In the mid-19th century, a Breton captain, Joseph-Yves Limantour, was the owner of more than half of San Francisco and the islands of the Bay. He went on to make his fortune in Mexico, where his son became a minister, after his claim to be one of the world's richest men was overturned by an American court.
We know very few details about the youth of Joseph-Yves Limantour, born in 1812, in Ploemeur, Brittany, France. He was the eldest of a family of six children and his father was a guard in the port of Lorient. At 19, like many inhabitants of the Lorient region he joined the merchant navy.
For 5 years, he sailed in the Atlantic transporting goods and people between Vera Cruz and France. In 1836, after crossing Cape Horn, he continued his shipping activities based in Lima, Peru. As a trader and ship captain, he explored new economic opportunities along the Pacific coasts, from Valparaiso (Chile) to California. On October 26, 1841, his schooner, the Ayacucho, ran aground at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. A dense fog had caused him to miss the famous Golden Gate, at the entrance of the Bay. With his men, he traveled to Sausalito where he chartered a boat to collect his shipwrecked merchandise: silks, spirits, equipment and food that had been destined for settlers. The salvage was a considerable success and he was eventually able to make significant profits from his sales leading him to stay in the Yerba Buena pueblo for a year. At the time California was part of Mexico and in 1842, Limantour loaned money to the Mexican governor, Manuel Micheltorena, who offered land in the area in lieu of payment.
By 1830, American settlers began to arrive in California leading to greater tensions between the United States and Mexico. During the American-Mexican War (1846-1848), Limantour picked sides and offered his services to the Mexican army by delivering arms, ammunition and food. Short of cash, the Mexican governor of California continued to pay debts to Limantour by granting him land titles. In 1847, the American warship Warren boarded his ship, but he dumped his cargo of weapons in the ocean before they were discovered.
California becomes the 31st US state
Between 1840 and 1850, Joseph-Yves Limantour owned more than one million hectares in the San Francisco area, which made him one of the richest men in the world. But picking the right side was important, and Limantour hadn't.
On July 4, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was proclaimed between the USA and Mexico. The treaty called for the United States to pay $15 million dollars to Mexico and to pay off the claims of American citizens against Mexico up to $5 million dollars. It gave the United States the Rio Grande as a boundary for Texas, and gave the U.S. ownership of California and a large area comprising roughly half of New Mexico, most of Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. Mexicans in those annexed areas had the choice of relocating to within Mexico's new boundaries or receiving American citizenship with full civil rights (over 90% chose American citizenship). The treaty was also suppose to ensure safety of existing property rights of Mexican citizens living in the transferred territories. Despite assurances to the contrary, the property rights of Mexican citizens were often not honored by the U.S. in accordance with modifications to and interpretations of the Treaty. In 1851, California became the 31st state of the United States of America.
Limantour, one of the richest man in the world?
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, and lasted until 1855. The discovery of gold drew nearly 300,000 people from all over the United States and the world to California. The sudden influx of gold into the money supply re-energized the American economy, and California's rapid ascension to statehood was aided by the sudden rise in population. With the Gold Rush the value of land in California skyrocketed hindering Limantour's land claims that needed to be confirmed in US courts.
On February 5, 1853, Joseph-Yves Limantour presented 57 title deeds (75,000 hectares) to the Land Commission in charge of verifying and confirming the concession titles issued during the Mexican era: 2/3 of the city of San Francisco, the islands of Alcatraz, Yerba Buena and Farrallones, the peninsula of Tiburon, Cape Mendocino, the Laguna de Tache (in Fresno), the county of Solano (between Vallejo and Sacramento) and the Cienega Valley.
To everyone's surprise, in January 1856, the Limantour's title claims relating to the concessions of San Francisco, the islands of Alcatraz and the Farrallones were validated. Panic quickly ensued amongst the population of San Francisco who, since the Gold Rush of 1848, had unwittingly settled on land belonging to the famous Breton merchant.
Hundreds of them decided to buy back their land, helping Limantour accumulate a sizable fortune.
Limantour's victory would only be short lived. The American government had established federal buildings (customs post, military fort, federal bank, etc.) in San Francisco and had no desire to pay Limantour for the land under those new buildings. They requested an appeal to the Land Commission's decision. On November 19, 1858, the Commission reversed its decision of 1856 and declared the Limantour concessions unfounded and that his titles had been fabricated.
