Refugees in the Atlantic Age of Revolutions (1770s-1820s): The Big Picture and a Detail

Jan C. Jansen (German Historical Institute, Washington DC)

The revolutionary upheavals that rocked the Atlantic world in the half-century between the American Revolution in the 1770s and the revolutions in Spanish America in the 1810s and 1820s unleashed political refugee movements of an unprecedented scale. The paper discusses how our long-established picture of this momentous period changes if we put these allegedly marginalized people center stage. Following the trails of a few individuals, it shows how the movements of refugees — and the responses they triggered — contributed to the reshaping of political communities during the revolutionary era.

Biographical Note:
Dr. Jan C. Jansen (German Historical Institute, Washington, DC)
Jan C. Jansen is research fellow in transnational and global history at the German Historical Institute, Washington, DC. His main research interests concern the comparative history of colonial empires and decolonization with a particular focus on the Mediterranean and Atlantic worlds since the eighteenth century. His books include a long-term study of commemorative politics in colonial Algeria, 1830-1950 (published in German, Oldenbourg, 2013), Decolonization: A Short History (co-authored with Jürgen Osterhammel, Princeton University Press, 2017), and Refugee Crises, 1945-2000: Political and Societal Responses in International Comparison (co-edited with Simone Lässig, Cambridge University Press, 2020). He has recently been awarded a Starting Grant by the European Research Council for his project “Atlantic Exiles: Refugees and Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1770s-1820s”.