November 21st 1694: Voltaire born


On this day in 1694, the French Enlightenment writer and philosopher Voltaire was born. His full name was François-Marie Arouet, and he was born in Paris. He chose the name ‘Voltaire’ because it is an anagram of ‘Arovet Li’, which is the Latin spelling of his surname and and the initial letters of ‘le jeune’. He adopted the name after his imprisonment in the Bastille for criticising the government. He is best known for his writings promoting civil liberties and his overall writings amount to over 2000 books and pamphlets. His work influenced the thinkers of the American and French Revolutions.


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