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The birth of Port-Louis

Louis XIII
Louis XIII
Bordonoveg, Pygmalion - G.Watelet 81
In the XVIIth century, Port-Louis is going to spring up from the political confusion and the royal will. Good-naturedly but with authority Henri IVth had disarmed oppositions and gradually centralized the power, while Sully was restoring the finances. The quarrels were quelling.

In 1610, Henri IVth 's murder restored every problem. His lawful son, Louis XIIIth, was nine and the regency was ensured by Marie of Medicis, his mother. It was enough to make resentments and personal ambitions reappear.

To the front of the "Grands" in rebellion was César, Duke of Vendôme, who in 1614 retrenched in the remains of Blavet citadel and organized the opposition. Marie of Médicis had him put in Vincennes jail in 1616

In May 1617 Louis XIIIth , fed up of being dismissed of his own throne, banished his mother in Blois Castle.

On July 17th 1618, he ordered to rebuild Blavet citadel and to fortify the town called "Le PORT-LOUIS".

charles II de Cossé
Charles II de Cossé, duc de Brissac, maréchal de France
Neptunia n°66

Supported by Richelieu, Louis XIIIth gave the necessary impulse for the town being integrated into the defensive plan of the kingdom. From 1617 up to 1621, under Cossé-Brissac's government, the citadel of which only the keep and two bastions remained, was rebuilt and has survived until now. In 1636 Richelieu had the half-moon built. But he preferred Brest to Port-Louis as the seat of an arsenal.

After Richelieu' s and Louis XIII's deaths, and in spite of the Fronde, the Duke de La Meilleraye carried on the erection of the walls from 1649 up to 1653. In 1656, he laid the foundation stone of the Recollets convent and had the Notre-Dame church built in 1657.

Port-Louis, as an urban community, got the right to send a representative to the States General of Brittany.Port-Louis at the time of the Indies.As early as 1654, the Duke de La Meilleraye had founded the Madagascar Company renamed the (French) East India Company in 1664, under Colbert's impulse.Other companies (of Senegal, China, Southern Sea) trading either with America or Asia will settle in Port-Louis before they form the New India Company in 1719. This period of great activity is presented in the India Company Museum in the Citadel of Port-Louis.In 1668, under the Duke of Mazarin's government, the naval shipyards of the India Company were established in the mouth of the Scorff River and gave birth to the city of l'Orient.

Port-Louis at the time of the Navy.

fronton house
of proprietorship
It remained a dwelling-place for the managers and the captains of the India Company and in 1690 it became the chief town of a Royal Navy department and the seat of a military hospital.The wars waged by Louis XIV against Holland, England and Spain contributed to the ruin of the Company but on the other hand, they developed privateering. Corsairs from Port-Louis appeared and famous corsairs from Saint-Malo (Duguay-Trouin, Danycan, Porée) frequented Port-Louis or settled down there. The rich-looking houses of the "Boat-bourgeoisie" date back to this period

last modification : 05 26 2005