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The Second Siege of La Rochelle

Rare separately published broadside nes map, published by CJ Visscher in Amsterdam in 1628.

Visscher's map shows the a plan of La Rochelle, highlighted the defensive fortifications arrayed in and around the city. 

A line of ships forms a barrier across the harbor, with artillery fire shown from the Battery to the south and on the opposite coast to the north. 

The map is based on a rare French broadside map entitleds Plan Veritable de la Ville de la Rochelle et les nouuelles fortifications qu’ils ont faictes au deuan d’Icelles. Auecq le dessinq de lattacquement faict et Commencé par sa Majesté le Premier Iour de Septembre 1627 … Obserué Par le Sr de Siette…’, published by Melchior Tavernier in Paris.

This is the second and greatly improved state of the map, which shows vastly more military information, along with the progress in blocking the harbor with sunken ships and construction of a barrier.

The information is drawn from the work of French Engineer Rene de Sette.

Second Siege of La Rochelle

The second siege of La Rochelle was a result of a war between the French royal forces of Louis XIII of France and the Huguenots of La Rochelle in 1627–28. The siege marked the height of the struggle between the Catholics and the Protestants in France, and ended with a complete victory for King Louis XIII and the Catholics.

In August 1627 French royal forces started to surround La Rochelle, with an army of 7,000 soldiers, 600 horses, and 24 cannons, led by Charles of Angoulême. They started to reinforce fortifications at Bongraine (modern Les Minimes), and at the Fort Louis.

On September 10, the first cannon shots were fired by La Rochelle against royal troops at Fort Louis, starting the third Huguenot rebellion. La Rochelle was the greatest stronghold among the Huguenot cities of France, and the center of Huguenot resistance. Cardinal Richelieu acted as commander of the besiegers when the King was absent. French engineers isolated the city with 8 miles of entrenchments, fortified by 11 forts and 18 redoubts. The surrounding fortifications were completed in April 1628, manned with an army of 30,000.

Four thousand workmen also built a mile long long seawall to block the seaward access between the city and harbor, stopping all supplies. The initial idea for blocking the channel came from the Italian engineer Pompeo Targone, but his structure was broken by winter weather, before the idea was taken up by the royal architect Clément Métezeau in November 1627. The wall was built on a foundation of sunken hulks filled with rubble. French artillery battered English ships trying to supply the city. 

Meanwhile, in southern France, Henri de Rohan vainly attempted to raise a rebellion to relieve La Rochelle. Until February, some ships were able to go through the seawall under construction, but after March this became impossible. The city was completely blockaded, with the only hope coming from possible intervention by an English fleet.


The view is very rare, especially this second state.

For the second state, we note only the example in the British Library (King's Topographical Map Collection), damaged and lacking the text.