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St Malo

ST MALO, a seaporl of weslern France, capital of an arrondissement in thedeparlment of llle-et-Vilaine, 51 m.N.N.W. of Rennes by rail. Pop. (1906) town, 8727; commune, 10,647. St Malo is siluated on the English Channel on the right bank of the estuary of the Ranee at its mouth. It is a garrison town surrounded by ramparls which include portions dating from the 14th, isth and f6th cenluries, bul as a whole were rebuill at the end of the 1yth century according to Vauban's plans, and restored in the igth cenlury. The mosl importanl of the gales are lhal of Si Vincenl and the Grande Porte, defended by two massive isth-cenlury towers. The granite island on which St Malo stands communicates with the mainland on the northeast by a causeway known as the " Sillon " (furrow), 650 ft. long, and al one time only 46 ft. broad, though now three times that breadth. In the sea round about lie other granite rocks, which have been turned to account in the defences of the coast; on the islet of the Grand Bey is the tomb (1848) of Frangois Auguste, vicomte de Chateaubriand, a native of the town. The rocks and beach are continually changing their appearance, owing to the violence of the tides; spring- tides sometimes rise 50 ft. above low-water level, and the sea sometimes washes over the ramparts. The harbour of St Malo lies south of the town in the creek separating it from the neighbouring town of St Servan. Including the contiguous and connected basins belonging more especially to St Servan, it comprises an outer basin, a tidal harbour, two wet-docks and an inner reservoir, affording a total length of quayage of over 2 m. The wet-docks have a minimum depth of 1310 15 ft. on sill, but the tidal harbour is dry at low water. The vessels entered at St Malo-St Servan in 1906 numbered 1004 of 279,217 tons; cleared 1023 of 298,720 tons. The great bulk of trade is with England, the exports comprising large quantities of fruit, dairy-produce, early potatoes and other vegetables and slate. The chief imports are coal and timber. The London and South-Western railway maintains a regular service of steamers between Southampton and St Malo. The port carries on shipbuilding and equips a fleet for the Newfoundland cod-fisheries. The industries also include ironand copper-founding and the manufacture of portable forges and other iron goods, cement, rope and artificial manures. The town is the seat of a sub-prefect and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce. Communication between the quays of St Malo and St Servan is maintained by a travelling bridge.

St Malo is largely frequented for sea-bathing, but not so much as Dinard, on the opposite side of the Ranee. The town presents a tortuous maze of narrow streets and small squares lined with high and sometimes quaint buildings (e.g. the 16th-century house in which Rene Duguay-Trouin was born). Above all rises the stone spire (1859) of the cathedral, a building begun in the 12th century but added to and rebuilt at several subsequent periods. The castle (isth cent.), which defends the town towards the " Sillon," is flanked with four towers, one of which, the great keep, is an older and loftier structure, breached in 1378 by the duke of Lancaster. St Malo has statues to Chateaubriand, Duguay-Trouin and the privateer Robert Surcouf (1773-1827), natives of the town. The museum contains remains of the ship " La Petite Hermine," in which Jacques Cartier sailed to the St Lawrence (q.v.), and a natural history collection.

In the 6th century the island on which St Malo stands was the retreat of Abbot Aaron, who gave asylum in his monastery to Malo (Maclovius or Malovius), a Cambrian priest, who came hither to escape the episcopal dignity, but afterwards became bishop of Aleth (now St Servan); the see was transferred to St Malo only in the 12th century. Henceforth the bishops of St Malo claimed the temporal sovereignty over the town, a claim which was resolutely disputed by the dukes of Brittany. The policy of the citizens themselves, who thus gained substantial powers of self-government, was directed by consistent hostility to England and consequently to the dukes. They took the side of Bishop Josselin de Rohan and his successor in their quarrel with dukes John IV. and John V., and it was not till 1424 that John V., by the agency of Charles VI. of France and with the sanction of the pope, finally established his authority over the town. la 1488 St Malo unsuccessfully resisted the French troops on behalf of the duke. During the troubles of the League the citizens hoped to establish a republican government, and on the nth of March 1590 they exterminated the royal garrison and imprisoned their bishop and the canons. But four years later they surrendered to Henry IV. of France. During the following century the maritime power of St Malo attained some importance. In November 1693 ar| d July 1695 the English vainly bombarded it. The people of St Malo had in the course of a single war captured upwards of 1500 vessels (several of them laden with gold and other treasure) and burned a considerable number more. Enriched by these successes and by the wealth they drew from the New World, the shipowners of the town not only supplied the king with the means necessary for the famous Rio de Janeiro expedition conducted by Duguay-Trouin in 1711, but also lent him large sums for carrying on the war of the Spanish Succession. In June 1758 the English sent a third expedition against St Malo under the command of Charles Spencer, third duke of Marlborough, and inflicted great loss on the royal shipping in the harbour of St Servan. But another expedition undertaken in the following September received a complete check. In 1778 and during the wars of the Empire the St Malo privateers resumed their activity. In 1789 St Servan was separated from St Malo and in 1801 St Malo lost its bishopric. During the Reign of Terror the town was the scene of sanguinary executions.

See M. J. Poulain, Hisloire de Saint-Malo . . . d'apres Us documents inedits (2nd ed., Lille, 1887).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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