Edict of Nantes
   The Edict of Nantes, issued by King Henry IV in 1598, granted tolerance to Protestants in France. The Reformation in France grew in the 1550s and began to penetrate the ranks of the nobility, most significantly the Coligny family. However, under Francis II increasingly harsh measures were enacted to suppress the HUGUENOTS, as Protestants were termed in France. one edict in 1559, for example, decreed that houses in which unlawful (Protestant) assemblies were held would be leveled and those responsible executed. There was some relief during the reign of Charles IX, but for three decades France became embroiled in a series of civil wars. Each side scored significant victories at different times and places. The most horrendous incident was the notorious St.Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 1572, when almost 100,000 Protestants were killed in one week; many others were imprisoned. Many survivors went into exile.
   In 1598, King Henry IV issued the Edict of Nantes, which had the effect of granting French Protestants a high degree of toleration. Protestants allowed Catholics to repossess property they had lost and reestablish Catholicism in places that had been under Protestant control. The Huguenots were granted the right to practice their faith wherever they lived at that time and were allowed to attend state-owned universities and hold public office. The government granted them support out of the public treasury similar to that the Roman Catholics enjoyed. The edict brought most fighting to an end for a period, though a number of local conflicts over property and worship facilities ensued, and the Catholic Church did launch an aggressive proselytization campaign aimed at returning Protestants to the fold.
   During the time of Cardinal Richelieu (who became prime minister in 1624), Hugenots found political access cut back, and they lost their right to hold public office. Their position then took a decided downturn under Louis XIV In 1660, he forbade them to hold a national synod, the first of a set of orders that began to whittle away at the Edict of Nantes. In 1685, the Edit of Nantes was formally revoked. Protestants were barred from gathering for public worship, even in their homes. Protestant pastors were banished from France, and Protestant children ordered to be baptized as Catholics and sent to Catholic schools. A significant number of Protestants left the country; those who remained formed an underground movement that was strongest in the southern half of the country.
   Over the next century, a more tolerant attitude grew among the public, and in 1787 a new Edict of Toleration granted non-Catholics the right to practice their faith unmolested. It included the right to be legally married before a magistrate and to have the births of children officially recorded. While not specifically part of the new edict, from that time Protestant churches were again open for public worship.
   Further reading:
   ■ Euan Cameron, The European Reformation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991)
   ■ Barbara B. Diefendorf, Beneath the Cross: Catholics and Huguenots in Sixteenth-Century Paris (New York/ Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991)
   ■ Robert M. Kingdon, Myths about the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacres, 1572-1576 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988)
   ■ George A. Rothrock, The Huguenots: A Biography of a Minority (Chicago: Nelson Hall, 1979).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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  • Edict of Nantes — Edict E dict, n. [L. edictum, fr. edicere, edictum, to declare, proclaim; e out + dicere to say: cf. F. [ e]dit. See {Diction}.] A public command or ordinance by the sovereign power; the proclamation of a law made by an absolute authority, as if… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Edict of Nantes — The Edict of Nantes was issued on April 13, 1598 [The Edict itself states merely that it is given at Nantes, in the month of April, in the year of Our Lord one thousand five hundred and ninety eight . A detailed chronological account of the… …   Wikipedia

  • EDICT OF NANTES —    an edict issued in 1598 by Henry IV. of France, granting toleration to the Protestants; revoked by Louis XIV. in 1685 …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Edict of Nantes — noun → Nantes (def. 2) …   Australian English dictionary

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  • revocation of the Edict of Nantes —    See Edict of Nantes …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism

  • Edict of Fontainebleau — The Edict of Fontainebleau (October 1685) was an edict issued by Louis XIV of France, also known as the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes of 1598, which had granted to the Huguenots the right to worship their religion without persecution from the …   Wikipedia

  • Edict of toleration — An edict of toleration is a declaration made by a government or ruler and states that members of a given religion will not be persecuted for engaging in their religious practices and traditions. The edict implies tacit acceptance of the religion… …   Wikipedia

  • Nantes, Edict of — (April 13, 1598) Law promulgated by Henry IV of France to grant religious liberty and full civil rights to the Protestant Huguenots. It stipulated that Protestant pastors were to be paid by the state, and public worship was permitted in most of… …   Universalium

  • Nantes, Edict of —    The Edict of Nantes was a decree giving partial religious freedom to the huguenots, proclaimed by King henry IV in 1598, and revoked by louis XIV in 1685. The edict ended the series of religious wars between Catholics and Protestants in France …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

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