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Jérôme Valencourt (Napoleon's World)

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Jérôme Phillipe Francois Albert Valencourt (October 17, 1804 - May 4, 1875) was a French politician, military leader, statesman and writer who is best known for serving as State Minister of the French Empire from 1859 to 1875, succeeding Pascal Giles. He is, as of 2012, the longest-serving State Minister in history, serving for fifteen years and ten months. Prior to this service, he was an officer in the French military for over twenty years, enlisting at the age of eighteen and becoming a general by the War of Napoleonic Succession, in which he fought for the government against Louis' armies. By the end of the 1840's he was rehabilitated after a period of political exile which he spent in Spain, and he served in both the Grand Assembly after being made a peer and later was made aide-de-camp to State Minister Paul Seychard and Minister of the Treasury for a brief period before his elevation to Assistant Minister of the State after Seychard's forced retirement. He succeeded State Minister Giles in October of 1859 due to the Minister's declining health.

Upon his death in 1875 at the age of 71, he was one of the most broadly respected leaders in the country and his policies formed the backbone of the Pax Francia during this period. His Ministry and style of governance is one of the most-studied and most-copied in France, and being compared favorable to Valencourt is regarded as a high honor. Valencourt was responsible for the state control of "national assets," creating the earliest example of a planned central economy, and guided the limited French colonial expansion, inventing the idea of "enclaves of economic interest," which led to the formation of the Golden Quarter in India and coastal settlements in Africa and Australasia. He became ill and tired after managing the Second Franco-Turkish War in 1873-74, and died in May of 1875 of the influenza. He was succeeded by Hippolyte de Bray, his protege.

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