Research Subjects: Biographies

Russian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars: Duke Armand-Emmanuel du Plessis Richelieu

By Alexander Mikaberidze, FINS

(25 September 1766 - 17 May 1822)

Duke Richelieu

Duke Armand-Emmanuel Richelieu

Duke Armand-Emmanuel du Plessis Richelieu was born on born 25 September 1766 in Paris. The son of Louis-Antoine-Armand du Plessis, duc de Fronsac, and grandson of Louis-François-Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, duc de Richelieu and Marshal of France, Armand took over his grandfather's duties at court as first gentleman of the bedchamber in 1785. On a visit to Germany and Austria in 1790, he joined the Russian army, fighting against the Turks at Ismail, and then visited Russia. In 1791, he succeeded his father as duc de Richelieu. The next year he fought with the Royalists under the Prince de Condé and later with the Austrians in 1793–94. Richelieu was appointed lieutenant colonel of the Cuirassiers of St. George in 1795, and later Alexander I appointed him governor of Odessa (1803) and governor general of Novorosiisk (1805). Richelieu transformed the Black Sea village of Odessa into a modern city, constructed port facilities, and encouraged agriculture and commerce. He returned to France in 1814, but on Napoleon's return from Elba in 1815 he joined the Russian forces again. He succeeded Talleyrand as prime minister with control of foreign affairs in September 1815. His friendship with the Tsar helped him to mitigate the demands of the Allies on France, and at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818 he obtained the withdrawal of the Allied occupying army and the inclusion of France into the Quadruple Alliance. He resigned in 1818 but became prime minister again in 1820. He retired from politics in 1821and died on 17 May 1822 in Paris.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: October 2002


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