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Camisards(kăm`ĭsärdz, Fr. kämēsär`), Protestant peasants of the Cévennes region of France who in 1702 rebelled against the persecutions that followed the revocation (1685) of the Edict of Nantes (see Nantes, Edict ofNantes, Edict of,
1598, decree promulgated at Nantes by King Henry IV to restore internal peace in France, which had been torn by the Wars of Religion; the edict defined the rights of the French Protestants (see Huguenots).
..... Click the link for more information. ). The name was probably given them because of the shirts they wore in night raids. Led by the young Jean CavalierCavalier, Jean
, 1681?–1740, French Protestant soldier, a leader of the Camisards. From his home in the Cévennes region of France, he fled to Geneva (1701) when persecution of the Protestants became intolerable, but he returned when he knew that the Protestants were
..... Click the link for more information. and Roland LaporteLaporte, Roland
, 1675–1704, a leader of the Camisards, known as Roland. He was noted for his fearlessness, his knowledge of military tactics, and his ability at organizing guerrilla warfare.
..... Click the link for more information. , the Camisards met the ravages of the royal army with guerrilla methods and withstood superior forces in several battles. In 1704, Marshal Villars, the royal commander, offered Cavalier vague concessions to the Protestants and the promise of a command in the royal army. Cavalier's acceptance broke the revolt, although others, including Laporte, refused to submit unless the Edict of Nantes was restored; scattered fighting went on until 1710.
See A. E. Bray, The Revolt of the Protestants of the Cévennes (1870), H. M. Baird, Huguenots and the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1895).
(French word, derived from camiso, “shirt” in the Languedoc dialect), the participants in the antifeudal peasant and plebeian uprising of 1702–05 in the province of Languedoc in southern France. They became known as Camisards because they wore white shirts over their usual clothing.
The insurrection was caused by the violent measures taken by the government and the Catholic clergy against the Calvinists after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes of 1598 and by increased taxes resulting from the War of the Spanish Succession. The center of the movement was in the Cévennes Mountains, where the Camisards, under such leaders as J. Cavalier and Roland (Pierre Laporte), occupied villages and cities, burned Catholic churches, the homes of the clergy, and chateaux, and seized tithes and taxes from the tax farmers and tax collectors. The Camisards demanded freedom of worship and the abolition of taxes. The ideological banner of the insurgents was Calvinism with elements of a revolutionary peasant-plebeian heresy and an egalitarian program. The Camisards believed themselves chosen to establish a millennial “reign of equality and brotherhood.” In 1703–04 the uprising spread to the regions of Vivarais, Le Puy, Velay, Rouergue, and Orange. Pope Clement XI proclaimed a crusade against the Camisards. Royal troops, led by Marshal de Montrevel, were sent to Languedoc at the beginning of 1703. After its troops suffered several defeats the French government was compelled to concede an agreement in May 1704 whereby the Calvinists of Languedoc were promised freedom of worship. The principal insurgent forces, demoralized by the betrayal of Cavalier (who was bribed by the government) and by the death of Roland, were defeated in the autumn of 1704. Nevertheless, the government succeeded in suppressing the uprising only in the spring of 1705, when it made concessions on tax matters. Outbreaks of the rebellion continued until 1715. The movement was especially strong in 1709 in the Cévennes and Vivarais.
REFERENCESKorobochko, A. I. “Vosstanie kamizarov (1702–1705).” In the collection Srednie veka, issue 3. Moscow, 1951.
Engel’gardt, R. Iu. “Novye istochniki po istorii vosstaniia kamizarov.” Uchenye zapiski Kishinevskogo universiteta, 1963, vol. 64.
Chabrol, J. P. Bozh’i bezumtsy. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from French.)
Ducasse, A. La Guerre des camisards. Paris, 1962.
A. I. KOROBOCHKO