Louis XIV of France (1638–1715)

Louis XIV

1638 Louis XIV was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, on September 5th. He was called “King Sun” and the absolute ruler of France and brought glory to the country wishing to subdue the whole Europe by war. French culture flourished during the 72 years oh his reign but, in the same time, Louis depleted his country and sowed the seeds of the revolution.

1643 When he was four years old he succeeded his father to the throne, Louis XIII.

1660 He married to Maria Teresa of Spain. After Cardinal Mazarin’s death, Louis shocked all France by his decision to rule alone. He believed himself the chosen of God. One of the consequences of this fact was the withdrawal of religious freedom of Protestant French people (Huguenots).

1682 Louis officially announced that the Govern and the Royal Court would move to Versailles, where millions had been already spent on the changing of a humble castle into an imposing palace. This building, with its spectacular hall of mirrors and with its magnificent gardens, was an artistic statement and, in the same time, a model to increase France fame and to supervise nobility. In a way, Louis was inspired to build the palace by the envy of great palace in Vaux had provoked to him and by its wonderful gardens. It was Fouquet’s palace, a former Minister of Finance. It is said that the king was deemed offensive when he saw the amazing pieces of furniture from Vaux, the fountains and the 1000 orange trees in the castle gardens. During this time, Louis employed Fouquet’s decorator, architect and guardian, Le Brun, Le Vau and Le Notre to work at Versailles. A real protector of all arts, including music and literature, Louis made painting, sculpture, science and architecture academies. He also established French Comedy.

1683 His wife died and he married Lady of Maintenon, who encouraged him to pay more attention to religion. So, Louis started to carry with him everywhere a booklet of prayers and a rosary. War disasters and the death of many followers caused much pain.

1685 Edict of Nantes was revoked. Huguenots refused to convert to Catholicism and more than 200.000 of them left the exile. During his youth, Louis worked with extraordinary energy, generally, eight hours a day and developed two strong power tools, a professional corps diplomatique and a permanent army. So, France became a bureaucratic state model in Century XVIII Europe. Economy also prospered, well led by Colbert, king’s financial problems adviser.

His goal was to glorify France and to move the power center of Europe from Habsburgs to Bourbons. He joined every spring to campaigns made every year by army. He liked living in a tent and to review the troops. His thirst for glory and the wish for expansion led France to four major wars: in the Spanish side of the Netherlands, in Holland, in the Rhine territory and in the war of Spain for succession.

1701-1714 By Utrecht Treaty, that stopped the last war, Louis’s nephew, Philippe, was recognized as heir of Spain throne, but France was on the brink of ruin.

1715 Absolute monarch, obsessed by grandeur and praised by courtiers, Louis isolated himself of common people and to his death, when the dead body was transported to St. Denis, was heckled by the crowd.

His wish for expansion led France to four important wars, fact that pushed the nation to the brink of ruin [ro.biography.name].




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