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Jean Reuilly’s Mission to the Crimea

Khrapunov Nikita

   It is well known that an important element of Napoleon’s policy lied in his attempt to return the lost influence in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, the traditional zone of France’s interest  under the Ancien Régime. The Crimea, a Russia’s recent appropriation, was viewed as an outpost allowing, on the one hand, to influence the military-political balance in this part of the world, and on the other hand, to plan commercial-economic penetration into the interior provinces of Russia and, farther, to Central Asia. In 1803, young French diplomat Jean Reuilly visited the Crimea to collect there an array of varied data concerning this peninsula, its natural wealth, history, population, and possible economic developments. This vast document, now residing in the archive of the French military office, was later published as a single volume. The French traveller’s book, one of the first all-round descriptions of the Crimean Peninsula, almost escaped the scholarship’s attention so far. This paper addresses the source in three aspects: international politics, the primary stage of the scientific research of the Crimea, and as an example of the Crimea’s image burdened with stereotypes typical of the period. 

Keywords: Modern history, France-Russia relations, Jean Reuilly, Crimea, travelogues, historical imagology
Link: Khrapunov N. Jean Reuilly’s Mission to the Crimea // Annuaire d'études françaises 2017: La France et la Méditerranée aux époques moderne et contemporaine / Annual of French Studies 2017: France and the Mediterranean in Modern and Contemporary Times.М. P. 113-140.