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Who 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.

Additional information here:


Huguenots of France and Elsewhere

This website contains a great deal of information about French Protestant genealogy


My Huguenot and Walloon Families:

Hugo Freer

Jan LaForte (Fort)

Marie Du Trieux (Truax)




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WEB MASTER:Richard Hayes

This page was last revised on 23 August 2007