Théodore Cornut

Last updated
Théodore Cornut
Cournut handwriting and signature 25 October 1767.jpg
Théodore Cornut handwriting and signature on his map of Essaouira, 25 October 1767.
Known forArchitect of Essaouira, Morocco.
Map of Essaouira bay, by Theodore Cornut, 1767. Map of Mogador by Theodore Cornut 1767.jpg
Map of Essaouira bay, by Théodore Cornut, 1767.
Map of Essaouira by Theodore Cornut. When he left Morocco in 1767, areas in pink were already built (streets are still recognizable), whether areas in yellow (harbour front, and medina) were only projected. Theodore Cornut Essaouira 1767.jpg
Map of Essaouira by Théodore Cornut. When he left Morocco in 1767, areas in pink were already built (streets are still recognizable), whether areas in yellow (harbour front, and medina) were only projected.
Theodore Cornut designed the Royal quarters or kasbah of the city of Essaouira. EssaouiraRamparts.png
Théodore Cornut designed the Royal quarters or kasbah of the city of Essaouira.

Théodore Cornut, also Cornout, was a French mathematician and military architect of the 18th century, born in Avignon, who worked for the King of Morocco.

France Republic in Europe with several non-European regions

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Mathematician person with an extensive knowledge of mathematics

A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in his or her work, typically to solve mathematical problems.

Architect Person trained to plan and design buildings, and oversee their construction

An architect is a person who plans, designs and reviews the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek, i.e., chief builder.

Cornut initially worked as an architect for military fortifications in Roussillon. He then entered the service of the English Crown, and participated to the Seven Years' War. Later, based in Gibraltar, he was invited by Sidi Mohamed ben Abdallah, an Alaouite Sultan, to build the city of Mogador (modern Essaouira) in 1766.

Roussillon Historical province in Pyrénées-Orientales, France

Roussillon is one of the historical counties of the former Principality of Catalonia. It may also refer to Northern Catalonia or French Catalonia, the first used by Catalan-speakers and the second used by French-speakers, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales save Fenouillèdes. A 1998 survey found that 34% of respondents stated they speak Catalan, and a further 21% understand it.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Seven Years War Global conflict between 1756 and 1763

The Seven Years' War was a global war fought between 1756 and 1763. It involved all five European great powers of the time plus many of the middle powers and spanned five continents, affecting Europe, the Americas, West Africa, India, and the Philippines. The conflict split Europe into two coalitions: one was led by the Kingdom of Great Britain and included the Kingdom of Prussia, the Kingdom of Portugal, the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and a few other small German states; while the other was led by the Kingdom of France and included the Austrian-led Holy Roman Empire, including the Electorate of Saxony and most of the smaller German states, the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Spain, and Sweden. The Dutch Republic, Denmark-Norway, the Italian States, and the Ottoman Empire did not participate. Meanwhile, in India, some regional polities within the increasingly fragmented Mughal Empire, with the support of the French, tried to crush a British attempt to conquer Bengal.

Cornut was to use the services of hundreds of French Christian prisoners, who had been taken during a failed assault in 1765 Larache expedition.

Christians people who adhere to Christianity

Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós (Χριστός), a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach (מָשִׁיחַ).

Larache expedition

The Larache expedition occurred in June 1765 when French Navy troops attacked the Moroccan city of Larache following a bombardment of Salé and Rabat. It is an example of the sporadic failure of Western arms against local forces in colonial campaigns.

He designed the city of Essaouira, and built it with the help of the prisoners. He built the surrounding walls similar to those of St Malo, and organized the streets of the Medina quarter according to a grid system. [1]

Medina quarter Old city section found in many North African cities

A medina quarter is a distinct city section found in a number of North African and Maltese cities. A medina is typically walled, with many narrow and maze-like streets. The word "medina" itself simply means "city" or "town" in modern-day Arabic, it cognates with Aramaic-Hebrew word referring to a city or populated area.

