Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, the marquis de Lafayette (called Gilbert by his friends) was a French nobleman who, in 1777 at the age of 19, defied his king by sailing to America in to fight in the Revolutionary War against England. His bravery and leadership in the field, his loyalty to General George Washington, his generosity in spending most of his personal wealth on the American cause, and his success in persuading the French king to send soldiers and money were decisive factors in America’s victory. Lafayette’s brilliant command of the Virginia army enabled him to corner General Cornwallis at Yorktown and proved to be the turning point of the Revolutionary War.  Upon returning to France Lafayette continued to fight for freedom.  In 1824-1825 he returned to the United States on a grand tour as “The Nation’s Guest.”  Fayetteville, North Carolina, was the first town named for him and the only one that he personally visited..