The introduction of Mérinos in France at the end of the XVIIIth century and at the beginning of the XIXth century. The loss of a Spanish raw material monopoly.


  • Eric Teyssier



During severa1 centuries, the fine aborigine Mérinos wool constituted a Spanish wealth that was coveted by France. After several fruitful little attempts, the intervention of Louis XVI, sustained by the physio crates, allowed the introduction of Mérinos and the creation of the «Bergerie de Rambouillet» (royal sheepfold of Rambouillet) in 1786. The signature of the treaty of Base1 in 1795, anticipating the delivery to France of 5000 heads, gave a new impetus to this phenomenon. The French herd increased at the beginning by the XIXth century, thanks to private breeders and to the national sheepfold multiplication.

Nevertheless, the war of Spain in 1808 and the crisis of wool industry in 1811 slowed the expansion. The clumsiness of the State which imposed in I811 a too «adirigiste» policy, discouraged private initiatives committed ten years ago.

In 1815, France possessed an important herd. But a country as the Saxe had better results in its improvement policy and appears as a model for Europe in this area.


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