Nothing predestined Louis-Antoine to Bougainville to such adventures! And but, this Parisian born in a bourgeois household goes to be the captain of the first official French world tour in 1766. His logbook and the discoveries of his groups of scientists may have a serious influence on the data of the time.
The race for discovery
December 5, 1766. The port of Brest is in turmoil. Sailors and dockers are busy round an enormous frigate named The Sulky. Meals for 330 crew members, wine and animals to be slaughtered if the necessity arises are taken on board… A historic and unprecedented journey is being ready. And that is an understatement! The captain of the vessel, a sure Louis Antoine de Bougainvilleis about to depart for the primary official French world tour.
Nonetheless, initially, this journey didn’t have this ambition. On the time, the facility of a nation was measured by its settlements, discoveries and commerce routes. And the France of Louis XV is in a really dangerous place! She misplaced in 1763 the Canada on the finish of the Seven Years’ Battle, the place Louis-Antoine de Bougainville was first aide-de-camp to the commander of Canadian troops. To compensate for this loss, this soldier promoted to captain proposes to discovered a colony within the Falkland Islands, positioned off Argentina. In a short time, this goal is thwarted by the crown of Spain which claims these lands. Not having the means to defend them and to forestall them from falling into the fingers of the British, their direct opponents, France lastly returned these islands to the Spaniards in a peaceable transmission. In order that this lengthy journey to the Falklands isn’t in useless, authorization is given to Bougainville to proceed on its manner. The French have been additionally going to enter this race of discovery! The Sulkycrusing alongside the flute The star, thus inaugurates the primary scientific exploration journey and the primary official French world tour.
Bougainville takes the botanist with him Philibert Commerson, who discovers particularly the flower that we name bougainvillea and creates a uncommon herbarium made up of hundreds of species. the astronomer Pierre Antoine Veron can also be a part of the journey and can, in the meantime, calculate for the primary time the width of the Pacific. The work of the scientists makes it attainable to complement and proper the prevailing maps of the strait of magellan in rfinishing up a survey of the coasts and the depth of the waters. For the French individuals, The pacific is an unexplored space, surrounded by many myths. Bougainville and his males do not know what they’ll discover on their manner. Till…
Arrival within the Backyard of Eden
After 16 lengthy months of journey and 20,000 kilometers lined, the sailors see land in the course of this infinite ocean. Bougainville and his males arrive in Tahiti. Little question, right here they’re in Paradise ! Sadly for him, the island had already been found by the English ten months earlier.
The Tahitians, nonetheless, supply vacationers a heat welcome and permit them to remain 13 days on the island. Louis-Antoine de Bougainville will report a exact and marvelous description, made with the eyes of a European of the Age of Enlightenment, of this society which attracts all the things it wants from nature. He’ll discover particularly strict social classesfairly removed from the picture of the “good savage”, significantly standard within the 18th century. After this brief keep, The Sulky set sail once more on April 15, 1768 to set sail for Indian Ocean. In June of the identical 12 months, Bougainville notably found the island to which he gave his title.
The arrival in Saint Malo takes place on March 16, 1769. Two years later, Louis-Antoine de Bougainville publishes his logbook Journey world wide, which was an ideal success and browse in all of the courts of Europe. It thus offers rise to Tahitian delusionas “the archetypal paradise island”.
Louis-Antoine de Bougainville: a lifetime of journey
Louis-Antoine de Bougainville was born on November 12, 1729 in Paris. From an early age, his father had just one ambition for him: that he comply with his path and pursue regulation. Louis-Antoine subsequently studied on this course and shortly confirmed nice aptitude for math and science. When his father died, he gave up his profession as a lawyer to take up arms and journey. Due to his uncle’s connections, a relative of Madame de Pompadourhe sees himself named by the king himself, captain of Dragon.
After his world tour, Bougainville took half within the independance Battle American earlier than the troublesome hours of the Revolution sounded. Napoleon Bonaparte, who held him in excessive esteem, made him a senator in 1799, a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1804 and a rely of the Empire in 1808.
Desk of One: Louis-Antoine, Rely of Bougainville (1729-1811) by Joseph Ducreux (1790)
Additionally learn: Sulphurous Versailles: the brothel of Louis XV
Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour