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(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).
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). 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
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 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.
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, 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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.


Korobochko, 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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


uprising of Protestant peasantry after the revocation of Edict of Nantes in 1685 was brutally suppressed by the royal army. [Fr. Hist.: NCE, 434]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
And on this last score, Monahan's emphasis is again idiosyncratic: the primitive--one might even dare to say, the "psychiatric"--nature of the Camisard mindset, so clearly laid out in Daniel Vidal's Le Malheur et son prophete.
Again pushing against an assimilation model, Randall insists that "Huguenots pursued a strategy of protective coloration designed to prevent a repeat of the Camisard experience" (63), which allowed for the persistence of "a unified core of ideologies and modes of operating in the world, a French Protestant mentalite derived from Huguenot and Camisard experience" (68).
You enjoy the Donkey about as much regardless of whether Camisards are garments or strong winds.
Huguenot emigres, the Swiss and the Camisards form the subject of most of the book and Boles skilfully dissects the manner in which they pressed Britain and the Dutch for support.
To demonstrate the Camisard influence, Randall devotes a chapter each to three influential Huguenots who emigrated to the New World and who, in her estimation, helped shape public attitudes there towards French Protestantism.
The flight of 100,000 or more Protestants out of France in the 1680s and the violent 1702 Camisard revolt in France's Cevennes mountain region suggest limits to Palissy's influence.
"From a Far Country: Camisards and Huguenots in the Atlantic World" seeks to tell the history of the Huguenots and Camisards, two groups of French Protestants who mostly chose to travel across the Atlantic to the new world for their faith and new opportunities.
Bartholomew's Day Massacre resonates uncomfortably against the backdrop of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes and royal persecution of Protestants during the so-called "guerre des Camisards" (1702-10).
The latter concept calls for a comparison of these with other prophets associated with other, contemporary, religious movements/manifestations, some of which were rather distant from this one, for example the prophets James Nayler, Isaac de La Peyrere, and Jean de Labadie; and the movements of the Quakers, the Ranters, and the French Camisards. Thus, mass, popular events both within Jewish circles, generally involving the support of important rabbis, and outside them played a more significant role than has been brought out in previous scholarship.
His historical asides (e.g., on the camisards) show an attractive irony not always evident as he plunges into the murky waters of personal freedom's meaning.