restrict the growth of the French Huguenots. Their unorthodox interpretation of worship attracted many conventional Christians to the school of thought. By 1952, French Huguenots had multiplied in number reaching up to 2 million people. They were up against the 16 million Catholic population. As the French Huguenots acquired strength in numbers they began to display their faith openly in the public. This only resulted in an increase in the hostility that they were to face from the Roman Catholics. The French crown however, acting a bit lenient towards this new sect had tolerated it to quite an extent but the conventional church was not as liberal minded.

French Huguenots Gaining Political Strength 

The 1560s brought about a turnover for the French Huguenots as the edict of Orleans officially put an end to all persecutions against the French Huguenots. The following year St. Germaine formally accepted and recognized the French Huguenots.

However a strange twist occurred amongst the French Huguenots themselves during this period of time and that was the fact that they had now transformed into a defensive political movement. This helped them to add holdings and wealth which further fortified the strength of the Protestants. At its peak the Protestant Empire had established itself in 60 fortified cities and was now a serious threat to the ruling Catholic crown and the city of Paris.

French Huguenots  Migration

With tensions boiling between the two sides the worst was witnessed on 3rd October 1572 when thousands of French Huguenots were massacred at the hands of the Roman Catholics. This event was to be known as St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Following this event, similar massacres also took place in other regions of the country. Protestantism was officially declared illegal and all those who followed the school of thought were forced to flee the region.

A great number of the French Huguenots migrated to the United States of America. Since they were barred from entering New France they took refuge in various states of North America. Florida, New York and New Jersey were some of the places where these Protestants settled down. They also settled into 13 colonies of Great Britain and Nova Scotia following the intense persecution that they faced in their country.