If not for his court defeats, Joseph-Yves Limantour would have been the second or third richest man in the world during his lifetime, some American economists have estimated.
He would lick his wounds comfortably in exile in Mexico. He business activities and contacts like the general Porfiro Diaz (President & Dictator of Mexico) helped him amass a sizable fortune. In 1884, he had returned to Brittany, France with his wife, his son José-Yves, his daughter-in-law and her parents. They spent several weeks in the Lorient area, where he reconnected with relatives and the places of his childhood.
He never returned to California but you can still visit where it all started when he shipwrecked. Limantour Beach is a long narrow stretch of sand, backed by low cliffs located between Drakes Bay and an estuary.
Learn more about Breton-American history.
By Paul Molac - Member of the French National Assembly for Morbihan's 4th constituency
The bill relating to the protection of regional languages and their promotion, which I was defending, was definitively adopted by a very large majority this Thursday, April 8 in the National Assembly as part of the parliamentary day reserved for my group, Libertés et Territoires.
This is the first law devoted to regional languages definitively adopted under the Fifth Republic. This historic victory is due to the unprecedented mobilization of associations, educational networks and thousands of volunteers in all our territories who are committed to preserving this wealth which belongs to all of humanity. The determination of the deputies on all benches, and in particular of the majority, to adopt this bill in conformity with the outcome of the Senate is the symbol of the wide awareness of the need to save these regional languages in danger of dying out.
The purpose of this law is to enhance the protection, accessibility and visibility of regional languages in three areas:
First of all in heritage, by recognizing that regional languages belong to France’s intangible heritage in order to be able to better protect them.
Then in public life, by legally securing the display of regional language translations on inscriptions and public signs, as well as the use of diacritics from regional languages in civil status documents. We all remember the story of this Breton baby named Fañch, who had to go to the Court of Cassation to have the right to keep his tildé on the letter N.
Finally, in education, where we have now made significant progress, and in particular for the recognition of teaching by immersion in the regional language in public schools, as well as to make effective the payment of the school fee (forfait scolaire) for students. associative schools such as Diwan. Likewise, this law will make it possible to extend the possibilities for offering regional language education in public schools, so that as many establishments as possible can offer this education.
April 8 is a historic day for advocates of regional languages and I hope a turning point in the relationship between the Republic and its linguistic diversity.
This is a tough time for culture.
Especially those that create, promote, perform and share it.
Even more so for those of endangered traditions and languages.
Since 2015, Breizh Amerika has organized Breton-themed cultural events in over 20 cities in the USA. For many Americans in the audience, it was the first time they experienced Breton music, singing, and dancing. We definitely miss those amazing moments where people could come together, discover something different, and create greater understanding and connections.
At Breizh Amerika when we started thinking about what we should plan next we quickly realized that we wouldn't be able to do anything without the venues that had welcomed us in the past. Those were usually small stages in theaters, lounges, bars, cafes, and restaturants that hosted culture more by conviction than financial gain. And right now those are the ones hurting the most.
So we are doing something about it to help them.
Today we are launching our Breizh Amerika Store.
We'll find a bunch of cool stuff,
and we'll be giving 100% of the proceeds until Fête de la Bretagne (St Yves - May 19th) back to venues that have been helping us promote Breton culture and Breton-American relations for the last 5 years. (Orders possible from Europe & USA)
C'est une période difficile pour la culture.
Surtout pour ceux qui créent, promeuvent, performent et la partagent.
Plus encore pour ceux dont les traditions et les langues sont en danger.
Depuis 2015, Breizh Amerika organise des événements sur la culture bretonne dans plus de 20 villes aux États-Unis. Pour de nombreux américains présents à ces événements, c'était la première fois qu'ils découvraient la musique, le chant et la danse bretonne. Ces moments incroyables où les gens peuvent se réunir, découvrir quelque chose de différent et créer des liens, nous manquent.
