DUNNING Ch.S.L. Captain Jacques Margeret: a Remarkable Huguenot Soldier in Russia’s Time of Troubles

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.2.8

Chester S. L. Dunning

Doctor, Emeritus Professor of History,

Texas A&M University, College Station,

Texas, United States of America 77843-4236

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8655-3025


Abstract. Captain Jacques Margeret (fl. 1591-1621), a brave and highly intelligent French Huguenot soldier, was an active observer-participant in the Time of Troubles who contributed to Russia’s military modernization. Margeret also wrote one of the most valuable foreign accounts of early modern Russia: Estat de l’Empire de Russie et Grand Duché de Moscovie (1607). In this essay, Chester Dunning surveys two hundred years of scholarship about Margeret and his famous book, and he lays the foundation for a more objective biography of the remarkable French captain who served Tsar Boris Godunov, Tsar “Dmitrii”, Tsar Vasilii Shuiskii, the Tushinite pretender Dmitrii, “Tsar” Wladyslaw, King Sigismund III of Poland-Lithuania, Prince Janusz Radziwiłł, and finally King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden. This essay challenges recent scholarship concerning Margeret’s identity, his religious affiliation, his early career in France, his controversial career in Russia, his later career, and the composition of his book. This essay is based on fifty years of research by the translator of Jacques Margeret’s book into English as The Russian Empire and Grand Duchy of Muscovy: A 17th-Century French Account (1983). In addition to reading most published sources and scholarship about Margeret and his account of Russia, the author has examined documents related to Margeret’s biography in French, Russian, Polish, and British archives. In the process, Dunning discovered a letter Margeret wrote to King James I in 1612 encouraging English military intervention in north Russia to counter Polish and Swedish intervention.

Key words: Jacques Margeret, Huguenots, mercenary soldiers, Boris Godunov, Dobrynichi, Tsar Dmitrii, Tushino, Klushino, Dmitrii Pozharskii, Janusz Radziwiłł, James I, Estat de l’Empire de Russie.

Citation. Dunning Ch.S.L. Captain Jacques Margeret: a Remarkable Huguenot Soldier in Russia’s Time of Troubles. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 76-102. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.2.8.

Лицензия Creative Commons

Captain Jacques Margeret: a Remarkable Huguenot Soldier in Russia’s Time of Troubles by Dunning Ch.S.L. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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