Place:Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, France


Alt namesCondevicnumsource: GRI Photo Archive, Authority File (1998) p 1409
Condivicnumsource: GRI Photo Archive, Authority File (1998) p 1409
Condivincumsource: Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1984)
Namnetessource: Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1984)
Nantesource: Cassell's Italian Dictionary (1983) p 333
Naonedsource: Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1984); Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1988) p 810
Coordinates47.233°N 1.583°W
Located inLoire-Atlantique, France
Contained Places
Former municipality
Chantenay-sur-Loire ( 1908 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Nantes (, ; Gallo: or  ; ) is a city in Loire-Atlantique on the Loire, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the sixth largest in France, with a population of 314,138 in Nantes proper and a metropolitan area of nearly 1 million inhabitants (2018). With Saint-Nazaire, a seaport on the Loire estuary, Nantes forms one of the main north-western French metropolitan agglomerations.

It is the administrative seat of the Loire-Atlantique department and the Pays de la Loire region, one of 18 regions of France. Nantes belongs historically and culturally to Brittany, a former duchy and province, and its omission from the modern administrative region of Brittany is controversial.

Nantes was identified during classical antiquity as a port on the Loire. It was the seat of a bishopric at the end of the Roman era before it was conquered by the Bretons in 851. Although Nantes was the primary residence of the 15th-century dukes of Brittany, Rennes became the provincial capital after the 1532 union of Brittany and France. During the 17th century, after the establishment of the French colonial empire, Nantes gradually became the largest port in France and was responsible for nearly half of the 18th-century French Atlantic slave trade. The French Revolution resulted in an economic decline, but Nantes developed robust industries after 1850 (chiefly in shipbuilding and food processing). Deindustrialisation in the second half of the 20th century spurred the city to adopt a service economy.

In 2020, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network ranked Nantes as a Gamma world city. It is the third-highest-ranking city in France, after Paris and Lyon. The Gamma category includes cities such as Algiers, Orlando, Porto, Turin and Leipzig. Nantes has been praised for its quality of life, and it received the European Green Capital Award in 2013. The European Commission noted the city's efforts to reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions, its high-quality and well-managed public transport system and its biodiversity, with of green space and several protected Natura 2000 areas.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Prehistory and antiquity

The first inhabitants of what is now Nantes settled during the Bronze Age, later than in the surrounding regions (which have Neolithic monuments absent from Nantes). Its first inhabitants were apparently attracted by small iron and tin deposits in the region's subsoil. The area exported tin, mined in Abbaretz and Piriac, as far as Ireland. After about 1,000 years of trading, local industry appeared around 900 BC; remnants of smithies dated to the eighth and seventh centuries BC have been found in the city. Nantes may have been the major Gaulish settlement of Corbilo, on the Loire estuary, which was mentioned by the Greek historians Strabo and Polybius.

Its history from the seventh century to the Roman conquest in the first century BC is poorly documented, and there is no evidence of a city in the area before the reign of Tiberius in the first century AD. During the Gaulish period it was the capital of the Namnetes people, who were allied with the Veneti in a territory extending to the northern bank of the Loire. Rivals in the area included the Pictones, who controlled the area south of the Loire in the city of Ratiatum (present-day Rezé) until the end of the second century AD. Ratiatum, founded under Augustus, developed more quickly than Nantes and was a major port in the region. Nantes began to grow when Ratiatum collapsed after the Germanic invasions.

Because tradesmen favoured inland roads rather than Atlantic routes, Nantes never became a large city under Roman occupation. Although it lacked amenities such as a theatre or an amphitheatre, the city had sewers, public baths and a temple dedicated to Mars Mullo. After an attack by German tribes in 275, Nantes' inhabitants built a wall; this defense also became common in surrounding Gaulish towns. The wall in Nantes, enclosing , was one of the largest in Gaul.

Christianity was introduced during the third century. The first local martyrs (Donatian and Rogatian) were executed in 288–290, and a cathedral was built during the fourth century.

