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MESNARD, Henry Etienne (may-nar), French adventurer, born in Rouen in 1603; died in Martinique in 1663. He was captain of a merchant ship making yearly trips from Rouen to South America, and established in 1637 a factory at the mouth of Orinoco river. Perceiving the commercial advantages that would be obtained if France should take formal possession of the country, he interested several merchants of Rouen in the project, and with their support formed in 1643 the Society of Cape North, which received from Louis XIII. a grant of the country between the Orinoco and the Amazon. Mesnard immediately organized an expedition, and, sailing from Dieppe, 11 September, 1643, arrived at Cayenne island on 25 November He appointed as governor of the new colony Poncet de Bretigny, a veteran officer, and built a fort. During Mesnard's absence in France in quest of supplies the colonists revolted, murdered Bretigny, and elected Huet de Navarre (q. v.) to take his place. On his return to the colony, Mesnard refused to sanction the election, but, being unable to depose Huet, built a fort on Bird island, and, returning to France, dissolved the company and transferred the franchise to a new society, " La compagnie des 12 seigneurs." Hurt had meanwhile resigned his command, but Mesnard, experiencing many difficulties, reinstated him. Mesnard sold out in 1657, and tried to form an establishment on the west coast of Martinique, where he was killed durin/the troubles of 1663.
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