The affirmation of a “consular diplomacy” during the modern period

Adolphe Billecoq, French consul in Bucharest, during the 1840s. Anonymous, Voyage illustré dans les cinq parties du monde en 1846, 1847, 1848, 1849 [Illustrated voyage in the five parts of the world in 1846, 1847, 1848, 1849], p. 93


Consulates appeared during the Middle Ages, and were institutionalized by various European states in the early modern period, primarily in the interest of commercial intermediation. From the nineteenth century onwards, the status and positioning of consulates and their officials underwent gradual but major transformations which firmly — but not completely — tied them to a European diplomatic corps. This is the essence of “consular diplomacy”.