Middle Ages

Like much of the region, Nantes was part of the Roman Empire during the early Middle Ages. Although many parts of Brittany experienced significant Breton immigration (loosening ties to Rome), Nantes remained allied with the empire until its collapse in the fifth century. Around 490, the Franks under Clovis I captured the city (alongside eastern Brittany) from the Visigoths after a sixty-day siege; it was used as a stronghold against the Bretons. Under Charlemagne in the eighth century the town was the capital of the Breton March, a buffer zone protecting the Carolingian Empire from Breton invasion. The first governor of the Breton March was Roland, whose feats were mythologized in the body of literature known as the Matter of France. After Charlemagne's death in 814, Breton armies invaded the March and fought the Franks. Nominoe (a Breton) became the first duke of Brittany, seizing Nantes in 850. Discord marked the first decades of Breton rule in Nantes as Breton lords fought among themselves, making the city vulnerable to Viking incursions. The most spectacular Viking attack in Nantes occurred in 843, when Viking warriors killed the bishop but did not settle in the city at that time. Nantes became part of the Viking realm in 919, but the Norse were expelled from the town in 937 by Alan II, Duke of Brittany.

Feudalism took hold in France during the 10th and 11th centuries, and Nantes was the seat of a county founded in the ninth century. Until the beginning of the 13th century, it was the subject of succession crises which saw the town pass several times from the Dukes of Brittany to the counts of Anjou (of the House of Plantagenet). During the 14th century, Brittany experienced a war of succession which ended with the accession of the House of Montfort to the ducal throne. The Montforts, seeking emancipation from the suzerainty of the French kings, reinforced Breton institutions. They chose Nantes, the largest town in Brittany (with a population of over 10,000), as their main residence and made it the home of their council, their treasury and their chancery. Port traffic, insignificant during the Middle Ages, became the city's main activity. Nantes began to trade with foreign countries, exporting salt from Bourgneuf, wine, fabrics and hemp (usually to the British Isles). The 15th century is considered Nantes' first golden age. The reign of Francis II saw many improvements to a city in dire need of repair after the wars of succession and a series of storms and fires between 1387 and 1415. Many buildings were built or rebuilt (including the cathedral and the castle), and the University of Nantes, the first in Brittany, was founded in 1460.

Modern era

The marriage of Anne of Brittany to Charles VIII of France in 1491 began the unification of France and Brittany which was ratified by Francis I of France in 1532. The union ended a long feudal conflict between France and Brittany, reasserting the king's suzerainty over the Bretons. In return for surrendering its independence, Brittany retained its privileges. Although most Breton institutions were maintained, the unification favoured Rennes (the site of ducal coronations). Rennes received most legal and administrative institutions, and Nantes kept a financial role with its Chamber of Accounts. During the French Wars of Religion from 1562 to 1598, the city was a Catholic League stronghold. The Duke of Mercœur, governor of Brittany, strongly opposed the succession of the Protestant Henry IV of France to the throne of France in 1589. The Duke created an independent government in Nantes, allying with Spain and pressing for independence from France. Despite initial successes with Spanish aid, in 1598 he submitted to Henry IV (who had by then converted to Catholicism); the Edict of Nantes (legalising Protestantism in France) was signed in the town, concluding the French wars of religion. Nonetheless, the town remained fervently Catholic (by contrast to nearby La Rochelle), and the local Protestant community did not number more than 1,000.

Coastal navigation and the export of locally produced goods (salt, wine and fabrics) dominated the local economy around 1600. During the mid-17th century, the siltation of local salterns and a fall in wine exports compelled Nantes to find other activities. Local shipowners began importing sugar from the French West Indies (Martinique, Guadeloupe and Saint-Domingue) in the 1640s, which became very profitable after protectionist reforms implemented by Jean-Baptiste Colbert prevented the import of sugar from Spanish colonies (which had dominated the market). In 1664 Nantes was France's eighth-largest port, and it was the largest by 1700. Plantations in the colonies needed labour to produce sugar, rum, tobacco, indigo dye, coffee and cocoa, and Nantes shipowners began trading African slaves in 1706. The port was part of the triangular trade: ships went to West Africa to buy slaves, slaves were sold in the French West Indies, and the ships returned to Nantes with sugar and other exotic goods. From 1707 to 1793, Nantes was responsible for 42 percent of the French slave trade; its merchants sold about 450,000 African slaves in the West Indies.

