Drowning in Nantes — a monstrous massacre organized by a fanatic

Drowning in Nantes — a monstrous massacre organized by a fanatic

Categories: Europe | History

The French Revolution of 1789 put an end to the monarchy. And at the same time, she took the lives of tens of thousands of Frenchmen, executed and simply killed in a variety of ways. Mass executions by guillotine are well known, but the revolutionaries had other, even more intricate methods of execution. For example, mass drownings, as happened in the city of Nantes.

Drowning in Nantes — a monstrous massacre organized by a fanatic

The ardent revolutionary Jean-Baptiste Carrieu was one of the most prominent figures of the "Era of Terror". He established himself as an irreconcilable fighter against the monarchists in Paris and therefore in 1793 he was sent to Nantes on a special mission. Then this city in the west of France was considered one of the hotbeds of counter-revolution. Carrie was tasked with identifying the monarchists and putting them on trial.

Drowning in Nantes — a monstrous massacre organized by a fanatic

For aristocrats, and indeed any citizens, the trial almost certainly meant death. The new government did not stand on ceremony with the enemies of the regime, preferring radical methods. Jean-Baptiste Carrieu took up the task with enthusiasm. On his orders, both nobles and ordinary people suspected of sympathizing with the overthrown monarchy were arrested.

It is impossible to count the number of victims of Carrie and his henchmen now. But historians are inclined to believe that in less than a year up to 15 thousand residents of Nantes and its environs were killed. There were a huge number of innocent people among them, since Carrie saw a conspirator in everyone. Men, women, old people and even children were executed.

Drowning in Nantes — a monstrous massacre organized by a fanatic

At first, Carrie acted according to the Paris scenario. His Revolutionary Tribunal considered dozens of cases every day, rarely devoting more than 10-15 minutes to anyone. The condemned were immediately executed — aristocrats and burghers on the guillotine, and peasants on the gallows. But soon the tyrant realized that his death machine could not keep up with the court. The condemned gathered in the city prison and waited for their fate for several days.

They had to be fed, watered and guarded. Therefore, Carrie's fanatical mind came up with a new type of execution — drowning in scows. For mass murder on the banks of the Loire River, flimsy boats were hastily put together from planks. The deck of these large boats was covered with wooden bars so that the unfortunate could not escape. There were holes in the bottom of each vessel, covered with plugs.

Drowning in Nantes — a monstrous massacre organized by a fanatic

The condemned, stripped naked and often tied up, were put into a scow, which was towed to the middle of the river. There, the executioners knocked out the corks from the boats, and they began to fill up with water rapidly. The vessels were put together on the river pier from morning to evening and on some days 2-3 boats with the unfortunate sailed from the shore. Sometimes the executioners did not stand on ceremony and simply smashed the heads of the condemned with rifle butts and threw them overboard.

In this way, Jean-Baptiste Carrie executed approximately 4,000 people. In parallel, there were massacres on the shore. The guillotine and the gallows worked seven days a week and the executioners just fell off their feet. Once Carrie personally killed four children whose parents were suspected of loving the king.

Legend has it that the executioner refused to kill innocent kids and the head of the tribunal himself did his job. The monstrous murder had such an impact on the well-worn handyman that he fell ill and soon died of a heart attack. Carrie was an absolutely ruthless and cynical bastard. He called drowning "national baptismal rites" or "dives".

Drowning in Nantes — a monstrous massacre organized by a fanatic

At first, people were drowned at night, and the necessary preparations were made during the day. But then the reprisals began to be carried out around the clock. Daytime executions were especially terrible for women. Before drowning, the guards dragged them to the shore, beat and raped them. Carrie considered the daytime massacres more useful in terms of intimidating the residents of the city.

But the bloodthirsty tyrant also faced an unenviable fate — the revolution devoured not only its enemies, but also its children without regret. In February 1794, Jean-Baptiste Carrie was urgently summoned to Paris. The Committee of Public Safety has received information about the mass killings in Nantes. It was too much even for the revolution, and the monster was put on trial.

Drowning in Nantes — a monstrous massacre organized by a fanatic

The trial was long and the murderer was arrested only in September 1794. And on December 16, 1794, a guillotine knife fell on Carrie's neck and there was one less scumbag in the world.

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