A historian and politician, Henri Martin was appointed president of the Commission de Géographie historique de l'ancienne France in 1880.
The author of the Histoire de France
Initially a notary’s clerk, then an essayist and journalist, Henri Martin was the author of the Histoire des gaulois, published in 1833, and later of the 15-volume Histoire de France, published between 1837 and 1854. A resounding success, it continued the arguments of Amédée Thierry, positioning Vercingetorix as the first hero of national history. With its successor, the Histoire de France depuis 1789 jusqu’à nos jours (eight volumes between 1878 and 1883), it provided a complete history of France.
Henri Martin’s political career only really began on the fall of the Second Empire. Mayor in 1870, member of parliament for Paris in 1871, then senator for Aisne in 1876, he was appointed a member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques in 1871 and of the Académie française in 1878.
In January 1880, he was appointed head of the Commission de Géographie historique de l'ancienne France which replaced the Commission de Topographie des Gaules. With his death, in 1883, the commission came to an end.