Colbert, Jean Baptiste
Colbert, Jean Baptiste (1619–83) French statesman,
the principal exponent of mercantilism. He came to prominence as an adviser to Cardinal Mazarin. From 1661, when Louis XIV began his personal rule, Colbert controlled most aspects of government: reforming taxation and manufacturing, reducing tariffs, establishing commercial companies such as the French East India Company, and strengthening the navy. He also enacted legal reforms and encouraged arts and sciences.