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The Edict of Potsdam was a proclamation issued by Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia, in Potsdam on October 29, 1685, as a response to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by the Edict of Fontainebleau.

BackgroundEdit

In October 1685, King Louis XIV of France issued the Edict of Fontainebleu, which was part of a program of persecution that closed Huguenot churches and schools. This policy escalated the harassment of religious minorities since the dragonnades created in 1681 in order to intimidate Huguenots into converting to Catholicism. As a result, a large number of Protestants — estimates range from 210,000 to 900,000 — left France over the next two decades.

TermsEdit

On October 29, 1685, Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg issued the Edict of Potsdam, which encouraged oppressed Huguenots to immigrate to his nation by offering them numerous benefits. The edict gave French Protestants safe passage to Brandenburg-Prussia, offered them tax-free status for ten years, and allowed them to hold church services in their native French. As a result, Potsdam became a center of European immigration, its religious freedom attracting not only French Protestants but also the persecuted of Russia, the Netherlands, and Bohemia. Thus, the immigrants to the Electorate of Brandenburg stabilized and greatly improved the country's economy following the destructive religious wars that had swept through Europe in the seventeenth-century.

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