ProjectAtlantic Exiles: Refugees and Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1770s-1820s

Basic data

Atlantic Exiles: Refugees and Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1770s-1820s
01/10/2020 to 30/09/2025
Abstract / short description:
This project explores movements and networks of refugees and exiles of the revolutions in the Americas and Europe (1770s–1820s). Political modernity, brought about by the “age of revolutions” and often identified with new notions of sovereignty and citizenship, was intertwined with the emergence of the political refugee as a mass phenomenon. Unprecedented numbers of people—in total, well over a quarter million—sought refuge in countries other than
their own on primarily political, rather than religious, grounds. The project sets out to show that political migrants and refugee movements were at the very core of major transformations that the Atlantic world underwent during these momentous decades. These include the reshaping of citizenship and subjecthood regimes, changing practices of welfare and early humanitarianism, the porous and shifting boundaries between freedom and slavery, and the
emergence of transnational exile politics.
While there is growing consensus that revolutionary ideas and actors in the Atlantic basin can no longer be studied in isolation, those who opposed and fled these revolutions have received strikingly less attention. Focusing on the interactions between refugees and receiving societies in a variety of contexts, Atlantic Exiles breaks new ground on two interlocking levels of inquiry: It recasts the Caribbean as one of the world’s major receiving and transit region for refugees during this period and it provides the first systematic exploration of exile and refugee movements in a decidedly Atlantic perspective. In addition, it sets the findings from the Atlantic world into a long-term and global history context. Based on multi-site and multi-linguistic research and the close engagement with records in the Caribbean, the project opens up new avenues for the study of both Atlantic and refugee history.

Involved staff


Institute of Modern History
Department of History, Faculty of Humanities

Local organizational units

Institute of Modern History
Department of History
Faculty of Humanities



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