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Marseilles is the oldest town in France, settled by seafaring Phocaean Greeks from Asia Minor c.600 B.C.

Known as Massilia, it became an ally of Rome, which annexed it (49 B.C.) after it supported Pompeii against Caesar. Although the city retained its internal autonomy, it was of secondary importance during the Middle Ages. The upper city was ruled by its bishops from A.D. 539 until 1288, when it was reunited with the lower city, which had been governed independently by a city council since 1214. During the Crusades (11th 14th cent.) Marseilles was a commercial center and a transit port for the Holy Land. The city declined commercially in the first half of the 14th cent. Marseilles was taken by Charles I of Anjou (13th cent.) and then absorbed by Provence and bequeathed (with Provence) to the French crown in 1481.

In the 1700s commerce revived. Although the plague wiped out almost half its population in 1720, Marseilles continued to enjoy prosperity until the civil strife of the French Revolution.

In the 19th Century the French conquest of Algeria and the opening of the Suez Canal led to a tremendous expansion of the port of Marseilles and to the city's industrialization.

December 22, 1849, Placer Times, Sacramento City, California, U.S.A.

Crossing the Alps in a Balloon from Marseilles to Turin

M. Arban, a French aeronaut, ascended in his balloon from the Chateau des Fleurs (the Vauxhall of Marseilles) at half-past six in the evening of September 2d. and alighted at the village of Pion Forte, near Turin, the following morning, at half past two, having accomplished the distance, about 400 miles, in eight hours. The particulars of this voyage are related by M. Arban himself, in one of the Marseilles papers, as follows:

Calendrier Marseillais Travel Poster by David Dellepiane.
Calendrier Marseillais
Travel Poster
David Dellepiane

"I ascended from the Chateau des Fleurs on Sunday evening, the 2d inst. at half past six. At eight I was over the wood of Estoret. where I ascertained that I was at a height of 4,000 metres. The temperature of the air was cold, but dry; my centigrade thermometer marked four degrees below zero. The wind was south west, and sent me over Nice. For nearly two hours I was surrounded by very dense clouds; my cloak no longer sufficed to keep me warm; I suffered much from cold feet. I, nevertheless, determined to proceed and to traverse the Alps, from which I knew I was not far distant. My provision of ballast was enough to raise me above the highest peaks. The cold gradually increased, the wind became steady, and the moon lighted me like the sun.

I was at the foot of the Alps; the snows, cascades, rivers, all were sparkling; the ravines and rocks produced masses of darkness, which served as shadows to the gigantic picture. The wind now interrupted the regularity of my course. I was occasionally obliged to ascend, in order to pass over the peaks. I reached the summit of the Alps at eleven o'clock, and as the horizon became clear, and my course regular, I began to think of supping. I was now at an elevation of 4,600 metres. It was indispensably necessary for me now to pursue my journey, and reach Piedmont. Chaos only was under me, and to alight in these regions was impossible. After supper. I threw my empty bottle into the snow beneath, where, possibly, some adventurous traveler will one day find it, and be led to conclude that another before him had explored the same desert regions. At half-past one in the morning I was over Mount Misso, which I knew, having explored it in my first journey to Piedmont. There the Durance and the Po take their source.

I reconnoitred the position, and discovered the magnificent plains of the mountain. Before this certainty, a singular optical delusion, occasioned by the shining of the moon upon the snow, was like to make me think myself over the open sea. But as the southwest wind had not ceased to blow, I was convinced by this fact, as well as by others I had noticed, that I could not be over the open sea. The stars confirmed the accuracy of my compass, and the appearance of Mount Blanc satisfied me that I must be approaching Turin. Mount Blanc to my left, on a level with the top of which I was, being far above the clouds, resembled an immense block of crystal sparkling with a thousand fires.

At a quarter to three, Mount Viso, which was behind me, proved to me that I was in the neighborhood of Turin. I determined to alight, which I did without any difficulty, having ballast enough to go much further. I alighted near a large farmyard, where I was surrounded by several watch-dogs, from whose caresses I was protected by my cloak. Their barking awakened the peasants, who were more surprised than frightened at seeing me. They admitted me to their house; informed me that it was half-past two, and that I was in the village of Pion-Forte, near Stubini, six kilometres from Turin. I passed the remainder of the night in the farmhouse, and in the morning the peasants accompanied me to the mayor, who delivered me a certificate, attesting my arrival, &c.

After packing up my balloon and car, I set out for Turin, where I arrived at nine in the morning. I immediately sat down to write to the director of the Chateau des Fleurs, in order to relieve the anxiety of my wife, friends, and the Marseilles public who might be interested about me.

