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Louis de Freycinet

Louis Claude de Saulces de Freycinet
Born (1779-08-07)7 August 1779
Montélimar, Drôme
Died 18 August 1841(1841-08-18) (aged 62)
Château de Freycinet, near Saulce-sur-Rhône, Drôme
Nationality France
Occupation Navigator, explorer and cartographer
Spouse(s) Rose de Freycinet

Louis Claude de Saulces de Freycinet (7 August 1779 – 18 August 1841) was a French navigator. He circumnavigated the earth, and in 1811 published the first map to show a full outline of the coastline of Australia.


  • Biography 1
  • Circumnavigation in the Uranie 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5


He was born at Montélimar, Drôme. Louis-Claude de Saulces de Freycinet was his full name (many calling him Louis de Freycinet). He had three brothers, Louis-Henri de Saulces de Freycinet, André-Charles de Saulces de Freycinet and the youngest, Frédéric-Casimir de Saulces de Freycinet (father of Charles de Freycinet). Louis-Claude was the second oldest. In 1793 he entered the French navy. After taking part in several engagements against the British, he joined in 1800, along with his brother (Louis-Henri de Freycinet (1777–1840), who afterwards rose to the rank of admiral), an expedition to explore the south and south-west coasts of Australia. It set out under Nicolas Baudin in the ships Naturaliste and Géographe. Much of the ground already gone over by Matthew Flinders was revisited, and new names imposed by this expedition, which claimed credit for discoveries really made by the English navigator.[1] In the end, Baudin and Freycinet managed to have their map of the Australian coastline published in 1811, three years before Flinders published his.[2]

An inlet on the coast of Western Australia is called Freycinet Estuary. Cape Freycinet between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste and the Freycinet Peninsula with Freycinet National Park in Tasmania also bear the explorer's name.

In 1805, he returned to Paris, and was entrusted by the government with the work of preparing the maps and plans of the expedition. He also completed the narrative, and the whole work appeared under the title of Voyage de découvertes aux terres australes (Paris, 1807–1816).

Circumnavigation in the Uranie

French soldiers, priest, Hawaiians on ship
Baptism of Hawaiians on the Uranie in 1819

In 1817, he commanded the Uranie, in which the marine hydrologist Louis Isidore Duperrey, the artist Jacques Arago, his junior draughtsman Adrien Taunay the Younger, and others, with a guard of seventeen officers, sailed to Rio de Janeiro, to take a series of pendulum measurements as well as a larger scheme for obtaining observations, not only in geography and ethnology, but in astronomy, terrestrial magnetism, and meteorology, and for the collection of specimens in natural history. Freycinet also managed to sneak his wife Rose de Freycinet aboard.[3]

For three years, Freycinet cruised about the Pacific, visiting Australia, the Mariana Islands, Hawaiian Islands, and other Pacific islands, South America, and other places, and, notwithstanding the loss of the Uranie on the Falkland Islands during the return voyage, returned to France with fine collections in all departments of natural history, and with voluminous notes and drawings of the countries visited.

The results of this voyage were published under Freycinet's supervision, with the title of Voyage autour du monde fait par ordre du Roi sur les corvettes de S. M. l'Uranie et la Physicienne, pendant les années 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820, in 13 quarto volumes and 4 folio volumes of plates and maps.

Freycinet was admitted into the French Academy of Sciences in 1825, and was one of the founders of the Paris Geographical Society. He died at the family's château de Freycinet[4] near Saulce-sur-Rhône, Drôme.

See also


  1. ^ Fornasiero, F. J.; Peter Monteath; John West-Sooby (2004). Encountering Terra Australis: the Australian voyages of Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders. Wakefield Press. pp. 296ff.  
  2. ^ "The French Connection".  
  3. ^ Sayers, Stuart (28 April 1962). "A French Wife's Voyage Around the World in Defiance of Orders".  
  4. ^ Château de Freycinet.

Further reading

  • Edward Duyker François Péron: An Impetuous Life: Naturalist and Voyager, Miegunyah/MUP, Melb., 2006, ISBN 978-0-522-85260-8,
  • Fornasiero, Jean; Monteath, Peter and West-Sooby, John. Encountering Terra Australis: the Australian voyages of Nicholas Baudin and Matthew Flinders, Kent Town, South Australia, Wakefield Press, 2004. ISBN 1-86254-625-8
  • Frank Horner, The French Reconnaissance: Baudin in Australia 1801—1803, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1987 ISBN 0-522-84339-5.
  • Marchant, Leslie R. French Napoleonic Placenames of the South West Coast, Greenwood, WA. R.I.C. Publications, 2004. ISBN 1-74126-094-9
  • Hordern House, Captain Louis de Freycinet and his Voyages to the Terres Australes, Hordern House, Sydney, 2011 ISBN 978-1-875567-62-1
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