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The colonists of the New World represented a broad spectrum of Old World society. Many came from the fringes of their homeland. Religious groups considered heretical in their own lands - such as the English Puritans - escaped to the west so that they could worship in peace. Others, like the French Jesuits, strode intrepidly into the unknown wilderness to educate and convert a world that had never heard of Christ. The New World even claimed a royal heir - Dom Pedro I of Portugal - who, in fleeing his rivals, founded a new (if short-lived) dynasty in the west.