I then repaired to M. Bois le Comte, the French ambassador, who gave me a passport. At eleven the same morning, I attended the church of la Madre di Dio, where a funeral service was performed in honor of Charles Albert's death. This ceremony was followed by a review of the national guard. In the evening. I went to the Theatre d'Angennes, where Sigier played Louis XI. I could hardly believe that the evening before I was at the Chateau des Fleurs, at Marseilles, 140 leagues off."

Discouraging French Emigration

April 7, 1858, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

The Chronicle of Monday publishes an article aimed at the Echo du Pacifique, which article, while it may do no harm, is yet very unjust. The Chronicle says:

"To discourage French emigration here, the Echo du Pacifique, a French journal, was established here under the auspices of M. Dillon and the French government, for the purpose of diffusing abroad unfavorable impressions of our State and our people. The Echo has labored zealously in the performance of this work, and, as the following extract will show,) not without effect. It is a well known fist that since the Echo was thoroughly established, the emigration to California from the continent of Europe has been very meagre."

The above paragraph is not only untrue, but absurd in many respects. The French government favored the emigration of Frenchmen to California when the Echo du Pacifique was established, and has never discouraged it. Mr. Dillon did all be could to invite French immigrants to this State, and one of the most interesting of the early papers, published oa California was an article in the Revue des Deux Mondes, about the beginning of 1850, from Mr. Dillon's pen. It was Mr. Dillon's interest as Consul, and Mr. Derbec's as editor, to induce as large an immigration from France as possible; and to charge them with laboring to discourage immigration is to say that the ambitious and able diplomatist was endeavoring to weaken his own political importance, and that the prudent editor was trying to prevent money from coming into his purse.

Every man familiar with the history of the country knows that the immigration from France stopped because the French miners were driven out from many mining districts, particularly in Calaveras county, in 1852 and 1853; and because of the passage of the laws to levy heavy duty taxxes on all foreign miners.

What evidence has the Chronicle that the Echo was established to discourage French immigration? It is true the Chronicle publishes an extract from a letter written in Chile, saying that an article published in the Echo, describing a lynching affair Yolo county, had been republished in Valparaiso, and had created an impression on the public mind there very unfavorable to the Americans. Suppose the Echo did publish such an article: before the Chronicle has a good right to complain, it should show that the article was not copied from an American paper, and secondly, that the article was not true. The Chronicle does not attempt to prove anything of the sort; but assumes everything, and after making the charge, leaves it to the Echo to prove itself innocent.

If the Chronicle asserts that the general tone of the Echo is hostile to Americanism, and that it seeks every opportunity to show up the deeds of violence done here in their strongest light, we assert to the contrary.

The making of the charge against the Echo without furnishing any evidence to support it, is about as fair as it would be for the Echo to assert that the editor of the Chronicle had left his native town between two days to avoid an arrest for an infamous crime — adding, that if he were not guilty, he might prove it.

Such an assertion would be most false and unjust, but wherein would it differ, save in the amount of injustice, from the charge made by the Chronicle against the Echo! We speak thus for the Echo because we have been in the habit of reading the paper regularly since its establishment, and know the charge to be untrue; and consider that a word in its favor from us will be no more than is due from a friend, and may reach many who never see the Echo.

European Impressionists in Los Angeles

December 13, 1933, Corsair

Los Angeles Museum Offers Fine Art Exhibit


The question "What Is Art?" seems to predominate at the Los Angeles Museum, where there is one of the finest art exhibits to be seen anywhere in the United States.

The seemingly un-orthodox work of Pablo Picasso continues to cause much comment among young art patrons. Picasso, as you may know, was the founder of the cubistic form of art, that has led the world to what is now called modernistic art. His famous "Harlequin" studies have been heralded by his followers as his best work, and those who understand the work of Picasso say that these studies are fine examples of line, color, and painting materials. All these paintings are on exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum, and are very interesting to see.

Marine Painters of France.

The painting "La Pendule," by Paul Cezanne has also caused quite some comment among followers of modern art. It is a simple painting of a clock, a sea-shell, a cup and saucer and a vase. Some say, "Why paint such simple things as these?" while others say that this is real art and it can be enjoyed by all, no matter whether they look at it from an artistic standpoint or not. No mztter what is said the painting is valued at 380,000 and must possess some merit or it would not. carry a figure such as that.

With its value placed at $55,000, the portrait "Le Pere Tanguya," by Van Gogh, furnishes much material for discussion. Some who view it say, "This is art"; while others call it "mauleyed," and say that the old man in the painting is wearing a ladies hat. However, judging from its value we would say that it is a very fine piece of work indeed.

