Culture & History Digital Journal, Vol 6, No 1 (2017)

Exiles-Migrants and Reconciliation in the Spanish Low Countries after the Peace of Arras (1579)


https://doi.org/10.3989/chdj.2017.003

Yves Junot
University of Valenciennes and Hainaut-Cambrésis. Campus Mont Houy, France
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1967-6716

Abstract


This article contributes to the assessment of the management of migrants at the end of the 16th century as part of the challenge, by both central and municipal authorities, for ending the civil war in the Spanish Low Countries. In particular, it questions to what extent experiences of exiles, returnees and migrants presented a challenge for families, economic regulation and public order in the French-speaking reconciled provinces (Hainaut, Artois and the Walloon Flanders), in the new framework of the pacification and religious normalization. It focuses on how did the towns, when confronted with various forms of mobility, attempt to apply the practice of reconciliation. On the one hand, the general policy of reconciliation tried to build a post bellum society under the Roman Catholic faith and the King’s sovereignty, not only by excluding those who refused to recant in order to conform to the rules of the pacification, but also by forgiving and reincorporating the migrants who crossed confessional boundaries. Then, it considers how, at their level, the municipal authorities had to take various patterns of migration into account, in particular those that connected most of the towns of the Union of Arras to the Protestant Refuge in England and the Dutch Republic, reducing the importance of the migrants’ religious status in their selection criteria. Finally, theses practices opened a space for discussion and a shy civic toleration between the Catholic aldermen, the ex-Calvinists who had chosen official reconciliation, and the textile workers migrants while still being accommodated and welcomed into the exile Protestant Churches, relegating the debate about personal confessional practices and religion from public space to the family sphere.

Keywords


Pacification; Dutch Revolt; Pardon; Exile; Returnees; Migrations; Reintegration.

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