Ventura, Jean-Baptiste (Biographical details)

Ventura, Jean-Baptiste (military/naval; Italian; Male; 1794 - 1858; changed name to Jean-Baptiste in 1820)

Also known as

Ventura, Jean-Baptiste; Ventura, Giovanni Battista Reuben; Ventura, Rubino

Biography

Born in the Jewish ghetto of Finale near Modena, Italy, he was an ardent Bonapartist, who had just enrolled in the Dragoni della Regina regiment when the Treaty of Paris (12 June 1814) ended French rule in Italy. In 1820-1 he was employed by the Persian prince Abbas Mirza in Tabriz, Iran. In 1822 he was one of the first Europeans officers to be employed by Ranjit Singh (q.v.), the Sikh ruler of the Punjab, to train his troops in the art of European warfare. As commander of the Fauj-i-Khas (European model brigade) he attained the rank of general and was also appointed kazi and governor of Lahore. He excavated the Great Stupa at Manikyala in 1830 and donated the relic deposit finds to James Prinsep (q.v.), from whose estate they were subsequently acquired by the British Museum. He retired to France in 1843.

Bibliography

Balboni, M.P. 1993, Ventura dal ghetto del Finale alla corte di Lahore, Modena.
Lafont, J.-M. 1992, La présence française dans le royaume sikh du Penjab, 1822–1849, Paris.
Lafont, J.-M. 2002, Fauj-i-khas. Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his French Officers, Amritsar.
Errington, E. and Curtis, V.S. 2007, From Persepolis to the Punjab. Exploring Ancient Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, pp.141-2, 146, 211-12 and passim, fig.124.