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Rochefort, also known as Rochefort-sur-Mer (French pronunciation: ​[ʁɔʃfɔʁ syʁ mɛʁ]), is a commune in southwestern France, a port on the Charente estuary. It is a sub-prefecture of the Charente-Maritime department.

Rochefort
The port in Rochefort
The port in Rochefort
Coat of arms of Rochefort
Coat of arms
Location of Rochefort
Rochefort is located in France
Rochefort
Rochefort
Rochefort is located in Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Rochefort
Rochefort
Coordinates: 45°56′32″N 0°57′32″W / 45.9421°N 0.9588°W / 45.9421; -0.9588Coordinates: 45°56′32″N 0°57′32″W / 45.9421°N 0.9588°W / 45.9421; -0.9588
CountryFrance
RegionNouvelle-Aquitaine
DepartmentCharente-Maritime
ArrondissementRochefort
CantonRochefort
IntercommunalityPays Rochefortais
Government
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Bernard Grasset
Area
1
21.95 km2 (8.47 sq mi)
Population
 (2016-01-01)[1]
24,894
 • Density1,100/km2 (2,900/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
17299 /17300
Elevation0–29 m (0–95 ft)
(avg. 5 m or 16 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
Rochefort (centre-right) seen from Spot Satellite
Rochefort arsenal, in 1690

HistoryEdit

In December 1665, Rochefort was chosen by Jean-Baptiste Colbert as a place of "refuge, defence and supply" for the French Navy. The Arsenal de Rochefort served as a naval base and dockyard until it closed in 1926.

In September 1757, Rochefort was the target of an ambitious British raid during the Seven Years' War.

Another infrastructure of early Rochefort from 1766 was its bagne, a high-security penal colony involving hard labour. Bagnes were then common fixtures in military harbors and naval bases, such as Toulon or Brest, because they provided free labor. During the Jacobin period of the French Revolution (1790–95), over 800 Roman Catholic priests and other clergy who refused to take the anti-Papal oath of the "Civil Constitution of the Clergy" were put aboard a fleet of prison ships in Rochefort harbour, where most died due to inhumane conditions.

Off Rochefort, from the island of Île-d'Aix where he had spent several days hoping to flee to America, Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered to Captain F. L. Maitland aboard HMS Bellerophon, on 17 July 1815, ending the "Hundred Days".

Rochefort is a notable example of 17th-century "ville nouvelle" or new town, which means its design and building resulted from a political decree. The reason for building Rochefort was to a large extent that royal power could hardly depend on rebellious Protestant La Rochelle, which Cardinal Richelieu had to besiege a few decades earlier. Well into the 20th century, Rochefort remained primarily a garrison town. The tourist industry, which had long existed due to the town's spa, gained emphasis in the 1990s.

PopulationEdit

YearPop.±%
180614,615—    
182012,389−15.2%
187627,012+118.0%
190136,458+35.0%
191135,019−3.9%
192129,473−15.8%
193629,482+0.0%
194629,472−0.0%
YearPop.±%
195430,858+4.7%
196228,648−7.2%
196829,226+2.0%
197528,155−3.7%
198226,167−7.1%
199025,561−2.3%
199925,797+0.9%
200825,676−0.5%

SightsEdit

The town is home to a unique style of bridge (built in 1900), named Pont transbordeur de Rochefort.

Other sights include:

Notable inhabitantsEdit

Rochefort was the birthplace of:

International relationsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.

External linksEdit