From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais, by Antoine
Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais
(comte de La Bourdonnais) (Saint-Malo, 11 February 1699 – Paris, 10 November 1753) was a French naval officer and
administrator, in the service of the French East India
La Bourdonnais was born on 11 February 1699 in Saint-Malo, Brittany. He went to sea when
a boy, and in 1718 entered the service of the French East India
Company as a lieutenant. In 1724 he was promoted captain, and
displayed such bravery in the capture of Mahé off the Malabar Coast that
the name of the town was added to his own. For two years he was in
the service of the Portuguese Viceroy of Goa,
but in 1735 he returned to French service as governor of the Île de
France (Mauritius) and
the Île de Bourbon (Réunion). His first five years' administration
of the islands was vigorous and successful. A visit to France in
1740 was interrupted by the outbreak of hostilities with Great Britain, and
La Bourdonnais was put at the head of a fleet in Indian waters.
He saved Mahé, relieved General Dupleix at Pondicherry, defeated Lord Peyton (d.1749),
and in 1746 participated in the Siege of Madras. He quarrelled with
Dupleix over the conduct of affairs in India, and his anger was increased on his return
to the Île de France, when he found that Dupleix had appointed a
successor as governor. He set sail on a Dutch vessel to present his case at court,
and was captured by the British, but allowed to return to France on
parole. Instead of securing a settlement of his quarrel with
Dupleix, he was arrested (1748) on a charge of gubernatorial speculation and
maladministration, and secretly imprisoned for over two years in
the Bastille. He was tried
in 1751 and acquitted, but his health was broken by the
imprisonment and by chagrin at the loss of his property. To the
last he made unjust accusations against Dupleix. He died at Paris
on 10 November 1753. The French government gave his widow a pension
of 2400 livres.
Several places were named after him, including Mahé
(Seychelles), Mahébourg (Mauritius) and two streets in Pondicherry: Labourdonnais street
and Mahé de Labourdonnais street. Port Louis, Mauritius has a hotel which bears his name,
the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel.
La Bourdonnais left memoirs which were published by his
grandson, a celebrated chess
player, Count Louis-Charles Mahé de
La Bourdonnais (1795–1840). He also wrote Traité de la
mâture des vaisseaux (Paris, 1723).
re places named after him -----and avenue in Paris
- B.-F. Mahé de La Bourdonnais: Mémoires historiques de B.-F.
Mahé de La Bourdonnais, gouverneur des îles de France et de la
Réunion, recueillis et publiés par son petit-fils... (Cte
A.-C. Mahé de La Bourdonnais). Paris, 1890 (with a second
- Histoire, ou éloge historique de M. Mahé de La
Bourdonnais. [n. p.: n. d.]
- Île Maurice: Mahé de La Bourdonnais: documents réunis par
le comité du bi-centenaire de La Bourdonnais, 11 février 1899, avec
des annotations par le comité des souvenirs historiques. (2 août
1899). Port-Louis : E. Pezzani, 1899
- Étienne Buisson: Le mirage de l'Inde: la dramatique
existence d'un grand Français au XVIIIe siècle : Bertrand Mahé
de La Bourdonnais. Paris : Hachette, 1937.
- Pierre Crépin: Mahé de La Bourdonnais, gouverneur général
des îles de France et de Bourbon (1699–1753) ... .
Paris : Leroux, n. d.
- Louis Ducrocq: Une ingratitude nationale: La Bourdonnais,
gouverneur des îles de France et de Bourbon, 1735–1746.
Arras : Sueur-Charruey, 1902 (Reprinted from the Revue de
Lille of August 1902)
- Philippe Haudrère: La Bourdonnais: marin et
aventurier. Paris : Desjonquères, 1992 ISBN
- E. Herpin: Mahé de La Bourdonnais et la Compagnie des
Indes. Saint-Brieuc : R. Prud'homme, 1905
- Alfred de Longpérier-Grimoard: Notice historique sur La
Bourdonnais. Paris, 1856
- Huguette Ly Tio Fane-Pineo: Île de France, 1715–1746.
Tome I. L'émergence de Port Louis . Moka (Île
Maurice) : Mahatma Gandhi Institute, 1993 ISBN
- Michel Missoffe: Dupleix et La Bourdonnais: essai
critique. Paris : Ligue maritime et coloniale,
- Dureau Reydellet: Mahé de La Bourdonnais, gouverneur des
Mascareignes. Saint-Denis: Éd. CNH, 1994 (Cahiers
de notre histoire ; 45–46) ISBN 2-909471-14-4
- Louis Roubaud: La Bourdonnais.
Publication : Paris : Plon, 1932 (Les grandes
figures coloniales ; 10)
- Jackie Ryckebusch: Bertrand-François Mahé de La
Bourdonnais : entre les Indes et les Mascareignes.
Sainte-Clotilde : Éd. du CRI, 1989 (Collection: Figures)
- Robert Surcouf: Souvenirs historiques sur Mahé de La
Bourdonnais: le combat de La Hogue. Eloge de La Tour d'Auvergne.
Portzmoguer (Primauguet). Saint-Malo, 1886
- Le Guide de Pondichéry. L'unique guide français de
Pondichéry. Editions Presse Bureau 2008/2009. Pondichéry.
- Pondicherry Heritage Trail. Published by INTACH,
Pondicherry. December 2007.