Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Today's (Morbid) Word: noyade

noyade: Mass execution by drowning. Jean-Baptiste Carrier was sent by the National Convention to Nantes in 1793 to put down a revolt of citizens opposed to the French revolution. Carrier was known for his cruelty, and he didn't disappoint. Guillotining was one of his more humane methods of execution; he is also known to have lined up prisoners and had them shot — one by one.

Carrier also pioneered the process of the noyade, also known as "Carrier's Vertical Deportation," in which as many as 150 prisoners were locked into the hold of a ship which was then scuttled in the Loire, drowning all aboard. The word comes from the French verb noyer, meaning "to drown." Some sources estimate that as many as 32,000 people were "deported" in this manner.