Jean Henri Dunant was a Swiss businessman who became a social activist because of his experience during a business trip. He had traveled to Solferino on the evening of 24 June 1859 to appeal directly to French emperor Napoléon III, who was with his army in Lombardy at the time. Shocked by the minimal attempt to provide care for the more than 23,000 wounded soldiers left on the battlefield, he personally purchased needed materials, helped erect makeshift hospitals, and convinced local citizens to assist the injured.
When he returned home, he wrote Un Souvenir de Solferino (A Memory of Solferino) about the experience. He used his book in his travels through Europe to promote the idea of creating a neutral organization to provide care to wounded soldiers in the future, inspiring the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863.
He was awarded the first-ever Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 for his role in founding the International Red Cross and initiating the Geneva Convention.
Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.