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intendant (ĭntĕnˈdənt), 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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Holender was succeeded by Dominique Meyer, the former Intendant of the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris.--NC
Other themes are Cartier and Robeval's Charlesbourg Royal as an aborted attempt at settling New France in the 16th century, governing New France from the Chateau Saint-Louis, administering New France from the intendant's palace, and inhabiting New France.
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".
All but a few Dijonnais avocats ended up either without offices or with largely honorific ones as the important decisions regarding nominations to offices and public works, health, and taxes were made in Versailles and executed by the intendant. This shift to administrative monarchy occurred along with an impulse for information-gathering and respect for statistics as never before practiced by city officials.
"From this date," proclaimed Juan Ventura Morales, Spain's acting Intendant of New Orleans, on October 16, 1802, "the privilege which the Americans had of importing and depositing their merchandise and effects in this capital, shall be interdicted," thereby effectively closing the Mississippi.
It had been the stronghold of Jorge Larranaga, Vazquez's top opponent in last October's presidential vote and former two-term intendant in the department.
This opinion is not so far from the truth; witness former La Scala Intendant Carlo Fontana's recent words: "The expenses of running a dance company are increasing more than income.
Meanwhile, the dashing woodsman discovers that his recently deceased father engaged in sleazy dealings with the corrupt Intendant Le Bigot and left behind a financial mess.
The Estates, the intendant and the royal council struggled together to protect resources underwriting the mounting debt.
He survived two voting sessions in December and February when the ZDF board failed to agree on a replacement for outgoing "intendant" Dieter Stolte.
The filly bumped Intendant as winning Joe Fanning searched for room at the furlong pole.