was Mexico’s third-largest economic partner, behind the United States and the United Kingdom. Prior to 1827, mail between France and Mexico was exchanged via merchant ships. Given the growing importance of trade connections, the French government resolved to set up a regular maritime service between France and Mexico. A two year contract was signed on 17 August 1827 between the French state and the Brun et Gautier company to provide regular sailings to Veracruz by mailboats known as «paquebots» derived from the English «packet boats». After the two years, a call for tenders was issued, and won by Balguerie et Fils.

Article written by Alain Vernot from the Académie de Philatélie

The Balguerie contract

A new paquebot postage rate was introduced by the law of 4 July 1829 and the circular of 8 February 1830: «Letters transported by regular paquebot at the expense of the French state […] will be subject, in addition to the postage fixed by Article 1 of the law of 15 March 1827, to a seaway tax of fifteen decimes per single letter. Pursuant
to this law, the government has set up a paquebot service between Bordeaux and Vera-Cruz, which will begin operating on 1 April next […]. From 1 July onwards, a paquebot will be dispatched every month from Vera-Cruz to Bordeaux, loaded with letters from Mexico to France.

The first departure took place on 4 April 1830 and the first return a few weeks later on 28 May 1830. Up to 1835, 61 trips were made from Bordeaux. Balguerie chartered the former ships of the Gauthier company and then added new paquebots (26 ships operated on the service). In addition to the paquebots, merchant ships also provided the service.

The last return trip left Veracruz on 1 July 1835, arriving in Bordeaux on 30 November 1835. It was not until French intervention in 1862 that a new regular service was set up by the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique.

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Written by Héloïse

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