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La Rochelle, France, 17th Century, A Whole People Martyred for Religious Freedom

A protestant stronghold during the Wars of Religion, La Rochelle declared itself an independent republic in the 16th century and was attacked and subdued by the French crown. After again asserting its independence in the 17th century, La Rochelle was again attacked by French royal forces, this time commanded by Cardinal Richelieu. The Huguenots held off the royal forces for 13 months while the English navy tried and failed to break the siege. When La Rochelle finally surrendered, on October 28, 1628 (three hundred ninety-three years ago today), 4/5 of its population was dead from starvation, disease, or wounds.



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