Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - HUGUENOTS IN EUROPE (A pattern for successful assimilation and integration? Huguenot settlement in Europe (1548-1787))

Between February 2005 and January 2006, the researcher analysed all of the primary and secondary sources as listed in the original application and the Career Development Plan (CDP). In addition to meeting the requirements of the CDP Dr. Lachenicht presented research results at Duke University, Durham/North Carolina. She also received an invitation to present a paper at the annual meeting of the Eighteenth Century Irish Society at the University of Limerick, and she presented another paper at the British Group in Early American History Meeting, Clare Hall, Cambridge in September 2005. Further results of her research were presented in 2005 at two conferences organised by Dr. Lachenicht herself (Galway and Paris) and twice as part of the seminar series at the Centre for Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change (CSHSHC), Galway.

In addition to the papers planned for publication the researcher has been invited to contribute a chapter to Les Huguenots éducateurs (eds. Geraldine Sheridan and Viviane Rosen-Prest) and she is about to publish two conference proceedings on 1) Religious Refugees in Europe, Asia and the Americas, 6th - 21st centuries and b) Les Etats allemands et les Huguenots. Politique d'immigration et processus d'intégration (together with Guido Braun, German Historical Institute, Paris). Since August 2005 she has been working on the completion of a monograph on Patterns for successful integration and assimilation Huguenot settlement in Europe (and North America) (1548-1787). The manuscript presenting the project's final results will be accomplished within a few months.

The project, having proposed an investigation of the immigration and integration of religious refugees - French Huguenots - to/in different European destinations, Ireland, Britain, Switzerland and Brandenburg-Prussia has come to the following results: Switzerland, Brandenburg-Prussia, England and Ireland admitted French Calvinists expecting this minority group would contribute to the prosperity of the country. These expectations though systematically kindled by Huguenot propaganda, which was articulated by deputies such as Herni de Mirmand, Henri Massue de Ruvigny and others, were by no means met by the Huguenot immigrants. In England and Switzerland (Geneva), and later in Brandenburg-Prussia and Ireland, the shortfall in expectation led to refusal by these governments to admit further Huguenot immigrants.

In Brandenburg-Prussia the admittance of Huguenot colonies resulted in the establishment of 'a state within a state' with the Huguenots having their own jurisdiction. Also in England and Ireland, where access to privilege was conditional upon conformity to state Protestantism, Huguenots did not integrate as rapidly into the hosting society as has been suggested in the historiography. Moreover, in Brandenburg-Prussia the elites who admired the French Protestant culture encouraged the immigrating French to safeguard their distinct cultural identity.

The results gained from the EIF-financed project correct three preconceptions in the historiography of early modern Europe:
1. It leads to a necessary revision of the so-called 'confessionalisation'-pattern: The example of Huguenot migration to different European states makes it evident that in the early modern period European governments intending to re-organise, modernise and rationalise state and society, had several options. Establishing religious orthodoxy and with it political unity, often identified as 'confessionalisation', was only one option. Accommodating distinct ethnic and/or religious immigrants was the other option. Some states such as the Dutch Republic or Frisia opted already in the 16th century for 'religious indifference' and accommodated rival denominations. Other states such as Brandenburg-Prussia, and to some extent Ireland, followed in the 17th century.

2. The findings of the research also point to the need to revise both current assumptions about what constitutes successful migration, and the integration and assimilation indicators that are currently being employed to measure success.

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