The Huguenot Diaspora is one of the most important and most spectacular dispersions of a religious minority in early modern Europe. Traditionally known as le Refuge, this migration led to the exodus of nearly 200,000 Protestants out of France in 1685 at the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Memory and Identity offers a comparative perspective on this event and its repercussions by an international group of seventeen specialists of early modern France, Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands and historians of British and French Colonial America and Dutch South Africa. This collection is the first look at the Huguenot Diaspora in a broad Atlantic context rather than as a narrowly European or Colonial American phenomenon. It sheds new light on the Protestant experience both in and outside of France.
The Huguenot experience of seventeenth-century France and in the Diaspora is examined through the lens of minority status and assimilation. This volume explains why some Huguenots chose to emigrate instead of being assimilated by the dominant Catholic group, while others recanted their faith and remained in France. Revealing how minority status at home affected the creation of refugee communities outside France, scholars trace the Huguenots' eventual integration into the different host societies that the exiles encountered. Comparing Huguenot diasporic experiences on both sides of the Atlantic, essays focus on Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, British North America (particularly South Carolina and New York), the French Caribbean, New France, and Dutch South Africa. Finally, beyond the issues of persecution, dispersion, and assimilation, several essays study the long-term impact of the Revocation and of le Refuge in examining nineteenth-century Huguenot memory in France and in the Diaspora and the maintenance of a Huguenot identity.
Memory and Identity includes the writings of established scholars Jon Butler, Bernard Cottret, Joyce D. Goodfriend, John Miller, Carolyn Chapell Lougee, Keith P. Luria, Leslie Choquette, Willem Frijhoff, Gérard Lafleur, Lucien Abénon, Philippe Denis, and Raymond A. Mentzer as well as the recent work of newer scholars R. C. Nash, Diane C. Margolf, Timothy Fehler, Charles Littleton, and Bertrand Van Ruymbeke.