The St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre
The Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre was an event that had followed endless religious disputes and political upheavals between the Roman Catholics and theHuguenots(Protestants). It began in Paris on Aug. 24, 1572. It was preceded, on Aug. 22, by an attempt, ordered by Catherine de' Medici, on the life of the Huguenot leader Admiral Coligny. The failure of theattempt led to formulation of the plan for a general massacre. The opportunity was furnished by the presence in Paris of many of the Huguenot nobility for the wedding of Henry of Navarre (later KingHenry IV) and Catherine's daughter.
Coligny was the first victim; his death was followed by the killing of minor leaders and of all Huguenots within reach of the soldiery and the mob. The massacrespread from Paris into other sections of France. Massacres continued into October and an estimated 3,000 were killed in Paris, 70,000 in all of France.
Before dawn on the morning of August 24, 1572,church bells tolled in the Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois quarter of Paris. Just moments earlier, soldiers under the command of Henri, duke of Guise, had overcome resistance and assassinated the admiralof France, Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny, in his bedroom. They threw the body from the window to the ground below, where angry crowds later mutilated it, cutting off the head and hands, anddragged it through the streets of Paris. After assassinating Coligny, the royal guard turned on other Huguenot leaders. Some were executed by the sword, still rubbing sleep from their eyes. Others were shotby harquebuses as they tried to flee. A few died with sword in hand. In the Louvre, the Bourbon princes Navarre and Condé were placed under house arrest as 30 of their companions were cut down incold blood.
The killing unleashed an explosion of popular hatred against Protestants throughout the city. In the terrible days that followed, some 3,000 Huguenots were killed in Paris, and perhaps...
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