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Related to Camisards: White Camisard, Black Camisard


(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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
It will become the standard text in any language on the Camisard War of 1702-1704, which opposed royal troops of "church and state" to the Protestant rebels of the Cevennes, in south central France, north of Montpellier and south of the Mont-Lozere.
The first three chapters of From a Far Country describe the experiences of Camisards and Huguenots in continental Europe.
(26) Crossing the desert of Wyoming involves crossing territory with a barbaric history more recent than that of the Camisards. His retrospective account includes a letter written by the long dead brother of his landlady in San Francisco.
To this reviewer, however, the most significant misinterpretation is Lynn's attempt to heroize the army as the bete glorieuse et victorieuse while passing lightly over the draggonade's bete noire treatment of the Camisards in Languedoc from 1685 to 1710.
THIS VOLUME was a very significant publication when it first appeared from the same press in a hardcover edition in 1987 under the title Spirit Possession and Popular Religion: From the Camisards to the Shakers.
(15) Philippe Joutard, La Legende des Camisards: une sensibilite au passe (Paris, 1977), 279-356.
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.
Les Camisards des Cevennes, sortes des Calvinistes de France, connoissant le foible de leur Doctrine, eurent recours aux convulsions, pour lui donner un air de prodige.
The challenge may also be seen in those passages treating of the Camisards, the Protestants whose opposition to Louis XIV so resembled the battles of the Scottish Covenanters.
My own Radical Sects of Revolutionary New England (1982) located early Shakerism in the larger New Light religious milieu of early American sectarian movements, while Clarke Garrett's Spirit Possession and Popular Religion from the Camisards to the Shakers (1987) traced the roots of its charismatic spirituality back to persecuted Huguenot communities in late-seventeenth-century France.
It is the land of the Camisards, the Protestant rebels (named after the peasant smock or camise) who rose against Louis XIV in 1702 after the persecutions that followed the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.