Manufactured goods were more lucrative than raw materials during the 18th century. There were about fifteen sugar refineries in the city around 1750 and nine cotton mills in 1786. Nantes and its surrounding area were the main producers of French printed cotton fabric during the 18th century, and the Netherlands was the city's largest client for exotic goods. Although trade brought wealth to Nantes, the city was confined by its walls; their removal during the 18th century allowed it to expand. Neoclassical squares and public buildings were constructed, and wealthy merchants built sumptuous hôtels particuliers.

French Revolution

The French Revolution initially received some support in Nantes, a bourgeois city rooted in private enterprise. On 18 July 1789, locals seized the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany in an imitation of the storming of the Bastille. Rural western France, Catholic and conservative, strongly opposed the abolition of the monarchy and the submission of the clergy. A rebellion in the neighbouring Vendée began in 1793, quickly spreading to surrounding regions. Nantes was an important Republican garrison on the Loire en route to England. On 29 June 1793, 30,000 Royalist troops from Vendée attacked the city on their way to Normandy (where they hoped to receive British support). Twelve thousand Republican soldiers resisted and the Battle of Nantes resulted in the death of Royalist leader Jacques Cathelineau. Three years later another Royalist leader, François de Charette, was executed in Nantes.

After the Battle of Nantes, the National Convention (which had founded the First French Republic) decided to purge the city of its anti-revolutionary elements. Nantes was seen by the convention as a corrupt merchant city; the local elite was less supportive of the French Revolution, since its growing centralisation reduced their influence. From October 1793 to February 1794, deputy Jean-Baptiste Carrier presided over a revolutionary tribunal notorious for cruelty and ruthlessness. Between 12,000 and 13,000 people (including women and children) were arrested, and 8,000 to 11,000 died of typhus or were executed by the guillotine, shooting or drowning. The Drownings at Nantes were intended to kill large numbers of people simultaneously, and Carrier called the Loire "the national bathtub".

The French Revolution was disastrous for the local economy. The slave trade nearly disappeared because of the abolition of slavery and the independence of Saint-Domingue, and Napoleon's Continental Blockade decimated trade with other European countries. Nantes never fully recovered its 18th-century wealth; the port handled 43,242 tons of goods in 1807, down from 237,716 tons in 1790.


Outlawed by the French Revolution, the slave trade re-established itself as Nantes' major source of income in the first decades of the 19th century. It was the last French port to conduct the illegal Atlantic trade, continuing it until about 1827. The 19th-century slave trade may have been as extensive as that of the previous century, with about 400,000 slaves deported to the colonies. Businessmen took advantage of local vegetable production and Breton fishing to develop a canning industry during the 1820s, but canning was eclipsed by sugar imported from Réunion in the 1840s and 1850s. Nantes tradesmen received a tax rebate on Réunion sugar, which was lucrative until disease devastated the cane plantations in 1863. By the mid-19th century, Le Havre and Marseille were the two main French ports; the former traded with America and the latter with Asia. They had embraced the Industrial Revolution, thanks to Parisian investments; Nantes lagged behind, struggling to find profitable activities. Nostalgic for the pre-revolutionary golden age, the local elite had been suspicious of political and technological progress during the first half of the 19th century. In 1851, after much debate and opposition, Nantes was connected to Paris by the Tours–Saint-Nazaire railway.

Nantes became a major industrial city during the second half of the 19th century with the aid of several families who invested in successful businesses. In 1900, the city's two main industries were food processing and shipbuilding. The former, primarily the canning industry, included the biscuit manufacturer LU and the latter was represented by three shipyards which were among the largest in France. These industries helped maintain port activity and facilitated agriculture, sugar imports, fertilizer production, machinery and metallurgy, which employed 12,000 people in Nantes and its surrounding area in 1914. Because large, modern ships had increased difficulty traversing the Loire to reach Nantes, a new port in Saint-Nazaire had been established at the mouth of the estuary in 1835. Saint-Nazaire, primarily developed for goods to be before being sent to Nantes, also built rival shipyards. Saint-Nazaire surpassed Nantes in port traffic for the first time in 1868. Reacting to the growth of the rival port, Nantes built a canal parallel to the Loire to remain accessible to large ships. The canal, completed in 1892, was abandoned in 1910 because of the efficient dredging of the Loire between 1903 and 1914.

