Jean Althen

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Statue of Jean Althen in Avignon

Jean Althen (Hovhannès Althounian; 1709–1774) was an Armenian agronomist from Persia who developed the cultivation of madder in France.[1][2][3][4]

Although the plant had been present in the region before his arrival, it was Althen who developed its cultivation, turning it into an industry.

In 1754, he arrived in Avignon where he started experimenting with the cultivation of madder. Associated with a local landlord, Clauseau Aïné, he produced a crop of 2500 kg (5500 lbs) in 1769. Poor business decisions led to financial problems, and he died in poverty in 1774.

A French commune, Althen-des-Paluds, is named after him, as well as statues and streets in several cities of the south of France.



  1. ^ Dédéyan 2007, p. 919.
  2. ^ Henri, Michel (2000). "Հայազգի ժան Ալթենը՝ Ֆրանսիայում բամբակի և տորոնի մշակության առաջնեկ [Armenian J. Althen - a Pioneer of Adoption of the Cultivation of Cotton and Rubia tinctorum in France]". Patma-Banasirakan Handes (in Armenian) (2): 188–195. ISSN 0135-0536. 
  3. ^ United States Department of Agriculture (1848). Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture ... : Report of the Secretary of Agriculture. Reports of Chiefs. United States Government Printing Office. p. 192. 
  4. ^ Bradshaw, George (1807). Bradshaw's Illustrated Hand Book to France. London. p. 110.