BELLE-ISLE-EN-MER, an island on the W. coast of France, belonging to the department of Morbihan. It is about 10 miles in length by 4 or 5 in breath, and is divided into the four communes of Palais, Bangor, Porte Philippe, and Locmaria. The inhabitants are principally engaged in agriculture and the fisheries, and in the preservation of sardines, anchovies, Six. The breed of draught horses in the island is highly prized. The chief town, Palais, is a military town of the first class, and possesses a port which is accessible to vessels of 300 tons. It is evident that Belle-isle must have been inhabited from a very early period, as it possesses several rude stone monuments of the class usually called Druidic. The Roman name of the island seems to have been Vindilis, which in the Middle Ages became corrupted to Guedel. In 1572 the monks of the abbey of St Croix at Quimper16 sold the island to the Retz family, in whose favour it was raised to a marquisate in the following year. From 1761 to 1763 it was held by English troops. Under Napoleon I. the refortification of the island was undertaken, but it was never completed. In the state prison of Nouvelle Force at Palais political prisoners have been at various times confined. The population of Palais in 1870 was 3375, of the island rather under 10,000. The lighthouse is situated in 47° 18' 43" N. lat. and 3° 4' 43" W. long.