Riding the wave

Abraham Duquesne was born into a Protestant family of sailors in 1610 in Dieppe , which a century earlier, had become the focus of French marine. Young entered the Navy, distinguished himself in battles against Spain, which escaped the Lerins Islands in 1637. After the death of his father by the hand the Spanish military efforts against the traditional enemy of France added a personal desire for revenge, taking part in numerous campaigns with momentum Guetaria, Corumna, Tarragona, Barcelona and Cabo de Gata. With the death of Richelieu, Mazarin was authorized in 1643, to Sweden to serve - at war with Denmark for the Control of Sound - and defeated the Danish fleet was besieging the city of Gothenburg, so appointed by the vice admiral Queen Christina. With the final victory of the Swedes, in 1645 he returned to France.

He then returned to fight the Spaniards, who had encouraged the rebellion of Bordeaux, a squadron armed and expense that forced the city to surrender. After the peace of the Pyrenees in 1659, was engaged in the suppression of piracy in the Mediterranean until, in the seventies, made ​​commander in chief of the French army, was sent - along with Anne-Hilarion de Cotentin count of Tourville - in Sicily to support the 'Island uprising against the Spanish government, fueled by the Sun King who aspired to hegemony in the Mediterranean.

At that time Spain had requested the intervention of Holland and Duquesne faced fierce combined fleet, commanded by Michael Ruyter van. After several clashes in April 1676 there was the decisive battle off the coast of Augusta , which ended with the defeat of the Dutch and, shortly thereafter, with the death of van Ruyter, while the Dutch fleet took refuge in Palermo, where he was on fire. France had thus acquired full control of the Mediterranean and Duquesne was compensated with the title of Marquis de Bouchet.

In subsequent years, resumed hostilities against the Barbary pirates, which ended with the defeat of Algiers in 1683, and by the release of Christian prisoners. The following year he was sent to Genoa, guilty of having provided military aid to Spain in the suppression of the revolt in Sicily, and had long sold arms to Algeria, although the trade dated back to a time when relations between France and the ' Algeria were still friendly. These ill-will add the duties of the French ships in transit and other pretexts, such intrigues and diplomatic incidents, and an alleged disarmament of Genoese galleys for the defense against piracy.

The situation worsened in 1684, with the famous bombardment of Genoa by a powerful fleet, commanding officer of Duquesne, but in fact fiercely directed by Jean-Baptiste of Seignaley, the son of Colbert. The retaliation lasted uninterrupted for several days and resulted in the partial destruction of the urban coastal center, extensive damage to the lantern and humiliation imposed on the Republic.

Genoa, bombarded by the French fleet of Duquesne. Oil anonymous, undated but contemporary to the event, which - although it's a - well represents the band of Genoese galleys that oppose the enemy, and the eastern districts of the city in flames.
Genoa, Galata Museo del Mare

After that operation Duquesne, who did not enjoy the favor of the court, disagreed with the policy of Seignaley, and provides for the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) - that would force the Protestants into exile, including his two sons - retired to private life and died in Paris on February 2, 1688.