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French Ship Soliel Royal
1670

Soleil Royal (Royal Sun) was a French 104-gun ship of the line, flagship of Admiral Tourville. She was built in Brest between 1668 and 1670 by engineer Laurent Hubac, was launched in 1669, and stayed unused in Brest harbour for years. She was recommissioned with 112 guns and 1200 men when the Nine Years' War broke out in 1688 as the flagship of the escadre du Ponant (squadron of the Ponant). She was said to be a good sailing ship and her decorations were amongst the most beautiful and elaborate of all baroque flagships. The emblem of the "sun" had been chosen by Louis XIV as his personal symbol.

Soleil Royal was recommissioned with 112 guns and 1200 men when the Nine Years' War broke out. She departed Brest on 22 June 1690 as flagship of Anne Hilarion de Tourville. She spent three days in Camaret-sur-Mer waiting for favourable wind before sailing to Isle of Wight where the English fleet was thought to be anchored. Two ships sent in reconnaissance located the English anchored at Beachy Head. The Battle of Beachy Head (known in French as "Bataille de BĂ©veziers") began in the morning of the 10 July 1690 when the French surprised the English ships anchored. Soleil Royal led the centre of the French formation.

During the night of June 2nd and 3rd, 1692, during the battle of La Hougue,, she was attacked by 17 ships, which she managed to repel with artillery fire. However, a fireship set her stern on fire and the fire soon reached the powder rooms. Although the population of Cherbourg came to rescue, there was only one survivor among the 883-strong crew.

The ship was 200 feet long with a beam of 52 feet and a displacement 0f 24 feet.


 French Ship Soliel Royal 1670

This painting is by an unknown artist.

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