Coligny, Gaspard de Châtillon, comte de

Coligny, Gaspard de Châtillon, comte de

(gäspär` də shätēyôN` kôNt də kōlēnyē`), 1519–72, French Protestant leader. A nephew of Anne, duc de MontmorencyMontmorency, Anne, duc de
, 1493?–1567, constable of France. He was made a marshal (1522) by Francis I, was captured with Francis at Pavia (1525), helped negotiate (1526) Francis's release, and soon after the king's return received the governorship of Languedoc, which
..... Click the link for more information.
, he came to the French court at an early age. He distinguished himself at Ceresole (1544) in the Italian Wars, was promoted colonel general of infantry, and in 1552 became admiral of France. He organized two unsuccessful colonies (1555, 1562) in the New World (see Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro
[Port.,=river of January], city (1990 pop. 5,533,011; 1995 metropolitan area est. pop. 10,181,000), capital of Rio de Janeiro state, SE Brazil, on Guanabara Bay of the Atlantic Ocean.
..... Click the link for more information.
; Ribaut, JeanRibaut or Ribault, Jean
, c.1520–65, French mariner and colonizer in Florida, b. Dieppe. When Gaspard de Coligny decided to plant a French colony as an asylum for Huguenots in the New World, he appointed Ribaut to
..... Click the link for more information.
). In 1557 he defended Saint-Quentin against the Spaniards, but he was taken prisoner and was not released until 1559. In the same year he made public profession of his conversion to Protestantism. He argued for the Protestant cause with Catherine de' MediciCatherine de' Medici
, 1519–89, queen of France, daughter of Lorenzo de' Medici, duke of Urbino. She was married (1533) to the duc d'Orléans, later King Henry II.
..... Click the link for more information.
 at the time of the conspiracy of Amboise (1560; see Amboise, conspiracy ofAmboise, conspiracy of,
1560, plot of the Huguenots (French Protestants) and the house of Bourbon to usurp the power of the Guise family, which virtually ruled France during the reign of the young Francis II.
..... Click the link for more information.
). With Louis I de Condé (see under CondéCondé
, family name of a cadet branch of the French royal house of Bourbon. The name was first borne by Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé, 1530–69, Protestant leader and general.
..... Click the link for more information.
, family) he commanded the Huguenots (French Protestants) after the murder of Protestants at Vassy (1562) and also in the second of the Wars of Religion (1567–68). An unsuccessful attempt to capture Coligny and Condé at Noyers (1568) brought on the third war, in which Coligny became sole leader, nominally as adviser to the young Henry of Navarre (later King Henry IVHenry IV,
1553–1610, king of France (1589–1610) and, as Henry III, of Navarre (1572–1610), son of Antoine de Bourbon and Jeanne d'Albret; first of the Bourbon kings of France.
..... Click the link for more information.
 of France). Defeated at Moncontour, he was victor at Arnay-le-Duc (1570) and negotiated the Treaty of Saint-Germain (1570). Reconciled with Catherine and King Charles IXCharles IX,
1550–74, king of France. He succeeded (1560) his brother Francis II under the regency of his mother, Catherine de' Medici. She retained her influence throughout his reign.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1571), he became the king's favorite adviser. To weaken Catholic Spain he proposed that France aid the Low Countries, which were in rebellion against Spanish rule. Catherine, alarmed at the possibility of war with Spain, also feared that Coligny's increasing influence would weaken her own hold on the king. On Aug. 22, 1572, Coligny escaped the assassination ordered by Catherine and by Henri de Guise (see under GuiseGuise
, influential ducal family of France. The First Duke of Guise

The family was founded as a cadet branch of the ruling house of Lorraine by Claude de Lorraine, 1st duc de Guise, 1496–1550, who received the French fiefs of his father, René II, duke
..... Click the link for more information.
, family); two days later, however, he was murdered in the massacre of Huguenots instigated by Catherine (see Saint Bartholomew's Day, massacre ofSaint Bartholomew's Day, massacre of,
murder of French Protestants, or Huguenots, that began in Paris on Aug. 24, 1572. It was preceded, on Aug. 22, by an attempt, ordered by Catherine de' Medici, on the life of the Huguenot leader Admiral Coligny.
..... Click the link for more information.
).

Bibliography

See Sir Walter Besant, Gaspard de Coligny (1879), E. Bersier, Coligny: The Earlier Life of the Great Huguenot (1884).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/