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The Huguenots And The European Wars Of Religion, C.1560–1697: Soldiering In National And Transnational Context

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Chapter Summary

The Huguenots were a significant group in the European mercenary market for so long partly because of their fighting qualities, but also, in part, because they were relatively easy to mobilise. This reflected, firstly, the great influence of the nobility on the Calvinist movement; secondly, the fact that the Huguenots were a heavily militarised group within French society; but also, thirdly, that the Huguenots in the sixteenth century developed a long pattern of service in foreign Protestant armies, especially that of the Netherlands, and this heritage helped shape the choices of subsequent generations. Fourthly, the clientage ties of nobles and the Presbyterian structure of church organisation both leant themselves to military mobilisation; this was especially true in France during the wars of religion, but was also true for French Calvinists in foreign armies. Finally, the Huguenots' confessional zeal made them exceptionally fine combat troops.

Keywords: Calvinist movement; European mercenary market; foreign Protestant armies; French society; Huguenots; Netherlands; Presbyterian structure



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