Bougainville, Louis-Antoine de

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Bougainville, Louis-Antoine de

biographical name

(born Nov. 11, 1729, Paris, France—died Aug. 3, 1811, Paris) French navigator. In 1764 he established a colony for France in the Falkland Islands. Commissioned by the government to circle the Earth in a voyage of exploration, he put to sea in 1766; after touching Samoa and the New Hebrides he continued west into waters not previously navigated by any European. He turned north on the fringes of the Great Barrier Reef and did not sight Australia. He stopped in the Moluccas and in Java before returning to Brittany in 1769. His widely read Voyage Round the World (1771) helped popularize a belief in the moral worth of people in their natural state. He was secretary to Louis XV (1772), led the French fleet in support of the American Revolution, and was named to the Legion of Honour by Napoleon. The plant genus Bougainvillea is named for him.

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