Persecution in the Palatinate of Germany

Persecution in the Palatinate of Germany

In 1709 and lasting for about four decades more than thirty thousand German and French citizens immigrated to England at the invitation of that Goverment. The English sent them to the American Colonies,Ireland and absorbed a portion(estimated as ten percent)who stayed in England.

Most of the group came from the Rhemish or Lower Palatinate with some from France. The name Palatines became the name for them all.

The area of the Palatinate encompassed the Districts of Darmstadt,Hanau,Franconia,the Archbishopric of Mayence,the Archbishopric of Trevis and the Districts of Spires,Worms,Hesse-Darmistadt,Zweibrucken,Nassan,Alsac,Baden and Wurtenburg.Also both sides of the Rhine river,the Main and Neckar,the Moselle and south to Switzerland

. Why such a immigration of people who had lived in these areas for centuries?

Devistation of the Thirty Years War.

Continuous attacks by Louis XIV of France who lived(1638-1715).

Disputes of religion among the various German Princes

. In 1707 the War of Spanish Succession caused the terrorizing of Southwestern Germany.

The Worst winter of the past century was in 1708.Western Europe was frozen solid.Vineyards and animals,by the millions,were destroyed.

Heavy taxation was demanded by the Princes and roving armies for the high living of the Princes and food for the armies.This hardship was bore in spite of the many disasters which the people were already experiencing.

Religious persecution also existed as the peasantry were required to practice the religion of their Princes.These Princes changed their religion depending on the political postures of the time.This was a good cause to have for the immigrants to martyr for their leaving their homeland as it set well with the world at that time

.A snapshot of the religious makeup of these immigrants to England showed the following:

Lutheran 30 percent

Reformed 40 percent

Catholics 29 percent

Baptists and Mennonities 1 percent

The English at this time were the Protectors of the Protestant cause in Europe.

Also the need for dense populations in the Mother country because of the mercantilist doctines of the day was a highly important consideration for the National strength.This therefore required the colonies to be staffed with other than their own citizens.

The main consideration for this doctrine of staffing was filled by the Palatines because of their religion and loyalty to their cause with the reputation of hardworking and devoted subjects.

The desire to escape the many hardships of their own land and a desire to better their life and the life of their decendants.These people became prime targets for English promises of help in getting to these far away places with help in establishing a new life with religious freedom and land.

To assist these goals in 1709 the first naturalization law in England passed the House of Commons giving aliens the chance to:

Take an oath of allegiance to England.

Partake of the sacrament by Anglican ritual before witnesses.

All children born to naturalized parents were born natural citizens of England.

The right to purchase and hold land in the British Empire and to pass it to future generations.

Take part in trade and commerce any where in the British Empire.

These were powerful incentives and they lasted for enough time(fifty years)to populate the American Colonies(Pennsylvania),Irealand(Dublin area) , some parts of England and in the final years Arcadia in North America.

The Treaty of Utrecht (1713-ended the War of the Spanish Succession) caused France to cede to Britian France's claim to "all of Acadia according to its ancient boundries"

This caused Palatines to be courted by England to colonize Nova Scotia beginning in 1749 and countinuing until 1753.

This colonization was planned by the English so that the French Acadians who were occupying Acadia could be expeled from their lands.They were forced to leave Canada and went to Louisiana in the Colonies under British auspice.

Bibliography; 1-The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia by Winthrop P Bell

2-History of the County of Lunenburg by Mather Byles DesBrisay

Last Update: 9/8/2002
Web Author: William Naas