Siege of La Rochelle (1572–1573)

Siege Of La Rochelle (1572–1573)

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Siege of La Rochelle (1572–1573)

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The Siege of La Rochelle of 1572–1573 was a massive military assault on the Huguenot-held city of La Rochelle by Catholic troops during the fourth phase of the French Wars of Religion, following the August 1572 St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. The conflict began in November 1572 when inhabitants of the city refused to receive Armand de Gontaut, baron de Biron as royal governor. Beginning 11 February 1573, the siege was led by the Duke of Anjou (the future Henry III). Political considerations following the duke's election to the throne of Poland in May 1573 resulted in negotiations, culminating on 24 June 1573, that lifted the siege on 6 July 1573. The Edict of Boulogne signed shortly thereafter brought an end to this phase of the civil war.

The siege of La Rochelle was contemporaneous with Catholic assaults on the cities of Sommières (led by Henri I de Montmorency) and Sancerre.


Since 1568, La Rochelle had been the main base of the Huguenots in France. A city of 20,000 inhabitants and a port of strategic importance with historic links to England, La Rochelle benefited from administrative autonomy (lack of seigneur, bishop or parlement) and had become overwhelmingly Huguenot (Calvinist).

As soon as 1571, the Royal fleet was more or less blockading the city, led by Captain Polin and Filippo di Piero Strozzi.

After the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre and other massacres across France in the fall of...
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