La Rochelle (pop. 75,800), French city on the Atlantic coast, capital of the Charente Maritime department. The city, chartered in the 12th century, is a yachting and fishing center. During the persecution of the Huguenots (French Protestants) by the Roman Catholics in the 16th century, La Rochelle was among the 100 communities established by the Edict of Nantes as a haven for Protestants. In 1627 the city was forced to return control to the French government.
See also: France.