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By Michael Kwass

Louis Mandrin led a gang of bandits who openly smuggled contraband into eighteenth-century France. Michael Kwass brings new existence to the legend of this Gallic Robin Hood and the thriving underworld he helped to create. many years prior to the storming of the Bastille, surging global alternate excited a revolution in intake that reworked the French nation. Contraband exposes the darkish part of this early section of globalization, revealing hidden connections among illicit trade, illegal activity, and well known revolt.

France's economic climate used to be tailored for an enterprising outlaw like Mandrin. As French matters started to crave colonial items, Louis XIV coated the royal coffers through implementing a nation monopoly on tobacco from the USA and an embargo on brilliantly coloured calico fabric from India. full of life black markets arose wherein traffickers fed those unique items to keen French shoppers. Flouting the legislation with unheard of panache, Mandrin captured common public cognizance to develop into a logo of a defiant underground.

This furtive economic climate generated violent clashes among gangs of smugglers and customs brokers within the borderlands. ultimately, Mandrin used to be captured via French troops and placed to dying in a brutal public execution meant to illustrate the king's absolute authority. however the spectacle purely cemented Mandrin's prestige as a insurgent people hero in an age of mounting discontent. Amid cycles of underground uprising and agonizing penal repression, the reminiscence of Mandrin encouraged traditional matters and Enlightenment philosophers alike to problem royal strength and forge a flow for radical political change.

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