Christianization or Christianisation is the forced conversion of individuals to Christendom, namely Catholic Christendom. Since the 1st century, Early Christianity was a minority religion during the Roman Empire. Persecution of early Christians by the Romans was performed until Constantine I converted to Christianity. Upon office, Christianity evolved into Christendom, which then became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Already under the reign of Constantine I, "heretics" and "pagans" were then persecuted. In the view of many historians, this became a "Constantinian shift" that turned Christianity from a persecuted religion, into one capable of persecution and sometimes eager to persecute.[1] The brunt of converting to Christendom, was predominantly done through forced conversion called "Christianizing" or "Christianization" that was performed throughout the history of Christendom, mostly during the Middle Ages, but also expanded into the Colonial period. The methods or strategies for Christianizing were Interpretatio Christiana, Crusades, inquisitions, militant missions, indentured servitude and slavery. The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century aggravated and intensified the inquisitions. In the New World, indigenous peoples were converted, often processed for the Atlantic slave trade, or were murdered–depending on whatever the active orders were for "Christian" colonial militants.


  1. see e.g. John Coffey, Persecution and Toleration on Protestant England 1558–1689, 2000, p.22
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