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(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.


See study by V. Gruder (1968).

References in periodicals archive ?
Raudot intendant en Canada, qui deffend a toutes personnes d'etaller leurs marchandises a la porte de l'eglise de la basse ville de Quebec, Archives Nationales du Quebec, Fonds Intendants (El, SI, P423).
149) Upon arrival, the women were greeted and settled by the Intendant.
S'il touchent a mon intendant, a mon masseur, je m'en vais", avait-il declare a America TV dans la nuit de dimanche a lundi.
military and diplomatic matters, and an Intendant in charge of civil
In 1785 and 1786, the government charged the Intendant of Burgundy, Amelot de Chaillou, with creating the most ambitious study of the population in his province to date.
This last point was of particular interest to Ilona Schmiel, Intendant of the BeethovenFest, who is anxiously seeking a brand-new hall with a better acoustic than the present one, to act as an attractive focal point for culture in Bonn.
Francois Bigot, the corrupt Intendant, left with the royal treasury of some four million livres among his "personal possessions.
The thousands of hours consumed by the prospect of a new home for the Abbey on Grand Canal Dock, by an increasingly fractious relationship with the Board of the theatre, by the day-to-day minutiae of planning and scheduling productions, by a travel itinerary which alone would have justified the appointment of a general manager or Intendant of equal standing to the artistic director, and by countless meetings with authors, designers, actors, agents, and the whole gamut of the profession itself are represented and recorded in this volume with daunting tenacity.
Martin Heller, Intendant of Kulturhauptstadt Europas Linz, is keen to emphasise that the Austrian city is not ignoring its "most infamous son's associations', but is creating "sensitive programmes to enable Linzers and visitors to gauge the tragedy of this chapter of our history".
The Intendant government official, Jean Talon, who encouraged settlement and worked to make the settlement self-sufficient, had broad powers and did not shy away from interfering in Church affairs, attempting to limit the scope of the Church's authority.
En cas de refus de la part de LaGerne, ordre est donne au capitaine de la cote ou a tout autre officier de milice requis d'arreter celui-ci et de le placer en << bonne et sure garde dans les prisons de Quebec >>; voir cahier 11, ordonnances de justice rendues par Monsieur Begon intendant (8 janvier 1725-28 aout 1726), Montreal, Archives nationales du Quebec (fol.