League or Holy League, in French history, organization of Roman Catholics, aimed at the suppression of Protestantism and Protestant political influence in France. It was foreshadowed as early as 1561 by the formation of the triumvirate of Anne, duc de Montmorency; François, 2d duc de Guise (see under Guise, family); and Marshal Saint-André. After the outbreak of the Wars of Religion (see Religion, Wars of), local and provincial leagues were formed. Finally, when the Protestants, or Huguenots, won unprecedented concessions at the Peace of Monsieur (1576), a declaration calling for a national League of Catholics was issued by Henri, 3d duc de Guise. King Henry III, fearing the ambitious Guise, proclaimed himself its head. A Huguenot uprising soon followed. After a successful campaign that enabled him to withdraw some of his previous concessions to the Huguenots, Henry III dissolved (1577) the League. It was revived in 1585, soon after the Protestant Henry of Navarre (later King Henry IV) had become the heir presumptive to the throne. Having taken up arms, Guise forced the king (July, 1585) to issue an edict for the conversion or exile of Protestants and the exclusion of Henry of Navarre from the succession. In the war that followed (the War of the Three Henrys), the League and the king were technically allied, but the League assumed the right to dictate, forcing the king to leave Paris (1588) and to renew his previous concessions. This dictation led Henry to order the assassination of Henri de Guise, who was succeeded at the head of the League by his brother Charles, duc de Mayenne. After the accession (1589) of Henry IV, the League controlled all the large cities, including Paris, and had the active support of Philip II of Spain, who sent Alessandro Farnese to Mayenne's aid. It split into two factions, however, over the question of Spanish interference, and it was weakened by Henry's military successes. Henry's victory at Ivry (1590), his abjuration of Protestantism (1593), and his entry into Paris (1594) brought the League's organized resistance to an end, and by 1598 the last important League member had submitted to Henry. For the Holy League in Italian history, see Holy League.
German Dreikaiserbund

Diplomatic alignment of the empires of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia devised by Otto von Bismarck in 1872. Its aim was to neutralize disagreement between Austria-Hungary and Russia over spheres of influence in the Balkans and to isolate Germany's enemy France. After the first Three Emperors' League (1872–78) collapsed, Bismarck succeeded in renewing it (1881, 1884). When Russia declined a third renewal, Bismarck negotiated a separate accord with Russia, the Reinsurance Treaty (1887). Seealso Austro-German Alliance.

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(1643) Agreement between the English and Scots in which the Scots agreed to support the English Parliamentarians in their disputes with the Royalists, and both countries agreed to work for a civil and religious union of England, Scotland, and Ireland under a presbyterian-parliamentary system. The Scots sent an army to England in 1644, and Charles I surrendered to them in 1646. He later agreed to the covenant and received Scottish military assistance (1647). Neither Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth nor Charles II (after the 1660 Restoration) honoured the covenant, and it was not renewed. Seealso Covenanter.

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Defensive alliance by Protestant states of the Holy Roman Empire. It was established in 1531 at Schmalkalden, Germany, to defend the newly formed Lutheran churches from attack by the Catholic emperor Charles V. Fearing that the league would ally itself with his enemy, Francis I of France, Charles gave it de facto recognition until 1544, when he made peace with Francis. Charles then moved against the league militarily and by 1547 had effectively destroyed it. Seealso Schmalkaldic Articles.

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or Spartan Alliance

Military coalition of Greek city-states led by Sparta, formed in the 6th century BC. League decisions about war, peace, or alliance were determined by congresses summoned by the Spartans. The league was a major force in Greek affairs, forming the core of resistance to the Persian invasions in 490 and 480 and fighting Athens in the Peloponnesian War. Its power declined after its defeat at Leuctra in 371, and the league disbanded in 366/365.

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Alliance of U.S. farmers to gain protection from wheat monopolies. Founded in North Dakota in 1915 by Arthur Townley, it demanded that mills, grain elevators, banks, and hail-insurance companies be state owned. In 1916 its candidate, Lynn Frazier, was elected governor of North Dakota, and the state legislature enacted its program in 1919. The league declined after the 1920s and affiliated with the Democrats in 1956.

