Camisards

French Protestant resistance fighters provoked to revolt by the brutal repression of all public practices of their faith following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes* in 1685. A period of passive resistance (1686-98) was followed by fierce outbreaks of open warfare lasting until 1709. Some 12,000 Protestants were executed in Languedoc alone. The Camisards, inspired by apocalyptic writings of prophets and intellectuals, notably Pierre Jurieu,* rose in revolt in the Cevennes district in 1702. Numbering about 3,000, they organized armed bands, and an army of some 60,000 was needed to put them down. Many suffered unspeakable tortures. In 1704 Camisards were offered pardon and the right to leave the country if they laid down their arms. Of those who accepted, some entered the British army. A few zealots held out, but were finally suppressed. Some Camisards found sanctuary in England and formed a small sect known as the “French Prophets.”