Coligny, Gaspard de Châtillon

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Coligny, Gaspard de Châtillon


Born Feb. 16, 1519, at Châtillon-sur-Loing; died Aug. 24, 1572, in Paris. One of the leaders of the Huguenots in France.

Coligny took part in the Italian Wars of 1494–1559. He was appointed commander of the infantry in 1547 and admiral of France in 1552. In the battle of St. Quentin (1557), Coligny was taken a prisoner by the Spanish and held in Ghent. Upon his return to France after he was freed (October 1559), Coligny joined the Huguenots, whom he headed after the death of the prince of Conde (1569). He advocated toleration and freedom of worship. Coligny assisted in concluding the peace of St. Germain (1570), which was advantageous for the Huguenots. After he became King Charles IX’s closest advisor, Coligny convinced him to conduct an active foreign policy: colonial conquests in America and war in alliance with England against Catholic Spain (which he considered France’s chief enemy). Coligny secretly prepared for intervention in the Netherlands. His influence on the king alarmed Catherine de Médicis and the Guises, who decided to promote their own interests by spurring the discontent of the majority of Parisians with the increased Huguenot influence. An attempt was made on Coligny’s life, but the hired assassin only wounded him (Aug. 22, 1572). He was murdered in the St. Bartholomew’s Eve massacre two days later.


Delaborde, J. G. de Coligny, vols. 1–3. Paris, 1879–83.
Kupisch, K. Coligny, 2nd ed. Berlin, 1951.