religious wars in europe

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1 Description of the migration movement
2 Causes of migration
3 Consequences of migration
4 Reactions on migration


CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PERIOD:

Demography and economy:
The trend since 1350 in demographical and economic developments in Europe -consisting of very little population growth combined with a stagnating economy- continued until 1750. Many farmers owned a plot of land and most agricultural production was either for own consumption or for a local market. Some rural areas did very well and needed many labourers, while other areas stagnated. Bad harvests such as those in 1674 - 1679, 1681, 6193 - 1694 and 1709 - 1710 led to high grain prices, which meant that not much capital was left to invest in the cities. In this way agriculture still had a very direct influence on the development of cities.

After 1750 (which is when the plague disappeared and fewer famines occurred), the population started growing again. The countryside however was far from overcrowded, and cities did not attract many people. Rural industry grew very quickly during this period, to the extent that smaller cties could not compete and saw a decrease in their population. Larger cities (often the seat of the central government) still flourished though, as the gold and silver from the newly conquered colonies was spent there on large buildings and many officials. The economic policy of the state, termed mercantilism, was meant to attract many riches and much money towards these newly formed states and let as little money as possible go to others. In this time of absolutism and mercantilism, population was a very precious economic factor: labourers could produce products, which could in turn be sold to bring money into the state.

Politics:
The political developments of Western Europe continued along the trend set during the previous century. Whereas the central monarchs successfully established their power in some countries, a new system of social organisation, the nation-state, was installed in several others such as France and England. The (absolute) monarchs possessed more power than any person or institution had ever had, and as such their installation formed the dawn of a new period in the history of Europe. The power of the central monarchs was, however, still threatened by local forces and people were very used to thinking on a local level as opposed to recognizing a central ruler. As a result, monarchs spent a lot of energy trying to create unity in the state.

One of the tools at their disposal to further centralise power was religion. Religion had caused unrest in Europe because the church had been split into several religious movements. The persecution of heretics continued during this period and even intensified. Moreover, central powers began expelling all those who shared in a religion different from the one chosen to be the state religion.

The rise of nation-states and their mercantilist politics was accompanied by growing competition between states, leading to many conflicts. Each state wanted to own valuable territory and set about doing so by annexing parts of land that belonged to other monarchs.

 

EFFECT OF CHARACTERISTICS ON MIGRATION:

Demography and economy:
Farmers in Western Europe continued to migrate during this period. In Eastern Europe on the other hand, people were still bound by serfdom so migration was restricted. Farmers in Western Europe who did not own land themselves went to work elsewhere, usually not far from home and just for one season. Labourers from the hinterland were attracted to fertile areas such as those in Spain and along the coast of the North Sea. German labourers for instance went to Holland, while the French crossed the Pyrenees to find work in Spain. Generally speaking, people who lived in the mountains went down to the plains during the harvest season. Whereas during the 17th century most people followed a pattern of local or circular migration, later on chain (cascade) and career-driven migration became more important.

Other labourers travelled to small cities or to areas where early rural industry existed. A third group migrated to larger cities which, often being seats of the central government and centers of commercial activity, offered many jobs. The smaller cities eventually lost the competition with rural industry areas when it came to attracting labourers, who preferred the latter from 1750 onwards. Most people did not travel far in search of work; only the very poor, the very rich and refugees travelled long distances. Labourers who were willing to do so however found themselves presented with opportunities to travel to new remote destinations: the colonies founded in the New World. Facts on these migrants can be found below under the heading: searching for work.

During the 17th and 18th centures local migration was routine for western Europeans, most of whom considered leaving home and the home parish a normal part of the life cycle. In rural areas young people who did so went to work as farm hands or labourers in husbandry, saving money for their own land or dowry and training for agricultural life, moving to take a new position as often as once a year. Young apprentices and serving girls flocked to town and cities. For women especially, movement into another parish came naturally with marriage and family formation.

