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Lafayette Is Obscure Because We Don't Remember Anything: Sarah Vowell (2015)

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Lafayette was born on 6 September 1757 to Michel Louis Christophe Roch Gilbert Paulette du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, colonel of grenadiers, and Marie Louise Jolie de La Rivière, at the château de Chavaniac, in Chavaniac-Lafayette, near Le Puy-en-Velay, in the province of Auvergne (now Haute-Loire).Lafayette's lineage was likely one of the oldest and most distinguished in Auvergne and, perhaps, in all of France. Males of the Lafayette family enjoyed a reputation for courage and chivalry and were noted for their contempt for danger.[3] One of Lafayette's early ancestors, Gilbert de Lafayette III, a Marshal of France, had been a companion-at-arms of Joan of Arc's army during the Siege of Orléans in 1429. According to legend, another ancestor acquired the crown of thorns during the Sixth Crusade.[4] His non-Lafayette ancestors are also notable; his great-grandfather (his mother's maternal grandfather) was the Comte de La Rivière, until his death in 1770 commander of the Mousquetaires du Roi, or Black Musketeers, King Louis XV's personal horse guard.[5] Lafayette's paternal uncle Jacques-Roch died on 18 January 1734 while fighting the Austrians at Milan in the War of the Polish Succession; upon his death, the title of marquis passed to his brother Michel.[6]Lafayette's father likewise died on the battlefield. On 1 August 1759, Michel de Lafayette was struck by a cannonball while fighting a British-led coalition at the Battle of Minden in Westphalia.[7] Lafayette became marquis and Lord of Chavaniac, but the estate went to his mother.[7] Perhaps devastated by the loss of her husband, she went to live in Paris with her father and grandfather,[5] leaving Lafayette to be raised in Chavaniac-Lafayette by his paternal grandmother, Mme de Chavaniac, who had brought the château into the family with her dowry.[6]In 1768, when Lafayette was 11, he was summoned to Paris to live with his mother and great-grandfather at the comte's apartments in Luxembourg Palace. The boy was sent to school at the Collège du Plessis, part of the University of Paris, and it was decided that he would carry on the family martial tradition.[8] The comte, the boy's great-grandfather, enrolled the boy in a program to train future Musketeers.[9] Lafayette's mother and great-grandfather died, on 3 and 24 April 1770 respectively, leaving Lafayette an income of 25,000 livres. Upon the death of an uncle, the 12-year-old Lafayette inherited a handsome yearly income of 120,000 livres.[7]In May 1771, aged less than 14, Lafayette was commissioned an officer in the Musketeers, with the rank of sous-lieutenant. His duties, which included marching in military parades and presenting himself to King Louis, were mostly ceremonial and he continued his studies as usual.[10]At this time, Jean-Paul-François de Noailles, Duc d'Ayen was looking to marry off some of his five daughters. The young Lafayette, aged 14, seemed a good match for his 12-year-old daughter, Marie Adrienne Françoise, and the duc spoke to the boy's guardian (Lafayette's uncle, the new comte) to negotiate a deal.[11] However, the arranged marriage was opposed by the duc's wife, who felt the couple, and especially her daughter, were too young. The matter was settled by agreeing not to mention the marriage plans for two years, during which time the two spouses-to-be would meet from time to time in casual settings and get to know each other better.[12] The scheme worked; the two fell in love, and were happy together from the time of their marriage in 1774 until her death in 1807.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert...


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