Chez Breizh Amerika, lorsque nous avons commencé à réfléchir à ce que nous devrions planifier dans le futur, nous nous sommes rapidement rendus compte que nous ne pourrions rien faire sans les lieux qui nous avaient accueillis dans le passé. C'étaient généralement de petites scènes dans les théâtres, les lounges, les bars, les cafés et les restaurants qui accueillaient la culture plus par conviction que par gain financier. Et en ce moment, ce sont ceux qui souffrent le plus.
Nous faisons donc quelque chose pour les aider.
Aujourd'hui, nous lançons notre Breizh Amerika Store.
Vous y trouverez un tas de trucs cool,
et nous reverserons 100% des bénéfices, jusqu'à la Fête de la Bretagne (St Yves - 19 mai), à des lieux qui nous aident à promouvoir la culture bretonne et les relations bretonnes-américaines depuis 5 ans. (Commandes possibles depuis l'Europe et les USA)
The recently rediscovered Bronze Age slab found in Brittany, France is being called the oldest 3D map of Europe. Researchers from Inrap, the University of Bournemouth, the CNRS and the University of Western Brittany (UBO) have shared findings of the oldest relief map in Europe, dating from the Early Bronze Age (2150-1600 BC). Their research focused on the engraved slab of Saint-Bélec (Leuhan, Finistère).
The approximately 2 m by 1.5 m slab, first discovered in 1900, was found in a cellar of a castle in Brittany, France in 2014. Archaeologists who have studied the patterns carved into the 4,000-year-old stone said they believed the markings were a map of an area in western Brittany. It was first discovered in 1900 during excavations on a prehistoric cemetery in Finistère, in western Brittany, by local archaeologist Paul du Chatellier.
The slab was forgotten for over a century, stored for decades under a ditch at du Chatellier, Kernuz Castle, where researchers looking for the slab found it in a cellar in 2014. After analyzing the markings and engravings on the stone, the researchers suspected that it could be a map. The "presence of repeated patterns connected by lines" on its surface suggested that it represented a region of Finistère, according to a study in the Bulletin of the French Prehistory Society. The researchers said the indentations were a 3D representation of the Odet River valley, while several lines appeared to represent the region's river system. Geolocation revealed that the territory depicted on the slab had 80% accuracy in an area around an 18-mile stretch of the river.
"This is probably the oldest map of a territory that has been identified," Dr Clément Nicolas of Bournemouth University, one of the study's authors, told the BBC.
“There are several such maps set in stone all over the world. Usually these are just interpretations. But this is the first time that a map has shown an area at a specific scale. "
Nicolas said the map may have been used to mark a particular area.
"It was probably a way of asserting ownership of the land by a little prince or king at the time," he said.
“We tend to underestimate the geographic knowledge of past societies. This slab is important because it highlights this cartographic knowledge. "
Pledg lève 80 millions d'euros
Pledg, lauréat en 2018 du Breizh Amerika Startup Contest, la startup fintech lève 80 millions d'euros pour poursuivre son développement.
Pledg fournit des solutions de financement instantanées sur les sites e-commerce et en magasin. Avec Pledg, les acheteurs particuliers et professionnels achètent tout de suite et paient plus tard ou en plusieurs fois ; le marchand, quant à lui, est payé dès la commande.
En décembre, Pledg a annoncé son extension à l’international avec le lancement de son offre dans 8 pays en Europe : Espagne, Italie, Portugal, Royaume-Uni, Allemagne, Belgique, Pays-Bas et Autriche. Ce déploiement s’accompagne de la multiplication par 3 de ses effectifs d’ici fin 2021 et par 10 ses volumes de transactions pour l’année.
La fintech annonce avoir bouclé une opération d'un montant total de 80 millions d'euros auprès de Portag3 Ventures et Aquiline Capital Partners, mais aussi Smart Lenders Asset Management, Financière Arbevel et ODDO BHF.
Plus d'info sur : Pledg
Jack Kerouac, beat generation icon, died in 1969 at the age of forty-seven, leaving behind a literary work which made him one of the most important American authors of the 20th century. However, until the age of six, his mother tongue was French and his father always told him "Ti-Jean never forget that you are Breton!".
He was born Jean-Louis, nicknamed "Ti-Jean" Kérouac on March 12, 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts, of two Quebec parents, Léo-Alcide Kéroack and Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque. Of humble origins, they emigrated from Quebec to the United States like thousands of French Canadians. Very attached to his "mémère", Jack won a football scholarship to Columbia University. At the beginning he wrote stories inspired by the radio show "The Shadow" then novels by Thomas Wolfe. Writing became more of a focus for him after a serious football leg injury.
