Antoine Crozat

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Antoine Crozat, marquis du Châtel (c. 1655 – 7 June 1738), French founder of an immense fortune, was the first proprietary owner of French Louisiana, from 1712 to 1717.

Born in Toulouse, France, the sons of modest merchants, he and his brother, Pierre, rose from obscurity to become two of the wealthiest merchants of France. By way of lending money to the government, Antoine was ennobled as the marquis du Châtel, a title he transmitted to his elder son Louis-François. He became a financial counselor to Louis XIV. He invested in the Guinea Company and the Asiento Company, two lucrative overseas franchises. The king eventually offered him a 15‑year trade monopoly in Louisiana.

Portrait of Mme Crozat (1670–1742) by Joseph Aved (exhibited at the Salon of 1741)
Montpellier, Musée Fabre

He married Marguerite Legendre in 1690. They had four children: