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Jean-Baptiste Colbert
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    (August 29, 1619-September 6, 1683)
    Born in Reims, France
    Minister of Finances of France under King Louis XIV (1665-1683)
    Became Political Minister (1649)
    Purchased Barony of Seignelay (1657)
    Appointed Superintendent of Buildings (January 1664)
    Appointed Controller-General of Finances (1665)
    Appointed Secretary of State of the Navy (1669)
    Died in Paris
    He claimed descent from a noble Scottish family, but there is no evidence to support this.
    When his predecessor as finance minister Nicolas Fouquet was put on trial, he manipulated the trial in his own favor, making a mockery of justice in the process.
    He was ruthless in carrying out his economic policies, having no regard for those who objected to them.
    Despite his best efforts, France became poorer as a result of Louis XIV's constant spending on wars.
    As a result of those wars, he resorted to increasing taxes, selling public offices, and borrowing money through the last years of his life in order to pay for military expenses.
    As Louis XIV became determined to make France purely Catholic, he followed suit and promoted conversions to Catholicism among Huguenots (French Protestants).
    He relied on imposing tariffs as part of his economic policies, which became one of the main causes of war with the Netherlands (1672-78).
    He overworked himself until the last hours of his life.
    He was unpopular among the French populace at the time of his death, which stemmed from his economic policies and the way he implemented them.
    His economic policies brought the French economy up from the brink of bankruptcy.
    Moreover, they were designed to make France a self-sufficient country.
    His predecessor had embezzled state funds through his disorganized economic policies, so he had to straighten them up, particularly the taxation system.
    He established industries and trading companies in order to make sure that France got a fair share of income from international trade.
    He was a huge patron of the arts, literature, and science, establishing cultural and scientific institutions and inviting foreign intellectuals to France.
    Knowing full well of the skills the Huguenots possess, he was responsible for ensuring the continuation of the Edict of Nantes until his death.
    He contributed to France's rise as a naval power.
    He loathed laziness, so he reduced the number of clergymen in order to stop people from tax evasion.
    Towards the end of his life, he suffered from kidney stones that gave him stomachaches, reducing him to eating moist bread dipped in chicken broth for meals.

Credit: Big Lenny

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