Huguenots refers to French Protestants, followers of John Calvin, members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France.
Seen as a threat by the predominantly Roman Catholic France, Louis XIV persecuted them and through increasingly oppressive legislation, made life intolerable. Finally, he revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685, making protestant worship illegal.
As a result, between 1685 and 1700, many Huguenots fled France, settling in more tolerant neighbouring protestant countries including the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, England and the Channel Islands.
From there many then travelled further afield, settling in Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) and North America.