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1343 – After the execution of her husband, Jeanne de Clisson sells her estates and raises a force of men with which to attack French shipping and ports.
Jeanne de Clisson (1300–1359), also known as Jeanne de Belleville and the Lioness of Brittany, was a Breton privateer who plied the English Channel.
Jeanne Louise de Belleville, de Clisson, Dame de Montaigu, was born in 1300 in Belleville-sur-Vie in the Vendee, a daughter of nobleman Maurice IV Montaigu of Belleville and Palluau (1263-1304) and Létice de Parthenay of Parthenay (1276-?) in the Gâtine Vendéenne.
Married at twelve
In 1312, Jeanne married her first husband, 19-year-old Geoffrey de Châteaubriant VIII (died 1326), a Breton nobleman, and had two children:
Geoffrey IX (1314-1347), inherited his father’s estates as Baron, died in the Battle of La Roche-Derrien; and
Louise (1316-1383), married Guy XII de Laval and inherited her brother’s estate as Baroness.
In 1328, Jeanne married, Guy of Penthièvre (fr), widower of Joan of Avaugour. The union was short lived because after an investigation, the marriage was annulled by Pope John XXII in 1330.
In 1330, Jeanne remarried to Olivier de Clisson IV, a wealthy Breton, holding a castle at Clisson, a manor house in Nantes and lands at Blain. Olivier was initially married to Blanche de Bouville (died 1329). Jeanne and Olivier together had five children:
Maurice, (1333-1334, in Blain)
Guillaume, (1338-1345) died of exposure
Olivier V, (1336-1407),his father’s successor, a future Constable of France, nicknamed the butcher
Isabeau, (1325-1343) born out of wedlock, married John I of Rieux and therefore mother of Jean II de Rieux (died 1343) and
Jeanne, (1340-) married Jean Harpedane, Lord of Montendre IV’s successor.
De Clissons choose sides
During the Breton War of Succession, the de Clissons sided with the French choice for the empty Breton ducal crown, Charles de Blois, against the English preference, John de Montfort. The larger de Clisson family was not in full agreement in this matter and Olivier IV’s brother, Amaury de Clisson embraced the de Montfort party.
Intrigue of Vannes
In 1342, the English, after four attempts, captured Vannes. Her husband Olivier and Hervé VII de Léon, the military commanders defending this city, were captured. Olivier was the only one released after an exchange for Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford (a prisoner of the French), and a surprisingly low sum was demanded. This led Olivier to be subsequently suspected of not having defended the city to his fullest, and he was alleged by Charles de Blois to be a traitor.
Tournament and trial
On 19 January 1343, the Truce of Malestroit was signed between England and France. Under the perceived safe conditions of this truce, Olivier and fifteen other Breton lords were invited to a tournament on French soil, where he was arrested, taken to Paris, tried by his peers and on 2 August 1343, executed by beheading at Les Halles.
“In the year of our Grace one thousand three hundred and forty-three, on Saturday, the second day of August, Olivier, Lord of Clisson, knight, prisoner in the Chatelet of Paris for several treasons and other crimes perpetrated by him against the king and the crown of France, and for alliances that he made with the king of England, enemy of the king and kingdom of France, as the said Olivier … has confessed, was by judgement of the king given at Orleans drawn from the Chatelet of Paris to Les Halles … and there on a scaffold had his head cut off. And then from there his corpse was drawn to the gibbet of Paris and there hanged on the highest level; and his head was sent to Nantes in Brittany to be put on a lance over the Sauvetout gate as a warning to others”.
This execution shocked the nobility as the evidence of guilt was not publicly demonstrated, and the process of exposing a body was reserved mainly for low-class criminals. This execution was judged harshly by Froissart and his contemporaries.
Shock and revenge
Jeanne took her two young sons, Olivier and Guillaume, from Clisson to Nantes, to show them the head of their father at the Sauvetout gate.
Jeanne, enraged by her husband’s execution, swore retribution against the French King, Philip VI, and Charles de Blois. She considered their actions a cowardly murder.
Change of allegiances
Jeanne then sold the de Clisson estates, raised a force of loyal men and started attacking French forces in Brittany.
