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Hans Hillerbrand in his Encyclopedia of Protestantism claims the Huguenot community reached as much as 10% of the French population on the eve of the St.
Now, it happens that those whom they called Lutherans were at that time so narrowly watched during the day that they were forced to wait till night to assemble, for the purpose of praying God, for preaching and receiving the Holy Sacrament; so that although they did not frighten nor hurt anybody, the priests, through mockery, made them the successors of those spirits which roam the night; and thus that name being quite common in the mouth of the populace, to designate the evangelical huguenands in the country of Tourraine and Amboyse, it became in vogue after that enterprise." While this and the many other theories offer their own measure of plausibility, attesting at least to the wit of later partisans and historians, "no one of the several theories advanced has afforded satisfaction." The issue of demographic strength and geographical spread of the Reformed tradition in France has been covered in a variety of sources.
In the 21st century, most Huguenots have been assimilated into various societies and cultures, but remnant communities of Camisards in the Cévennes, members of the United Protestant Church of France, French members of the largely German Protestant Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine, as well as the Huguenot diaspora in England and Australia all still retain their beliefs and Huguenot designation.
A term used originally in derision, Huguenot has unclear origins. The nickname may have been a combined reference to the Swiss politician Besançon Hugues (died 1532) and the religiously conflicted nature of Swiss republicanism in his time, using a clever derogatory pun on the name Hugues by way of the Dutch word Huisgenoten (literally housemates), referring to the connotations of a somewhat related word in German Eidgenosse (Confederates as in "a citizen of one of the states of the Swiss Confederacy").
Geneva was John Calvin's adopted home and the centre of the Calvinist movement.
In Geneva, Hugues, though Catholic, was a leader of the "Confederate Party", so called because it favoured independence from the Duke of Savoy through an alliance between the city-state of Geneva and the Swiss Confederation.
Reguier de la Plancha accounts for it as follows: — "The name huguenand was given to those of the religion during the affair of Amboyse, and they were to retail it ever since.