Marquis de Lafayette
Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette
Marquis de Lafayette was born on September 6, 1757 in Chavaniac, France. He was orphaned at a young age, both parents died before the age of thirteen. He became very wealthy after his grandfather's death. At the age of sixteen, he married Marie Adrienne Francoise de Noailles. Before his involvement in the American Revolution, he had little prior military experience.
After hearing about the revolution at a dinner party, Lafayette was eager to help the struggling colonies. With his part of his fortune, he bought a ship and sailed to America in 1777, along with several other French officers. Congress appointed him Major General at the age of nineteen and he refused any payment for his services. Lafayette became close friends with George Washington and also a trusted advisor.
During the revolution, Lafayette fought in the battles of Brandywine, Gloucester, Barren Hill, Monmouth and Yorktown. He was given command of several divisions of Virginia's military. When America was in need of help, Lafayette skillfully solicited funds, soldiers, and ships from the King of France. He visited France on many occasions throughout the war and was there when the revolution ended in 1783. He was invited back a year later by Washington, where he was formally thanked for his assistance.
In the following years, Lafayette was commander of the French national guard. He was seen as a hero for saving the king and queen of France in 1789. In the war between France and Austria, he commanded an army and was later imprisoned for five years by Austrian troops. He went home in 1797 after being freed by Napoleon's army. He returned to America once more in 1824, where he was honored with celebrations across the country. Marquis de Lafayette died on May 20, 1834 at the age of seventy-six.