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Pierre Belain, Sieur d'Esnambuc

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Captain in the French marine, b. 1565, at Allouville, near Yvetot (Seine-Inferieure); d. at St. Christopher in Dec., 1636. He was the founder of the French colonies in the Antilles, and their first governor. Sailing from Dieppe, in 1625, on a brigantine of four guns with a crew of thirty-five men, he took possession of the island of St. Christopher . Returning to France in the following year he brought about the formation by Richelieu of the Company of the American Islands (Oct., 1626). At this time he was authorized to occupy St. Christopher and Barbadoes. Once established at St. Christopher he wished to make the influence of France felt throughout the Antilles, and for ten years directed all his energies to the accomplishment of this great work. Owing to his efforts, colonists were recruited throughout Lower Normandy, chiefly in the vicinity of Dieppe, Honfleur, and Havre-de-Grâce, and these established flourishing settlements in Guadeloupe, Dominica, Les Saintes, and Marie Galante. In September, 1635, d'Esnambuc recruited at St. Christopher one hundred and fifty determined men, and landing at Martinique, built in the following year the town of St.-Pierre. He died in the same year at St. Christopher, leaving to his nephews the government of the kingdom beyond the sea, which he had merely inaugurated. On hearing of his death Richelieu declared that the king and his realm had lost one of their best servants.

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