Reasons for Migration - Religion

Conquered and Conquerors

In the Middle Ages, religion was not a major factor in drawing people to migrate to England.

Others who invaded England were already of the Christian faith like the Normans and some converted to Christianity as they learned more about it e.g the Danes

In the period people travelled to go on pilgrimages to religious sites in Europe and also to fight in the Crusades. The people of Europe spoke different languages and organised their societies differently, but some ideas did spread through the continent.

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Looking West

The Reformation brought about by Henry VIII, split the Christian Church into Catholic and Protestant in the 16th Century.

Under James I, English and Scottish Protestants settled in Ireland in a bid to convert Irish Catholics to the Protestantism Faith. However, the plan failed and the two faiths coexisted, although the Catholics did lose some privilages. Some Puritans left England to follow their religion in a stricter way. They became known as Pilgrims and Settled in the America.

France was Catholic, but there were still many Protestants in the country-known as Huguenots. In 1685, the French King made Protestantism illegal, so hundreds of Huguenots migrated over to Countries such as Britain, where they could practice their faith freely.

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Expansion and Empire

In the 19th century there was much less unrest between Catholics and Protestants around the world.The Slave trade was abolished, but religious and racial persecution continued:

  • Ireland was still predominantly Catholic and the unsympathetic British response to the Great Famine was thought to be caused by anti-Catholic feelings 
  • There was religious hatred and persecution towards Jews, particulary in Eastern Europe, which led to mass Jewish migration - about 120,00 stayed in Britain, particularly in the East end of London.
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Britain in the 20th Century

Many people from Britain's former empire had the right to settle in Britain. They saw Britain as the 'Mother country.' Commonwealth citizens migrated to Britain after World War Two because they believed that Britain was more tolerant towards different religious beliefs.

The British brought Asian people to Africa to work as labourers. When Kenya and Uganda became independent, these Asians faced discrimination. In 1972, Ugandan president decided that Asians should be expelled from Uganda.This caused a surge of migration to Britain. 


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