Association TOURVILLE

The great figures of the time


Sébastien Le Prestre, Lord of Vauban (1633 - 1707)

Marshal of France, Commissioner General of the fortifications, Vauban is well known for the numerous places he built or reorganised. But he is also a hydraulic engineer who cares for sea-related facts. Colbert entrusts him with a few naval construction sites, first Dunkirk in 1677 with the digging of the kennel, then Brest with the dry dock and finally Toulon in which he draws a plan to extend the arsenal and provides the city with a new inner harbour.
Vauban is a man of the sea, but not just because of his fortifications and other towers punctuating the littoral. Convinced that his coastal defences would suffice to protect the kingdom, he is a eulogist of the naval war as a way to weaken the commerce and the finances of his enemies. His dissertation on the “caprerie” (term designating the war in which privateers, by royal decree, had to rush on enemy merchant ships, most of the time transporting arms, to sack them) in 1692 – even though the League of Augsburg’s war was in full swing and the defeat of La Hogue tarnished the expensive deployments of the squadrons war – sums up his ideas about the profitable capture of merchant ships that deprive the enemy State of his resources as well as enriching the privateers, the port cities and the King of France. (Martine Acerra)


Anne Hilarion de Cotentin (1642 - 1701)

He was a knight and then Count of Tourville and was made Marshal of France in 1693. As a squadron chief, he served under Abraham Dusquesne. Vice-Admiral of the Levant, he defeated the Anglo-Dutch fleet in Bévéziers in 1690 alongside Jean Bart who commanded the Alcion. During the battle of La Hogue in 1692, he had to withdraw when facing the English fleet and part of his squadron was burned down.


Jean-Baptiste (1619 - 1683)

Quartermaster of Mazarin, Inspector of Finances (1665) and then Secretary of State for the House of the King (1668) and for the Navy (1669), he encouraged the development of the merchant navy, developed the war fleet and organised the naval enrolment. He brought back the “caprerie” and highly encouraged it.