Full Name: Nicolas Fouquet, marquis de Belle-Île, vicomte de Melun et Vaux
Profession: Statesman and Superintendent of Finances
Why Famous: Fouquet was Superintendent of Finances under King Louis XIV of France from 1653–1661. He came from a noble family and came into responsibility young, holding several positions as early as his teens.
From there his career ascended via purchased positions and careful networking, particularly in remaining loyal to Cardinal Mazarin during his exile; it was Mazarin that, upon his return to court, acquiesced to Fouquet's demands, making him Superintendent of Finances.
During his time as in charge of the state's finances, Fouquet made the most of his own credit and later, that of the state. Ultimately his management led to a disorder in which his accounts and those of the state were muddled, with Fouquet using this confusion to his favour; his wealth growing to surpass even Mazarin, who had arranged his position.
Eventually Fouquet fell out of favour with Louis XIV, in particular after incidentally demonstrating his wealth by holding an event to entertain the king which few in all French history could rival.
At this the young king, for Louis was only 22 years old, acted cautiously until Fouquet was in his trap. The court case lasted three years, during which Louis was aggressive in his desire to have Fouquet imprisoned, despite public opposition to this cause.
Ultimately Louis received his wish, with Fouquet imprisoned in the prison fortress of Pignerol; it is said that the Man in the Iron Mask (according to some, Eustache Dauger) was one of Fouquet's valets during his prison stay—which ended only with his death in 1680.
- 1653-02-07 Nicolas Fouquet appointed France's Superintendent of Finances
- 1661-08-17 French Superintendent of Finances Nicolas Fouquet throws one of the grandest and opulent parties ever seen in France, appalling King Louis XIV and leading to Fouquet's arrest for embezzlement weeks later
- 1661-09-05 Nicolas Fouquet, French Superintendent of Finances under Louis XIV is arrested for maladministration of state funds; he died in 1680, never seeing freedom again.