The Beat Generation
His sporting career derailed and showing little interested in his studies, Jack Kerouac begin hanging out in bars with new friends, who would soon become the leaders of the Beat Generation: Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and later Gary Snyder. The expression Beat Generation is used for the first time by Jack Kerouac in 1948. It gave birth to a new American literary movement during the 1950's advocating the freedom of the great outdoors and the premises of sexual liberation, with a touch of spirituality. The Beat Generation paved the way for subsequent generations like the hippies of the 1960s.
Considered today as one of the most important American authors of the 20th century, he is for the beatnik community the King of the Beats. Kerouac's best-known works, On the Road (considered the manifesto of the beat generation), The Dharma Bums, The Subterraneans, Lonesome Traveler, Desolation Angles, narrate his travels through the United States in a romanticized manner.
His rhythmic and style of spontaneous prose, has inspired many artists and writers, first and foremost the American singers Tom Waits and Bob Dylan.
Jack Kerouac in Brittany
At the height of his literary success, Jack Kerouac set off to France with no intention of doing a book tour or taking a vacation. At the age of 43, the American author yearned for his roots after decades of wandering. Kerouac, who recounted his expedition in Satori in Paris (1966), was determined to locate signs of his ancestor after landing in Paris on June 1, 1965 and traveling to Brittany.
Despite his 'Satori' title (“Japanese for ‘sudden illumination'”), Kerouac only found dead ends when reading French archives and searching for namesakes. He recounts staying at Hotel Bellevue in Brest and talking about horse races with the owner of the bar La Cigale. Georges Didier, nicknamed “Fournier” in his novel. Didier was interviewed by Hervé Quéméner years later:
“A guy came in who seemed to me to have already had a few drinks. He ordered a brandy and we started talking.”
It is Georges Didier who gives him the contact of Pierre Le Bris (called "Ulysse" in Satori in Paris) who was a publisher and bookseller in Brest.
Kerouac soon met with Pierre,
“It was in my apartment, above the bookstore, that I welcomed Kerouac, whose books I knew. He sat down at my bedside and began to talk to me about his ancestors; I showed him my family tree (...). Some time later, I thought we had a common origin when I discovered a stone's throw from the family farm in Plomelin [southern Finistère], a pond bearing the name of Kervoac'h.”
The two men would continue to write to each other but would never meet again.
Plans for more trips to Brittany were derailed by Kerouac's failing health, and he died four years after that first visit.
Kerouac's Breton ancestor
Kerouac never found his breton ancestor and for good reason. His ancestor never wanted to be found. He had departed for the New World in 1722-1723 and changed his name several times after arrival. He had good reason to hide his true identity since he had departed from Brittany (Huelgoat, in Finistère, where his family was well off) after being suspected of thefts committed in Saint-Pol-de-Léon and in Cornouaille.
Urbain-François Le Bihan (his real name) wanted to start from scratch when he arrived in the Americas. On January 25, 1727, at a notary, he signed Hyacinte Louis Alexandre de Kervoach Le Bihan. Five years later, he fathered a child with Louise Bernier. To avoid prison, he has no real choice but to marry her but to prevent his offspring from eyeing a possible inheritance, he signed Maurice-Louis Le Bris de Kervoach in front of the priest. It is this name that all future Kerouac's would later use in trying to trace their roots back to Brittany. Over the years, accents and illiteracy led to a myriad of Kerouac spellings while 'Le Bris' disappeared.
Urbain-François, like his famous offspring, was really a creative vagabond with a taste for embellishment. Kerouac would never discover the true story but his attachment to his Breton roots make him one of the most known figures of the Breton diaspora.
Spend any time in the United States and you will immediately learn that Americans have a very patriotic attachment to the American flag and national anthem. Do you the history of when the Stars and Stripes was officially recognized by a foreign power? And did you know that it happened in Brittany, France?
On this day on February 14, 1778, French Admiral de La Motte-Picquet's fleet was anchored in the bay of Quiberon in Brittany. The French Royal Navy was guarding its strategic port of Lorient and fishing and trading ships in the area faced with growing English threats.
