Port-Breton: Corruption among Papuans! – Breton’s world is crazy

Port-Breton: Corruption among Papuans!  - Breton's world is crazy


The Bretons actively participated in maritime expeditions that made it possible to explore the southern lands and the South Pacific. The least we can say is that they were not always so lucky. Thus, in 1771-1772, Malouin Marion Dufresne discovered the Crosset Islands, then landed in Tasmania, before stopping in New Zealand, where he and many of his men were killed and eaten by Maoris.

Discoverer of Australia

In the same years, the Chevalier de Saint-Alorne, from the Quimper region, commanded the Gros Ventur, one of the two ships of an expedition led by Yves de Kerguelen that discovered the archipelago of the same name. Saint-Alorne decides to break away from Kerguelen and head east. On the 17th of March he disembarked, and took possession of it in the name of the King of France. To do this, he buried the documents and two coins on a beach on what is now Dirk Hartog Island. Unknowingly, he was one of the first Europeans to set foot in Australia!

Saint-Alorne then resumes the return route. The arrival of Gros Ventur at Port-Louis was a pleasant surprise, as the ship was thought to be lost… however, Saint-Alorne died a few weeks later. He falls into oblivion. Finally, the British and James Cook would capture Australia, which they had colonized since 1788. We will have to wait for an archaeological expedition in 1998 to find traces of the passage of Saint-Alorne and to do justice to the Breton sailor who could have given this continental country to France…

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The Port Breton Scandal

In the late 18th century, Laperousse’s famous expedition included several Bretons, including his second in compass, Hilarion du Breil de Race. They disappeared in 1788 in a shipwreck near Vanikoro in the western Solomon Islands. A century later, his successor, Charles du Brail, Marquis de Race, came on the scene. His middle name, Bonaventure, is very fitting. This adventurous lord left Brittany to seek his fortune in America, before starting an oil business in Senegal and then trying his luck in Indochina and Madagascar.

In 1869, Charles du Brail returned to the Château de Quimerque in Bannalec. He is doomed, but he has resources. In 1877, he launched a colony project that included the Solomon Islands, New Ireland, and New Britain. He advertised in newspapers: “Free Colony of Port-Breton. Land 5 francs. A quick and guaranteed fortune”… For his project, the Marquis could raise 5 million francs from a few unsuspecting subscribers, while setting aside a good third for his “contingent expenses”.

Based on maps and traveller’s stories, he envisioned a kingdom called “New France” in which the sovereign, Charles I… was disliked by the French authorities because of his Catholic and monarchical beliefs, and turned to France. Church to find immigrants: “We offer you our own flag, the flag of Brittany, the flag of New France, the cradle of our common work! »

“Rainy Hole”

Between 1878 and 1881 the Marquis was able to transport four ships and 600 immigrants. The country is mountainous, with volcanoes. The weather is stifling and it is raining heavily. One of the survivors, Father Lannucel, awakens a “rainy hole”, a Breton reason to complain of rain, and the rain must be considerable! Immigrants are left to fend for themselves, and many die of starvation or disease. Contact with the Papuans is difficult… a veritable hell with the evacuation of the last survivors in February 1882…

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Informed, newspapers are unleashed… The beautiful promises of the Marquis de Race turn into a huge scandal. In 1884, the Port-Breton trial took place, at the end of which the Marquis of Breton was sentenced to 4 years in prison and a fine of 3,000 francs… As for his crazy dream of a Breton colony in the tropics, it was a long time coming. Disappeared in the woods of New Ireland

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