Admiral of France

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Intended badge of rank for an admiral of France

Under the Ancien Régime , the Admiral of France ( French Amiral de France ) - on an equal footing with the Connétable of France - was commander in chief of the French fleet with limited powers.

Ancien Régime

The task of admiral of France was in 1270 by King Louis IX. created in connection with the Seventh Crusade . The title was equivalent to that of connétable of France and the holder was one of the crown officers .

The task of the admiral concerned the coasts of Picardy , Normandy , Aunis and Saintonge . In times of war he had to assemble merchant ships into a military fleet, arm them, equip and store them for seafaring, and issue the corsair with the letter of piracy. In peacetime he dealt with the maintenance of the royal fleet, if it existed, but also with maritime trade and the merchant fleet.

Very few of the admirals were seafarers themselves - with the exception of Claude d'Annebaut , none of them ever actually commanded the fleet. The actual power of an admiral of France was rather low, in part due to competition from the other admirals (the Amiral des mers du Levant for Provence , the Amiral de Bretagne and the Amiral des mers du Ponant for Guyenne ), the general of the galleys and then the Department of the Navy .

The office, on the other hand, had a very strong political meaning, similar to the connétable. It was also lucrative: the admiral was entitled to part of the penalties and confiscations from the sea blockades, of flotsam, anchor money and shipwreck, a tenth of the war revenue, etc.

In addition, there was jurisdiction, again similar to that of the Connétable and the Marshal of France , at the Table de marbre in Paris , Rouen and around 50 other locations along the coasts that also dealt with fishing and crime in the port area.

The Admiralty of France was abolished in 1627 by Richelieu , who was the newly created Grand maître de la navigation and wanted to have all power over the fleet in his hand. Louis XIV restored the office on November 12, 1669 with an edict. The first new title holder was his illegitimate son Louis de Bourbon, comte de Vermandois, who was 2 years old at the time. In the following years, only Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, comte de Toulouse, showed interest in his task.

In the second half of the 18th century, the admiralty came completely under the control of the Navy Ministry.

After the French Revolution

After the dissolution of the Admiralty by the constituent assembly on April 22, 1791, the office was reintroduced by imperial decree of 13th Pluviôse of the year 13 (February 2, 1805) and royal ordinance of May 18, 1814 (incumbent was Joachim Murat , 1814 after Napoleon's first overthrow, Louis-Antoine de Bourbon, duc d'Angoulême ), and abolished again in 1870. The last admiral of France was Trehouard de Beaulieu in 1869. In Vichy-France in 1940 the rank of Amiral de la Flotte was created for Admiral François Darlan , which was comparable to that of Admiral of France.

Today the titles of Marshal of France and Admiral of France are state dignities ( le titre de maréchal de France et celui d'amiral de France, constituent une dignité dans l'État , Law of 1972) - even if there is no one who bears this dignity.

Admirals of France

Ugoni Lercadi, 1248 admiratus illustris regis Francorum for the sixth crusade
  1. Florent de Varennes , † 1270, 1269 amiraut du roi for the seventh crusade
  2. Mathieu IV. De Montmorency , † probably 1305, admiral and 1296 Grand Chamberlain of France ( list of the Montmorency family )
  3. Jean II. D'Harcourt , called le Preux, † 1302, admiral and marshal of France
  4. Hugues Quiéret , 1336-1340
  5. Nicolas Béhuchet , 1339-1340, Amiral de la Flotte
  6. Louis de la Cerda , 1341–1346, brother of Charles de la Cerda
  7. Jean La Heuse called Le Baudrain de La Heuse , 1359 – after 1369, † after 1372
  8. Jean de Vienne , 1373-1396
  9. Pierre de Breban , 1406–1408, † after 1428
  10. André de Laval , 1436–1439, then Marshal of France
  11. Prigent VII. De Coëtivy , 1439–1450 ( House Coetivy )
  12. Jean V. de Bueil , 1450–1461, † 1477
  13. Louis de Bourbon , called le Bâtard de Bourbon , 1466–1487
  14. Odet d'Aydie (around 1425–1498), around 1490
  15. Louis Malet , Seigneur de Graville , 1487–1508 ( House of Malet )
  16. Charles II d'Amboise , 1508-1511
  17. Guillaume Gouffier de Bonnivet , 1515-1525
  18. Gaspard II. De Coligny , 1523 -...
  19. Antoine de La Rochefoucauld , Seigneur de Barbezieux , † 1537
  20. Philippe Chabot , Count of Buzançais , † 1543
  21. Claude d'Annebaut , around 1550
  22. Charles II. De Lorraine – Guise, duc de Mayenne , until 1582
  23. Anne de Joyeuse (around 1560–87), from 1582 to 1587
  24. Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette , duc d'Épernon (1554–1642) from 1587 to 1588
  25. André-Baptiste de Brancas , Seigneur de Villars, († 1595) from 1594 to 1595
  26. Charles de Montmorency, duc de Damville (around 1537-1612), from 1596 to 1612 ( list of the Montmorency family )
  27. Henri II. De Montmorency (1595–1632), from 1612 to 1626 ( list of the Montmorency family )
  28. Louis de Bourbon, comte de Vermandois (1667–1683), from 1667 until his death in 1683
  29. Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, comte de Toulouse (1678–1737), from 1683 until his death in 1737
  30. Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, duc de Penthièvre (1725–93), from 1734 until the Revolution
  31. Joachim Murat , 1804
  32. Louis-Antoine de Bourbon, duc d'Angoulême 1814
  33. Trehouard de Beaulieu , 1869-1870

See also


  • Bernard Barbiche: Les institutions de la monarchie française à l'époque moderne. XVIe - XVIIIe siècle . Presses universitaires de France, Paris 1999, ISBN 2-13-048195-7 , ( Collection premier cycle: Histoire ).