The Rhineland-Palatinate was an important area in southwest Germany. Its main city was Heidelberg. Recurring wars and invasions in the 1600’s and early 1700’s devastated the area and created economic hardship for the people
In 1709, at Queen Anne’s invitation, nearly 13,000 people left the middle Rhineland-Palatinate to seek new lands in the British colonies. The worst winter in recent history had destroyed the vines and orchards that were the livelihood of these poor farmers. They had hopes of starting anew with land and supplies offered by the Queen.
While not all of these families were from the lands of the Elector Palatine, modern-day Rhineland/Pfalz, they were from that general region and became known as “Palatines.”
The people of London were not prepared for such an onslaught so the Palatines set up temporary camps around the city. Some families were even housed in warehouses. Those migrants who would not swear to being Protestant were sent back to the Rhineland. Still not able to house all these people and unable to provide shipping to the colonies, some English landlords in Ireland agreed to accept some families in Ireland to help with the plantations, especially in the south and west.
Though over 3,000 people (over 800 families) moved to Ireland, many chose not to stay on their new lands and continued their journey to the British colonies. Ultimately, one landlord in Ireland, Lord Southwell, settled most of the families on his estate in central County Limerick. Later, as families grew and rents were no longer subsidized by the Crown, the Palatines began to disburse to a wider area in Munster.
In 1760 a shipload of Irish Palatines went to the colony of New York. Sixteen years later, during the American Revolution, many served as Loyalists against the American colonials and, when the conflict ended, moved on to Canada.” maybe ‘moved on to Upper Canada. Many others later left Ireland and moved to the US, Australia, Canada and many other countries around the world.