of Emmanual Richelieu
Duke Armand Emmanual Richelieu
was Odessa's first mayor. Legend has it that the Duke
wanted to build a new city as beautiful as his native
was born in Paris to an aristocratic family in 1776.
The Duke emigrated from France during the French revolution,
settling in Russia. In 1790 he joined the Russian
army in the Crimean war against Turkey, where he met
De Ribas (See
Deribasovskaya Street for more on De Ribas). After
the war he went back to France but soon he returned
to Russia and reenlisted in the Russian Army.
Czar Alexander appointed Richelieu
governor of the Novarussia (new Russia) Area, which
included Odessa, on January 27, 1803. He was the governor
of Odessa between 1803-1814. During his governership,
the first educational systems were established and
the first museum was built (the Archeological museum).
In 1812 an epidemic plague enveloped the city and
one fifth of the population died, Richelieu
visited infirmaries and helped bury the dead. (see
end of his service Richelieu
reported to the emperor that the population had grown
five times in ten years to 35,000 and that trade turnover
had reached 25 million rubles.
was exiled to Elba in 1914, the Duke ended his service
to Odessa and returned to France.
loved their first mayor. When Richelieu
left Odessa on September 27, 1814, 5,000 people followed
his carriage, almost the entire city saw him off.
The Duke then served twice as Prime Minister of France.
Armand Emmanual Richelieu
lavished most of his fortune on Odessa, the city he
ruled and loved
The duke was discerning and
reverent of Odessa, and guarded his interests as though
they were his private affairs. The duke proved a capable
leader and expanded trade and agriculture during his
Story is told by [Odessites] that the duke returned
to his beloved city of Odessa after having bid France
farewell for the last time, and then lived most of
his remaining days in the city and spent the last
of his wealth there on worthy projects. With his wealth
gone, penniless, the duke, with only the clothes he
wore and aged in years, slowly descended the great
staircase to the sea without the acknowledgement of
assistance of the local citizens and left his beloved
city for that of Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula.
There as the story goes, he died in poverty [in 1822],
and when the people of Odessa discovered what had
transpired, they were filled with great sorrow and
mournful of their neglect of their beloved governor,
and as a measure of their remembrance to him, they
generously contributed funds which they used to build
and erect his monument overlooking the splendid stairway
to the sea."
--Lydle Brinkle, Guide to the Soviet Union