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Journal > Volumes > 51 (2020) / 1 (Spring)
Archive Wars: Record Destruction and the Memory of the French Wars of Religion in Montpellier
David van der Linden
Radboud University Nijmegen

This article explores the long-term memory of record destructions committed during the French Wars of Religion.Although the 1598 Edict of Nantes ordered Protestants and Catholics to forget about the wars, in Montpellier the memory of archival loss continued to fuel tensions between the two communities and undermine religious coexistence throughout the seventeenth century.In the aftermath of the wars, Montpellier’s priests and friars initiated multiple court cases against the Huguenot community to claim reparations and seek retribution for the loss of their records.Yet the archival destructions also functioned as a catalyst for new record-keeping practices, as both Huguenots and Catholics appointed specialists to retrieve acts, inventory records, and use archival documents as legal evidence against the other community.As such, this essay highlights the importance of record destruction and the emergence of contested memories for prolonging religious conflict in the early modern world.

Pages: 129 - 150