Jeanne is said to have attacked a castle occupied by Galois de la Heuse, one of the officers of Charles de Blois, massacring the entire garrison with the exception of one individual.
Jeanne also attacked another garrison at Château-Thébaud, about 20 km south east of Nantes and a former post under control of her husband.
With the English king’s assistance and Breton sympathizers, Jeanne outfitted three warships. These were painted black and their sails dyed red. The flagship was named “My Revenge”. The ships of this Black Fleet then patrolled the English Channel hunting down French ships, whereupon her force would kill entire crews, leaving only a few witnesses to transmit the news to the French King. This earned Jeanne the moniker “The Lioness of Brittany”. Jeanne continued her piracy in the channel for another 13 years.
Jeanne is also said to have attacked coastal villages in Normandy and have put several to sword and fire. In 1346, during the Battle of Crecy, south of Calais, in northern France, Jeanne used her ships to supply the English forces.
After the sinking of her flagship, Jeanne with her two sons were adrift for five days, her son Guillaume died of exposure. Jeanne and Olivier were finally rescued and taken to Morlaix by Montfort supporters.
Fourth marriage: the English husband
In 1356, Jeanne married for a fourth time to Sir Walter Bentley, one of King Edward III’s military deputies during the campaign. Bentley had previously won the battle of Mauron on August 4, 1352 and was rewarded for his services with “the lands and castles ” Beauvoir-sur-mer, of Ampant, of Barre, Blaye, Châteauneuf, Ville Maine, the island Chauvet and from the islands of Noirmoutier and Bouin.
Jeanne finally settled at the Castle of Hennebont, a port town on the Brittany coast, which was in the territory of her de Montfort allies, and later died there in 1359.
Verifiable references relating to Jeanne’s exploits are limited, but do exist. These include:
A French judgement from 1343 convicting Jeanne as a traitor and confirmed the confiscation of the de Clisson lands.
Records from the English court from 1343, indicating King Edward granting Jeanne an income from lands controlled in Brittany by the English.
Jeanne is mentioned in the truce between France and England in 1347 as an English ally. (Treaty of Calais, 28 September 1347) 
A 15th-century manuscript, known as the Chronographia Regum Francorum, confirms some of the details of her life.
Amaury de Clisson, the brother of Olivier, is used as an emissary from Joanna of Flanders (Jehanne de Montfort) to ask King Edward III for aid to relieve Hennebont. The de Clisson family was at that stage definitely on the de Montfort side.
Records exist where shortly after Olivier de Clisson’s execution, several other knights were accused of similar crimes. The lord of Malestroit and his son, the lord of Avaugour, sir Tibaut de Morillon, and other lords of Brittany, to the number of ten knights and squires, were beheaded at Paris. Four other knights of Normandy, sir William Baron, sir Henry de Malestroit, the lord of Rochetesson, and sir Richard de Persy, were put to death upon reports.
In 1868, French writer Émile Pehant’s novel Jeanne de Belleville was published in France. Written at the height of the French romantic movement, Pehant’s novel shares many details with the legend attached to Jeanne.
1894 – Bertha Lutz, Brazilian feminist and scientist
Bertha Maria Júlia Lutz (August 2, 1894 in São Paulo – September 16, 1976 in Rio de Janeiro) was a Brazilian zoologist, politician, and diplomat. Lutz became a leading figure in both the Pan American feminist movement and human rights movement.
Early life and education
Bertha Lutz was born in São Paulo. Her father, Adolfo Lutz (1855–1940), was a pioneering physician and epidemiologist of Swiss origin, and her mother, Amy Fowler, was a British nurse. Bertha Lutz studied natural sciences, biology and zoology at the University of Paris – Sorbonne, graduating in 1918. Soon after obtaining her degree, she returned to Brazil.
