Family tree of BAILLI DE SUFFREN

French Ancien Régime

FrenchBorn Pierre André de SUFFREN

French admiral

Born on July 17, 1729 in Saint-Cannat, France , France

Died on December 08, 1788 in Paris, France

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Admiral comte Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez, bailli de Suffren, was the third son of the marquis de Saint Tropez, head of a family of nobles of Provence which claimed to have emigrated from Lucca in the 14th century. He was born in the Château de Saint-Cannat, near Aix-en-Provence in the present département of Bouches-du-Rhône. He was most famous for his campaign in the Indian Ocean, in which he inconclusively contended for supremacy against the established British power there, led by Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes.

The French navy and the Order of Malta (where he received the title Bailli de Suffren) offered the usual careers for the younger sons of noble families of the south of France who did not elect to go into the Church. The connection between the Order and the old French royal navy was close. Pierre André de Suffren was destined by his parents to belong to both. He entered the close and aristocratic corps of French naval officers as a "garde de la marine"--cadet or midshipman, in October 1743, in the Solide, one of the line of battleships which took part in the confused engagement off Toulon in 1744. He was then in the Pauline in the squadron of M. Macnémara on a cruise in the West Indies.


In 1746 he went through the duc D'Anville's disastrous expedition to retake Cape Breton, which was ruined by shipwreck and plague. The following year, in 1747, he was taken prisoner by Hawke in the action with the French convoy in the Bay of Biscay. His biographer Cunat assures us that he found the British arrogance offensive. When peace was made in 1748 he went to Malta to perform the cruises with the galleys of the Order technically called "caravans," a reminiscence of the days when the knights protected the pilgrims going from Saint John d'Acre to Jerusalem. In Suffren's time this service rarely went beyond a peaceful tour among the Greek islands, but it also involved piracy suppression operations against the wily Barbary states of North Africa.

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Geographical origins

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