Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

Jean-Baptiste Carrier, a member of the Great French Revolution, personally supervised the execution of 13,000 counterrevolutionaries. 4000 of them were sent to a slow death in the water.

 

“Drowning in Nantes in 1793” (artist Joseph Aubert, 1882)

The bloody French revolution put an end to the monarchy. Peasants, military and landowners defeated the bankrupt government. The grueling uprising lasted for years, and it was marked by horrendous crimes against humanity.

These crimes occurred in a one-year period of unprecedented violence, which became known as the “Epoch of Terror”. But only a few of them compare with the event that went down in history as “Drowning in Nantes”.

French revolutionary Jean-Baptiste Carrieu was directed by the new government in Nantes to suppress those who opposed the revolution, whether aristocrats or people who empathized with the royal family.

Everyone who was suspected of counterrevolutionary activity had to be brought before a court that decided his future fate. Preference was given to execution. And, according to calculations, Carrieu was doomed to death from 13 to 15 thousand people. Many of them were innocent. Carrier was suspected by almost every inhabitant of Nantes, including women and children. By his order, 4,000 people were brutally executed by drowning.

Executioner's terror

Carrie’s involvement in terror began in March 1793. He helped create the Revolutionary Tribunal, a judicial body that tried counterrevolutionaries. The tribunal, as a rule, quickly dealt with the opposition and completed the trials with a death sentence - either by hanging or on a guillotine.

After the success of the Revolutionary Tribunal in Paris, the government sent Carrier to Brittany to conclude an alliance with the peasants there. Two months later, in October 1793, he was sent to Nantes to suppress a counter-revolutionary uprising there. But Carrieu did not just pacify the people. He initiated a mass execution.

He gathered the rebels in Nantes and threw them into prison. When food began to run out in prisons, prisoners were shot or executed at the guillotine. But Carrier’s methods were becoming more and more violent.

 

Jean-Baptiste Carrier, who killed 13,000 people

One source describes the mass drowning that Carrier organized:

“Older people, pregnant women and children - drowned everybody. They were placed on plank barges with barriers so that they would not try to save themselves by jumping overboard. Underneath and on each side there were stubs, they were pulled out, and the scow began to sink together with those who were on it. ”

Such scows were specially made to drown the rebels. Often they were stripped naked, tied up and thrown into boats, which the trusted people of Carrier sent to the Loire River. Sometimes they kept them tied for more than an hour, after which they were hit on the head with the butt of a musket.

Then the doomed counter-revolutionaries slowly plunged into the abyss of death.

Horrific Justice Carrier

Carrier was a very cruel and terrible person. According to estimates, he killed from 13,000 to 15,000 people. Of these, 4,000 drowned in the river Loire.

Legend has it that once Karrie carried out four children with his own hands. When his chief executioner died in horror after killing children, Carrieux decided to replace him.

 

"Drowning in Nantes", a picture by an unknown artist

Carrier and his people called drowning "national rites of baptism" or "immersions." Prisoners were called "birds in a cage." Soldiers and executioners could enjoy dinner in prison, in front of hundreds of prisoners, and after him collect them and drown them in the river.

Carrie on the guillotine

Initially, the drowning was carried out at night, but later Carrieu ordered the execution of executions during the day. He may have considered drowning as an intimidating factor.

Daytime drowning was terrible for young women. Men who watched from the shore often raped them and then killed them. They said that Carrie also took part in this. Witnesses said drowning was a more merciful death.

According to the records, once six dozen prisoners were held in a scow for 48 hours. When the plugs were removed, they began to sink. After they died, other prisoners under the threat of swords were forced to remove their corpses.

The riot of Carrie was completed in February 1794. A public security committee called him to Paris after hearing about the horrors in Nantes.

Despite attempts to reassure the committee, Carrieu was arrested in September 1794.December 16, 1794 he was executed on the guillotine.

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  • Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

    Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

    Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

    Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

    Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

    Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

    Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

    Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

    Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

    Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children

    Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children Drowning in Nantes: how one person organized the execution of more than 4,000 men, women and children