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Jacques-François de Mombeton de Brouillan
Governor of Plaisance, 1690-1701

Born in 1651 into a family of Protestant noblemen, Jacques-François de Mombeton de Brouillan enlisted as member of the colonial regular troops and, in 1687, became a captain in the French forces serving in Canada. In Québec, he renounced Protestantism and was baptized a Roman Catholic.

After returning to France in 1689, he was designated governor of Plaisance (Placentia) on June 1, 1690. He arrived there aboard the Joly in the summer of 1691 with 23 soldiers and roughly an equal number of Basque men, or engagés, who had enlisted to help the fishermen. As the colony was in a desperate state, he was instructed to revive commerce, erect fortifications and form an alliance with the natives. In order to renew commercial ties with Canada, he sent a ship to Québec, and life at Plaisance began to return to normal. In 1691 the population of the colony was 83, excluding engagés.

Despite accusations that Brouillan made the garrison work in the fishery and collected a levy on their catch, he defended the settlement three times against British attacks, in 1691, 1692 and 1693. In the attack of 1692, Brouillan remarkably managed to hold off the attackers, even though the 300 cannon balls fired by the French paled in comparison to the 2,000 shots fired by the British.

After a visit to France in 1695, Brouillan was instructed to team up with Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville. In the winter of 1696-1697 they attacked, captured and burned St. John's, the English capital. Then throughout the winter d'Iberville raided and destroyed most English settlements in Newfoundland.

In 1697, Brouillan returned to France because of health problems. Joseph de Monic governed Placentia in his absence, although Brouillan continued to draw on his salary. In March 1701, Brouillan was appointed the commandant of Acadia. Four years later, on September 22, 1705, he died at Chedabouctou (Guysborough, Nova Scotia).

August, 2000.

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