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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
I. The name given to an offensive and defensive alliance contracted between the party of the Guises in France, king Philip II of Spain, the pope, the monks, and the French Parliament, in consequence of the edict of toleration of May 14,1576. The object of the league was the overthrow of the Huguenot party in France, and of its chief, king Henry III, whom one of the Guises was to succeed on the throne. Duke Henry of Guise (surnamed Le Balafre) was the head of the league. In order to avoid the danger, Henry joined the anti-Protestant movement himself, and was thus led to renew the persecutions against the Huguenots. The war commenced in 1577, but soon ended by the peace of Bergerac. When the duke of Aleneon died in 1584, leaving Henry of Navarre, a Protestant, heir presumptive to the throne, the league sprung again into existence under the influence of the adherents of the Guises, the strict Roman Catholic members of the Parliament, the fanatical clergy, and the ultra conservative party. The states, especially the sixteen districts of Paris (whence the association also took the name of Ligue des Seize), took an active part in it. A treaty was finally concluded with Spain, and signed at the castle of Joinville Jan. 3, 1585, to prevent the accession of Henry of Navarre to the throne. The contracting parties also pledged themselves to the total uprooting of Protestantism in France and the Netherlands. The results of the league soon became manifest in the intolerant edict of Nemours in 1585, and led in 1587 to the war, known as the war of the three Henrys. ( (See FRANCE), ) Henry III having caused Henry of Guise to be murdered at Blois in 1588, his brother, the duke of Mayenne, became chief of the league. Henry III was in turn murdered near Paris in 1589, and the war continued until the abjuration of Henry IV in 1588. The pope having absolved him, the members of the league gradually joined the royal standard, and the party ceased to exist. See Mignet, Hist. de la Ligue (Par. 1829,5 vols.); Labitte, De la Democratie chez les Predicateurs de la Ligue (Paris, 1841); Riddle, Persec. of Popery, 1, 309 sq.; De Felice, Hist. of Protestantism in France (London 1853, 12mo); Ranke, History of Papacy (see Index); Wright, Hist. of France, 1, 680 sq.; Poujoulat, Nouv. Coll. de Memoires pour servir AI'hist. de France (Paris, 1839, 4to, 1st series, 4, 1 sq.); Pierer, Universal-Lexikon, 10, 374. (See GUISE, HOUSE OF); (See HUGUENOTS).
II. HOLY LEAGUE OF NUREMBERG, LIGA SANCTA, contracted July 10, 1538, by the emperor Charles V, the archbishops of Abayence and Salzburg, dukes William and Louis of Bavaria, George of Saxony, Erich and Henry of Brunswick, for the defense of the Roman Catholic faith against the league of Smalcald (q.v.). The treaty was concluded for eleven years. The armies of the contracting parties were to be divided into two parts, respectively commanded by duke Louis of Bavaria and duke Henry of Brunswick. The truce of April 19,1539, rendered, however, these combinations unnecessary. Leo, Universalgesch. 3, 157 sq.; Hardwick, Church History during the Reformation, p. 63 sq.; Kurtz, Ch. Hist. from the Reform p. 83; Pierer, Universal-Lex. 10. 374.
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Holy League'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/h/holy-league.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.