Abel Aubert Du Petit-Thouars,, a French naval officer, born Aug. 3, 1793, died March 17, 1864. He entered the navy in 1804, and was rapidly promoted. From 1837 to 1839 he was engaged in circumnavigating the globe as commander of the ship Venus. He was afterward made rear admiral and put in command of the fleet in the Pacific. He proposed to his government the establishment of a protectorate over the Society islands; and in 1842, when three French Catholic missionaries were expelled from Tahiti at the instigation of the English missionaries there, he visited that island, demanded reparation, and with the aid of some chiefs placed the island under a French protectorate. In the same year he established a French protectorate over the Marquesas islands; and in 1843, when the English missionary and consul Pritchard persuaded the natives of Tahiti to rise against the French, he drove Pritchard from the island and took possession in the name of France of the whole Society group. At the demand of the English government Du Petit-Thouars was then recalled, and on his return declined the ovations offered him by the opponents of the government.

In 1846 he was made vice admiral, and in 1849 elected to the legislative assembly from the department of Maine-et-Loire. He wrote Voyage autour du monde (10 vols., with 180 illustrations, Paris, 1840-'49).