Home ° 2017


° Angers ° Avignon ° Bordeaux ° Boulogne (° Eustace the Monk) ° Brest ° Caen ° Callais ° Cannes ° Cette ° Cherbourg ° Corsica ° Dieppe ° Gironde ° Le Havre ° LeMans ° Limoges ° Lyon Marseilles ° Monaco ° Montpellier ° Nantes ° Nice ° Orleans ° Paris ° Reims ° Rouen ° Toulon ° La Rochelle
° Napoleon Bonaparte

Boulogne and Eustace the Monk

The Port of Boulogne-sur-Mer was a Roman harbor called Gesoriacum and, later, Bononia. Roman Emperor Claudius used the town as a base for his invasion of Britain in 43 AD.

By the middle of the 16th Century, the port was held by England's Henry VIII until France bought it back for 400 thousand crowns in 1550 as a term of the Peace of Boulogne.

Boulogne-sur-Mer, 1920s.

It was the embarkation point for Napoleon's when he attempted to invade England in the early 19th Century. In 1815 when Napoleon was defeated and the French monarchy returned, people could again cross the channel from England for their holidays.

The first major harbor developments came in the early 19th Century when Napoleon planned his invasion of England. He excavated a turning basin and constructed a quay. He built several forts and an inner harbor. After Napoleon abandoned the plan, the port remained abandoned for a couple of decades.

In 1822, the first steamship arrived at the docks from Dover, and work on port infrastructure began again in the 1830s. During the 1830s, new jetties were built, the harbor was dredged, and the Marguet Bridge was completed. In 1843, the transport route for passengers between the Port of Boulogne-sur-Mer and Folkestone, England, began operations.

Napoleon at Boulogne sur Mer.

After 1850, port development efforts kept pace with the steady growth in traffic. In the 1860s, a new wet dock, the Napoleon Basin, was completed. During the 1860s and 1870s, a shelter was constructed to make the port was made accessible during all weather conditions, and the harbor was dredged to remove silt and accommodate larger vessels. In 1889, the Port of Boulogne-sur-Mer welcomed the first ship to sail from the United States. Soon, cruise ships were arriving from across the world.

June 14, 1874, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.


LONDON, June 13. Paris Moniteur holds England responsible for the escape of Rochefort as a violation of international laws.

The Escape of Henri De Rochefort
March 10, 1876
Edouard Manet

The Escape of Henri de Rouchefort.

Rochefort, a French politician, was born in Paris on January 30, 1830. After various positions, including medical student, hotel clerk, playwright and journalist, Rochefort started a paper of his own, La Lanterne. The paper was seized on its eleventh appearance.

In August 1868 Rochefort was fined 10,000 francs, with a year's imprisonment. He then published his paper in Brussels; from there it was smuggled into France. Printed in French, English, Spanish, Italian and German, it went the round of Europe. In 1874, he was again running from prosecutors.

September 7, 1878, IRON, London, United Kingdom

Boulogne Deep-Water Harbour.

Tomorrow and Monday have been set apart at Boulogne-sur-Mer for fetes, to commemorate the recent passing of the vote by the French Chamber and Senate for the creation of a deep-water harbour at that port. The new harbour will be bounded on the north-east by the existing harbour and will extend three kilometers west, the coast-line forming its base, and the stone breakwaters will inclose a large portion of Boulogne Roads. Travellers by the Folkestone and Boulogne route are well acquainted with a windmill on the cliff west of Boulogne and the signal station in an old fort close to the fishing village of Portel. At a point midway between the windmill and signal station, at the foot of the cliff, a solid stone breakwater will extend out to sea, first running 1350 metres north-west, where it will reach a depth of eight metres (26 feet), describe a curve of 200 metres, and then run 600 metres north-north-east, following the line of eight metres' soundings. Having attained a length of 2150 metres (7032 feet), it will terminate with a lighthouse. Here there will be an opening for the entry of vessels; then in a north-east line will be another breakwater 500 metres long, with a lighthouse at each end, and then another entrance 250 metres across.

The existing east jetty of Boulogne harbour will be extended 1440 metres (4710 feet) in a curved line towards the breakwater, where it will terminate in a lighthouse. The two breakwaters will be made by casting large blocks of stone into the, sea, extending over a wide base, gradually diminishing up to the level of low-water mark, on which will be built a broad wall or quay of stone filled in with Portland cement, rising two metres above the level of the highest spring tides, and a stone parapet two metres higher on the sea side. On the outer side of these breakwaters, where the lower portion of the wall joins the foundations, the junction will be additionally protected from the action of the sea by layers or belts of artificial stone blocks measuring 8 to 10 cubic metres each.

