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A series of religious conflicts followed, known as the French Wars of Religion, fought intermittently from 1562 to 1598.
The Huguenots were led by Jeanne d'Albret, her son, the future Henry IV, and the princes of Condé.
Such explanations have been traced to the contemporary Reguier de la Plancha (d.
1560), who in De l'Estat de France offered the following account as to the origin of the name, as cited by The Cape Monthly: The origin of the name is curious; it is not from the German Eidegenossen as has been supposed.
Janet Gray and other supporters of the hypothesis suggest that the name huguenote would be roughly equivalent to little Hugos, or those who want Hugo.
In this last connection, the name could suggest the derogatory inference of superstitious worship; popular fancy held that Huguon, the gate of King Hugo, was haunted by the ghost of le roi Huguet (regarded by Roman Catholics as an infamous scoundrel) and other spirits, who instead of being in Purgatory came back to harm the living at night.
Hans Hillerbrand in his Encyclopedia of Protestantism claims the Huguenot community reached as much as 10% of the French population on the eve of the St.
Louis XIV gradually increased persecution of them until he issued the Edict of Fontainebleau (1685), ending any legal recognition of Protestantism in France and forcing the Huguenots to convert or flee in a wave of violent dragonnades.Louis XIV claimed the French Huguenot population of 800,000 to 900,000 individuals was reduced to 1,000 or 1,500 individuals; a huge overestimate, although dragonnades were certainly the most devastating event for the minority.Nevertheless, a tiny minority of Huguenots remained and faced continued persecution under Louis XV.The superstition of our ancestors, to within twenty or thirty years thereabouts, was such that in almost all the towns in the kingdom they had a notion that certain spirits underwent their Purgatory in this world after death, and that they went about the town at night, striking and outraging many people whom they found in the streets.But the light of the Gospel has made them vanish, and teaches us that these spirits were street-strollers and ruffians.