Dufour, Guillaume Henri

BORN 15 Sep 1787, Constanz - DIED 14 Jul 1875, Genève
GRAVE LOCATION Genève, Genève: Cimetière de Plainpalais, Rue des Rois (G-701)

Son of a watchmaker and member of the General Assembly of Geneva. His family fled to Konstanz in 1782 and returned to Geneva when he was two years old. He was educated in Geneva, at the École Polytechnique in Paris and at the military academy in Metz.

In 1811 he entered the French army and in 1814 he took part in the defense of the French Empire. He received the Croix de la Légion d'Honneur for repairing the fortifications at Lyons. In 1817 he returned to Geneva where he worked as a state engineer (he held an official position from 1828 until 1850). He also became commander of the military enginees of the canton of Geneva. He was one of the founders of the military academy in Thun in 1819, where he was an instructor. Among his pupils was the future Napoleon III, with whom he was on friendly terms. In 1822 he designed the Saint Antoine Bridge in Geneva.

In 1847 he was put in command of the Swiss army and held the rank of general. He conducted the sucessful war against the Sunderbund of seven seperatist cantons. In 1848 the Federal Republic of Switzerland was created and he commanded the Swiss troops several more times. The last time was during the war between Austria and Sardinia in 1859.

In 1863 together with Henri Dunant and three others he founded the movement that would become the International Red Cross in 1876. He was the first president of this movement (1863-1864). In 1864 he presided over the convention of Geneva that was aiming to make warfare more humane. He was the president of the Swiss Federal Office of Topography from 1838 tot 1865.

Related persons
• cooperated with Dunant, Henry
• was teacher of Napoleon III Bonaparte


The grave of Guillaume Henri Dufour at the Cimetière de Plainpalais, Genève.
Picture by Androom (06 Dec 2007)


Guillaume Henri Dufour – Wikipedia

Dufrêne, Blanche

Published: 29 Jun 2008
Last update: 16 May 2020