The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes and Huguenot Migration to South Carolina

  • Jon Butler
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idées/International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 125)


Between 1675 and 1690, from 150,000 to 200,000 Huguenots fled their native France to escape Louis XIV’s final attempt to extirpate Protestantism from his lands. These refugees initially settled in the nearest Protestant sanctuaries available to them, namely Geneva, Brandenburg-Hesse, the Netherlands, and England. But as prospects dimmed for returning to France, many sought new homes for a permanent exile. These second migrations took Huguenot refugees far from their native France and Europe to places as remote as South Africa, Russia, and South Carolina. In these new and permanent homes, the Huguenot refugees and their descendants experienced significant cultural and religious changes. Some of these alterations proved to be relatively innocuous. French weavers, chamey-dressers, and silversmiths became, for example, American (or British) farmers. But other changes proved more problematic. Huguenots who left France to preserve their religious tradition became Anglicans, Presbyterians, even Baptists. Men and women who had fled religious persecution profited from a slavery that victimized others. Is it possible that the commemoration of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes will stimulate a scholarship that makes sense of these and other anomalies in the history of French Protestantism?


Occupational Change Religious Change English Settler Promotion Literature Religious Persecution 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1988

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  • Jon Butler

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