By the end of the 18th century seven large systems of short term circular migration, each involving between 20,000 and 100,000 people per year, animated the continent, moving workers into East Anglia and London, the Parish basin, the North Sea Coast, the Po Valley, central Italy, Castile and the Mediterranean littoral of southern France. Smaller regional systems activated the countryside in harvest seasons and brought rural people into towns and cities for winter work.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, migration in western Europe was a complex phenomenon: it nonetheless systematically reflected economic circumstances, social organisation, property holding status and the demographic characteristics of migrants themselves. (Survey, 126)

Politics:
In this time of absolutism and mercantilism a country's population was its most valuable possession; governments did their best to bind people to their territory, permitting little free migration. At times however, political goals interfered with economic objectives as the desire to establish unity of religion caused governments to force religious minorities, valuable to the economy in their own right, to migrate. The Jews and Moors for example who had to leave Spain after 1492 were often artisans and merchants: their departure meant a loss for the country as a whole. The same goes for the loss of 20% of the population of the Netherlands in the 16th century in the form of Protestants who had to leave the south, migrating to the north and to England where they were welcomed. After the 30-year war each region in Germany had its own religion, which also led to a lot of migration. Facts about these migrants can be found below under the heading: unity through one religion.

Up1. DESCRIPTION OF THE MIGRATION MOVEMENT

1.1 Who were they and where did they come from: ethnic origin, geographical background, religion, adults, men or women, special qualities?
Western Europe

UK
 

* 15th - 17th century: Protestants left England.
* 1570: Catholics and extremist Protestants left England.
Germany
 
* 1555: Germans moved from one principality within the German area to another (Protestants to protestant areas and Catholics to catholic areas).
France
 
* 15th - 17th century: Protestants (Huguenots) left France.
Netherlands
* 15th - 17th century: Protestants left the Netherlands.
* 1568: Protestants moved from the Southern Netherlands to the Northern Netherlands.
Belgium and Nordic countries

Southern Europe
Spain

* 1492: Religious refugees left the whole Iberian Peninsula and went to other countries. 150.000 Jews and 300.000 Moors.
* 1571: Moriscos were spread all over Spain.
* 15th - 17th century: Protestants, Jews and Moors left Spain.
Italy and Greece

Eastern Europe
Poland

* 1650-1750: Many Jews went to England
Russia

1.2 How did they travel: transport, circumstances of travelling?

1.3 When?
Western Europe
UK, Germany
France

* 16th and 17th century: Many Huguenots left France
* Netherlands, Belgium and Nordic countries

Southern Europe
Spain
 

* 1492: Religious refugees left the whole Iberian Peninsula.
Italy, Greece

1.4 How many?
Western Europe
UK
 

* 15th - 17th century: 800 Protestants left England.
Germany
France
 
* 15th - 17th century: 200.000 Protestants (Huguenots) left France. {Con}
* At least 200.000 French Huguenots left France between the end of the 16th and the first half of the 17th century.
* After 1520 until the end of the 17th century: 300.000-400.000 French migrated.
Netherlands
 
* 15th - 17th century: 60.000 Protestants left the Netherlands.
Belgium
Nordic countries
 
* 1626-1800: Thousands of Scandinavians migrated to other European locations. (Survey, 85)

Southern Europe
Spain
 

* 1492: Religious refugees left the whole Iberian Peninsula.
Italy
Greece

1.4 How many?
Western Europe
UK
 

* 15th - 17th century: 800 Protestants left England.
Germany
France
 
* 15th - 17th century: 200.000 Protestants (Huguenots) left France. {Con}
* At least 200.000 French Huguenots left France between the end of the 16th and the first half of the 17th century.
* After 1520 until the end of the 17th century: 300.000-400.000 French migrated.
Netherlands
 
* 15th - 17th century: 60.000 Protestants left the Netherlands.
Belgium
Nordic countries
 
* 1626-1800: Thousands Scandinavians migrated to other European locations. (Survey, 85)

Southern Europe
Spain
 

* 15th - 17th century: 500.000 Protestants, Jews and Moors, religious refugees, left Spain.
Italy
Greece

1.5 Permanent or temporary?
Western Europe
UK
 

* 15th - 17th century: English refugees stayed abroad.
Germany
France
 
* 15th - 17th century: French refugees stayed abroad.
Netherlands
* 15th - 17th century: Dutch refugees returned. {Con}
* 1650 - 1750: Religious refugees came to the Netherlands both permanent and temporary. {Luc}
Belgium
Nordic countries

Southern Europe
Spain
 

* 15th - 17th century: Spanish refugees stayed abroad.
Italy
Greece

1.6 Where did they go to and where did they stay?
Western Europe
UK

* 17th century: From England groups of Puritans went to America.
* 1650 - 1750: Many Jews came to England.
* 1650 - 1750: Irish went to Southern Netherlands. {Leq}
* 1691: 13.000 Irish went to France. {Leq}
Germany
France
 
