HUGUENOTS AND WALLOONS
were the Huguenots & Walloons?
Huguenots and Walloons were Protestants of
the Reformation period (generally 16th & 17th
centuries). They were adherents of the Reformed
Church established by John Calvin in the
1550's. During some periods, they were tolerated by their Catholic governments
and granted certain freedoms. At other times, however, they suffered
intolerance and persecution, which sometimes lead to torture and even death.
As a result, many
thousands fled their homelands in an effort to find safe haven in countries
such as Prussia, the German Palatinate, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, England, Ireland, the French
West Indies and British North America. It is estimated, for example, that 250,000 fled to England between 1550 (when the first Huguenot church was
established in London) and 1789. By 1600, some sources estimate that more than
200,000 Protestants had fled France, although with each improvement in the political climate
in their homeland, some returned. However, the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 resulted in huge numbers of Protestants leaving France. Estimates range as high as one million, with up to one million
more remaining in France, some of whom reverted to Catholicism.
Huguenots is a general term we use today for those who were affiliated
with the Protestant Reformation in France. The origin of the word
Huguenot is unclear and may have been a derogatory label several hundred years
ago. Today, it is a term of respect. French Protestants would probably have
referred to themselves reformées (reformers). The
Calvinist movement had reached northern France by c1545, spreading
across Belgium and into the Netherlands before 1560.
Walloons were Protestants of Flanders: that is, the border area between northern France and southern Belgium (also called southern Netherlands). Their language was
a dialect of French. During the1540's, they were briefly affiliated with the
French Protestants but this alliance did not last long, due to differences in
customs and language.
This web site contains a great deal of information about
French Protestant genealogy
My Huguenot and Walloon Families:
Jan LaForte (Fort)
Marie Du Trieux (Truax)
WEB MASTER:Richard Hayes
This page was last revised on
12 August 2010