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Siege of La Rochelle

The Siege of La Rochelle was a result of a war between the French royal forces of Louis XIII of France and the Huguenots of La Rochelle in 1627–28. The siege marked the height of the struggle between the Catholics and the Protestants in France, ended with a complete victory for King Louis XIII and the Catholics. In 1598, with the Edict of Nantes, Henry IV of France had given the French Huguenots extensive rights. La Rochelle had become their stronghold, under its own governance, it was the main port for Huguenot seapower, the strongest centre of resistance against the Catholic royal government. The city was, with over 30,000 inhabitants; the assassination of Henry IV in 1610, the advent of Louis XIII under the regency of Marie de' Medici, marked a return to pro-Catholic politics and a weakening of the position of the Protestants. The Duke Henri de Rohan and his brother Soubise started to organize Protestant resistance from that time, which exploded into a Huguenot rebellion. In 1621, Louis XIII besieged and captured Saint-Jean d'Angély, a blockade of La Rochelle was attempted in 1621-1622, ending with a stalemate and the Treaty of Montpellier.

Again and Soubise would take arms in 1625, ending with the capture of the Île de Ré in 1625 by Louis XIII. After these events, Louis XIII resolved to subdue the Huguenots, Louis' Chief Minister Cardinal Richelieu declared this his first priority; the Anglo-French conflict followed the failure of their alliance of 1624, in which England had tried to find an ally in France against the power of the Habsburgs. In 1626, France under Richelieu concluded a secret peace with Spain, disputes arose around Henrietta Maria's household. Furthermore, France was building the power of its Navy, leading the English to be convinced that France must be opposed "for reasons of state". In June 1626, Walter Montagu was sent to France to contact dissident noblemen, from March 1627 attempted to organize a French rebellion; the plan was to send an English fleet to encourage rebellion, triggering a new Huguenot revolt by Duke Henri de Rohan and his brother Soubise. On the first expedition, the English king Charles I sent a fleet of 80 ships, under his favourite George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, to encourage a major rebellion in La Rochelle.

In June 1627, Buckingham organised a landing on the nearby island of Île de Ré with 6,000 men in order to help the Huguenots, thus starting the Anglo-French War of 1627, with the objectives being to control the approaches to La Rochelle and to encourage the rebellion in the city. The city of La Rochelle refused to declare itself an ally of Buckingham against the crown of France and denied access to its harbour to Buckingham's fleet. An open alliance would be declared only in September, during the first fights between La Rochelle and royal troops. Although a Protestant stronghold, Île de Ré had not directly joined the rebellion against the king. On Île de Ré, the English under Buckingham tried to take the fortified city of Saint-Martin in the Siege of Saint-Martin-de-Ré but were repulsed after three months. Small French royal boats managed to supply St Martin in spite of the English blockade. Buckingham ran out of money and support, his army was weakened by disease. After a last attack on Saint-Martin, they were repulsed with heavy casualties and left with their ships.

Meanwhile, in August 1627 French royal forces started to surround La Rochelle, with an army of 7,000 soldiers, 600 horses and 24 cannons, led by Charles of Angoulême. They started to reinforce fortifications at Bongraine, at the Fort Louis. On September 10, the first cannon shots were fired by La Rochelle against royal troops at Fort Louis, starting the third Huguenot rebellion. La Rochelle was the greatest stronghold among the Huguenot cities of France, the centre of Huguenot resistance. Cardinal Richelieu acted as commander of the besiegers. Once hostilities started, French engineers isolated the city with entrenchments 12 kilometers long, fortified by 11 forts and 18 redoubts; the surrounding fortifications were completed in April 1628, manned with an army of 30,000. Four thousand workmen built a 1,400 meters long seawall to block the seaward access between the city and harbor, stopping all supplies; the initial idea for blocking the channel came from the Italian engineer Pompeo Targone, but his structure was broken by winter weather, before the idea was taken up by the royal architect Clément Métezeau in November 1627.

The wall was built on a foundation of sunken hulks filled with rubble. French artillery battered English ships trying to supply the city. Meanwhile, in southern France, Henri de Rohan vainly attempted to raise a rebellion to relieve La Rochelle; until February, some ships were able to go through the seawall under construction, but after March this became impossible. The city was blockaded, with the only hope coming from possible intervention by an English fleet; the Roman Catholic government of France rented ships from the Protestant city of Amsterdam to conquer the Protestant city of La Rochelle. This resulted in a debate in the city council of Amsterdam as to whether the French soldiers should be allowed to have a Roman Catholic sermon on board of the Protestant Dutch ships; the result of the debate was. The Dutch ships transported the French soldiers to La Rochelle. France was a Dutch ally in the war against the Habsburgs. In the occasion of the Siege of La Rochelle, Spain manoeuvered towards the formation of a Franco-Spanish alliance against the common enemies that were the English, the Huguenots and the D

