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Nicolas Fouquet

Fouquet or Foucquet, Nicolas (nēkôläˈ fōkāˈ) [key], 1615–80, superintendent of finance (1653–61) under King Louis XIV of France. His loyalty to Cardinal Mazarin during the Fronde helped to secure his position. By his transactions with financiers, to whom he allowed huge profits, he impoverished the treasury and accumulated a vast personal fortune. He spent large sums for his own purposes, notably on his mansion at Vaux, and was a patron of literary men, among them Jean Baptiste Molière and Jean de La Fontaine. He was created marquis of Belle-Isle. Aroused by Jean Baptiste Colbert, who gave the king reports of Fouquet's mismanagement of funds, and made jealous by a magnificent fete he attended at Vaux, Louis XIV ordered Fouquet's arrest in 1661. The trial took three years. Fouquet was sentenced (1664) to banishment, but the king, still resentful, changed the sentence to life imprisonment.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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