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Citadel of Brouage - reproduction of a 17th-century scale model
Brouage was founded in 1555 by Jacques de Pons on the Bay of Biscay facing the Atlantic Ocean. Its economy was based on salt and access to the sea. The town was fortified between 1630 and 1640 by Cardinal Richelieu as a Catholic bastion in order to fight against the neighbouring Protestant town of La Rochelle. Gradually the harbour silted up in the last part of the 17th century, leaving the town stranded and useless as a port. It fell into ruin.
The town's most celebrated son is the French navigator Samuel de Champlain, who lived there when young, before being the co-founder of French settlement in Acadia (1604–1607) and Quebec (1608–1635).
In 1825 Brouage was joined to the village of Hiers, 2.5 km (1.6 mi) away, forming the commune of Hiers-Brouage.