The Huguenots Influence the Reformation


Chanel McCoy

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Argument: My research proves that the Huguenots greatly influenced the European Reformation. The French Huguenots played a vital role in in reforming the church not only in France but all over Europe. There were many Protestant groups in the period leading up to the reformation who stood against the Catholic church but the stubborn and persistent efforts of the Huguenots can consistantly be seen the throughout the peroid of the refromation. The Huguenots endured torture and creulty for believeing in teachings that contridicted the Catholic church. The Huguenots were not entirely innocent in referance to blood shed but taking into account the mind set thhat only on church would survive the reformation the Huguenots, though out numbered greatly put up a vigirous fight and stood by their beliefs even though in most cases this meant them being a target by the clergy, secular authorties and even their neighbors.

Who are the Huguenots

The Huguenots is a term that refers to the French Protestants. There is a great deal of dispute over how the Huguenots got their name. France was one of the few places that had a substancial Protestant population. Due to the demographic of France in during the period of the reformation France became a place where the Protestants or Huguenots could come together and speak about their religous views. There were many pioneers during the reformation that influenced the Huguenots. During the 1500s parts of the bible was translated into simple French by Jacques Lefèvre d'Etaples (Scarborough 1). With the development of the bible into the language of commoners everyday French people could have access to the teachings of the bible. By translating the bible the d'Etaples made it easier for commoners to concieve their own interpetation of bible teachings and that they did.

Huguenots' beliefs

The Huguenots strayed far away from many of the fundamental Catholic teachings. For starters, the Huguenots no longer believed in the guenots had a great isancity of the authorities. The Huguenots believed that the clergy and other authorities were to be in power if they dealt lovingly with their subjects. This view was not popular with many of the authority figures as can be imagined. According to the Huguenots teaching the clery and Kings were subject to the people contrary to the the teachings of the Catholic church ( Holt 78). They also disputed the teaching of purgatory and refused to particpate in "prayers and masses for the dead (Scarborough 1)."

Huguenot Persecution

The Huguenots were persecuted repeatedly one of the most tradgic and infamous episodes of violence against protestants the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Over 10,000 Protestants lost their lives in a brutal slaughtering. One example of the burtality faced by the protestants can be seen when examining the story of Coligny's death. After being awaken by an angry mob they entered is home stabbed him several times then proceeded to drag him outside, thrown in a river then hung and set on fire. This horrific death is just one of the many sustained by the Protestants at the hand of Catholics

Hugeuenots perseverance

Dispite the torture that the Protestants endured they still held fast to their beliefs and did not give up in their search for religious freedoms. Coligny himself said right before he died "I see clearly that which they seek, and I am ready steadfastly to suffer that death which I have never feared and which for a long time past I have pictured to myself. I consider myself happy in feeling the approach of death and in being ready to die in God, by whose grace I hope for the life everlasting. I have no further need of human succor (Kries 1)." His moving ability to be fearless in the face of death gives testimony to the true perseverent spirit of the Protestants


Due to the evidence obtained in my research I conclude that the Huguenots played an huge role in the Reformation. Even though they were persecuted and tortured they refused to denounce their faith and boldly fought, though out numbered and out armed, to be able to believe in a faith that contridicted the majority. Their persistance and boldness was the push that was need at that time to make a change and they suceeded.


Holt, Mack P. The French wars of Religion, 1562-1629. Cambridge: University of Cambridge, 1995. 76-120. Print.

Popular disorder and Religious Tensions


This story was about the religious tension and massacres that occurred during the 1570-1574 between the Huguenots and the Catholics. Despite various efforts to end these killings by way of marriages that where arranged with this intention the Protestants and the Catholics fought vigorously.

The Huguenots “acquired a decidedly anti-royalist tone”
(79) They believed that the king had their power because of God and because so had a duty to treat their subjects lovingly and if they did not that they should die. The pamphlet declaration and protestantation of those of the Reformed Religion in La Rochelle went further to discredit the sanctity of the monarchy be arguing that “the People” where here long before the monarchy and that they have no right to demand consciences to their subjects
The Catholics held strong to their traditional views of the monarchy and viewed the Huguenots as radicals and they were persecuted. The Catholics felt that their sacred and traditional symbols were being defiled by the Huguenots.
Acts of violence
The Huguenots made it no secret that they wanted to annihilate the Catholics the slayed thousands of Catholics and even went so far as to incite riots during the Catholics religious functions.
The Catholics made several attempts to round up influential members of the Huguenots and kill them and completely destroy them as whole.


The constant bickering between the Huguenots and the Catholics led to many civil wars. Just as we have seen in present time Violence solves nothing instead a period of thirty years was consumed in war. The Huguenots were very persistent and even though they many of them died because they were greatly outnumber they never gave up.

, Dorthea. "The Huguenots-Their Faith, History, and Impact." (2006): n. pag 1. Web. 10 Oct 2010.


Dorthea Scarborough writes about the centuries of persecution endured by the Huguenots. She highlights some of the main people and events that were vital to the reformation not only in France but in South Africa as well.

People influential to the Huguenots’ movement
Moments Influential to the Huguenot movement
In France
d’ Etaples Made the bible more accessible to common people by translating parts of the bible in to common French. Calvin protestant from France who took a firm and public stand against The Catholic church
St. Bartholomew’s day Massacre
Was one of the most devastating days for the Huguenots over 10,000 of them were killed in one of the turning points in the war between the Protestant and Catholics
In south Africa
Maria de la Quellerie first Huguenot of the Cape
Even though the Protestants made up a very small percentage of the Cape They were treated very well upon their arrival and was able to spread their teachings


Even though the Huguenots suffered tragedies their struggle was not in vain because their message was spread and since they stood firm in their resolution there story is still told to day and despite the catholic’s church attempt to exterminate them proved futile and they are still here today.

Kries, Steven. "An account of the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre." History Guide (2002): 1. Web. 10 Oct 2010.

This story gives an account of St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre from Coligny point of view. It begins by stating that it was decided that protestants should be "exerminated". This story goes through the step by step account of what happened to Coligny and how he was burtally murdered during the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.

Angry Mob
The signal to commence the massacre should be given by the bell of the palace"(1).
Colginy was awaken by the increasingly loud noise of the mob. After realizing the pending danger he began to pray.
The mob preceeded to try and enter Colginy's house
Colginy then spoke these words to those in his house "I see clearly that which they seek, and I am ready steadfastly to suffer that death which I have never feared and which for a long time past I have pictured to myself. I consider myself happy in feeling the approach of death and in being ready to die in God, by whose grace I hope for the life everlasting. I have no further need of human succor.(1)
The Mob entered the house of Colginy and bega to mock and burtally slaughter him stabbing him multiple times... they preceed to take him outside and drag him, hang him, and torture him
Colginy's followers say
"Cheer up, my friends! Let us do thoroughly that which we have begun. The king commands it." after he is murdered

This story gives a geat example of how the Protestant were very presisant and passionate about what they believed and even when they faced the fear of persecution they still refused to back down.