Educationist, historian and sociologist Edouard Petit (17 March 1858, Marseille - 19 Feb. 1917, Perpignan, France) was an Inspector-General of French Public Education, a professor and an essayist who promoted the 'civilizing mission' of French colonialist endeavor.
After presenting a doctorate thesis on Andrea (André) Doria, a 16th century Italian Navy officer whom Petit dubbed 'the admiral-condottiere', Edouard Petit pursued his passion for marine history and geography while leading a career as a teacher (at Lycée Jeanson de Sailly, Paris) civil servant, and radical-Republican (and freemason from 1905) politician. He published books about Tonkin, biographies of Sully, Etienne Marcel, Francois Dupleix and Francis Garnier, as well as an ambitious Histoire Universelle Illustrée des Pays et des Peuples (Illustrated History of Countries and People).
His bibliography has often been confused with the one of writer and colonial administrator Edouard Théophile Georges Petit.
The other Edouard Petit
French Colonial Administration public servant Edouard Théophile Georges Petit (15 March 1856, St Denis de la Réunion - 14 March 1904, at sea, death registered in Perth, Australia) authored numerous travels books -- under his name, or the pseudonym Aylic Marin -- about Oceania, Tonkin, South America.
During his visit to French Polynesia, he befriended French painter Paul Gauguin and writer Victor Segalen. He served as Governor-General of the French establishments in Oceania.
Interestingly, 'Aylic' was the first name of his father-in-law, Aylic Langlois, a dramaturgist and civil administrator, father of his spouse Alix-Marie-Georgina Langlois dite Langle (1860-1930).