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League

or

Holy League,

in French history, organization of Roman Catholics, aimed at the suppression of Protestantism and Protestant political influence in France. It was foreshadowed as early as 1561 by the formation of the triumvirate of Anne, duc de MontmorencyMontmorency, Anne, duc de
, 1493?–1567, constable of France. He was made a marshal (1522) by Francis I, was captured with Francis at Pavia (1525), helped negotiate (1526) Francis's release, and soon after the king's return received the governorship of Languedoc, which
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; François, 2d duc de Guise (see under GuiseGuise
, influential ducal family of France. The First Duke of Guise

The family was founded as a cadet branch of the ruling house of Lorraine by Claude de Lorraine, 1st duc de Guise, 1496–1550, who received the French fiefs of his father, René II, duke
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, family); and Marshal Saint-André. After the outbreak of the Wars of Religion (see Religion, Wars ofReligion, Wars of,
1562–98, series of civil wars in France, also known as the Huguenot Wars.

The immediate issue was the French Protestants' struggle for freedom of worship and the right of establishment (see Huguenots).
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), local and provincial leagues were formed. Finally, when the Protestants, or HuguenotsHuguenots
, French Protestants, followers of John Calvin. The term is derived from the German Eidgenossen, meaning sworn companions or confederates. Origins

Prior to Calvin's publication in 1536 of his Institutes of the Christian Religion,
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, won unprecedented concessions at the Peace of Monsieur (1576), a declaration calling for a national League of Catholics was issued by Henri, 3d duc de Guise. King Henry IIIHenry III,
1551–89, king of France (1574–89); son of King Henry II and Catherine de' Medici. He succeeded his brother, Charles IX. As a leader of the royal army in the Wars of Religion (see Religion, Wars of) against the French Protestants, or Huguenots, Henry, then
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, fearing the ambitious Guise, proclaimed himself its head. A Huguenot uprising soon followed. After a successful campaign that enabled him to withdraw some of his previous concessions to the Huguenots, Henry III dissolved (1577) the League. It was revived in 1585, soon after the Protestant Henry of Navarre (later King Henry IVHenry IV,
1553–1610, king of France (1589–1610) and, as Henry III, of Navarre (1572–1610), son of Antoine de Bourbon and Jeanne d'Albret; first of the Bourbon kings of France.
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) had become the heir presumptive to the throne. Having taken up arms, Guise forced the king (July, 1585) to issue an edict for the conversion or exile of Protestants and the exclusion of Henry of Navarre from the succession. In the war that followed (the War of the Three Henrys), the League and the king were technically allied, but the League assumed the right to dictate, forcing the king to leave Paris (1588) and to renew his previous concessions. This dictation led Henry to order the assassination of Henri de Guise, who was succeeded at the head of the League by his brother Charles, duc de MayenneMayenne, Charles de Lorraine, duc de
, 1554–1611, French Catholic general in the Wars of Religion (see Religion, Wars of); brother of Henri, 3d duc de Guise, and Louis de Lorraine, Cardinal de Guise.
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. After the accession (1589) of Henry IV, the League controlled all the large cities, including Paris, and had the active support of Philip II of Spain, who sent Alessandro FarneseFarnese, Alessandro
, 1545–92, duke of Parma and Piacenza (1586–92), general and diplomat in the service of Philip II of Spain. He was the son of Duke Ottavio Farnese and Margaret of Parma and thus a nephew of Philip II and of John of Austria, under whom he
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 to Mayenne's aid. It split into two factions, however, over the question of Spanish interference, and it was weakened by Henry's military successes. Henry's victory at Ivry (1590), his abjuration of Protestantism (1593), and his entry into Paris (1594) brought the League's organized resistance to an end, and by 1598 the last important League member had submitted to Henry. For the Holy League in Italian history, see Holy LeagueHoly League,
in Italian history, alliance formed (1510–11) by Pope Julius II during the Italian Wars for the purpose of expelling Louis XII of France from Italy, thereby consolidating papal power.
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.

league

[lēg]
(mechanics)
A unit of length equal to 3 miles or 4828.032 meters.

league

an obsolete unit of distance of varying length. It is commonly equal to 3 miles