Bienville, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de (1680–1768), a French explorer prominent in the settlement of French Louisiana. He was born near Montreal, Quebec, and as a young man served in the French navy under his brother, Sieur d'Iberville. In 1698 Bienville accompanied Iberville on an expedition sent to rediscover the mouth of the Mississippi River and form a French colony there.
The first settlement was made at Old Biloxi (now Ocean Springs, Mississippi) in 1699, with Bienville as second in command. He became head of the colony in 1701. In 1702 he founded a fort that served as the French capital of Louisiana until 1711, when the capital was moved to the present site of Mobile. Mobile was the capital of French Louisiana until 1720.
Bienville was replaced as governor in 1712, but returned to that post in 1717. The next year he founded New Orleans, which became the capital in 1722. Bienville was dismissed in 1724 because of troubles with the Natchez Indians. His successor was inadequate, however, and Bienville was reappointed in 1733. He served as royal governor until 1743.