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Tue, 07.14.1626

The Compagnie de Saint-Christophe Slave Trading Company is Chartered

Official Document (copy)

*The charter of Compagnie de Saint-Christophe is affirmed on this date in 1626.  This was a slave-trading company chartered by France to exploit the island of Saint-Christophe, the present-day Saint Kitts and Nevis.

In 1625, a Pierre Bélain sieur d'Esnambuc, landed on Saint-Christophe with slaves. Returning to France, in 1626 he applied to and received a charter from Cardinal Richelieu to create the Compagnie de Saint-Christophe. Richelieu was a major stockholder in the company, contributing some 10,000 livres out of the company's capital stock of 45,000 livres. Though an active participant with the middle passage, the company was not very successful.

In 1635 Richelieu directed his councilor François Fouquet to reorganize the company under the name Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique, French for "Company of the American Islands". It was charged with colonizing Sainte-Christophe, Martinique, and Guadeloupe. On September 15, 1635, Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc, French governor of the island of St. Kitts, landed in the harbor of St. Pierre with 150 French settlers after being driven off St. Kitts by the English.

D'Esnambuc claimed Martinique for the French King Louis XIII and the French "Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique" (Company of the American Islands) and established the first European settlement at Fort Saint-Pierre (now St. Pierre). His nephew Jacques Dyel du Parquet assisted him and in 1637 became governor of the island. The company went bankrupt in 1674.

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