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orig. All India Muslim League

Political group that led the movement calling for a separate Muslim country to be created out of the partition of British India (1947). The league was founded in 1906, and in 1913 it adopted self-government for India as its goal. For several decades it supported Hindu-Muslim unity in an independent India, but in 1940, fearing Hindu domination, the league called for a separate state for India's Muslims. After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the Muslim League (as the All Pakistan Muslim League) became Pakistan's dominant political party, but it gradually declined in popularity and by the 1970s had disappeared altogether. Seealso Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

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Italian league that resisted attempts by the Holy Roman emperors to curtail the liberties of the communes of Lombardy in northern Italy in the 12th–13th century. Founded in 1167, it was backed by Pope Alexander III, who saw it as an ally against Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. After several military setbacks at the hands of the league, Frederick was forced to grant the Lombard cities communal liberties and jurisdiction under the Peace of Constance. The league again was renewed in 1226 and resisted Frederick II's attempt to reassert imperial power in northern Italy.

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Organization for international cooperation established by the Allied Powers at the end of World War I. A league covenant, embodying the principles of collective security and providing for an assembly, a council, and a secretariat, was formulated at the Paris Peace Conference (1919) and contained in the Treaty of Versailles. The covenant also set up a system of colonial mandates. Headquartered at Geneva, the League was weakened by the failure of the U.S., which had not ratified the Treaty of Versailles, to join the organization. Discredited by its failure to prevent Japanese expansion into China, Italy's conquest of Ethiopia, and Germany's seizure of Austria, the League ceased its activities during World War II. It was replaced in 1946 by the United Nations.

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(1508–10) Alliance of Pope Julius II, Emperor Maximilian I, King Louis XII, and King Ferdinand V, formed in 1508. Ostensibly directed against the Turks, its actual aim was to attack the Republic of Venice and divide its possessions among the allies. The allies were unable to act together because of their individual ambitions, and the league collapsed in 1510, when the pope joined with Venice, while Ferdinand became neutral.

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or League of Arab States

Regional organization formed in 1945 and based in Cairo. It initially comprised Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Transjordan (now Jordan), Saudi Arabia, and Yemen; joining later were Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, Algeria, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritania, Somalia, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Djibouti, and Comoros. The league's original aims were to strengthen and coordinate political, cultural, economic, and social programs and to mediate disputes; a later aim was to coordinate military defense. Members have often split on political issues; Egypt was suspended for 10 years (1979–89) following its peace with Israel, and the Persian Gulf War (1990–91) also caused deep rifts. Seealso Pan-Arabism.

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or League of the Iroquois

Confederation of five (later six) Indian tribes across upper New York that in the 17th–18th century played a strategic role in the struggle between the French and British for supremacy in North America. The five original nations were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca; the Tuscarora, a non-voting member, joined in 1722. According to tradition, the confederacy was founded between 1570 and 1600 by Dekanawidah, born a Huron (see Wyandot), carrying out the earlier ideas of Hiawatha, an Onondaga. Cemented mainly by their desire to stand together against invasion, the tribes united in a common council composed of 50 sachems; each original tribe had one vote, and unanimity was the rule. At first the confederacy barely withstood attacks from the Huron and Mohican (Mahican), but by 1628 the Mohawk had defeated the Mohican and established themselves as the region's dominant tribe. When the Iroquois destroyed the Huron in 1648–50, they were attacked by the Huron's French allies. During the American Revolution, the Oneida and Tuscarora sided with the American colonists while the rest of the league, led by Joseph Brant, fought for the British. The loyalist Iroquois were defeated in 1779 near Elmira, N.Y., and the confederacy came to an end.

