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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

February 5th, 1590 - The Siege of Dreux

Conflict: French Religious Wars

Combatants: Catholic League vs. Huguenots

Location: France

Outcome: Inconclusive

In August of 1589, Henry III of France was assassinated, but lived long enough to name Henry of Navarre, a Huguenot, his successor. The Catholic League opposed Henry and proclaimed Cardinal Charles of Bourbon to be the new king. Spain supported the League, now commanded by Charles, the Duke of Mayenne.

The following month, Henry lured Mayenne into a trap and scored a great victory at Arques. Mayenne retreated to await Spanish reinforcements. Henry led an assault on Paris but was driven off by the Catholic defenders. France descended into civil war.

In February of 1590, Henry (now Henry IV) laid siege to the Catholic garrison at Dreux. The siege continued until March, when Henry withdraw to prepare for battle with the approaching army of the Duke of Mayenne.

Portrait of the Henry the IV of France by Frans Pourbus
Portrait de Charles, duc de Mayenne (1554-1611) by Étienne Dumonstier

Points of Interest:

  • Henry again badly defeated Mayenne at Ivry on March 14th and proceeded to besiege Paris in May.

  • Henry returned to the Catholic faith in 1593, regaining much of his countrymen's support against the League and its Spanish Ally.

  • In 1598, Henry effectively ended the Wars of Religion by granting religious freedom to Protestants in France.



Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).

Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

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