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Coordinates: 46°12′11″N 1°22′02″W / 46.2030555556°N 1.36722222222°W / 46.2030555556; -1.36722222222

Commune of Saint-Martin-de-Ré

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Saint-Martin-de-Ré is located in France
Country France
Region Poitou-Charentes
Department Charente-Maritime
Arrondissement La Rochelle
Canton Saint-Martin-de-Ré
Intercommunality Ile-de-Ré
Mayor Georgine Lafontaine
Elevation 0–17 m (0–56 ft)
(avg. 8 m/26 ft)
Land area1 4.70 km2 (1.81 sq mi)
Population2 2,637  (1999)
 - Density 561 /km2 (1,450 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 17369/ 17410
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Saint-Martin-de-Ré is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in south-western France.

It is one of the 10 communes located on the Île de Ré.



Saint-Martin-de-Ré has extensive fortifications, reflecting the strategic importance of the Île de Ré. During the Wars of Religion in the 1620s, Cardinal Richelieu ordered that the island be fortified as a counterweight to the Protestant nearby city of La Rochelle on the French mainland. This included a citadel at Saint Martin. After La Rochelle had been subdued, Saint-Martin's fortification were largely demolished to remove its potential threat to royal power.

In 1627, an English invasion force under the command of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham attacked the island in order to relieve the Siege of La Rochelle. After three months of combats in the Siege of Saint-Martin-de-Ré against the French under Marshal Toiras, the Duke was forced to withdraw in defeat.

Later, in the 1670s, the French engineer, Vauban was commissioned to review and overhaul the island's defences and, as a result, Saint Martin was enclosed by extensive and modern walls and embankments. This was done in three major phases anding in 1702 and the end result was an enclosed town capable of housing the island's population for a long siege.



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