Walls of the Essaouira Kasbah designed and built by Cornut. Walls of the Essaouira Kasbah.jpg
Walls of the Essaouira Kasbah designed and built by Cornut.

Cornut only designed and built the Royal quarters, or kasbah area, of the current city. The rest of the medina was built afterwards, as were the sqalas, such as the harbour fortifications and the northern sqala fortifications.


A kasbah, or variant spelling casbah or qasbah in English, also known as qasaba, gasaba and quasabeh, in India qassabah, in Portuguese alcáçova, and in Spain alcazaba, is a type of medina or fortress (citadel). The meaning of the word kasbah is varied, including "keep", "old city" and "watchtower" or "blockhouse".

Overwhelmed by the amount of work involved in the construction of Essaouira, Cornut left his position after a year. He returned to France, where he drew his map of Essaouira with the planned constructions envisioned for the Sultan.


Commons-logo.svg Media related to Théodore Cornut at Wikimedia Commons

Related Research Articles

Marrakesh Prefecture-level city in Marrakesh-Safi, Morocco

Marrakesh is a major city of the Kingdom of Morocco. It is the fourth largest city in the country, after Casablanca, Fez and Tangier. It is the capital city of the mid-southwestern region of Marrakesh-Safi. Located to the north of the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh is situated 580 km (360 mi) southwest of Tangier, 327 km (203 mi) southwest of the Moroccan capital of Rabat, 239 km (149 mi) south of Casablanca, and 246 km (153 mi) northeast of Agadir.

Essaouira City in Marrakesh-Safi, Morocco

Essaouira is a city in the western Moroccan region of Meṛṛakec-Asfi, on the Atlantic coast.

Meknes City in Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Meknes is one of the four Imperial cities of Morocco, located in northern central Morocco and the sixth largest city by population in the kingdom. Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknes became capital of Morocco under the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismaïl (1672–1727), son of the founder of the Alaouite dynasty. Moulay Ismaïl turned Meknes into an impressive city in Spanish-Moorish style, surrounded by high walls with great doors, where the harmonious blending of the Islamic and European styles of the 17th century Maghreb are still evident today. The city recorded a population of 632,079 in the 2014 Moroccan census. It is the seat of Meknès Prefecture and an important economic pole in the region of Fès-Meknès.

Rumelihisarı Ottoman castle in Istanbul

Rumelihisarı or Boğazkesen Castle is a medieval fortress located in Istanbul, Turkey, on a series of hills on the European banks of the Bosphorus. The fortress also lends its name to the immediate neighborhood around it in the city's Sarıyer district.

Mimar Sinan Ottoman architect

Koca Mi'mâr Sinân Âğâ was the chief Ottoman architect and civil engineer for sultans Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II, and Murad III. He was responsible for the construction of more than 300 major structures and other more modest projects, such as schools. His apprentices would later design the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul and Stari Most in Mostar, and help design the Taj Mahal in the Mughal Empire.

Fort Jesus fort in Mombasa, Kenya

Fort Jesus is a fort located on Mombasa Island. Designed by Italian Giovanni Battista Cairati, it was built between 1593 and 1596, by order of King Philip I of Portugal, to guard the Old Port of Mombasa. Fort Jesus was the only fort maintained by the Portuguese on the Swahili Coast, and is recognised as a testament to the first successful attempt by a Western power to establish influence over the Indian Ocean trade.

Pietro Paolo Floriani Italian architect and engineer

Pietro Paolo Floriani (1585–1638) was an Italian engineer and architect who designed military and theatrical buildings.

Mohammed Ben Abdellah al-Khatib was Sultan of Morocco from 1757 to 1790 under the Alaouite dynasty. He was the governor of Marrakech around 1750. He was also sultan briefly during 1748.

