Intendant (government official)

An intendant was and sometimes still is a public official in France, Spain and Latin America. The intendancy system was a centralizing administrative system developed in France; when France won the War of the Spanish Succession and the House of Bourbon was established on the throne of Spain, the intendancy system was extended to Spain and Portugal and the Spanish Empire and Portuguese Empire. Regions were divided into districts administered by the intendant; the title continues to be used in Spain and parts of Spanish America for particular government officials. Intendants were royal civil servants in France under the Old Regime. A product of the centralization policies of the French crown, intendants were appointed "commissions," and not purchasable hereditary "offices," which thus prevented the abuse of sales of royal offices and made them more tractable and subservient emissaries of the king. Intendants were sent to supervise and enforce the king's will in the provinces and had jurisdiction over three areas: finances and justice.

Their missions were always temporary, which helped reduce favorable bias toward a province, were focused on royal inspection. Article 54 of the Code Michau described their functions as "to learn about all crimes and financial misdealings committed by our officials and of other things concerning our service and the tranquility of our people". In the 17th and 18th centuries, the intendants were chosen from the noblesse de robe or the upper-bourgeoisie, they were masters of requests in the Conseil des parties. They were chosen by the Controller-General of Finances who asked the advice of the Secretary of State for War for those who were to be sent in border provinces, they were young: Charles Alexandre de Calonne became an intendant at the age of 32, Turgot and Louis Bénigne François Berthier de Sauvigny at the age of 34, Louis-Urbain-Aubert de Tourny at the age of 40. A symbol of royal centralization and absolutism, the intendant had numerous adversaries; those nostalgic for an administration based on noble lineage saw intendants as parvenus and usurpers of noble power.

Partisans of a less absolute monarchy called. Jacques Necker, the only Minister of Finances since 1720 who had not himself been an intendant, accused them of incompetence because of their youth and social aspirations; the cahiers de doléances of 1789 depicted them as over zealous agents of fiscal policies which weighed on the people. The term intendant was used for certain positions close to the Controller-General: intendants of finance intendants of commerce intendants of the sovereign councilIn the same way, the term intendant général was used for certain commissioned positions close to the State Secretaries of War and of the Navy; as early as the 15th century, the French kings sent commissioners to the provinces to report on royal and administrative issues and to undertake any necessary action. These agents of the king were recruited from among the masters of requests, the Councillors of State and members of the Parlements or the Court of Accounts, their mission lasted for a limited period.

Along with these, there were commissioners sent to the army, in charge of provisioning the army and finances. Such commissioners are found in Corsica as early as 1553, in Bourges in 1592, in Troyes in 1594, in Limoges in 1596; when Henry IV ascended the throne in 1589, one of his prime focuses was to reduce the privileges of the provincial governors who, in theory, represented "the presence of the king in his province" but had, during the civil wars of the early modern period, proven themselves to be intractable. The Intendants to the provinces —- the term "Intendant" appears around 1620 during the reign of Louis XIII – became an effective tool of regional control. Under Louis XIII's minister Cardinal Richelieu, with France's entry into the Thirty Years' War in 1635, the Intendants became a permanent institution in France. No longer mere inspectors, their role became one of government administrators. During the Fronde in 1648, the members of Parlement of the Chambre Saint-Louis demanded that the Intendants be suppressed.

At the end of the Fronde, the Intendants were reinstated. When Louis XIV was in power, the Marquis of Louvois, War Secretary between 1677 and 1691, further expanded the power of the provincial intendants, they monitored Louis's refinements of the French military, including the institution of a merit promotion system and a policy of enlistment limited to single men for periods of four years. After 1680, Intendants in France had a permanent position in a fixed region; the position of Intendant remained in existence until the French Revolution. The title was maintained thereafter for military officers with responsibility for financial auditing at regimental level and above. Appointed and revoked by the king and reporting to the Controller-General o

St. Ursula Shrine

Texte en italique The Shrine of St. Ursula is a carved and gilded wooden reliquary containing oil on panel inserts by Hans Memling. Dating to c. 1489, is housed in the Hans Memling Museum in the Old St. John's Hospital, Bruges in the Flemish Region of modern-day Belgium; the work was commissioned by the Hospital of the current museum's seat. Differently from other works by Memling, such as the Triptych of the Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine or the Florens Triptych, it is neither signed nor dated, it was a container for Saint Ursula's relics, shown publicly only in her feast day. The relics were solemnly put in the shrine on 21 November 1489; the shrine is according to a customary format used in goldsmithing. It has a steeply pointed cover, as typical of northern European countries, with three painted tondoes on each side. Attributed to Memling's workshop, they depict, on one side, the First Eleven Virgins with the Pope, a Cardinal, a Bishop and Etherius; the two "façades" contain the representations of the Virgin and Child between Two Nuns, St. Ursula Protecting the Holy Virgins.

Both the scenes are embedded within a painted niche which simulates a perspective interior of the shrine. At the sides, under two small arcades, are six scenes of the life and martyrdom of St. Ursula, which resemble the style of the stained glasses in contemporary churches, they include: Arrival in Cologne Arrival in Basel Arrival in Rome Leaving from Basel Martyrdom of the Pilgrims Martyrdom of St. UrsulaThe scenes share the same pictorial background, set in northern German cities and painted with great attention to today's life details; the decoration is completed by the carvings in International Gothic style, including pinnacles, holed friezes and, on the piers at the corners, the saints James, John the Evangelist and Elizabeth of Hungary. Zuffi, Stefano. Il Quattrocento. Milan: Electa. ISBN 88-370-2315-4. Site presenting the text of the legend of St. Ursula by Jacobus da Varagine and scenes of the St. Ursula shrine painted by Hans Memling

Megalomys desmarestii

Megalomys desmarestii known as the Martinique muskrat, Desmarest's pilorie, or the Martinique giant rice rat, is an extinct rice rat from Martinique in the Caribbean. It was among the largest species of West Indian rice rat, as big as a cat, was one of the first Caribbean mammals to become extinct during the 20th century, it may have been aquatic, as it was known to escape into the sea when pursued by predators, but it never swam away from the island. It was common on Martinique until the end of the 19th century, when attempts were made to exterminate it because it was considered to be a pest in the island's coconut plantations, it was hunted for food. On 8 May 1902, the volcano Mount Pelée erupted destroying the island's principal city of Saint-Pierre, it has been speculated that the rice rat became extinct or during a eruption in 1902, but predation by introduced mongooses is more to have been the primary cause of its extinction. Flannery, T. and Schouten, P. 2001. A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals.

Atlantic Monthly Press, New York. ISBN 0-87113-797-6 Musser, G. G. and Carleton, M. D. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. Pp. 894–1531 in Wilson, D. E. and Reeder, D. M.. Mammal Species of the World: a taxonomic and geographic reference. 3rd ed. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols. 2142 pp. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0 Turvey, S. and Helgen, K. 2008. Megalomys desmarestii. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. <>. Downloaded on November 15, 2009. Watts, David. 1990. The West Indies: Patterns of Development and Environmental Change Since 1492. Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-38651-9