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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Huet de Navarre

< Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography

HUET DE NAVARRE, French governor of Cayenne, born in Conde sur Noireau in 1611; died in Surinam in 1658. Several merchants of Rouen founded in 1640 the Society of the Cap Nord, and obtained from Louis XIII. the concession of the vast countries between the Orinoco and the Amazon on condition that they should establish there a French colony. An expedition of 300 men sailed accordingly from Dieppe on 1 September, 1643, arriving on the banks of Cayenne on 25 November Poncet de Bretigny was the commander, and Huet de Navarre acted as his lieutenant. The new colonists established themselves in the island of Cayenne, and built a fortress on the mountain Ceperon, as a barrier against the incursions of the Indians. Meanwhile the violent temper of Bretigny created trouble; he was murdered by soldiers, and Huet de Navarre was elected to his place in 1644. Under the wise administration of the new governor, the young colony prospered, and a re-enforcement of forty laborers, received in the following year, enabled him to pass to the continent and extend the possessions of the company. But troubles arose again among the colonists, caused principally by the unhealthful climate. Many returned to France, and Huet to Fort Ceperon, awaiting anxiously new re-enforcements, 1647. The Company of Cap Nord relinquished its rights to a new society (1652), which took the name of Les 12 seigneurs, compagnie de la France 5quinoxiale, and sent from Havre an expedition of 800 men under the command of Chevalier de Royville. The latter died at sea, and on landing at Cayenne, 30 September, 1652, the new colonists elected Huet president of the board of four members, who represented the company. The French establishments prospered for several years, and had extended far inland, when a disastrous fire, caused by a lunatic, destroyed all the stores of the colonists in 1656. The Galibis Indians took that opportunity to renew their attacks, and the French resolved to seek refuge at Surinam. Huet opposed the evacuation of Cayenne, but want of provisions compelled him to yield, and, after severe fighting with the Galibis, his forces reached Surinam; but he was so exhausted by the journey that he died a few days later.