Michel de Montaigne, the man often-credited with developing the essay format, was born on Feb 28, 1533 in the Aquitaine region of France. With The Mantle's own preference for publishing essays by up-and-coming writers, we owe the French Renaissance philosopher a bit of gratitude for popularizing the format.
Michel de Montaigne
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Lord of Montaigne (28 February 1533 – 13 September 1592) was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdote and autobiography with serious intellectual insight; his massive volume Essais contains some of the most influential essays ever written.