CHAMAREL – The namesake family, De Chazal de Chamarel

  • Concessions


    Chamarel gets its name from two Frenchmen named Toussaint-Antoine and Charles-Antoine de Chazal de Chamarel, who received a concession of land otherwise known as Le Nuage; the two men were respectively born in 1770 and 1772 in then Isle de France. The two Chamarel boys lost their father early on, and their story is similar to other Mauritian-born Frenchmen of the time: going back and forth between France and Isle de France, stints in the military and acquisitions and sales of land in order to ensure the prosperity of their family. After the French Revolution began, Charles Antoine de Chazal de Chamarel returned to Mauritius, and together with his brother inherited the lands known today as Chamarel from their stepfather, Mr. Lousteau.

First agricultural developments

It has been reported that C.A. de Chazal attempted to develop the land by cultivating sugar cane, cotton, coffee and indigo. However, he did not adapt well to life in the colony,  returned to France in 1815 and never returned. The land was sold to another family in 1844 but was re-acquired by his son-in-law Amédée Perrot in 1852, where he and his wife Amélie, daughter of Charles Antoine, settled with their family. Eight years later, a sugar factory was installed on the property.


A financial struggle and simple life

After the death of her husband, Amélie tried her best to administer the property, which unfortunately did not fare well financially. In order to maintain the property, she had to sell plots of forest land and became indebted, borrowing money from the Ceylon Company while awaiting the repurchase of forest lands by the government.  She described in a letter to her son the loss of the family fortune and her simple living conditions: “You see, dear child, that I am not so much to be pitied, I have enough, I think, of good: 45 $ a month, my cows, my pigsty and my poultry”. In this same letter, she related of the cold weather, her woollen socks and a small heater keeping her warm while keeping a positive attitude “Misery still has its charms, but it is a relative misery because I have more than I need - that your poor heart recovers - it is better to lose fortune than loved ones.” Amélie finally decided to leave Chamarel in 1875 and died in a convent a year later in Port-Louis after a full life. [1]

Bringing an end to the Chazal tenure of Chamarel, the property was purchased in 1891 by the The Mauritius Estate & Assets and the sugar factory was renovated in 1894, before stopping its operations in 1897.[2]

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