Jean Nicot en
Jean Nicot was a French diplomat and scholar. Born in Nîmes, in the south of France, he was French ambassador in Lisbon, Portugal from 1559 to 1561. Jean Nicot was 29 years old in 1559 when he was sent from France to Portugal to negotiate the marriage of six-year-old Princess Marguerite de Valois to five-year-old King Sebastian of Portugal. When Nicot returned, he brought tobacco plants. He introduced snuff to the French court. The queen mother, Catherine de' Medici, became an instant tobacco convert. The plant was also an instant success with the Father Superior of Malta, who shared tobacco with all of his monks. More and more of the fashionable people of Paris began to use the plant, making Nicot a celebrity. At first, the plant was called Nicotina. But nicotine later came to refer specifically to the particular chemical in the plant. The tobacco plant, Nicotiana, also a flowering garden plant, is named after him, as is nicotine. Nicot described its believed medicinal properties and sent it as a medicine to the French court. Jean Nicot also compiled one of the first French dictionaries Thresor de la langue françoyse tant ancienne que moderne. Wikipedia [ - ]
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- Nicot was credited with the introduction of tobacco into France.
- Nicot was the son of a lawyer.
- He left his hometown at an early age and went to Paris where he managed to get noticed at court and became a secretary to King Henri II.
- In due course his services were retained by Francis II and in 1559 Nicot was sent to Lisbon as the French ambassador to Portugal.
- Amazing claims were made for its ability to cure disease.
- His interest was aroused by the current fashion in Lisbon for using the tobacco plant medicinally.
- It was grown in the gardens of herbalists and stocks of the dried leaf were kept by pharmacists.
- In 1560 Nicot wrote to his friend in Paris, the powerful Cardinal of Lorraine, telling him that he had purchased an Indian herb which had marvelous curative powers and promising to send one over to Paris.
- In fact, Nicot sent over a plant and some seeds with instructions for cultivation.
- The plant Nicot sent over was later named "Nicotiana rustica" in his honor, and although another Frenchmen, Andre Thevet, claimed to have imported the tobacco plant used for recreational purposes some three or four years' earlier, Nicot has traditionally been credited with the introduction of tobacco into France.
- His work related to Oughtred.