Bartholomew's Day Massacre August 24, 1572 (547, 562, 589) - Charles IX, King of France ordered Catholic noblemen and guards to kill about 100 Protestant nobles in their sleep as preemptive political strike b/c Protestants were gathering an army outside of Paris. As a result, ordinary Catholic Parisians massacred any Protestant they could find. Three thousand Protestants were murdered over a three day period. August 24 (St. Bart's feast day), 1572.
Spanish Armada July 29, 1588 (559) - England and Spain had generally good relationship until Protestant Queen Elizabeth began tolerating the use of English ports by the rebel Sea Beggars and authorizing English attacks on Spanish treasure fleets. As result, Spain supported Catholic resistance and plots to replace Elizabeth with Mary, Queen of Scots. England raided more and more Spanish ships and then killed Mary, Queen of Scots in 1587. Soooo, a fleet of Spanish warships sailed in, in 1588. The Sp. Armada was supposed to clear the English Channel of English ships for troops under Parma in the Netherlands to cross the Channel on barges. 130 unmaneuverable, poorly armed ships failed and were tormented by the English. The battle of Gravelines (Aug 7-8, 1588), wa the first major gun battle by sailing ships and helped set the future course of naval warfare. 15k died.
Huguenots (562) - French term for Protestants. They were preaching publicly and holding secret meetings, causing general unrest in towns. The Bourbon family and more nobles had converted to Protestantism and openly worshiped in the palace. Catherine convened a national religious council - Colloquy of Poissy - in 1561 to reconcile the two faiths. It failed and she issued a limited edict of toleration in the name of the king in Jan 1562. Caused further unrest and eventually led to St. Bart's Day Mas.
30 Years" War 1618 - 1648 (573-578) - Emperor Rudolf II (childless) was getting old and so the Habsburg fam.