Inside deposits, as also those brought down by the river Liane, calculated at from 30,000 to 40,000 cubic metres annually, will easily be removed by dredging. The new harbour, exclusive of the foreshore, will contain a water area of 137 hectares (339 acres), into the centre of which will extend a steam-packet quay, 400 metres long by 200 metres broad, on which will be erected a railway station, a custom-house, buffet, waiting-rooms, & c, the whole to be connected with the shore by two lines of rail, passing between the sand battery and the Chateau Huguet. The port will be dredged to a depth of from 8 to 5 metres at low tide: The new port is due to the initiative of M. Alexandre Adam, of Boulogne, who, in 1826, founded in his native city the first Chamber of Commerce in France, since which time he has taken the lead in all important matters connected with Boulogne and international communications between England and France. M. Alexandre Adam, now in his 88th year, with unimpaired faculties, sees the great wish of his life about to become a reality.

The plans and estimates of the new port have been made by M. Stoecklin, chief engineer of the coast of the Pas-de-Calais, who will direct their execution, the estimated cost of which is 17,000,000 fr. ($680,000), which has been voted. The time required for the execution of the work will be fifteen years, but it is hoped that a portion will be sufficiently advanced in five years to insure a steam-packet service at all hours between France and England.

The French resumed emigration to America in the 19th century. Many were political refugees fleeing from the failed 1848 revolution. In 1851 over 20,000 French immigrants arrived in the United States and the French newspaper, Le Republican, began to be published in New York. There were also French-language newspapers published in Philadelphia and Charleston and in San Francisco in the 1850s.

The loss of Alsace-Lorraine during the Franco-Prussian War also resulted in an increase in French immigration. Most preferred city life and settled in New York, Chicago and New Orleans. However, a few French settlements were established during the Middle West and a quite large French population enjoyed San Francisco during its most formative years.

Eustace the Monk

Eustace the Monk. Author Glyn S. Burgess

Sometimes known as the Black Monk, Eustace the Monk was a younger son of a lesser noble family in Boulogne. He entered the monastery of St Vulmar in nearby Samer where, it is alleged, he gained a reputation for using bad language and gambling, which perhaps explains why he became known as the Black Monk.

Initially, he served the Count of Boulogne, but was eventually outlawed and turned to piracy. Around 1190 Eustace s father was murdered. Eustace abruptly left the monastery perhaps to claim his inheritance, but also to pursue Hainfrois de Heresinghen, the alleged murderer.

The two men ultimately fought a duel, though they both took the less than courageous precaution of nominated champions to represent them.

In 1205 Eustace crossed the English Channel and somehow engineered a meeting with King John. He obviously impressed the King because he found himself in command of 30 galleys and charged with attacking the coasts of Normandy, where John had just lost his former possessions.

In September of that year he was involved in the expedition which expelled French forces from Jersey.

Liking the look of the Channel Islands, he set up a base in Sark and operated as a pirate in the Channel. He and those he attracted soon came to control the Straits of Dover. Like many early pirates he turned mercenary and sold the services of his squadrons to the highest bidder. From 1205-1212, he served King John of England in his war with Philip II of France. He raided the French coastline and seized the Channel Islands as a base of operations.

King John outlawed Eustace for indiscriminant pillaging of English subjects, but soon forgave the pirate, as his services were too important. He is said to have built a palace in London and sent his daughter to school with the noble girls or England.

Eustace and several other French pirates switched sides in 1212. Serving the French he attacked Folkestone to avenge the English seizure of his Channel Island bases. During the English civil war that broke out in 1215, he lent aid to the rebels and helped to transport and protect the troops of Prince Louis of France when they invaded southern England.

The war continued after King John died in 1216 and many of the rebels deserted over to the side of King Henry III. In 1217, while transporting additional troops Eustace and his ships met an English fleet. Using powdered lime the English blinded the French and boarded.

The battle ended with the English being victorious. Several French nobles were ransomed, but Eustace was beheaded on the spot.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

Kindly Kindly Donate.


DALevy @


Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

Please inform us if you link from your site. Please do NOT link from your site unless your site specifically relates to immigration in the 1800s, family history, maritime history, international seaports, and/or California history.