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(also called Valdenses, Vallenses, and Vaudois), a sect inhabiting the Cottian Alps, derive their name, according to some authors, from Peter de Waldo, of Lyons (1170). They were known, however, as early as 1100, their confession of faith published 1120. Their doctrine condemned by the council of Lateran, 1179. They had a translation of the Bible, and allied themselves to the Albigenses, whose persecution led to the establishment of the holy office or inquisition. The Waldenses settled in the valleys of Piedmont about 1375, but were frequently dreadfully persecuted, notably 1545-46, 1560, 1655-56, when Oliver Cromwell, by threats, obtained some degree of toleration for them; again in 1663-64 and 1686. They were permitted to have a church at Turin, December, 1853. In March, 1868, it was stated that there were in Italy twenty-eight ordained Waldensian ministers and thirty other teachers. Early in 1893 a delegation was sent to the United States to investigate the advantages of forming a settlement in some favorable locality. It resulted in their purchasing several thousand acres of land in Burke county, N. C., and establishing a colony the same year, calling the place Waldese.

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