Land reclamation

At the beginning of the 20th century, the river channels flowing through Nantes were increasingly perceived as hampering the city's comfort and economic development. Sand siltation required dredging, which weakened the quays; one quay collapsed in 1924. Embankments were overcrowded with railways, roads and tramways. Between 1926 and 1946, most of the channels were filled in and their water diverted. Large thoroughfares replaced the channels, altering the urban landscape. Feydeau and Gloriette Islands in the old town were attached to the north bank, and the other islands in the Loire were formed into the Isle of Nantes.

When the land reclamation was almost complete, Nantes was shaken by the air raids of the Second World War. The city was captured by Nazi Germany on 18 June 1940, during the Battle of France. Forty-eight civilians were executed in Nantes in 1941 in retaliation for the assassination of German officer Karl Hotz. They are remembered as "the 50 hostages" because the Germans initially planned to kill 50 people. British bombs first hit the city in August 1941 and May 1942. The main attacks occurred on 16 and 23 September 1943, when most of Nantes' industrial facilities and portions of the city centre and its surrounding area were destroyed by American bombs. About 20,000 people were left homeless by the 1943 raids, and 70,000 subsequently left the city. Allied raids killed 1,732 people and destroyed 2,000 buildings in Nantes, leaving a further 6,000 buildings unusable. The Germans abandoned the city on 12 August 1944, and it was recaptured without a fight by the French Forces of the Interior and the U.S. Army.


The postwar years were a period of strikes and protests in Nantes. A strike organised by the city's 17,500 metallurgists during the summer of 1955 to protest salary disparities between Paris and the rest of France deeply impacted the French political scene, and their action was echoed in other cities. Nantes saw other large strikes and demonstrations during the May 1968 events, when marches drew about 20,000 people into the streets. The 1970s global recession brought a large wave of deindustrialisation to France, and Nantes saw the closure of many factories and the city's shipyards. The 1970s and 1980s were primarily a period of economic stagnation for Nantes. During the 1980s and 1990s its economy became service-oriented and it experienced economic growth under Jean-Marc Ayrault, the city's mayor from 1989 to 2012. Under Ayrault's administration, Nantes used its quality of life to attract service firms. The city developed a rich cultural life, advertising itself as a creative place near the ocean. Institutions and facilities (such as its airport) were re-branded as "Nantes Atlantique" to highlight this proximity. Local authorities have commemorated the legacy of the slave trade, promoting dialogue with other cultures.

Nantes has been noted in recent years for its climate of social unrest, marked by frequent and often violent clashes between protesters and police. Tear gas is frequently deployed during protests. The city has a significant ultra-left radical scene, owing in part to the proximity of the ZAD de Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Masked rioters have repeatedly ransacked shops, offices and public transport infrastructure. The in June 2019 has led to accusations of police brutality and cover-ups.

Personnes mentionnées dans les actes à cause de leur fonction locale

(Cette liste doit être établie uniquement à partir de sources que chacun peut facilement vérifier, comme les Archives Départementales en ligne, ou le dépôt dans la base WeRelate d'actes numérisés - par photo ou copie scannée.)


Adjoints au maire


(paroisse Notre-Dame)

(paroisse St-Clément)

(paroisse St-Denis)

(paroisse St-Donatien)

(paroisse St-Jacques)

(paroisse St-Jean)

(paroisse St-Laurent)

(paroisse St-Léonard)

(paroisse St-Nicolas)

(paroisse St-Saturnin)

(paroisse St-Similien)

(paroisse St-Vincent)

(paroisse Ste-Croix)

(paroisse Ste-Radegonde)

Instituteurs, maîtres ou recteurs d'école

Médecins, chirurgiens, officiers de santé



Patronymes courants


Les surnoms n'ont pas qu'une fonction descriptive ou ironique. Ils permettent d'identifier des individus portant le même prénom et le même patronyme.

External links

  • For more information, see the FR Wikipedia article Nantes.

Research Tips

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Nantes. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.