Early on August 24, 1572, the tocsin rang in Paris, the signal for the massacre of Huguenot leaders. The massacre extended over the next 2 days and spread to the provinces. Estimates vary as to the number of victims. In Paris probably 3 or 4 thousand were killed; as many more were put to death in the provinces. The massacre was very likely determined by Catherine de Medicis, queen mother, for revenge on G. II de Coligny,* who had supplanted her temporarily as dominant influence over Charles IX. The Duke of Guise had charge of the murder of Coligny and the Huguenot leaders, all of whom had been carefully designated beforehand. They were in Paris at that time for the wedding of Margaret, daughter of Catherine and the late Henry II, to Henry of Navarre on August 18, 1572. This marriage was to reconcile the religious factions in Fr. which had been at war during much of the previous decade. The massacre, however, caused the 3d religious war. These wars were not ended until Henry of Navarre accepted RCm and issued the Edict of Nantes* 1598. The hist. controversy whether or not the massacre was a long-premeditated plan is one which cannot be resolved. In spite of some evidence that the plot goes back to 1565, no definite conclusions can be reached. See also Goudimel, Claude; Ramus, Petrus.
J. W. Thompson, The Wars of Religion in France, 15591576 (Chicago, 1909); J. E. Neale, The Age of Catherine de Medici, reissue (New York, 1959); Jean H. Marièjol. Catherine de Médicis (Paris, 1920); A. W. Whitehead, Gaspard de Coligny, Admiral of France (London, 1940). CSM
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