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The Huguenots were Calvinists in France in the 16th and 17th centuries, many of whom suffered persecutions, causing many to migrate to various other European countries and to non-French colonies. It has been argued to have caused a "brain drain", as many Huguenots had occupied important places in society. The persecutions and the migrants contributed to hostility towards France.

The French crown's refusal to allow non-Catholics to settle in French colonies in North America may help to explain that colony's low population compared to that of the neighbouring British colonies, which opened settlement to religious dissenters. A sizeable population of Huguenot descent lived in the British colonies, and many participated in the British defeat of France.

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