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(1576–98) Association of Roman Catholics during the French Wars of Religion. It was first organized under the leadership of the 3rd duke de Guise, to oppose concessions granted to the Protestant Huguenots by Henry III. In 1584, when the Huguenot leader Henry of Navarra (later Henry IV) became heir to the throne, the Holy League set up an alternative candidate, with Spain's assistance. To put an end to the league, which challenged his authority, Henry III had the duke de Guise assassinated (1588), an act that, rather than destroying the League, led to Henry's own assassination in 1589. The league opposed the accession of Henry IV, but its power waned when he became a Roman Catholic in 1593.

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or Hansa

(from German Hanse, “association”) Organization founded in the late medieval period by northern German towns and merchant communities to protect their trading interests. The league dominated commercial activity in northern Europe from the 13th to the 15th century. It protected transport of goods by quelling pirates and brigands and fostered safe navigation by building lighthouses. Most important, it sought to organize and control trade by winning commercial privileges and monopolies and by establishing trading bases overseas. In extreme cases its members resorted to warfare, as when they raised an armed force that defeated the Danes in 1368 and confirmed the league's supremacy in the Baltic Sea. Over 150 towns were at some point associated with the league, including Bremen, Hamburg, and Lübeck.

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Confederacy of ancient Greek states led by Athens and based on the island of Delos. Founded in 478 BC to combat Persia, its members included Aegean states and islands; Athens supplied commanders and assessed tributes of ships or money. It achieved a major victory in 467–466 when its fleet drove out Persian garrisons on the southern Anatolian coast. After 454 its leaders moved the treasury to Athens for safekeeping, used it to rebuild the city's temples, and treated the league as the Athenian empire. Most league members sided with Athens in the Peloponnesian War, which diverted the league from its Persian campaign. After defeating Athens in battle in 405, Sparta disbanded the league in 404. Fear of Sparta helped revive the league in the early 4th century, but it weakened as Sparta declined and was crushed by Philip II at the Battle of Chaeronea (338).

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(1609–35) Military alliance of the Catholic powers of Germany, led by Maximilian I, duke of Bavaria, and designed to stem the growth of Protestantism in Germany. Plans for a league had long been discussed, but the formation of the Protestant Union in 1608 finally caused the Catholics to unite. In alliance with the Habsburg emperors, the League's forces, led by Graf von Tilly, played a key role in the Thirty Years' War. The league was abolished by the Peace of Prague (1635).

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(1508–10) Alliance of Pope Julius II, Emperor Maximilian I, King Louis XII, and King Ferdinand V, formed in 1508. Ostensibly directed against the Turks, its actual aim was to attack the Republic of Venice and divide its possessions among the allies. The allies were unable to act together because of their individual ambitions, and the league collapsed in 1510, when the pope joined with Venice, while Ferdinand became neutral.

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Federal state of ancient Aetolia in central Greece, probably based on a looser tribal community. A leading power by circa 340 BC, the Aetolian League resisted invasions by Macedonia in 322 and 314–311, expanded into Delphi, and allied with Boeotia circa 300. It fended off the Gauls in 279 and formed an alliance with Macedonia (circa 270–240). The league's power in central Greece was confirmed with the defeat of the Boeotians (245). From the late 3rd century Aetolia began to lose power and territory to Macedonia, culminating in the sacking of the league's federal capital, Thermum, by Philip V in 220. The league then allied with Rome against Macedonia and defeated Philip at Cynoscephalae (197). Rome later forced it into a permanent alliance (189) that cost it territory, power, and independence.

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3rd-century BC confederation of towns of Achaea, an area in the northern Peloponnese of ancient Greece. Twelve cities had joined together by the 4th century BC to combat piracy, but they disbanded after the death of Alexander the Great. Ten cities renewed the league in 280 BC, later admitting non-Achaean cities to defend themselves against Macedonia, then Sparta, and finally Rome. Rome dissolved the league after defeating it in 146 BC. Later a smaller league was formed that existed into the Roman imperial age.

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The term League may refer to:



Groups of people

French Ligues (translated "Leagues")

These are factions of street politics, not political parties running for office.


Fiction, music, and entertainment

Other uses

See also

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