The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France (or French Calvinists) from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Since the seventeenth century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called "French Protestants", a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the Calvinists. Protestants in France were inspired by the writings of John Calvin in the 1530s and the name Huguenots was already in use by the 1560s. By the end of the 17th century, roughly 200,000 Huguenots had been driven from France during a series of religious persecutions. They relocated primarily in England, Switzerland, Holland, the German Palatinate, and elsewhere in Northern Europe, as well as to what is now South Africa and to North America.
In the midst of the Thirty Years' War, the Huguenots still faced discrimination. Under Louis XIII of France, their privileges under the Edict of Nantes had been retracted, especially after the failure of the Third Huguenot rebellion (1627-28), though they retained their religious freedom.
Driven by anti-Protestant hostilities, such as the Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572 and the Siege of La Rochelle during the Third Huguenot rebellion, many Huguenots had left France by the time of the Ring of Fire. Learning that, in the OTL, the Edict of Nantes had been revoked in 1685 led many more to leave.
Some Huguenots plotted to resist their persecution in the most extreme manners. Huguenot Michel Ducos initially saw the Americans of Grantville as a possible ally in the battle against the Catholic Church. After Grantvillers thwarted his attempt to assassinate Pope Urban VIII in 1634, Ducos changed his mind and concluded they were simply one more enemy.