Ocean Liner History: Messageries Maritimes (Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes) In 1835 the French Government created a state owned steamship service between Marseilles and the Levant. This continued until 1851 when it was transferred to the management of Messageries Nationales (the state operated road communication concern).
The shipping side of the business was split from the road activities in 1852 under the name Compagnie des Services Maritimes des Messageries Nationales. With the return of the French monarchy in 1853 this became Compagnie des Services Maritimes Imperiales and the company expanded dramatically over the next few years and by 1857 owned 57 ships.
Scenes of Messageries Maritimes ships in various parts of the world.
After the Franco-Prussian War and the abolition of the monarchy in 1871, the company became Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes, usually shortened to MM. In 1904 the fleets of Compagnie Francaise de l’Est Asiatique and Compagnie Nationale de Navigation were taken over.