About 200,000 Huguenots left France, settling in non-Catholic Europe - the Netherlands, Germany, especially Prussia, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and even as far as Russia where Huguenot craftsmen could find customers at the court of the Czars. The Dutch East India Company sent a few hundred to the Cape to develop the vineyards in southern Africa. About 50,000 came to England, perhaps about 10,000 moving on to Ireland. So there are many inhabitants of these islands who have Huguenot blood.
Nantes, a city in West France, located on the Loire River, is the 6th largest in France. During the Wars of Religion, Nantes supported the Catholic League and the governor of Brittany, the Duke of Mercoeur, in his fight against the Protestants. The town was one of the last to recognise the authority of Henri IV, which meant that the edict of Nantes, a decree guaranteeing the right of worship to Protestants, did not reflect the majority opinion of the inhabitants.
Edict of Nantes Religious tolerance for Protestants in France (e‘Huguenots’ ) had a remarkable effect. They could relax a bit in a country that had until then persecuted them legally and enthusiastically. They could concentrate on industry and make some money. So they did. The industry in Caudebec-en-Caux, a town with handy transport links to Paris (the river Seine) and plenty of fresh water, was hats. Particularly the ‘Caudebec’ hat, made from animal hair see link for article
The Edit of Nantes A brief history of the Huguenots Edict of Nantes The Edict of Nantes In the 1680s it was dangerous to be a Protestant in Catholic France. King Louis XIV revoked the 1598 Edict of Nantes that had given French Protestants some freedom to practise their religion for nearly one hundred years. This deed sparked an exodus of 200,000 men, women and children between 1680 and 1720, seeking religious tolerance elsewhere. The number of their Huguenot descendants around the world…
When the Huguenots started arriving in England, in 1685, London –had a population of less than 500,000. The arrival of 25,000 + migrants in the capital was the equivalent of more than 400,000 migrants arriving there nowadays & in the rest of England (where a further 25,000+ dispersed), absorbed these migrants ( these réfugiés, refugees) even Ralph Montagu's household & estate staff, incl women, were Huguenots.
The wooden spools that you see hanging in the streets of Spitalfields indicate houses where Huguenots once resided. These symbols were put there in 1985, commemorating the tercentenary of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes which brought the Huguenots to London and introduced the word ‘refugee’ to the English language.