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In the 16th
were called Huguenots, a word derived from Besanšon
Hugues, the leader of a revolt in Geneva.
Most Huguenots were Calvinists.
During most of the 16th century, the Huguenots faced fierce persecution, which
towards the end of the century led to large internal religious
wars. However, in 1561
of Orleans stopped the persecution for a number of years and the Edict
of St. Germain recognized the them for the first time (January
Wars of Religion then began with a massacre of 1,000 Huguenots at Vassy
1, 1562. In 1572
thousands of Huguentos were killed in the St.
Bartholomew's Day Massacre and amnesty was granted the next year. The 5th holy
war against the Huguenots began on February
and persecution continued periodically until 1598
when king Henry
IV gave the Edict
of Nantes which granted the Protestants full religious freedom and equal
rights to Catholics.
XIV in 1685
revoked the edict and declared Protestantism illegal. After this, many Huguenots
fled to surrounding Protestant nations, especially to Prussia.