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Saint-Malo's mastiffs

Illustration picture | Wiebe van der Worp / CC-BY-SA
Fortification Animals Saint-Malo ramparts

Saint-Malo was an old pirates' citadel (Duguay-Trouin in the reign of Louis XIV and Robert Surcouf) where explorers (Jacques Cartier, Canada's discoverer) used to embark...

The city was named after a Welsh monk, Maclou, who evangelized inhabitants of Alet village (current Saint-Servan) in the 6th century. Circa 1152, danger! Normans showed up. The population moved in the island of Saint-Malo: the city was founded!

But it was neither French, nor Breton! Anyway Saint-Malo became very prosperous, thanks to the trade with Mediterranean. King Charles VI the Mad besieged the city in the 15th century and reinforced the wall built few years ago. Then he gave it to Jean V, duke of Brittany: they built towers Bidouane and Général at that time.

The current surrounding wall, 1,6 kilometres long, dates back to the end of the 17th century, raised by Saint-Malo inhabitants based on Vauban's plans. Indeed, after the terrible fire of 1661, the famous military architect entirely rebuilt the city.

Now, protected by their big wall, the population feared nobody! Oh, yeah, at that time pirates appeared: they even get a distinguished letter from the king! We also see the expansion of cod fishing in Newfoundland, Canada.

Did you know a special militia used to look after boats, in Saint-Malo harbour, from 1155 to 1770? A four legs guard... bulldogs! Attached to a post, they waited for the night, and... rushed into the city before their master called them on the next morning...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!