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Edict of Fontainebleau

    The Edict of Fontainebleau (October 1685) was an edict issued by Louis XIV of France. This legislation revoked the Edict of Nantes (1598) and ordered the destruction of Huguenot churches, as well as the closing of Protestant schools. As a result, about 200,000 Protestants left France, seeking asylum in England, the United Provinces, and what is now Germany. (Spielvogel). Louis XIV's pious second wife Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de MaintenonMme de Maintenon was a strong advocate of Protestant persecution and urged Louis to revoke Henri IV's edict; her confessor and spiritual advisor, François de la Chaise must be held largely responsible.
    This Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, as it is also commonly called, has been criticized in a manner similar to criticism of the Nazi Holocaust and the Spanish Inquisition, although in fact the action merely restored the state of affairs in France to that of virtually every other European country of the period, where only the majority state religion was tolerated. The experiment of religious toleration in Europe was over for a while. Passions had run too high for its continuance. In practice, the revocation caused France to lose a large number of skilled craftsmen, including key designers, such as Daniel Marot. Upon leaving France, Huguenots took with them knowledge of important techniques and styles -- which had a significant effect on the quality of the silk, plate glass, silversmithing (see: Huguenot silver), and cabinet-making industries of those regions to which they relocated.

    See also

    • Fontainebleau


    • Spielvogel -- Since 1500 (5th Edition -- 2003) p.410