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Jean Baptiste Nothomb circa 1832

Jean Baptiste, Baron Nothomb (3 July 1805—6 September 1881) was a Belgian statesman and diplomat.




Born at Messancy in Luxemburg on 3 July 1805, he was educated at the Athénée de Luxembourg and the University of Liege, and was in Luxemburg when the Revolution of August broke out, but was nominated a member of the commission appointed to draw up the Constitution.

Nothomb became a member of the national congress, and became secretary-general of the ministry of foreign affairs under Érasme-Louis Surlet de Chokier. He supported the candidature of the Orléanist Louis, Duke of Nemours, and joined in the proposal to offer the crown to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, being one of the delegates sent to London.

When the Eighteen Articles of the Treaty of London were replaced by the Twenty-four less favorable to Belgium, he insisted on the necessity of compliance, and in 1839 he faced violent opposition to support the territorial cessions in Limburg and Luxemburg, which had remained an open question so long as the Netherlands refused to acknowledge the Twenty-four Articles.


Later life

His Essai historique et politique sur la révolution belge (1838) won for him the praise of Palmerston and the cross of the Legion of Honor from French king Louis Philippe. In 1837 he became minister of public works, and to him was largely due the rapid development of the Belgian railway system, and the increase in the mining industry.

In 1840 he was sent as Belgian envoy to the German Confederation, and in 1841, on the fall of the Lebeau ministry, he organized the new cabinet, reserving for himself the portfolio of minister of the interior. In 1845 he was defeated, and retired from the Belgian Parliament, but he held a number of diplomatic appointments before his death in Berlin.



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