Return to Brazil and the fight for women’s suffrage
In 1919, one year after returning to Brazil, Lutz founded the League for Intellectual Emancipation of Women and was appointed to represent the Brazilian government in the Female International Council of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Lutz later created the Brazilian Federation for Women’s Progress in 1922, a political group which advocated for Brazilian women’s rights, most importantly their right to vote, around the world. Lutz served as a delegate to the Pan-American Conference of Women in Baltimore, Maryland, US that same year, and would continue to attend women’s rights conferences in the years to come. In 1925, she was elected president of the Inter-American Union of Women. Lutz’s involvement in the fight for women’s suffrage made her the leading figurehead of women’s rights until the end of 1931, when Brazilian women finally gained the right to vote.
Leading the inter-American feminist campaign
Lutz’s advocacy for the rights of women did not end with the right to vote, and she continued to play a prominent role in the feminist campaign. In 1933, after obtaining her law degree from Rio de Janeiro Law School, Lutz participated and introduced several proposals for gender equity in the [Inter-American Conference] of Montevideo, Uruguay. Most notable of these proposals was her call for the refocusing of the Inter-American Commission of Women on the issue of gender equality in the workplace. In 1935, Lutz decided to run for Congress and came in second behind Cándido Pessoa, and replaced him when he died a year later, making Lutz one of the few Brazilian Congresswomen of the time. The first initiative that Lutz presented while in Congress was the creation of the “Statue of women”, a committee with the intended purpose of analyzing every Brazilian law and statute to ensure none violated the rights of women.
Lutz, however, was unable to push forward her measures when Getúlio Vargas was reinstated as dictator in 1937, which led to a suspension of parliamentary and, consequently, a suspension her project. Lutz nonetheless continued her diplomatic career. She was one of the four women to sign the United Nations Charter at the Inter-American Conference of Women held in San Francisco in 1945 and served as vice president of the Inter-American Commission of Women from 1953 to 1959.
In 1964, Lutz headed the Brazilian delegation at the 14th Inter-American Commission in Montevideo. Additionally, at the 15th annual meeting of the Inter-American Commission of Women held in 1970, she proposed to hold a seminar dedicated to addressing the specific problems faced by indigenous women. Although she was a little over seventy during this stage of her life, Lutz continued to attend conferences and push for the expansion of women’s rights, including the International Women’s Year conference in Mexico City in 1975. She died in 1976 at the age of 82.
After returning to Brazil in 1918, Lutz dedicated herself to the study of amphibians, especially poison dart frogs and frogs of the family Hylidae. In 1919, she was hired by the Museu Nacional do Rio de Janeiro. She later became a naturalist at the Section of Botany. Throughout her lifetime, Lutz would publish numerous scientific studies and publications, most notably “Observations on the life history of the Brazilian Frog” (1943), “A notable frog chorus in Brazil” (1946), and “New frogs from Itatiaia mountain” (1952). In 1958, she described what is now known as Lutz’s rapids frog (Paratelmatobius lutzii Lutz and Carvalho, 1958), which is named in honor of her father.
Bertha Lutz is honored in the names of two species of Brazilian lizards: Liolaemus lutzae and Bogertia lutzae , as well as three species of frogs: Megaelosia lutzae, Dendropsophus berthalutzae, and Scinax berthae.
Lutz and political conferences
Female International Council of the International Labor Organization (ILO)- 1919
During this conference, Lutz advocated for equality among the sexes and the specific mention of women in the clauses that protect against injustices and abuse.
Pan American Women’s Congress Conference in Baltimore- 1922
At this conference, Lutz advocated for the equality of rights and opportunity of women, with a special focus on political inclusion.
Inter-American Conference of Montevideo- 1933
Lutz came prepared to this conference with a study of the legal status of women in the Americas and advocated that the nationality of married women should not be contingent on that of their husbands. She also proposed an Equals Rights treaty and pushed the Inter-American Commission of Women to refocus and recommit to analyzing working conditions of women in the Americas.
San Francisco UN conference- 1945
Along with three other women, Lutz fought for the inclusion of the word “women” in the preamble to the United Nations Charter. The final clause read: ” …faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small”
She further proposed the creation of a special commission of Women whose purpose it would be to analyze the “legal status of Women” around the world in order to better understand the inequalities they face and be better prepared to combat them. She is credited with being the most prominent and tenacious advocate for the inclusion of women’s rights in the charter, and without her work the United Nations would likely not have a mandate to protect women’s rights.
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