1619: Jean-Baptiste Colbert – the Minister who Tried to Increase His Country’s Wealth

1619: Jean-Baptiste Colbert – the Minister who Tried to Increase His Country’s Wealth
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 29 August 1619
  • Colbert advocated economic interventionism, encouraged export, and tried to reduce unnecessary imports. He had also initiated some projects which later became famous in France.

The famous statesman Jean-Baptiste Colbert was born on this day in 1619.

He is known as one of the world’s most influential finance ministers. Colbert served as minister of the powerful French king Louis XIV. When he ruled France, he wanted France to become the world’s most powerful country. Jean-Baptiste Colbert held the position of “General Controller of Finance” (French: Contrôleur général des finances), and his reforms greatly increased the wealth of his country.

Colbert was one of the so-called mercantilists. He advocated economic interventionism, encouraged export, and tried to reduce unnecessary imports. He had also initiated some projects which later became famous in France – the production of tapestries in the Gobelin Manufaktur, and production of mirrors and glass (the giant international company Saint-Gobain).

Colbert’s relative held many positions. He bought a famous estate so his son could hold the title of “Marquis de Seignelay” (French: Marquis de Seignelay). His son became the French Minister of the Navy. His other son, Jacques-Nicolas Colbert, was appointed Archbishop of Rouen. Furthermore, Colbert’s brother became the French Foreign Minister (therefore, his son was supposed to succeed his brother – which is a typical example of nepotism).

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