intendant

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intendant

(ĭntĕn`dənt), French administrative official who served as the chief royal representative in the provinces under the ancien régime. The intendants first gained importance under Cardinal Richelieu, Louis XIII's principal minister, in the early 17th cent.; he used them extensively to consolidate the country and undermine feudal authority. At first the intendant lacked power outside his specific commission from the king. Under Louis XIV's rule (1643–1715), however, the intendant became a vital permanent state official, appointed by the king. Granted full powers in the fields of justice, finance, and police in the provinces, the intendant often tried civil and criminal cases, suspended unsuitable judges, summoned special tribunals, regulated municipal government, stamped out banditry and smuggling, levied and collected taxes, and drew the militia by lot. Initially, intendants were non-nobles, dependent upon royal favor for advancement. As faithful instruments of royal centralization they aroused the hostility of the local authorities, notably the parlements and the provincial governors. During the abortive revolution known as the Fronde (1648–53) the office was virtually abolished, but it was reinstated in 1653 after the rebellion had been crushed. Distributed throughout the realm, each généralité had one intendant by 1689. In the 18th cent. all intendants were from the nobility; at the outbreak of the French Revolution (1789) there were 33 in France. The authority of the intendants was severely shaken in the provincial revolts of 1788. A symbol of royal absolutism, the office was abolished (Dec., 1789) by the Constituent Assembly early in the French Revolution.

Bibliography

See study by V. Gruder (1968).

References in periodicals archive ?
Areas of the country considered FARC strongholds included portions of the departments of Huila, Caqueta, Tolima, Cauca, Boyaca, Santander, Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, Meta, Cundinamarca, and the intendancy of Arauca.
Also see Rene Velazquez, "The Intendancy of Alejandro Ramirez in Puerto Rico, 1813-1816," (Ph.
These, along with the province of Soconusco (on the Pacific coast), were united in 1786 into the intendancy known as Chiapas.
On the one hand, "horizontal" agreements among transport firms in a given market are intuitively anticompetitive and monopolistic intendancy.
In the early 1920s, for example, the company reported to the intendancy that three guachucheros had killed a sereno in a shootout as he had patrolled the outskirts of the camps.
Moreover, in 1850 the office of the General Intendancy obtained virtually exclusive powers over economic and financial matters, including control over the release of funds.
Still, owing to Pavia's earlier demand, Crespo's powers as Governor were fully inclusive of the Intendancy which allowed him to rule decisively on economic matters, the context in which the new ports were narrowly seen.