Political and religious organization formed by the French Catholics in the 16th century to protest against the encroachments of the Huguenots and to prevent the accession of the Protestant Henry de Navarre to the throne.
The equivocal attitude of the frivolous Henry III, the extraordinary advantages granted to the Huguenots by the Edict of Beaulieu (1576), e.g., the cession of several fortified towns, aroused the Catholics and prompted them to band together for the defense of their faith.
A local league was started in 1576 at Peronne, one of the towns ceded to the Huguenots; the general league in which not only the nobility and the clergy, but also the people participated, was organized in Paris in 1585, with a Council of 16 members.
Henry de Guise, Duke of Lorraine, who had personal designs on the throne of France, was selected military leader.
Then began "the War of the Three Henrys," the principal episodes of which were: the battle of Coutras (1587), won by Henry de Navarre; Barricades day (12 May 1588), which witnessed the triumphal entry of Henry de Guise in Paris; assassination of Guise by order of Henry III (23 December 1588); the joint campaign of Henry III and Henry of Navarre against Paris, and the former's murder by a fanatical monk (1589); the nomination of Cardinal de Bourbon as King of France under the name of Charles X; the abjuration of Henry of Navarre in 1593, and his coronation at Chartres in 1594.
He entered Paris on 22 March in the midst of popular applause, and the league, having no more object, was dissolved after the absolution of all censures granted to the new king by Pope Clement VII.
New Catholic Dictionary