Port Louis - History of the museum

On the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the citadel of Port Louis is strategically located at the entrance of Lorient harbor.

© Navy

Built on a rocky escarpment, the citadel of Port Louis is an imposing building marked by the history of Britain.
At the end of the XVIe century, the Duke of Mercoeur, then governor of Britain, rebelled against Henry IV to become king because it was converted to the Catholic religion. To combat it, Mercoeur uses Spanish troops who, 1590, landed in Blavet old name of the city of Port Louis. These troops are mainly composed of mercenaries who plunder the country blavétin. They built a fort which ensures their protection from retaliation. The first building in the shape of half-moon concluded in 1591.

In 1598 the fortress is partially demolished. Twenty years later, the king's engineers examine the value of the square. His defensive qualities are such that Louis XIII actually a royal symbol: the village of Blavet was renamed Port Louis, the Citadel was rebuilt and the construction of new bastions gives it an appearance similar to the current one.

In 1666, the French East India Company sets up in Port Louis. The city houses the headquarters of the Royal Navy and the homes of aristocrats and officers. The citadel is considered an outpost in the defense of the harbor. The few changes it undergoes during this period allow it to withstand a siege: cisterns, wells and vegetable gardens are landscaped in the eighteenthe century.

Until the early twentiethe century, the citadel will be used to defend the harbor, then it will be assigned to monitoring maritime traffic. The last soldiers leave the area in 2007.

This fortress whose ramparts are now open to visitors, offering a panorama of the Ile de Croix and Lorient harbor. It also houses two museums: the rooms of the National Maritime Museum take visitors in the wake of sea rescuers and the tour continues on the history of long-distance trade: guns, sextants, porcelain, and other fabulous items along the way . The journey then continues at the Museum of the East India Company, whose collections evoke the rich exchanges with Asia.

Port Louis - Marine Museum

Located on the Atlantic entrance of the Narrows, which controls the port of Lorient, the citadel of Port Louis is a fascinating site.

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