* 1685: 130.000 - 250.000 French fled to England, Switzerland, Rhineland-Palatine and the Dutch Republic. Secondary migrations carried these Huguenots to South Africa, Ireland and British North America. {Can}
* 16th and 17th century: French Huguenots went to America and to the protestant parts of Europe, like parts of Germany, Denmark and England.
* 1650 - 1750: Jews came to France. Especially in cities like Metz and in the Alsace were high concentrations of Jews. {Leq}
Netherlands
* 16th century: From the Netherlands groups of Calvinists went to America.
* 16th century: Dutch (exultants) came to Germany, they settled in Lower Rhine first and went south afterwards. {Sieny}
* 1650 - 1750: People from Southern Netherlands came to Northern Netherlands. Jews and Huguenots also came to the Netherlands. {Luc}
Belgium
Nordic countries
* 1626-1800: Scandinavians went principally to the Netherlands (for economic reasons). (Survey, 85)
Switzerland
* 1650 - 1750: Swiss came to France, especially in 1656, 1694 and 1697. {Leq}

Southern Europe
Spain
 

* 1492: The Jews went to Italy, the Ottoman Empire, Morocco, Portugal etc. The Moors went to Morocco.
* After 1492: Converted Jews (Marranes) and Jews also went to Holland. From there they moved to Surinam, Curacao, New Amsterdam and Newport.
Italy
Greece

 

Up2. CAUSES OF MIGRATION

2.1 Circumstances that favoured migration

* 16th - 17th century: The fact that there were countries with different policies on religion made it possible for people to move towards other areas. (The policies changed a lot over the years, depending on the power and religion of the kings and queens of the several countries.)

Western Europe
UK, Germany, France
Netherlands

* 15th - 17th century: The religious refugees had the opportunity to escape to other countries where Catholicism was not the official religion. After the Spanish domination over the Northern Netherlands had ended, this country became extremely favourable to escape to, because there it was possible to choose your own religion. In addition, the Netherlands was very prosperous at the time.
Belgium, Nordic countries

2.2 Circumstances that hindered migration

2.3 Direct causes of migration

* 1520: New religious developments made it necessary for some people to move to countries where those ideas were accepted. People were not satisfied with the Catholic Church, which in turn took too long to respond to these feelings. Two reformers thrived in this climate; Martin Luther first spoke out around 1520 while Calvin published his -largely similar- vision in 1536. Martin Luther stressed the importance of the bible as well as sincere belief in religion and believed that everybody could be a priest, thereby divorcing to some extent religiosity from being directly bound to the Catholic Church. These new ideas, followers of which were to be called Protestants, took hold in some European countries while in others such as France they were severely suppressed. The Catholics reacted by mounting a counter-reformation.
* 1558: Phillip II was the most important ruler in Europe, governing Spain, the Netherlands, Franche-Comté, large parts of Italy, the Spanish colonies and, from 1580 onwards, Portugal. He possessed enormous wealth, ruling the most important centres of trade of the period (the Netherlands and Italy), as well as having access to gold and silver from the colonies. He used this capital to fund the Inquisition, which took harsh measures against all religions other than Catholicism, victimizing Protestants, Jews and Moriscos.

Western Europe
UK
 

* 1509 - 1570: England changed religion every now and then. In England Henry VIII (1509-1547) made himself head of the Anglican Church and was no longer loyal to the Pope. Under the reign of his son Edward VI (1547-1553) the country became Calvinist. His half sister Mary brought Catholicism back and married Phillips II. Her successor, Elizabeth, restored Anglicanism.
* 1570: Elizabeth of England started a prosecution against extremist Protestants, but most of all against Catholics. There was a big fear for a catholic conspiracy, caused by the anti-England policy of Philip II.
* 17th century: In England the pro-catholic king Jacob II, who ruled from 1685 to 1688 had to flee to France. Mary and William III, who were both Protestants, succeeded him. Protestant dissidents allowed to stay, but Catholics were not.
* 1691: The Irish lost the battle at La Boyne. This caused migration of Irish to France. Followers of Jacob II.
* 1650 - 1750: Irish went to the southern Netherlands because of religious conflicts.
Germany
 
