Riquet, Pierre Paul

SUBJECT AREA: Canals, Civil engineering
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b. 29 June 1604 Béziers, Hérault, France
d. 1 October 1680 buried at Toulouse, France
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French canal engineer and constructor of the Canal du Midi.
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Pierre Paul Riquet was the son of a wealthy lawyer whose ancestors came from Italy. In his education at the Jesuit College in Béziers he showed obvious natural ability in science and mathematics, but he received no formal engineering training. With his own and his wife's fortunes he was able to purchase a château at Verfeil, near Toulouse. In 1630 he was appointed a collector of the salt tax in Languedoc and in a short time became Lessee General (Fermier Général) of this tax for the whole province. This entailed constant travel through the district, with the result that he became very familiar with this part of the country. He also became involved in military contracting. He acquired a vast fortune out of both activities. At this time he pondered the possibility of building a canal from Toulouse to the Mediterranean beyond Béziers and, after further investigation as to possible water supplies, he wrote to Colbert in Paris on 16 November 1662 advocating the construction of the canal. Although the idea proved acceptable it was not until 27 May 1665 that Riquet was authorized to direct operations, and on 14 October 1666 he was given authority to construct the first part of the canal, from Toulouse to Trebes. Work started on 1 January 1667. By 1669 he had between 7,000 and 8,000 men employed on the work. Unhappily, Riquet died just over six months before the canal was completed, the official opening beingon 15 May 1681.
Although Riquet's fame rightly rests on the Canal du Midi, probably the greatest work of its time in Europe, he was also consulted about and was responsible for other projects. He built an aqueduct on more than 100 arches to lead water into the grounds of the château of his friend the marquis de Castres. The plans for this work, which involved considerable practical difficulties, were finalized in 1670, and water flowed into the château grounds in 1676. Also in 1676, Riquet was commissioned to lead the waters of the river Ourcq into Paris; he drew up plans, but he was too busy to undertake the construction and on his death the work was shelved until Napoleon's time. He was responsible for the creation of the port of Sète on the Mediterranean at the end of the Canal du Midi. He was also consulted on the supply of water to the Palace of Versailles and on a proposed route which later became the Canal de Bourgogne. Riquet was a very remarkable man: when he started the construction of the canal he was well over 60 years old, an age at which most people are retiring, and lived almost to its completion.
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Further Reading
L.T.C.Rolt, 1973, From Sea to Sea, London: Allen Lane; rev. ed. 1994, Bridgwater: Internet Ltd.
Jean-Denis Bergasse, 1982–7, Le Canal de Midi, 4 vols, Hérault:—Vol. I: Pierre Paul Riquet et le Canal du Midi dans les arts et la littérature; Vol II: Trois Siècles de
batellerie et de voyage; Vol. III: Des Siècles d'aventures humaine; Vol. IV: Grands Moments et grands sites.
JHB

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Riquet, Pierre-Paul de — (1604 1680)    engineer    Born in Béziers, Pierre Paul de Riquet, an engineer, built the Midi Canal (Canal du Midi, 1666 81) that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Garonne River. When the funding for this project proved to be insufficient …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Pierre-Paul Riquet — Baron von Bonrepos (* 29. Juni 1609 in Béziers, Frankreich; † 1. Oktober 1680 in Toulouse) war ein französischer Beamter und Ingenieur. Er ist der Erbauer des 240 km langen Canal …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pierre-paul riquet (militaire) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Pierre Paul Riquet (homonymie) et Riquet. Pierre Paul Riquet, lieutenant général, né en 1644, mort en 1730 Il était le deuxième fils de Pierre Paul Riquet, créateur du canal du midi. Il sauva l armée française à… …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Pierre-Paul Riquet (militaire) — Pour pour son père, ingénieur et entrepreneur, voir Pierre Paul Riquet. Pour les homonymes, voir Riquet. Pierre Paul Riquet est un lieutenant général de l armée royale française, né en 1644, mort en 1730 Biographie Il était le deuxième fils de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Pierre-paul riquet — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Pierre Paul Riquet (homonymie) et Riquet. Portrait de Pierre Paul Riquet …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Pierre-Paul Riquet — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Retrato de Pierre Paul Riquet …   Wikipedia Español

  • Pierre-paul riquet (homonymie) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Riquet. Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Pierre Paul Riquet, baron de Bonrepos, ingénieur qui a permis la réalisation du Canal du Midi ; …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Pierre-Paul Riquet — (June 29, 1609 (some sources say 1604) October 4, 1680) was the engineer and canal builder responsible for the construction of the Canal du Midi.BackgroundPaul Riquet was born in Béziers, Hérault, France. As a youth, Riquet was only interested in …   Wikipedia

  • Pierre-Paul Riquet (homonymie) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Riquet. Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Pierre Paul Riquet, baron de Bonrepos, ingénieur qui a permis la réalisation du Canal du Midi ; Pierre Pa …   Wikipédia en Français

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