The Autor

1900

29 June: birth of Antoine Jean-Baptiste Marie Roger de Saint-Exupéry, third of five children born to Jean de Saint-Exupéry, insurance inspector, and Marie de Fonscolombe. The Saint-Exupéry name appears in the Crusades Hall in Versailles.

1904

Death of Jean de Saint-Exupéry.

1904 à 1917

Pupil at the Jesuit school of Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix in Le Mans, and the Saint-Jean de Fribourg school in Switzerland. In 1912, during his summer holidays, Antoine experiences his maiden flight from the Ambérieu en Bugey aerodrome.

1917

– June: Saint-Exupéry passes his baccalaureate exam.
– July: death of younger brother François.
– Saint-Exupéry prepares to sit the Naval Academy entrance examination in a higher maths class at the Lycée Saint-Louis preparatory school in Paris, and then at the Lycée Lakanal in Sceaux.

1919

After passing the written entrance exam for the Naval Academy, Saint-Exupéry fails the oral exam.

1920

Student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (architecture department).

1921 à 1923

- 1921: national service in the 2nd Aviation regiment in Strasbourg. Saint-Exupéry is awarded his civil and military pilot’s licence.
- 1922: promoted to sub-lieutenant, assigned to the 34th Aviation regiment at Le Bourget.
- January 1923: involved in a plane crash at Le Bourget (fractured skull). Saint-Exupéry leaves the armed forces.

1923 à 1925

Engagement, broken off after 3 months, to Louise de Vilmorin. Saint-Exupéry works as production inspector at the Tuileries de Boiron tile factory, then as a salesman for Saurer trucks.

1926

– 1 April: his short story L’Aviateur (The Aviator) is published in the magazine Le Navire d’Argent.
– October: hired by the Compagnie Latécoère, which would later become l’Aéropostale, flying between Toulouse and Dakar and later, from 1928 onwards, as far as Buenos Aires, then Santiago, Chile, and Tierra del Fuego.

1927

October: appointed head of the Cap Juby airfield in the south of Morocco; writes Courrier Sud (Southern Mail).

1929

– appointed director of Aeropostal Argentina and moves to Buenos Aires.
Courrier Sud published by Gallimard.

1930

June: Guillaumet’s plane crash-lands in the Andes. Saint-Exupéry makes numerous attempted rescue flights. Guillaumet successfully crosses the mountains on foot to safety.

1931

– April: marries Consuelo Suncin (1902-1979), Salvadorian by birth but with Argentine nationality.
– May to December: Saint-Exupéry pilots night flights on the Casablanca-Port Etienne line.
Vol de Nuit (Night Flight) published by Gallimard, wins the Femina prize.

1932 à 1933

Based in Casablanca then, after the collapse of l’Aéropostale, he signed on as a test pilot to help with the financial difficulties that were to dog him throughout his life. Splashes down in the bay of Saint-Raphaël.

1934 à 1935

Once again based in Paris, Saint-Exupéry travels to North African and Indochina. Newspaper Paris-Soir sends him as correspondent to Moscow. Takes part in the attempt on the Paris-Saigon speed record, resulting in another accident: his plane comes down in the middle of the desert, 200 kilometres from Cairo.

1936

– Newspaper L’Intransigeant sends him to Spain to report on the Spanish Civil War.
– Saint-Exupéry writes the screenplay based on Courrier Sud. Pierre Bion directs the film.

1937

– At the request of Air France, Saint-Exupéry scouts a possible air route between Casablanca and Timbuktu.
– Writes the screenplay of Anne-Marie.
– October to November: Saint-Exupéry registers four patents (out of a total of a dozen registered up to 1944).

1938

– January: travels to the United States.
– February: sets off to fly from New York to Tierra del Fuego, yet another accident in Guatemala (seven fractures to the skull).

1939

– February: Terre des Hommes (Wind, Sand and Stars) published by Gallimard, wins the Académie Française Grand Prix du Roman novel-writing prize.
– September: called up in Toulouse as a flying instructor, he talks his way into a transfer to the 2/33 reconnaissance squadron based at Orconte. Saint-Exupéry flies high-risk missions. Continuing into 1940, his missions, particularly over Arras, inspire the story of his next novel, Pilote de Guerre (Flight to Arras).

1940

– 2/33 Squadron falls back to Algiers.
– After demobilisation, Saint-Exupéry finally leaves in December for the United States.

1942

Pilote de Guerre published in France (where the book is banned by the Vichy government) at the same time as its English translation, Flight to Arras, in the USA.
– Summer/autumn: Saint-Exupéry writes and illustrates Le Petit Prince, dedicated to his friend Léon Werth.

1943

– April: publishers Reynal & Hitchcock publish Le Petit Prince simultaneously in french and in english translation.
– May: Saint-Exupéry returns to Algeria to rejoin 2/33 Squadron, now part of the Free French forces. Because of his age, he has difficulty convincing the authorities to let him fly.

1944

– The squadron transfers to Corsica. Saint-Exupéry is made its commander. He is authorised to fly five missions, and in fact flies eight.
– 31 July: For his ninth mission, Saint-Exupéry is sent on a reconnaissance flight in preparation for the Allied landings in the South of France. His plane is shot down by a German fighter pilot and lost at sea.

1948

Citadelle (The Wisdom of the Sands) published posthumously.

1998

Off the coast of Marseilles, Jean-Claude Bianco, a fisherman, picks up in its nets an identity bracelet bearing Saint-Exupéry’s name.

2000 à 2003

The wreck of a P-38 Lightning is found near the Ile de Riou. The serial number on the body identifies the plane as the one Saint-Exupéry was flying on his last mission.