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Théophraste Renaudot Issues "La Gazette", the First French Weekly Magazine

Theophraste Renaudot

At the foot of the image there is a pasted-on slip dated 30 May 1631 the day that La Gazette was launched. This must have been added years later since the print is dated 1644. 

French physician, philanthropist and journalist, Théophraste Renaudot, with the support of Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu (Cardinal Richlieu), published the first issue of La Gazette, the first French weekly magazine, on May 30, 1631. The BnF has digitized what may be a complete run of this periodical at this link. Issues published during the first year appear in a collected volume issued in 1632. It is unclear to what extent separate issues from the first year survived.

"Before the advent of the printed Gazette, reports on current events usually circulated as hand-written papers (nouvelles à la main). La Gazette quickly became the center of France for the dissemination of news, and thus an excellent means for controlling the flow of information in a highly centralized state. Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIII were frequent contributors."

"La Gazette had for objective to inform its readers on events from the noble court and abroad. It was mostly focused on political and diplomatic affairs. In 1762, its name became Gazette de France, with the sub title Organe officiel du Government royal (Official organ of the royal Government). In 1787, Charles-Joseph Panckouke already proprietary of the Mercure de France and the Moniteur universel — that he had just founded — rented the magazine.

"La Gazette remained silent about the birth of the revolution, and didn't even mention the storming of the Bastille on the 14th of July in 1789, limiting itself to government acts. For the satisfaction of his customers, Charles-Joseph Panckouke published a supplement, Le Gazettin (little Gazette), that gave its readers summaries of debates at the National Constituent Assembly. In 1791, the ministry of foreign affairs, who owned La Gazette, took it back. Nicolas Fallet was named director and it became a tribune for the Girondists. He was succeeded by Sébastien Roch Nicolas Chamfort. La Gazette became a daily magazine in 1792, 1 May. Following the execution of Louis XVI in 1793, 21 January, it was renamed Gazette nationale de France (National Gazette of France)" (Wikipedia article on La Gazette, accessed 07-31-2009).

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