Henri Alexis Brialmont Belgian military engineer and writer

Henri-Alexis Brialmont, nicknamed The Belgian Vauban after the French military architect, was a Belgian army officer, politician and writer of the 19th century, best known as a military architect and designer of fortifications. Brialmont qualified as an officer in the Belgian army engineers in 1843 and quickly rose up the ranks. He served as a staff officer, and later was given command of the district of the key port of Antwerp. He finished his careers as Inspector-General of the Army. Brialmont was also an active pamphleteer and political campaigner and lobbied through his career for reform and expansion of the Belgian military and was also involved in the foundation of the Congo Free State.

Raimondo DAronco Italian architect

Raimondo Tommaso D’Aronco (1857–1932) was an Italian architect renowned for his building designs in the style of Art Nouveau. He was the chief palace architect to the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II in Constantinople for 16 years.

Citadel of Qaitbay building in Egypt

The Citadel of Qaitbay is a 15th-century defensive fortress located on the Mediterranean sea coast, in Alexandria, Egypt. It was established in 1477 AD by Sultan Al-Ashraf Sayf al-Din Qa'it Bay. The Citadel is situated on the eastern side of the northern tip of Pharos Island at the mouth of the Eastern Harbour.

Castelo Real Place in Marrakesh-Safi, Morocco

Castelo Real was a Portuguese castle established in Mogador, now Essaouira in Morocco, by the Portuguese in 1506.

Ahmed el Inglizi Moroccan architect

Ahmed el Inglizi, also Ahmed El Alj or Ahmed Laalaj, was an English renegade architect and engineer who worked for the Sultan of Morocco Mohammed ben Abdallah in the 18th century. As described by his surname "El Alj", Ahmed el Inglizi was a "renegade", i.e. he had abandoned Christianity for Islam. He seems to have joined with the pirates known as the Salé Rovers.

Fenestrelle Fort fortress

The Fenestrelle Fortress, better known as the Fenestrelle Fort is a fortress overlooking Fenestrelle. It is the symbol of the Metropolitan City of Turin, Piedmont, northern Italy. It is the biggest alpine fortification in Europe, having a surface area of 1,300,000 m². The fortress, built by Savoy between 1728 and 1850 under the design of the architect Ignazio Bertola, guards the access to Turin via the Chisone valley and stands at altitudes between 1,100 and 1,800 m. The territory was acquired in 1709 by the Duchy of Savoy after the defeat of the French at Fort Mutin (Fenestrelle).

Fez, Morocco City in Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Fez or Fes is a city in northern inland Morocco and the capital of the Fas-Meknas administrative region. It is the second largest city in Morocco after Casablanca, with a population of 1.4 million (2014). Located to the northeast of Atlas Mountains, Fez is situated at the crossroad of the important cities of all regions; 206 km (128 mi) from Tangier to the northwest, 246 km (153 mi) from Casablanca, 169 km (105 mi) from Rabat to the west, and 387 km (240 mi) from Marrakesh to the southwest which leads to the Trans-Saharan trade route. It is surrounded by the high grounds, and the old city is penetrated by the River of Fez flowing from the west to east.

Girolamo Cassar was a Maltese architect and military engineer. He was the resident engineer of the Order of St. John, and was admitted into the Order in 1569. He was involved in the construction of Valletta, initially as an assistant to Francesco Laparelli, before taking over the project himself. He designed many public, religious and private buildings in the new capital city, including Saint John's Co-Cathedral, the Grandmaster's Palace and the auberges. He was the father of Vittorio Cassar, another architect and engineer.

Michele Cachia Maltese architect (1760-1839)

Michele Cachia was a Maltese architect and military engineer. He is also known for his role during the Maltese uprising of 1798–1800.

Simon Vollant French architect

Simon Vollant was a 17th-century French engineer, entrepreneur and architect ennobled in 1685.

Antonio Falzon Maltese architect

Antonio Falzon, also known as Fazuni or by many other variants, was a Maltese architect and military engineer who was a pioneer of Renaissance military architecture in Europe. He is particularly known for his work in Nuremberg, Germany and he is credited with designing some of the earliest bastion fortifications north of the Alps. He is the earliest known notable Maltese architect.