On October 22, 1685, King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes, the decree promulgated by his grandfather Henri IV which provided French Protestants with a degree of limited toleration. The choices facing those approximately 700,000 French Protestants were stark: they could renounce their beliefes and convert to Catholicism; resist, which could lead to imprisonment or death; or leave France, which was itself an illegal act. Ultimately some 150,000 made new homes across Europe, from Switzerland to Berlin, and from Rotterdam to Ireland. Others went even farther abroad, to Virginia, Carolinas, the West Indies, even as far as the Cape of Good Hope.
With me to discuss the Huguenot diaspora, and it changed the society, culture, and politics of the Atlantic World is Owen Stanwood. He’s Associate Professor of History at Boston College, and author of The Global Refuge: Huguenots in an Age of Empire.
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