Port-Louis, a Spanish stony monster, Bretons' nightmare

The citadelThe citadel | ©Pline / CC-BY-SA

Port-Louis! A name smelling salty water and spices, memories of the powerful West India Company!

At the beginning, it was only a simple village which was called Locperan, "Saint-Pierre's village" in Breton.

Nothing happened until the 15th century (1486), when François II, duke of Brittany, decided to create here a commercial port...

He sent Jean of Châlons, prince of Orange and Jean, marshal de Rieux, two general lieutenants, in order to examine the place. But the harbour construction was abandoned...

The place, called port Blavet ("Blavet harbour"), was fortified by lord de Coëtcourson, Henri IV's partisan: then duke de Mercoeur besieged it in June 1590.

He gave it to his allies, the Spanish. So, during 8 years, those ones lived here and fortified the place.

Don Juan del Aguila, in October 1590, put up the "Eagle's castle" (fuerte del Aguila), a citadel which looked like a quadrilateral flanked by bastion on each angle.

At that time, the stronghold was fearsome: Bretons offered 50 000 crowns to the king of Spain, Philip II, to abandon it! Waste of time...

Spanish fortifications were demolished by king Henri IV. Richelieu decided in 1618 to rebuild a new fortified city, located at the mouth of the river, and appointed marshal of Brissac governor of Blavet.

The cardinal also named his new city Port-Louis... in honour of king of France, of course! The place became richer and richer, thanks to West India Company's stores.