Jean Bart (October 21, 1651 - April 27, 1702) was a French naval commander.
He was born in Dunkirk, the son of a fisherman. He served when young in the Dutch navy, but when war broke out between Louis XIV and the United Provinces in 1672 he entered the French service. He gained great distinction in the Mediterranean, where he held an irregular sort of commission, not being then able from his low birth to receive a command in the navy.
His success was so great, however, that he was made a lieutenant in 1679. He rose rapidly to the rank of captain and then to that of admiral. The peace of Ryswick (1697) put a close to his active service. Many anecdotes are narrated of the courage and bluntness of the uncultivated sailor, who became the popular hero of the French naval service. The town of Dunkirk has honoured his memory by a statue and by naming a public square after him.
Ships Bearing the name Jean Bart
More than 27 ships of the French Navy, over a period of 200 years, have born the name Jean Bart. These include:
Jean Bart (1788), a 74 gun ship of the line.
Jean Bart (1811), a 74 gun ship of the line.
Jean Bart (1886), a first class cruiser or 4800 tonnes.
Jean Bart (1910), a 23,600 tonne battleship, the first French dreadnought.
Jean Bart (1940), a 50,000 tonne battleship armed with 15" guns. Although launched in 1940, the ship was not fitted out and completed until 1955, having spent much of the Second World War in dock at Casablanca.
Jean Bart (1988), an anti-aircraft frigate, still in service with the French Navy.