Abel Aubert Dupetit Thouars

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Abel Aubert Dupetit Thouars
Abel Aubert Dupetit Thouars
Born (1793-08-03)3 August 1793
La Fessardière, near Saumur, France
Died 16 March 1864(1864-03-16) (aged 70)
Paris, France
Allegiance  France
Service/branch Logo of the French Navy (Marine Nationale).svg French Navy
Years of service 1804–1858
Rank Vice-Admiral

Abel Aubert Dupetit Thouars (3 August 1793 – 16 March 1864) was a French naval officer important in France's anexation of French Polynesia.

He was born at the castle of La Fessardière, near Saumur. His uncle Aristide Aubert Dupetit-Thouars was of the heroes of the Battle of the Nile. He joined the French Navy in 1804, where he was a young hand in the Boulogne fleet.

He was promoted to Commander (Capitaine de frégate) in 1824. He frequently travelled to Algeria, and had a decisive role in the conquest of Algiers, where he established the attack plans. During the battle, he commanded the 20-gun Griffon.

He was later put in charge of the Southern Seas command, in the Pacific Ocean. In 1834 he played a key role in protecting French shipping interests against the Peruvians.

He became "Capitaine de vaisseau" on 6 January 1834, and accomplished a circumnavigation between 1836 and 1839 on Vénus.

Abel Aubert Dupetit Thouars taking over Tahiti on 9 September 1842

He was made Rear-Admiral (French: Contre-amiral) on 12 July 1841, in charge of the Pacific Naval Division. His mission was to take possession of the Marquesas Islands. In Tahiti, he entered into a confrontation with Queen Pōmare IV and the English missionary and Consul George Pritchard (1796–1883), and finally expelled him and established a French protectorate over the territory.[1] He was initially denounced for his actions by the French government, which feared a conflict with Great Britain. Relations between France and Great Britain soured considerably during the reign of Louis-Philippe, due to this "Pritchard Affair".

Dupetit Thouars became a Vice-Admiral (French: Vice-amiral) in 1846, and retired in 1858. He died in Paris in 1864.

He had no children, but adopted the son of his sister, known as Abel Nicolas Bergasse Dupetit Thouars, who also became an Admiral, and played an important role during the Boshin War in Japan. This botanist is denoted by the author abbreviation A.Thouars when citing a botanical name.[2]



  1. Patricia O'Brien “Think of Me as a Woman: Queen Pomare of Tahiti and Anglo- French Imperial Contest in the 1840s Pacific”, Gender and History, Vol. 18 No. 1 April 2006: 108-129 http://www.citeulike.org/article/957356
  2. Brummitt, R. K.; C. E. Powell (1992). Authors of Plant Names. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-085-4. 

Further reading

  • (French) Granier, Hubert, Histoire des marins français 1815–1870: La marche vers la République. Nantes: Marines Éditions, 2002. ISBN 2-909675-72-6

External links