Jean-Baptiste Colbert (French: [??~.ba.tist k?l.b??]; 29 August 1619 – 6 September 1683) was a French politician who served as the Minister of Finances of France from 1661 to 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV.
Colbert worked to develop the domestic economy by raising tariffs and by encouraging major public works projects, and to ensure that the French East India Company had access to foreign markets, so that they could always obtain coffee, cotton, dyewoods, fur, pepper and sugar.
Colbert worked to create a favourable balance of trade and increase France's colonial holdings.
As there was slavery in the colonies, Colbert also drafted the Code Noir which was to be promulgated two years after his death.
In addition, Colbert founded the French merchant marine.
Colbert's market reforms included the foundation of the Manufacture royale de glaces de miroirs in 1665 to supplant the importation of Venetian glass (forbidden in 1672, as soon as the French glass manufacturing industry was on sound footing) and to encourage the technical expertise of Flemish cloth manufacturing in France.
He also founded royal tapestry works at Gobelins and supported those at Beauvais.
Colbert issued more than 150 edicts to regulate the guilds.
(One such law had the intention of improving the quality of cloth.
The edict declared that if the authorities found a merchant's cloth unsatisfactory on three separate occasions, they were to tie him to a post with the cloth attached to him.)