Also in the area was the USS Ranger, an American sloop of war armed with 18 guns, commanded by John Paul Jones. Jones had been aggressively hunting English ships along the coasts of Brittany and then receiving resupplying assistance in Breton ports.. That day, the USS Ranger sailed from Quiberon with a flag with red and white stripes on her stern, adorned with 13 stars on a blue background. This was the new star-spangled banner, the Stars and Stripes, which the young American nation had adopted on June 14, 1777.
At the site of the French fleet the USS Ranger fired a salute of thirteen cannon shots, as many as the number of US states. Admiral La Motte-Picquet, aboard the Robuste, a 74-gun vessel, responded with nine shots, the regulatory figure at the time for an independent republic. In doing so, he officially recognizes the United States of America. It is the first time that the American flag has been entitled to the military honors from another country.
The symbolic event was larger relayed across Europe and greatly angered the British crown. This salute at sea from a French ship, however, had the effect of recognizing the independence of the United States by France.
On March 20, 1778, Benjamin Franklin, one of the drafters of the United States Declaration of Independence, who landed a few months earlier in the port of Saint-Goustan, in Auray, was received by Louis XVI. The king agrees to offer him the official support of France and announces his entry into war against the English, alongside the Americans.
La région métropolitaine de New York est le centre urbain le plus diversifié sur le plan linguistique au monde, probablement dans l'histoire du monde.
Sur la base d'une décennie de travail, Endangered Language Alliance a cartographié quelque 650 langues et dialectes sur plus de 1000 sites importants dans la région, y compris des quartiers, des institutions communautaires, des restaurants et d'autres endroits où il y a ou était au moins un locuteur. Il s'agit de la première carte détaillée de la ville produite par un linguiste. La carte a été publiée en décembre 2019 - cité dans Time Out, Gothamist et ailleurs, et notée dans le New York Times - pour coïncider avec l'Année internationale des langues autochtones organisée par l'ONU et la préparation du recensement critique américain de 2020.
La carte s'engage à représenter un grand nombre des langues plus petites, minoritaires et autochtones qui sont principalement orales et qui n'ont ni visibilité publique ni soutien officiel. Il représente l'effort continu d'ELA pour s'appuyer sur toutes les sources disponibles, y compris des milliers d'entretiens et de discussions, pour raconter l'histoire continue des nombreuses langues et cultures de la ville. Les modèles qu'il révèle - le regroupement des langues ouest-africaines à Harlem et dans le Bronx, un microcosme de l'ex-Union soviétique dans le sud de Brooklyn, la diversité multilingue des langues asiatiques du Queens, pour n'en nommer que quelques ville où un seul bâtiment ou bloc peut accueillir des locuteurs de dizaines de langues du monde entier.
Le Breton dans le Queens et le West Side
Queens, NY est un quartier où se sont installés de nombreux immigrés bretons. A tel point que lorsque la Endangered Language Alliance a dressé la carte des milliers de langues menacées parlées quotidiennement à New York, elle a ajouté le breton dans le Queens.
Découvrir l'histoire inconnue du gangster Breton de New York avec Breizh Amerika et Olivier Le Dour.
Entre 1927 et 1930, Yves LeRoux fut peut-être le plus connu des Bretons de New York. Dans son bar clandestin, « Le Consul breton », ses compatriotes immigrants n’étanchaient pas seulement leur soif… L’heure de gloire d’Yves Le Roux sonne en 1928 et 1929, dans le New York de la prohibition où son bar clandestin (son speakeasy),
Le Consul Breton, est le rendez-vous des Bretons de New York, à la recherche d’un coup à boire, d’un coup de main, d’un emploi, d’un logement, de nouvelles du pays ou … d’une jolie femme. Yves Le Roux est au centre de ce réseau, mais côtoie aussi la pègre new yorkaise qui l’approvisionne en boissons alcoolisées illégales. Il affirmera même avoir eu de bonnes relation avec ... Al Capone lui-même.
Reconnue dans le monde entier comme l'un des hauts lieux de la voile, la Bretagne abrite également une multitude d'entreprises de tech et de textiles qui placent les océans et l'éco-responsabilité au cœur de leurs modèles économiques.
