Carla Gardina Pestana

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

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Protestants arrived relatively late in the Atlantic world. No permanent settlement of Protestants was founded until the early 17th century, giving the Roman Catholics a head start of more than a century. Though always outnumbered by Catholics in the Atlantic world, Protestants did become a significant minority. Before 1800, they came to dominate the northern reaches of the Americas and were a presence on every continent touching on the Atlantic world. The history of Protestantism in the Atlantic world has thus far been written largely as a history of English (later British) expansion, in part because Britain was ultimately the most successful of the Protestant states to expand into the Atlantic world in the Early Modern era. French Protestants (Huguenots) were active in the early phase, before their government excluded them from its colonies; later they would move into the Atlantic world as refugees, usually going to British-controlled destinations. The Dutch and English were therefore the major Protestant colonizers. Little has been written on the Dutch case to date. The historiography of Protestantism in the British Atlantic has been dominated by the mainland North American colonies that would become the United States; and some key questions have been driven by issues of concern in that nation’s historical narrative (such as the separation of church and state). Diversity was one of the hallmarks of the Protestant Atlantic. First the Three Kingdoms of England (and Wales), Scotland, and Ireland generated a varied population of (mostly) Protestant settlers, as well as some Irish and English Catholics. The Dutch similarly carried the diversity that marked their experience in Europe into the colonies, although the Dutch West India Company, like the British monarchy, attempted to limit that spread. The colonies established by both the English and the Dutch eventually played host to a wide variety of immigrants from various European locations, so that the variation among European Protestantism was re-created in the wider Atlantic world. Scholars have explored many of these churches and sects within an Atlantic context.

Article.  8993 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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