Huguenot History The Huguenot movement began to take shape after 31st October 1517 with the publication of MARTIN LUTHER's 95 theses against corruption in the Roman Catholic Church - the only official Christian church in Europe at the time. He soon had many supporters throughout Europe who became known as PROTESTANTS. JOHN CALVIN was a French Protestant who published his Institutin Christianae Religionis in 1536. He was particularly well supported by Protestants in Switzerland, France, Scotland and the Netherlands. The origin of Huguenot, as applied to the dissenters from the Church of Rome is uncertain, but is supposed to have been derived from Hugeon, a word used in Touraine to signify persons who walk at night. Their only safe place of worship for one hundred years had been dark caves and the blue vault of the heavens. Use of the term "Huguenot" dates from approximately 1550 when it was used in court cases against "heretics" (dissenters from the Roman Catholic Church). As nickname and even abusive name its use was banned in the regulations of the Edict of Nantes which Henry IV (Henry of Navarre, who himself earlier was a Huguenot) issued in 1559. The French Protestants themselves preferred to refer to themselves as "réformees" (reformers) rather than "Huguenots". It was much later that the name "Huguenot" became an honorary one. The Roman Catholic Monarchy oppressed the Huguenot movement, considering it to be a threat to both the Church and the might of the King. "Une foi, un loi, un roi," (one faith, one law, one king). This traditional saying gives some indication of how the state, society, and religion were all bound up together in people's minds and experience. Religion had formed the basis of the social consensus of Europe for a millennium. Since Clovis, the French monarchy in particular had closely tied itself to the church -- the church sanctified its right to rule in exchange for military and civil protection. France was "the first daughter of the church" and its king "The Most Christian King" (le roy tres chretien), and no one could imagine life any other way. The persecution of the Huguenots began during the rule of FRANCIS I (1515-1547) and became particularly bad while HENRY II (1547-1559) was on the throne. A general edict which encouraged the extermination of the Huguenots was issued on 29 January 1536 in France. The next king was FRANCIS II (1544-1560) who was a minor, married to Mary, Queen of Scots. After his sudden death he was succeeded by his brother CHARLES IX (1560-1574), also a minor, whose mother, CATHERINE DE MEDICI acted as Regent. She tried to promote peace between the Catholics and Protestants by granting certain privileges to the Huguenots by means of the EICT OF ST GERMAIN (17th January, 1561). The peace became short-lived when on 1st March, 1562 a number of Catholics descended on a large Huguenot assembly in Vassy, killing 1200. This ignited the Wars of Religion which would rip apart, devastate, and bankrupt France for the next three decades. Numerous attempts at bringing about peace followed, but proved unsuccessful.