FYI May 12, 2020

On This Day

1588 – French Wars of Religion: Henry III of France flees Paris after Henry I, Duke of Guise, enters the city and a spontaneous uprising occurs.
The French Wars of Religion were a prolonged period of war and popular unrest between Catholics and Huguenots (Reformed/Calvinist Protestants) in the Kingdom of France between 1562 and 1598. It is estimated that three million people perished in this period from violence, famine, or disease in what is considered the second deadliest religious war in European history (surpassed only by the Thirty Years’ War, which took eight million lives).[1]

Much of the conflict took place during the long regency of Queen Catherine de’ Medici, widow of Henry II of France, for her minor sons. It also involved a dynastic power struggle between powerful noble families in the line for succession to the French throne: the wealthy, ambitious, and fervently Catholic ducal House of Guise (a cadet branch of the House of Lorraine, who claimed descent from Charlemagne) and their ally Anne de Montmorency, Constable of France (i.e., commander in chief of the French armed forces) versus the less wealthy House of Condé (a branch of the House of Bourbon), princes of the blood in the line of succession to the throne who were sympathetic to Calvinism. Foreign allies provided financing and other assistance to both sides, with Habsburg Spain and the Duchy of Savoy supporting the Guises, and England supporting the Protestant side led by the Condés and by the Protestant Jeanne d’Albret, wife of Antoine de Bourbon, King of Navarre, and her son, Henry of Navarre.

Moderates, primarily associated with the French Valois monarchy and its advisers, tried to balance the situation and avoid open bloodshed. This group (pejoratively known as Politiques) put their hopes in the ability of a strong centralized government to maintain order and harmony. In contrast to the previous hardline policies of Henry II and his father Francis I, they began introducing gradual concessions to Huguenots. A most notable moderate, at least initially, was the queen mother, Catherine de’ Medici. Catherine, however, later hardened her stance and, at the time of the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre in 1572, sided with the Guises. This pivotal historical event involved a complete breakdown of state control resulting in series of riots and massacres in which Catholic mobs killed between 5,000 and 30,000 Protestants over a period of weeks throughout the entire kingdom.

At the conclusion of the conflict in 1598, the Protestant Henry of Navarre, heir to the French throne, converted to Catholicism and was crowned Henry IV of France. He issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted Huguenots substantial rights and freedoms though this did not end Catholic hostility towards them or towards him, personally. The wars of religion threatened the authority of the monarchy, already fragile under the rule of Catherine’s three sons and the last Valois kings: Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III. This changed under the reign of their Bourbon successor Henry IV. The edict of Nantes was revoked later in 1685 with the Edict of Fontainebleau by Louis XIV of France. Henry IV’s wise governance and selection of able administrators did leave a legacy of a strong centralized government, stability, and economic prosperity that has gained him the reputation as France’s best and most beloved monarch, earning him the designation “Good King Henry”.



Born On This Day

1903 – Faith Bennett, British actress and ATA pilot during WWII (d. 1969) [19]
Faith Margaret Ellen Bennett (1903–1969) was a British actress and ATA pilot.[1][2]

Bennett was born Margaret Ellen Riddick[3] on 12 May 1903 in London, England.[1] One of her brothers died during the First World War.[1][3]

In 1930, she married film writer Charles Alfred Selwyn Bennett, and over the course of the 1930s she starred in multiple British films under the stage name Faith Bennett.[1] Bennett took flying lessons alongside her acting career, earning both a British aviator’s certificate and an American flying license (the couple moved to the U.S. briefly while Charles worked for Universal Studios).[1]

In July 1941, after divorcing Charles, Bennett joined the ATA.[1] She received her training and was assigned to No. 5 Ferry Pilot Pool (F.P.P.) in December that year, and only two days later was forced to make a crash landing due to poor weather and a stalled engine.[1] Bennett sustained “slight injuries”, and was afterwards assigned to the Training Ferry Pool.[1] She remained with the ATA until July 1945.[1]

Bennett married fellow ATA pilot Herbert Henry Newmark in 1946.[1][3]

Bennett died in 1969.[1][3]

The British Women Pilots’ Association named the Faith Bennett Navigation Cup after her, and the trophy is still awarded annually to women pilots of special merit.[1][4]




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