MHS Early American History Seminar


Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 5:15pm

From the Indian Ocean to the New England Frontier: Huguenot Refugees and the Geopolitics of Empire, 1682-1700

Owen Stanwood, Boston College Comment: Wim Klooster, Clark University

Huguenot refugees have long been stock characters in colonial American history. Fleeing persecution in France, they scattered around the continent during the late-1600s, from New England to South Carolina. This paper, part of a larger project on the global Huguenot diaspora, places these American refugees in their proper context. Rather than simple religious migrants, the Huguenots were willing pawns in geopolitical schemes from one end of the earth to the other. In particular, they often ended up in contested imperial borderlands -- from the New England frontier to South America and the South Indian Ocean. By adopting a wider gaze we see the larger significance of the refugees, who their patrons hoped would be agents of empire around the world.