Étienne Périer (c.1690 - c.1755)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Le Havre, Upper-Normandy, France
Death: Died
Occupation: Governor of French territory of Louisiana
Managed by: Joel Scott Cognevich
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About Étienne Périer

Étienne Périer was the fifth governor of the Louisiana colony. He became governor in 1727. His governorship was marked by the arrival of the first Ursuline nuns in New Orleans in 1727 to establish the first convent within the limits of what was to become the United States as well as a war against the Natchez Indians due to bad relations with Chepart, the commander at Fort Rosalie. After agitating the Indians by demanding that they give up either their village or their land, the Indians launched an attack on November 26, 1729 and killed nearly three hundred persons at Fort Rosalie. hiiThe French retaliated and by 1731 had killed or captured most of the Indians. The captured Indians were sent as slaves to Santo Domingo, and the few remaining free moved further westward and joined the Chickasaw Indians. This marked the end of the Natchez Indian Nation. In the same year, the Company of the Indies petitioned the King of France to take back their charter, thus ending their control of the colony. Périer remained governor for two years after Louisiana was returned to the king but became frustrated with deteiorating relations with the Chickasaws and lost interest in the colony. He resigned, and Jean-Baptiste le Moyne de Bienville was chosen to yet again be governor of the colony.

PERIER, Etienne de, governor. Born, Le Havre, France, ca. 1690. Along with his younger brother Antoine Alexis, he was attracted to a naval career at an early age, serving as a naval captain in the latter stages of the War of the Spanish Succession. Following the end of the war, he entered the employ of the Company of the Indies, serving in a variety of capacities. Dedication to company interests led to his nomination as commandant-general of Louisiana, then under company control. On August 9, 1726, the king ratified the company's nomination. Married Catherine Le Chibelier. At least two children, the second named after his Louisiana plantation, Monplaisir. Catherine's son by a previous marriage, De Chambellan Graton, accompanied them to New Orleans. Arrived in New Orleans, March 15, 1727, and immediately assumed office from Boisbriand (q.v.). Accomplishments as governor included stimulation of the agricultural sector, encouragement of tobacco cultivation, an attempt to establish citrus production, and an experiment with silk culture. Greatest successes came in the areas of public and charitable works. He supervised the construction of levees, deepened the main channel of the Mississippi, completed work on a prison and a conservatory, and began construction of the Ursuline Convent. He also attempted to improve the morality of the colonists. Unfortunately, constant wrangling with other royal and company officials and a shortsighted Indian policy clouded his administration. Worst disaster of the entire French period occurred on November 28, 1729, when Natchez Indians attacked the French settlement at Natchez killing 236 settlers. On July 1, 1731, when the company returned control of the colony to the crown, Perier was promoted in title to governor. On March 2, 1733, was recalled from office and replaced by former governor Bienville (q.v.). Following retirement from office established residence at Brest and was rewarded with the Cross of St. Louis and a modest pension. Sold his Louisiana plantation, Monplaisir, to Jean-Charles de Pradel (q.v.). Died ca. 1755. B.C. Sources: Dunbar Rowland and Albert G. Sanders, eds., Mississippi Provincial Archives: French Dominion, 3 vols. (1927-1932); Rowland, Sanders, and Patricia Galloway, eds., Mississippi Provincial Archives: French Dominion, vols. IV-V, (1984); Pierre Heinrich, La Louisiane sous la Compagnie des Indes, 1717-1731 (1908); Jacob M. Price, France and the Chesapeake: A History of the French Tobacco Monopoly (1973); Charles E. O'Neill, Church and State in French Colonial Louisiana: Policy and Politics to 1732 (1966); Patricia D. Woods, French-Indian Relations on the Southern Frontier, 1699-1762 (1980).

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Étienne Périer's Timeline

1690
1690
Le Havre, Upper-Normandy, France
1755
1755
Age 65
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