Elfyn Evans

Elfyn Rhys Evans is a Welsh rally driver. He is teamed with Scott Martin and is competing for Toyota Gazoo Racing in the World Rally Championship; the son of former WRC and Ford, SEAT, MG driver, 1996 British Rally Championship Champion Gwyndaf Evans, he is sponsored by the family Ford motor dealership in Dolgellau, first established by his great-grandfather in Dinas Mawddwy, renamed to Gwyndaf Evans Motors in 1983. Since 2007, Evans has driven a Group N production-car-class Ford Fiesta in the Ford Fiesta Sporting Trophy. In 2007 he competed in Rally GB in Wales. In 2010 Evans won the British Junior Rally championship and was the winner of the UK Ford Fiesta Trophy series he won the Pirelli Star Driver Shoot-out after two days of tests and assessments at the Sweet Lamb rally complex in his native Wales, with a prize of a funded season in a Pirelli-backed Group N Subaru Impreza run by the championship-winning TEG Sport team — a prize worth in excess of £200,000. In 2012, Evans secured the FIA World Rally Championship Academy title, the R2 title in the British Rally Championship and the UK Fiesta Sport Trophy.

In addition, he won the end-of-year FST International Shootout. In 2013 he contested a programme of WRC events in a 4WD car - his prize for winning the WRC Academy - and worked at M-Sport, helping to develop rally cars for the WRC and other championships, his 2013 season began with the first round of the Australian Rally Championship, the National Rally in Canberra, in which he retired early on the first day. He drove a Fiesta RRC on the WRC Rally of Portugal, retiring with a transmission problem before starting the final day under Rally 2 regulations. To his surprise, he was asked to compete on the Rally Italy in Sardinia in a Ford Fiesta World Rally Car after Nasser Al-Attiyah was forced to withdraw because of commitments in Qatar. Despite having never competed on the event before, using Nasser's co-driver, competing in a WRC car for the first time and with no pre-event testing, Evans finished sixth. Evans switched to M-Sport for the 2014 season to drive a Ford Fiesta WRC as the teammate of veteran Mikko Hirvonen.

His best results have been fourth at Germany. The driver scored two podiums in 2015. M-Sport dropped Evans to the WRC-2 in 2016. Driving a Ford Fiesta R5, he has scored wins at Monte Carlo and Tour de Corse. With a Fiesta R5, he won the British Rally Championship with five wins in seven races. For 2017, Elfyn rejoined the M-Sport World Rally Team to drive the DMACK car, he started the year with sixth in Monte Carlo, setting several fastest stage times, repeated the performance in Sweden. After two disappointing rounds in Mexico and Corsica, at round five in Argentina, Evans benefited from misfortune for his rivals to end day one with a minutes lead. On day two, Evans struggled with punctures, a spin and a damaged diffuser, saw his lead fall to just 11 seconds. On the final stage, it was a straight battle between Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville, he lost several seconds when he hit a bridge. He tried hard to make up the lost time, but in the end he lost his first victory by just 0.7 seconds to Neuville.

In Finland, Evans was left to uphold team honors after a crash for teammate Sébastien Ogier and a puncture for Ott Tänak. He dutifully set consistent top three stage times and snatched second place on the last stage from Juho Hänninen, in what many journalists described as the best drive of his career so far. At the penultimate round on his home rally in Wales, Evans took advantage of his DMACK tyres, which were suited to the conditions, to take his first WRC win, the first for a Welsh driver, the first for a British driver on Wales Rally GB since the late Richard Burns in 2000, he would finish the championship in fifth place. Evans would repeat his success in Wales with a second victory in the 2020 Rally Sweden, where he led the rally despite adverse weather conditions which forced the organisers to abridge the event to just nine stages; this marked his first win in Sweden, his first rally win for Toyota, the first British driver to win the event. His victory in Sweden allowed him to lead the points standings in the WRC driver's championship for the first time in his career.

* Season still in progress. Gwyndaf Evans Motors

Lorens Pasch the Younger

Lorens or Lorenz Pasch the Younger was a Swedish painter. He grew up in an artistic family, but his father Lorens Pasch the Elder wanted him to become a priest, he was thus sent to study in Uppsala aged 10. However, he decided on an artistic career after all and began an apprenticeship in his father's studio before going to Copenhagen, with introductions from his wealthy and influential uncle Johan Pasch. There he studied painting for three years in the studio of Carl Gustaf Pilo. Despite good offers of studio-apprenticeships and commissions from Sweden, he set off for Paris in 1758 to complete his artistic education. There he specialised in history painting in the studios of Eustache Le Sueur and François Boucher and became friends with fellow-Swede Alexander Roslin. In 1764 he left Paris and got back to Sweden in 1766, he completed his training in the studio of the French painter Guillaume Taraval, who in 1735 founded the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm. Soon after his arrival back in Sweden Pasch's gained a great reputation as a portraitist, gaining favour and commissions from the royal court and gaining the esteem of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden and his queen Louisa Ulrika - one of his most notable works is his Portrait of Louisa Ulrika of Prussia.

He served as a professor at the Academy of Arts from 1773 to his death, becoming its director on Pilo's death in 1793. At the end of his life he concentrated more on training young artists and managing the Academy than on painting, he died unmarried in 1805 and due to his powerful portraits remains one of the most respected painters of the Gustavian era in Sweden. Strömbom, Sixten: Lorens Pasch d.y. Norstedt och söners förlag, 1915. Entry in the Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon