Colonel General (France)

For other uses of this term, see Colonel General.

A Colonel General was an officer of the French army during the Ancien Régime, the French Revolution, the Napoleonic era and the Bourbon Restoration.

The positions were not military ranks, but rather offices of the crown. The position was first created under François I. The Colonels General served directly below the Marshals of France, and they were divided by their branch of service. By the end of the Ancien Régime, the Colonels General were:

Judging the position of Colonel General of the Infantry to be too powerful, Louis XIV suppressed the position in 1661 and only appointed Colonel Generals of honorific branches like the Colonel General of the Dragoons (created in 1668), the Colonel General of the Cent-Suisses and Grisons, who oversaw the Swiss regiments of the Maison du Roi, and the Colonel of the Gardes Françaises. The position was reinstated under Louis XV.

Most of these offices were eliminated at the time of the French Revolution, during which there was a Colonel General of the National Guard, but they were reinstated by Napoleon I. Under the Bourbon Restoration, certain titles were accorded to members of the royal family. After 1830, the position was eliminated.

Colonels General of the Ancien Régime




The Dauphin is shown in the uniform of Colonel General of the Dragoons.


Louis Philippe d'Orléans, as Colonel General of Hussars ca.1779, Château de Chantilly

Cent-Suisses et Grisons


Colonels General of the Revolution

Colonels General of the Napoleonic era

Colonels General of the Restoration

See also


This article is based in part on the article Colonel général from the French Wikipedia, retrieved on September 8, 2006.

External links

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