Nous nous sommes entretenus avec Nicolas Veto, président de 727 Sailbags pour en savoir plus sur la façon dont ils naviguaient dans les mers orageuses de la pandémie mondiale et sur leur récente expansion en Amérique du Nord.
Parlez-nous de 727 Sailbags et de son lien avec la voile?
Chez 727 Sailbags, nous collectons les voiles qui ont parcouru les océans et nous les recyclons en sacs et vêtements à la mode ou en accessoires de décoration uniques. Une étiquette cousue sur le produit raconte l'histoire de la voile, ses voyages, les courses auxquelles elle a participé, le type de bateau dont elle est issue. Chaque produit est une connexion à un voyage, une aventure.
Comment votre entreprise a-t-elle dû s'adapter pendant la pandémie mondiale?
Nous avons été durement touchés car nos magasins et concessionnaires ont dû fermer pendant des mois, et presque tous les grands événements nautiques avec lesquels nous sommes partenaires ont été annulés, à l'exception de la Solitaire du Figaro et du Vendée Globe. Cependant, nous avons décidé de prendre des risques, et alors que d'autres sociétés suspendaient leur expansion, nous avons décidé d'ouvrir 3 magasins en pleine crise: à Deauville, à Cannes et aux USA à Annapolis, Maryland. N'est-ce pas ce que nous apprennent les meilleurs skippers de course au large? Vous n'avez pas toujours un moyen de contourner la tempête, vous devez parfois y faire face et vous jeter dedans. C'est ce que nous avons fait.
Pourquoi avez-vous décidé d'ouvrir un nouveau magasin aux États-Unis en plein milieu d'un lock-out?
En recyclant les voiles, nous nous engageons à réduire les déchets et à préserver notre planète. Cet objectif peut être partagé par des personnes du monde entier. Notre lien avec la voile nous a fait nous tourner vers le pays qui a vu naître l'America's Cup et qui abrite 4 millions de marins pratiquants, avec un magnifique littoral s'étendant sur plus de 12 000 milles. Quelle magnifique cour! Nous avions jeté notre dévolu sur Annapolis, MD, sur la baie de Chesapeake, un cadre emblématique de la communauté américaine de voile et nous avons trouvé un bel emplacement phare au bord de l'eau. Nous avions l'endroit que nous voulions! Nous ne pouvions pas laisser le confinement nous priver de cette excellente base de croissance aux États-Unis.
A quoi devrions-nous nous attendre pour 727 Sailbags dans les mois à venir?
Après le succès de nos sacs réalisés avec les voiles d'Eric Tabarly, nous lançons une marque Homme ERIC TABARLY en hommage au légendaire marin breton. Avec l'aide de sa femme et de sa fille, Jacqueline et Marie, nous avons conçu une collection de prêt-à-porter inspirée de la vie et de la passion de ce navigateur de légende qui est un exemple pour toutes les générations de marins. Les pulls, confectionnés en 100% laine mérinos, sont fabriqués dans le Morbihan et nos sacs et accessoires sont fabriqués à la main dans notre atelier de Lorient, dans la Sailing Vallée française.
727 Sailbags vient de lever 1 million d'euros pouvez-vous nous en dire plus?
Bien que n'étant qu'une PME d'une trentaine de personnes avec un Chiffre d'Affaires de 2,7 M€, nous avons la compléxité d'un groupe. Nos acitivités incluent du design et développement produits, de la production, de la distribution sur des canaux très variés: Web, Magasins, revendeurs partenaires, présence sur des salons, personnalisation de produits pour les entreprises, etc. Cette complexité nécessite des ressources. D'autant plus que nous souhaitons faire partager notre passion et notre engagement pour une consommation raisonnée avec des produits upcyclés au-delà des frontières françaises, partout où il y a des passionés de voile et des gens qui aiment la mer. Nous avons eu l'immense chance de trouver des actionnaires qui sont bien plus que des investisseurs: ce sont des passionnés, qui partagent nos projets et ont eu le courage de se lancer avec nous en pleine période de turbulence sanitaire.
is an organization established to create, facilitate, promote, and sponsor wide-ranging innovative and collaborative cultural and economic projects that strengthen and foster relations and cooperation between the United States of America and the region of Brittany, France.