(From Breton: chouan, "night owl", the cognomen of the first leader of the movement, Jean Cottereau)
The chouans were a royalist insurgency active in NW France (particularly in Bretagne) during the French Revolution, beginning in 1792. The chouans had hoped for support from Britain and the royalist emigrés, but this did not materialise until 1795.
The insurgency soon merged with the Vendée uprising and was suppressed. It became active again in 17991, but was easily broken by the forces of General Brune. After that, the movement reverted to quasi-guerilla warfare (Le Petite Chouannerie). A last rising in 1814-1815 ended with the return to the throne of Louis XVIII.
1 The first novel of Honoré de Balzac, Les Chouans (1829), begins in 1799, during this part of the uprising.