Authorised form of nameChardin; Sir; John (1643 - 1712)
Other forms of nameJean-Baptiste
Dates1643 - 1712
Place of birthParis, France, Europe
Date of birth16 November 1643
Place of deathTurnham Green, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Date of death5 January 1713
Dates and placesBaptism:
Charenton, near Paris, France, Europe (24 November 1643)
Chiswick Church, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom, Europe (9 January 1713)
Followed his father's business as a jeweller; travelled to Persia (1666), where he became the Shah's agent for the purchase of jewels; visited India (1667) and Constantinople (1671-1672); stayed at Ispahan (1673-1677); published accounts of his travels on his return to Europe (1677); a Huguenot, he moved to England (1681) to escape persecution; naturalised British (1682, 1685); Court Jeweller to Charles II; Envoy to Holland (1684); Agent to the HEIC
Kt 1681
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election30/11/1682
Age at election39
ProposerSir Christopher Wren
Date of ejection or withdrawal22 July 1685
Other Royal Society activityOccasional correspondent to the Society;
Donated some books on Persia (1682);
Expelled due to non-payment of arrears
RelationshipsParents: Daniel Chardin and Jeanne Guiselin
Married: Esther de Lardiniere Peigne
Published worksRCN: 32801
General contextAfter travelling within Asia with merchant Antoine Raisin, Chardin's return to France and his reports on the jewellery trade and diamond industry there spurred interest in East Indies trade. His publication of court politics even provoked a succession crisis around Suleiman III. Fellows of the Royal Society, John Evelyn (FRS 1663) and Christopher Wren (FRS 1663), were dispatched to make contact with Chardin after his return to Europe.

Chardin was an agent to and shareholder in the Honorable East India Company (HEIC), an English and later British company formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region. The company ended up seizing control of large parts of the Indian subcontinent (and briefly Afghanistan) and colonised parts of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. Originally chartered as the Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East-Indies, by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600, the East India Company rose to account for half of the world's trade, thereby amassing vast wealth, influence and private armies. The East India company enslaved people and exploited them for labour across their territories from 1621 until abolition of slavery in India in 1843.
Throughout his life, Chardin worked hard to expand English trade in India and worked with Sir Josiah Child, director of the East India Company. He was instrumenal in negotiating a treaty for Armenian merchants in Persia.

Chardin was also a charter member of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG). SPG was formed in 1701 and was a Church of England missionary organisation aiming to establish new churches in colonised regions, limiting the influence of, for example, Quakers and converting Native Americans and free and enslaved Africans and African Americans to Christianity. As part of its activity in Barbados, the Society later became owners of a slave labour sugar plantation.
Related imagesDiscover a selection of related images in our picture library

Chardin P0021.jpg

Bulloch's Roll; DNB; Hunter; Shaw LD; ODNB
Emerson, J. 'Chardin, Sir John', Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. V, pp. 369-377
Glasson, T. 2012. 'The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts', in Atlantic History [DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0067; last accessed 19/10/22]
Old style date of death 25 December 1712.
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA3532
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
NLB/5/1006Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Mr Dyer, 8 Orchard Street, Portman Square, W.4 December 1891
P/0021Portrait of Chardin, Sir Johnc 1700
NLB/1/465Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to George C Handford, 24 West End Lane, Kilburn, N.W.20 June 1887
NLB/1/516Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to George C Handford, Hafford[?] Lodge, West End Lane, Kilburn[July 1887]
NLB/5/1007Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Messrs Foord & Dickinson, Wardour Street4 December 1891
MS/390/101Bond of Sir John Chardin to the Treasurer of the Royal Society30 November 1692
IM/000802Chardin, Sir Johnnd
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