Sébastien Le Prestre, Seigneur de Vauban (1633 – 1707), commonly referred to as Vauban [voh-bahn], was a Marshal of France and the foremost military engineer of his age, famed for his skill in both designing fortifications and breaking through them. He also advised Louis XIV on how to consolidate France’s borders, to make them more defensible. Vauban made a radical suggestion of giving up some land that was indefensible to allow for a stronger, less porous border with France’s neighbors.

Vauban was born in Burgundy, to a family of minor nobility, but at the age of ten he was left an orphan, and his youth was spent amongst the peasantry of his native place. A fortunate event brought him under the care of a member of the Carmelites (a Catholic religious order), who undertook his education, and the grounding in mathematics, science and geometry.

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