Catherine de Médicis

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Related to Catherine de Médicis: Caterina de Medici
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Catherine de Médicis


Born Apr. 13, 1519, in Florence; died Jan. 5, 1589, in Blois. French queen.

In 1533, Catherine, a member of the Medici family of Florence, married Henry II, who reigned as king of France from 1547 to 1559. During the reigns of her sons Francis II (from 1559 to 1560), Charles IX (from 1560 to 1574), and Henry III (from 1574 to 1589), she determined state policy to a considerable extent. During the religious wars she sought to bar the nobles from running the affairs of state. Catherine was maneuvering in her policy-making. In 1570 she insisted on the conclusion of the Treaty of St. Germain with the Huguenots. However, in 1572, fearing the increased power of the Huguenots and especially the strength of their leader Coligny’s influence on Charles IX, Catherine was one of the principal organizers of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.


Castelnau, J. Catherine de Médicis (1519–1589). Paris [1954].
Héritier, J. Catherine de Médicis. Paris [1959].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.