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French Robert SURCOUF

French corsair

Source :  Base collaborative Pierfit

Born: on December 12, 1773 in Saint-Malo, Brittany
Died: on July 08, 1827 in Saint-Malo, Brittany


Surcouf was born in Saint-Malo, a fortified town in Brittany, traditionally a corsair stronghold. He attended a religious school and was educated by the Jesuits. At 13, he escaped his teachers and stole a small craft to prove his ability to sail; he was subsequently caught in a tempest and had to be rescued.

At age 15, he enlisted on a merchantman to India.

In 1792 he came back to Saint-Malo and discovered the political changes France had undergone in the wake of the French Revolution. He sailed to Île de France (present-day Mauritius) in August on a commercial brig, and was informed on his arrival of the outbreak of war against Britain. Île de France was blockaded by two British ships: the 50-gun HMS Centurion, and the 44-gun HMS Diomede, commanded by Commodore Osborn. Surcouf was made a second officer of the 40-gun frigate Cybèle, which, with 32-gun frigate Prudente and brig Coureur engaged and repelled the attackers. Surcouf was one of the heroes of the day.

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