Aviva Directory » Local & Global » Europe » France » Cities & Towns » Toulouse

The city of Toulouse, in southern France, is the capital city of Haute-Garonne department, Occitanie region. There is archaeological evidence which points to human settlement in the 8th century BC, with people settling on the hills which overlook the Garonne River, about 5 miles south of where downtown Toulouse is today. It was a trade center, serving the area between the Pyrenes, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic.

During the Roman times, it was the capital of the Visigoths from 419 AD to 507 AD when it was captured by King Clovis I, who was the ruler of the Franks as well as a large portion of Gaul 481 and made part of the Merovingian kingdom.

In 631, Toulouse became the capital of the Duchy of Aquitaine. Around 778, it was the seat of the feudal countship of Toulouse. Its counts were Cathari, which was a heretical Christian sect which believed in dualism, and they successfully resisted the 13th century anti-heretic crusade Numerous churches and the city's university were founded in 1229, and in 1420 established its parliament, which governed Languedoc until the French Revolution.

The Reformation (1517-1648) changed so much in Toulouse, as it did everywhere. Around 1530, members of the monastic orders in Tolouse were and at the university were being attracted to protestantism. As it continued, the Catholic authorities started a purge of the university, banishing professors as well as student, charging them with ascribing to Protestantism. The discovery of copies of John Calvin's pamphlet, "Institution chertiienne" in the city, and converts were becoming plentiful locally even though the seat of the Dominican Inquisition.

The 1562 Riots of Toulouse were several events over the period of a week which pitted the Huguenots (members of the Reformed Church of France) against Roman Catholics in brawls which killed between 3,000 and 5,000 Toulouse citizens. This was an indication of the tensions which would explode into the Wars of Religion This precursor to the Wars of Religion (1562-1598), which exploded into a full-blown civil war. By the 1540s, the tensions and clashes between the Huguenots and the Catholics became more and more frequent in Toulouse. Despite persecution from the local Catholics, the Huguenots continued their activism, holding conventicles in various places, including private homes of some of the leaders of the town and even in the town hall.

In the late 1530s, the Psalms had been translated into French by pet Clement Marot and they were then set to popular music to be sung in Protestant congregations. They eventually became popular with both Protestants and Catholics. In 1542, the Catholic Church had become quite concerned about the spread of Protestant concepts prompted edicts of against them as being heretical. A warrant was issued for Morat, though he escaped arrest by leaving France. But the Psalms continued to be sung by the Huguenots, in public and otherwise. On top of the singing, eating meat on certain days, including Fridays, Lent, and holidays, was considered blasphemy in the Catholic Church, but not so for Protestants. The Protestant committing what was seen by the Catholics as a sin drove tensions higher, and on April 4, 1562, the first of the events happened.

A number of Huguenots were accompanying a Protestant man as he headed toward the Protestant cemetery to bury his wife. The dead woman's parents as well as her priest insisted that she had been a Catholic when she died and so she had to be buried in the Catholic cemetery, which the Church said was holy ground rather than the unholy ground of the other cemetery. They came upon a large procession of thousands of Catholics celebrating a saint's holy day. The Catholics blocked the funeral procession and then, a group of them took the body by force. It was later discovered that some of the men who took the body were priests, disguised as laymen.

The Catholics lobbed stones at the funeral procession, and swords were unsheathed. An unknown number were killed and numerous people were injured. Sticks, spades, long hatchets, and sticks, and objects nearby were used as weapons. The incensed Catholics looted and vandalized four houses belonging to Huguenots. The mob grew bigger, and the riot spread throughout the city. The melee lasted two days. Arrests were made, and 106 people were charged with incitement; six of them were condemned to death. The Parlement, which was mostly Catholic, pardoned all those of that faith, and on April 11, only four people were hanged, all of them Huguenots. The priests who took the woman's body buried the woman in their cemetery. The Huguenots were furious about both of those facts, and violence was the order of the day, every day, until the War of Religions, fought primarily between French Catholics and the Huguenots would serve as an extension of the Toulouse Riots.

 

 

Recommended Resources


Search for Toulouse on Google, Bing, or Yahoo!