Siege of La Rochelle

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The Siege of La Rochelle, Claude Lorrain, 1631.
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Cardinal Richelieu at the Siege of La Rochelle, Henri Motte, 1881.

The Siege of La Rochelle was a result of a war between the French royal forces of Louis XIII of France and the Huguenots of La Rochelle in 1627-1628.

In the Edict of Nantes, Henri IV of France had given the Huguenots extensive rights. La Rochelle had become the stronghold of the French Huguenots, under its own governance.

Henri's successor Louis XIII, however, declared war against the Huguenots and in 1627 besieged La Rochelle, the last remaining Huguenot city. Cardinal Richelieu acted as the commander of the besieging troops.

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The Siege of La Rochelle (map), by Jacques Callot, 17th century.

French engineers isolated the city with entrenchments 12 kilometers long. They also built long dam and French artillery was used against English ships that supplied the city. George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, organized an attack on the island of Ré ostensibly to help the Huguenots but he withdrew when he ran out of money and support.

Residents of La Rochelle resisted for 14 months, under the leadership of the mayor Jean Guitton and with the gradually diminishing help from England. During the siege, the population of La Rochelle decreased from 27.000 to 5000 due to casualties, famine and disease.

La Rochelle capitulated at November 1 1628. Surrender was unconditional. By the terms of the Peace of Alais, the Huguenots lost their territorial, political and military rights, but retained the religious freedom granted by the Edict of Nantes.


de:Belagerung von La Rochelle

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