Anglo-French War (1627–1628)
PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: England and Huguenots vs.
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): La Rochelle, France
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: The English backed a
OUTCOME: Defeat of the Huguenots enabled French chief
minister Cardinal Richelieu to consolidate Bourbon
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS:
English, 8,000 in 90 ships; French, 25,000 Huguenots,
CASUALTIES: English, 4,000. French, unknown; Huguenots,
75,000 dead in fighting, 15,000 from starvation and disease
TREATIES: Peace of Alais, 1629
In 1627 the Huguenots (French Protestants), claiming
violation of their right to military autonomy as promised
in the Edict of Nantes (1598), staged a second revolt
against the French Crown from their citadel at La Rochelle
on the Bay of Biscay. French chief minister Cardinal Richelieu
(1585–1642), deeming the Huguenots a threat to the
Bourbon monarch Louis XIII (1601–43), responded to the
uprising on August 10, 1627, by laying siege to the city.
Sympathetic to the Huguenot cause and seeing a
chance to exploit the temporary instability of a rival
nation, Charles I (1600–49) of England sent three naval
fleets to aid the rebels, who stoutly withstood the siege.
Nevertheless, each of the relief expeditions failed, and the
14-month-siege finally ended when the Huguenots capitulated
on October 28, 1628.
During the conflict both Charles and Richelieu were
involved in their own internal battles. Charles’s struggle
with Parliament over the funding for the expedition to
aid the Huguenots culminated in August 1628 with the
assassination of the duke of Buckingham, a champion of
the effort to aid the Huguenots. Richelieu, hungry for
power, power that was totally dependent on the absolute
hegemony of the Bourbons, was able to exploit his victory
over the Huguenots to implement his overall strategy
of centralizing Bourbon rule. The Peace at Alais,
signed in 1629, effectively ended Huguenot military
power in France.
See also BÉARNESE REVOLT, THIRD; THIRTY YEARS’ WAR.
Further reading: Hilaire Belloc, Charles the First of
England (Philadelphia and London: J. B. Lippincott Company,
1933); Joseph Bergin and Laurence Brockliss, eds.
Richelieu and His Age (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992); A.
Lloyd Moote, Louis XIII, the Just (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1989).