* 1555: The war Charles V (who ruled Spain, the Netherlands, Franche-Comté, Aragon, Sicily, Naples and the Spanish colonies, the Habsburger areas, Austria, Alsace and since 1519 also the German areas) fought against the Lutheran monarchs united in the "Schmalkaldische Liga" (1531-1547) ended in the peace of Augsburg. In that peace it was decided that each monarch inside the German area could decide which religion his subjects should have. This caused the movement of Protestants to protestant principality and of Catholics to catholic parts.
* 1683: German families came to America for religious reasons.
France
 
* 1572: In the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew, August 24 1572, the most important protestant leaders in France were killed. This caused the migration of many Protestants. (Huguenots)
* 1685: Louis XIV recalled the Edict of Nantes (which had said that both Catholicism and Protestantism were allowed) and 100.000 - 200.000 Huguenots left France.
Netherlands
 
* 1566: A revolt broke out in the Netherlands. There were many Protestants in this area and they did not tolerate the Spanish domination. In 1568 Phillips II re-conquered the Southern part of the Netherlands, but the northern part, Holland, remained in revolt. This was the part were many protestants lived. That's why many Protestants from the South went to the North.
* 16th century: Dutch (exultants) left the Netherlands and went to Germany because of the 80-year war. {Sieny}
* 18th century: Huguenots and Jews came to the Netherlands for religious and sometimes also for economic reasons.
Belgium
Switzerland
 
* 1650 - 1750: Religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants in Switzerland caused the migration of Swiss to France, especially in 1656, 1694 and 1697.
Nordic countries

Southern Europe
Spain
 

* 1492: The conquering of Grenada by the Spanish Catholics led to a new flood of religious refugees (Moors and Jews).
* 1568 - 1571: After a bloody revolt, the Moriscos were spread all over Spain.
Italy and Greece

Up3. CONSEQUENCES OF MIGRATION

3.1 Short term consequences
Positive consequences
- for the migrants (first generation)
- for their new environment/ native born
- for the country they left

Western Europe
UK, Germany, France
Netherlands
- for the migrants (first generation)
 

* 1650-1750: For the migrants in Northern Netherlands the consequence was that they had found a safe place to live (sometimes temporary). {Luc}
- for their new environment/ native born
* 1650 - 1750: The Northern Netherlands got many new people in this area, but they were skilled people, who made the country even more prosperous.
Belgium, Nordic countries

Negative consequences
- for the migrants (first generation)
- for their new environment/ native born
- for the country they left

Western Europe
UK
- for the country they left
 

* In England the Protestants that left were mainly well-to-do people, the poor Protestants were left behind with the problem of defending their religion in a primarily catholic country.
Germany, France
Netherlands, Belgium
Nordic countries

Southern Europe
Spain
- for the country they left
 

* 15th - 17th century: The Jews and Moors who left Spain were often artisans and merchants. When they were expelled they brought great injury to the Spanish economy. The Dutch refugees went to the sea and became pirates, damaging the Spanish fleet.
Italy, Greece

3.2 Long term consequences
Positive consequences
- for the migrants (second and third generation)
- for their new environment
- for the country they left

Western Europe
UK
- for the migrants (second and third generation)
 

* 18th century: Many law-reforms took place. For instance Jews were treated better now.
Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Nordic countries

Negative consequences
- for the migrants (second and third generation)
- for their new environment
- for the country they left

Up4. REACTIONS ON MIGRATION

4.1 Reactions of the receiving society on the immigrants
- official reaction
- reaction of the common people

Western Europe
UK
Germany
- reaction of the common people
 

* 16th century: Dutch (exultants) that went to Germany were accepted easily by the Germans
* 1683: Mennonites, Tunker and Hernnhuter families were distrusted, because they retained their own habits.
France, Netherlands, Belgium, Nordic countries

4.2 Reactions of the immigrants on their new environment
- integration /assimilation
- maintaining their own identity
- differences between first, second and third generation

Western Europe
UK
- maintaining their own identity
 

* 1650 - ....: The Jews that came to England lived in their own communities. These communities did not change much through the centuries. About 1750, there was much anti-Semitism, because of a naturalisation law for Jews that was established in 1753.
Germany, France
Netherlands
- maintaining their own identity
 
* 1650 - 1750: Jews in Southern Netherlands did not assimilate, after the 30 year war ended in 1648 and religious tolerance increased, a slow integration started.
Belgium, Nordic countries  

 

 

Dr. Marlou Schrover