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About Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière
Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière, Marquis de La Galissonière, sometimes spelled Galissonnière, (1693–1756) was the French governor of New France from 1747 to 1749 and the victor in the Battle of Minorca in 1756.
La Galissonière had family connections to New France as his mother was a sister of Michel Bégon, the intendant from 1712 to 1726. He also married a relative of Jean de Lauzon, the governor of New France from 1651 to 1657.
La Galissonière was a naval commander who reluctantly accepted the position of Governor due to military necessity. He appears to have been well liked but was limited by resources to accomplish much that would distinguish himself during his stay in New France. He did send Céloron de Blainville to extend France's trading posts and François Picquet to convert the Indians in the Detroit area and the Ohio valley in order to out-flank the British American colonies.
His strength was as an administrator and diplomat. In recognition of his service in New France, he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, despite never having been tested militarily. Eventually, he was charged with heading the Dépôt de la Marine.
Main articles: Battle of Minorca and Siege of Minorca
In 1756, La Galissonière supported the invasion of Minorca and was engaged in combat for three hours by Admiral John Byng. La Galissonière was extremely cautious and was rewarded by a British withdrawal. Byng was court-martialed and executed. The modest naval victory over the British was lauded in France to the point that the king was said to be preparing a marshal's baton for La Galissonière's return. However, the naval commander died from illness, aged 63, prior to their meeting.
He was one of the first sailors of his time to take part in the scientific movement. He had connections with numerous well-known scientists such as Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau, Bernard de Jussieu, Pierre-Charles and Louis Guillaume Lemonnier. La Galissonière organized three scientific missions to:
chart the coasts of Newfoundland, Acadia, and Île Royale
chart the coasts of Spain, Portugal, and Madeira;
catalogue the stars of the southern hemisphere (by Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille).
elected as associate at large for the Académie de Marine and the Académie des Sciences
La Galissonniere Pavilion at the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean was named in his honour.
Four ships of the French Navy have been named in his honour :
an ironclad which took part in the Sino-French War:
an armoured corvette
the light cruiser La Galissonière, lead ship of the same name class
a destroyer of the T56 type (escorteur d'escadre)