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Toiras and the English thrashing during Saint-Martin-de-Ré siege

Toiras | ÖNB / Public domain
Fortification Thirty Years War Siege Saint-Martin-de-Ré fortifications

The current citadel dates back to the reign of Louis XIV, but Saint-Martin was already fortified in the Middle Ages: in 735, duke of Aquitaine Eudes raised a fortress here, and also a monastery and a church dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours.

The little city was governed by several lords, such as Mauléon, Thouars, or La Trémoille. The first harbour was put up in 1537; in 1627, Saint-Martin was besieged: La Rochelle was a Protestant city, so was the little island of Ré.

8000 English soldiers led by duke of Buckingham, invaded the island's tip.

The governor, Toiras, took shelter in Saint-Martin's fortress. But the English besieged it during four months! The French resisted and Buckingham surrendered...

In 1682, the new governor Pierre Amou re-fortified the citadel: they called the famous military architect, Vauban. A book says they raised the new stronghold within 65 days!

Nowadays, we still can see the beautiful gates of Toiras and Campani, but also the Governor's house.

About the the author

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