Walckenaer, Charles Athanase (1771-1852)

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Charles Athanase Walckenaer (1771-1852)

Charles Athanase Walckenaer (1771-1852)

French civil servant and scientist (Baron) Charles Athanase Walckenaer was born in Paris n 1771, though the exact date is not known.

He studied at Oxford and Glasgow, afterward entering employment in the French civil service. In 1793, at the age of 22, he was given charge over military transport in the Pyrenees. In 1813 he was elected to membership in the prestigious Institut de France, and later served as mayor of the 5th arrondissement in Paris. From 1816-1825 he served as secretary-general of the prefect of the Seine.

In 1823 — one year before King Louis XVIII died at age 69, while Walckenaer was serving as secretary-general of the prefect of the Seine — he was made a baron. Earlier, in 1815, King Louis XVIII had created a new peerage system based on the British model. Baron-peer was the lowest title, but the heirs to pre-1789 barons could remain barons, as could the elder sons of viscount-peers and younger sons of count-peers. We know not on what basis Walckenaer achieved this rank, but presume he received the honor from Louis XVIII in appreciation for his service to the throne.

As an enomologist and arachnologist, Walckenaer, in collaboration with Paul Gervais, published the Histoire naturelle des insectes, between 1836 and 1847, in 4 volumes.

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