Le Pere Tanguy, 1887. Vincent van Gogh.Le Pere Tanguy. c.1887. Vincent van Gogh.

Le Pere Tanguy. c. 1887. Vincent Van Gogh.

Countless visitors at the gallery are disappointed in the exhibit. They seem to expect a display of canvasses picturing beautiful subjects. But they can satisfy their taste by visiting the French paintings of the eighteenth century shown in one of the galleries. Several of these have received some very flattering comments, among them are the Boucher portrait of Mme. Pompadour, the Greuze paintings, and the Fragonard canvasses.

Gulf of Marseille, Paul Cezanne

The Bay of Marseille seen from L'Estaque was the first of Cézanne's work to enter the French national collections thanks to a bequest by Gustave Caillebotte in 1894. The painting disconcerted visitors to the Musée du Luxembourg, at the time a museum for living artists, but it fascinated painters. At the beginning of the century, Fauves and Cubist painters (Braque, Dufy, Derain), would also set up their easels on the shores at L'Estaque.

A Voyage to California, the Sandwich Islands, and Around the World in the Years 1826-1829Voyage to California, Sandwich Islands, around the world. Voyage to California, Sandwich Islands, Around the World. 1826-1829. Auguste Duhuat-Cilly.
Auguste Duhaut-Cilly, August Fruge (Editor, Translator), Neal Harlow (Editor, Translator).
While French sea captain Auguste Duhaut-Cilly may not have become wealthy from his around-the-world travels between 1826 and 1829, his trip has enriched historians interested in early nineteenth-century California. Because of a poor choice in goods to trade he found it necessary to spend nearly two years on the Alta and Baja California coasts before disposing of his cargo and returning to France. What was bad luck for Duhaut-Cilly was good luck for us, however, because he recorded his impressions of the region's natural history and human populations in a diary. This translation of Duhaut-Cilly's writing offers today's readers a rare eyewitness account of the pastoral society that was Mexican California, including the missions at the height of their power.

A veteran of the Napoleonic wars, Duhaut-Cilly was an educated man conversant in Spanish and English. He was also Catholic, which gave him special access to the California missions. Thus his diary allows the reader an insider's view of the padres' lives, including their dealings with the military. Through his eyes we see the region's indigenous people and how they were treated, and we're privy to his commentary on the behavior of the Californios.

This translation also contains Duhaut-Cilly's account of the Sandwich Islands portion of his voyage and provides an authentic rendering of life at sea during the early nineteenth century. In the spirit of Richard Henry Dana's Two Years before the Mast, Duhaut-Cilly's reflections are a historical gem for anyone with a love of personal narratives and original accounts of the past.

The French Revolution and Human Rights The French Revolution.:
(A Brief Documentary History
Bedford Series in History and Culture)
Author Lynn HuntAuthor Lynn Hunt., Eugen Weber Professor of Modern European History at University of California at Los Angeles, received her B.A. from Carleton College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

She is the author of Revolution and Urban Politics in Provincial France: Troyes and Reims, 1786-1790, Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution: With a New Preface, 20th Anniversary Edition (Studies on the History of Society and Culture, No. 1)French Revolution., The Family Romance of the French Revolution. and The Family Romance of the French RevolutionThe French Revolution.
She is also the co-author of Telling the Truth About History (1994), co-author of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution (2001, with CD-ROM), editor of The New Cultural History (1989), editor and translator of The French Revolution and Human Rights (1996), and co-editor of Histories: French Constructions of the Past (1995), Beyond the Cultural Turn (1999), and Human Rights and Revolutions (2000). She has been awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She served as president of the American Historical Association in 2002.

Rebel Daughters: Women and the French Revolution Women and the French Revolution.
(Publications of the University of California Humanities Research Institute)
Sara E. Melzer

General and Madame de Lafayette:
Partners in Liberty's Cause in the American and French Revolutions
General and Madame de Lafayette.General and Madame de Lafayette.
Jason Lane
This biography of French liberator Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) reveals not only how the nineteen-year-old bravely ventured to the infant United States to serve in its War of Independence, but also the iconoclast's contribution to the causes of social and economic justice in France, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Poland. The Marquise (1759-1807), born Adrienne de Noailles, shared the same controversial beliefs as her husband, supporting and defending him wholeheartedly despite ongoing political persecution-including the Marquis's exile in an Austrian dungeon and her own imprisonment (and near-execution) by French radicals.

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

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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.

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