Luc-Julien-Joseph Casabianca

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Luc-Julien-Joseph Casabianca
Casabianca mg 5080.jpg
Bust of Casabianca, on display at Toulon naval museum
Born 7 February 1762
Vescovato, Haute-Corse
Died 1 August 1798
Nationality French
Occupation Navy officer
Known for Hero of the Battle of Aboukir Bay
The Orient explodes during the Battle of Aboukir Bay.

Luc-Julien-Joseph Casabianca (7 February 1762, Vescovato, Haute-Corse – 1 August 1798, Abukir) was a French Navy officer.


Casabianca attended the military school in June 1775 and joined the Naval Guards in July 1778. He was made an ensign (enseigne de vaisseau) in November 1781 and served on the Terrible and the Zélé in the fleet of Admiral De Grasse, taking part in the fights of Fort-Royal (29 April 1781), Chesapeake (5 September) and St. Kitts (January 1782). He was promoted to lieutenant (lieutenant de vaisseau) in March 1786.

In September 1792, he was elected deputy for Corsica at the Convention, and promoted to captain (capitaine de vaisseau) in January 1793. He was a Jacobin, but rather moderate, notably voting in favour of keeping Louis XVI in prison. During the Directory period, he worked at re-organising the Navy, and joined back in 1798. Made a division commander, he served in the expedition to Egypt as flag captain to Admiral Brueys.

In 1798, Casabianca captained the Orient, the flagship of the French fleet which carried Napoleon Bonaparte and his army to Egypt. Days after their arrival to Egypt, the French ships were attacked by the British and the Battle of Aboukir Bay broke out. During the fight, Orient was set ablaze by English cannon fire and exploded at around 11 o'clock at night, killing many of those aboard. The number of survivors is uncertain. The blast was so great it was felt 15 miles away in Alexandria. His 12-year-old son, Giocante, was also killed.


The poem "Casabianca", by Felicia Hemans, tells the story of the heroic death of his son at the Battle of Aboukir Bay (and mentions his own death in passing).

Several vessels of the French Navy were named in his honour, notably

  • the Casabianca, the famous submarine which joined the Free French Forces during the Second World War, notably liberating Corsica.
  • the Casabianca, a contemporary nuclear attack submarine

Camille de Casabianca, a descendant, is a French filmmaker/writer.


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWood, James, ed. (1907). "article name needed". The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.