Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Louis Antoine, Comte de Bougainville



Bougainville, Louis Antoine, Comte de (1729-1811), soldier and sailor, was born at Paris on November 11, 1729, the son of a notary. He was educated to become an advocate before the Parlement de Paris ; but he early abandoned law, and turned to mathematics. At the age of twenty-two he published a Traité de calcul intégral (Paris, 1751), which brought him in 1756 election to the Royal Society of London. In 1756 he was sent to Canada as aide-de-camp to Montcalm, and he served in Canada during the campaigns of 1756-8. He was wounded at Ticonderoga, and was sent while convalescent to France to secure reinforcements. He returned to Quebec shortly before the arrival of the British fleet in April, 1759; and he played an important part in the defence of Quebec. Though blamed for the failure to reinforce the post at Wolfe's Cove before the battle of the Plains of Abraham, he was undoubtedly one of the most brilliant of Montcalm's officers. He returned to France in 1761, and later entered the naval service of France. Between 1766 and 1769 he made a voyage around the world; during the American Revolution he served in the French navy, and he commanded the advance guard of the French fleet in the action off Chesapeake bay in 1780. He retired from active service in 1790; and, though a royalist, survived the French Revolution, and won the favour of Napoleon. Napoleon granted him a pension, and appointed him a senator, a count of the Empire, and a grand officer of the Legion of Honour. He died in Paris on August 31, 1811. He was the author of Un voyage autour du monde (Paris, 1771), Journal de l'expédition d'Amérique, published in the Rapport de l'Archiviste de Québec, 1923-4, and some papers in the early volumes of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques. For an account of his life, see R. de Kerallain, La jeunesse de Bougainville (Paris, 1896) and M. Thiéry, Bougainville, soldier and sailor (London, 1932).

[Consult the biography of Bougainville at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography]

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 Source : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., "Bougainville", dans The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. 1, Toronto, University Associates, 1948, 398p., p. 264.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College