Île-d'Aix is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department off the west coast of France. It occupies the territory of small island of Île d'Aix in the Atlantic. It is a popular place for tourist day-trips during the summer months.
During the Roman period, it seems the island was connected to the continent at low tide. It finally took its current shape around 1500.
At the end of the 12th century, France and England fought for the possession of the island. Until 1286, the island was located at the boundary between the French and the English Saintonge, formed by the estuary of the Charente River. During the Hundred years war, Aix became English for about 15 years.
In 1665, nearby Rochefort was established as a strategic harbour for the Kingdom, leading to the construction of many fortifications in the area. Vauban built numerous fortifications on the island, which Ferry completed in 1704.
During the Seven Years' War (1756–1763) the British captured the island in 1757 and destroyed its ramparts as part of the attempted Raid on Rochefort, before withdrawing several weeks later. The island of Île-d'Aix was again captured by British forces in 1759 following the Battle of Quiberon Bay, and occupied until the end of the war in 1763. The fortifications were then rebuilt by several French officers, including Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, the author of Les Liaisons dangereuses.
Napoleon famously visited the island in 1808 and gave directions to reinforce the fortifications. He ordered the construction of a house for the commander of the stronghold (today's "Musée Napoléon"), and the construction of Fort Liedot, named after a colonel killed in the Russian campaign.
In 1809, the Battle of the Basque Roads (French: Bataille de l'Île d'Aix) was a naval battle off the island of Aix between the British Navy and the Atlantic Fleet of the French Navy. On the night of 11 April 1809 Captain Thomas Cochrane led a British fireship attack against a powerful squadron of French ships anchored in the Basque Roads. In the attack all but two of the French ships were driven ashore. The subsequent engagement lasted three days but failed to destroy the French fleet.