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Crouan (Shipping company, France)

Last modified: 2010-12-04 by ivan sache
Keywords: crouan | denis crouan fils | lagotellerie | star: 6 points (red) | star (white) |
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Presentation of Crouan

The family Crouan, of Irish origin, settled in Brittany in the 18th century. In 1817, the elder of the four Crouan brothers, Prudent-Aîné, born in Brest in 1800, created a trade post in Belem (state of Pará, Brazil), where he was appointed in 1832 Consul of France. Two of his brothers, Denis and Augustin, were involved in the management of the trade post.
In the middle of the 19th century, Denis Crouan came back to France and founded a shipping company in Nantes. He died in 1891, aged 85, and was succeeded by his son Fernand, who renamed the company Denis Crouan Fils.
The wealth of Fernand Crouan is associated with the chocolate maker Ménier. In the middle of the 19th century, Jean Antoine Brutus Ménier built a chocolate factory in Noisiel, east of Paris. The production was industrialized in 1852 by his son, Émile Justin Ménier. Émile's son, Henri Ménier, was the main customer of Fernand Crouan for the importation of cocoa from Brazil and sugar from the Caribbean islands.
Crouan operated a fleet of three-masters, whose flag ship was the Belem, built in 1896 by the Dubigeon shipyard in Nantes. The bow of the ship was decorated with a shield charged with Ordem e progresso, the national motto of the young republic of Brazil (1889). Crouan's ships had indeed the reputation to be safe and thoroughly managed.

Fernand Crouan died in 1905 and was succeded by his son-in-law Maurice de Lagotellerie. Ménier decided to import cocoa from Le Havre, which was closer to Noisiel than Nantes. The shipping company lost its main customer and could not face the competition with steamships. When the company was liquidated in 1906, the Belem was purchased by Demange Frères and operated on scheduled line to Cayenne (French Guiana). The Belem is today a training ship.

Source: Laurent Gloaguen's website, dedicated to the Belem.

Ivan Sache, 14 March 2004

House flag of Denis Crouan Fils

[Crouan houseflag]

House flag of Denis Crouan Fils - Image by Ivan Sache, 12 December 2004

According to Grands Voiliers Français (Jean Randier) and Les Derniers Grands Voiliers (Lacroix) the house flag of Crouan is white with a red border and a six-pointed red star shown towards the hoist.

Neale Rosanoski, 12 December 2004

Subsequent house flag of Crouan

[Crouan houseflag]

Subsequent house flag of Crouan - Image by Ivan Sache, 25 July 2004

Laurent Gloaguen's website shows a beautiful picture of the Belem. The ship flies:
- the registration flag for the arrondissement of Lorient South, a triangular flag horizontally divided blue-red. The Belem was registered in Nantes;
- the company house flag;
- the French national ensign.

However, the company house flag is not as described above, but red with a big white star in the middle. The very same flag was used by Maurice de Lagotellerie as his private yachting signal (CNN 1907 Yearbook), therefore it must be the house flag used by the company under Lagotellerie's presidency (1905-1906).

Ivan Sache, 25 July 2004