Louis XIV of France

Louis XIV of France

Overview
Louis XIV known as Louis the Great (French: "Louis le Grand") or the Sun King (French: le Roi-Soleil), was a Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre
Kingdom of Navarre
The Kingdom of Navarre , originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a European kingdom which occupied lands on either side of the Pyrenees alongside the Atlantic Ocean....

. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days. As such, it is one of the longest documented reigns of any European monarch.

Louis began his personal rule of France in 1661 after the death of his chief minister, the Italian Cardinal Mazarin.
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Timeline

1643   Four-year-old Louis XIV becomes King of France upon the death of his father, Louis XIII.

1654   Louis XIV is crowned King of France.

1660   James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France.

1661   Fall of Nicolas Fouquet: Louis XIV Superintendent of Finances is arrested in Nantes by D'Artagnan, captain of the king's musketeers.

1664   Louis XIV of France inaugurates the Palace of Versailles.

1670   In Dover, England, Charles II of Great Britain and Louis XIV of France sign the Secret Treaty of Dover.

1672   Franco-Dutch War: Louis XIV of France invades the Netherlands.

1682   Louis XIV of France moves his court to Versailles.

1686   Charles Francois Felix operates on King Louis XIV of France's anal fistula after practicing the surgery on several peasants.

1715   King Louis XIV of France dies after a reign of 72 years — the longest of any major European monarch.

 
Encyclopedia
Louis XIV known as Louis the Great (French: "Louis le Grand") or the Sun King (French: le Roi-Soleil), was a Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre
Kingdom of Navarre
The Kingdom of Navarre , originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a European kingdom which occupied lands on either side of the Pyrenees alongside the Atlantic Ocean....

. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days. As such, it is one of the longest documented reigns of any European monarch.

Louis began his personal rule of France in 1661 after the death of his chief minister, the Italian Cardinal Mazarin. An adherent of the theory of the divine right of kings
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

, which advocates the divine origin and lack of temporal restraint of monarchical rule, Louis continued his predecessors' work of creating a centralized state
Centralized government
A centralized or centralised government is one in which power or legal authority is exerted or coordinated by a de facto political executive to which federal states, local authorities, and smaller units are considered subject...

 governed from the capital. He sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 persisting in parts of France and, by compelling the noble elite to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde
Fronde
The Fronde was a civil war in France, occurring in the midst of the Franco-Spanish War, which had begun in 1635. The word fronde means sling, which Parisian mobs used to smash the windows of supporters of Cardinal Mazarin....

 rebellion during Louis' minority. By these means he consolidated a system of absolute monarchical rule in France that endured until the French Revolution.

France was the leading European power and fought three major wars: the Franco-Dutch War
Franco-Dutch War
The Franco-Dutch War, often called simply the Dutch War was a war fought by France, Sweden, the Bishopric of Münster, the Archbishopric of Cologne and England against the United Netherlands, which were later joined by the Austrian Habsburg lands, Brandenburg and Spain to form a quadruple alliance...

, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

—and two minor conflicts—the War of Devolution
War of Devolution
The War of Devolution saw Louis XIV's French armies overrun the Habsburg-controlled Spanish Netherlands and the Franche-Comté, but forced to give most of it back by a Triple Alliance of England, Sweden, and the Dutch Republic in the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.-Background:Louis's claims to the...

 and the War of the Reunions
War of the Reunions
The War of the Reunions was a short conflict between France and Spain and its allies. It was fueled by the long-running desire of Louis XIV to conquer new lands, many of them comprising part of the Spanish Netherlands, along France's northern and eastern borders...

. Louis encouraged and benefited from the work of prominent political, military and cultural figures such as Mazarin, Colbert
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
Jean-Baptiste Colbert was a French politician who served as the Minister of Finances of France from 1665 to 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV. His relentless hard work and thrift made him an esteemed minister. He achieved a reputation for his work of improving the state of French manufacturing...

, Turenne
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne,often called simply Turenne was the most illustrious member of the La Tour d'Auvergne family. He achieved military fame and became a Marshal of France...

 and Vauban
Vauban
Sébastien Le Prestre, Seigneur de Vauban and later Marquis de Vauban , commonly referred to as Vauban, was a Marshal of France and the foremost military engineer of his age, famed for his skill in both designing fortifications and breaking through them...

, as well as Molière
Molière
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature...

, Racine
Jean Racine
Jean Racine , baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine , was a French dramatist, one of the "Big Three" of 17th-century France , and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition...

, Boileau
Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux was a French poet and critic.-Biography:Boileau was born in the rue de Jérusalem, in Paris, France. He was brought up to the law, but devoted to letters, associating himself with La Fontaine, Racine, and Molière...

, La Fontaine
Jean de La Fontaine
Jean de La Fontaine was the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional...

, Lully
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste de Lully was an Italian-born French composer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French Baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in...

, Le Brun
Charles Le Brun
Charles Le Brun , a French painter and art theorist, became the all-powerful, peerless master of 17th-century French art.-Biography:-Early life and training:...

, Rigaud
Hyacinthe Rigaud
Hyacinthe Rigaud was a French baroque painter of Catalan origin whose career was based in Paris.He is renowned for his portrait paintings of Louis XIV, the royalty and nobility of Europe, and members of their courts and considered one of the most notable French portraitists of the classical period...

, Le Vau
Louis Le Vau
Louis Le Vau was a French Classical architect who worked for Louis XIV of France. He was born and died in Paris.He was responsible, with André Le Nôtre and Charles Le Brun, for the redesign of the château of Vaux-le-Vicomte. His later works included the Palace of Versailles and his collaboration...

, Mansart
Jules Hardouin Mansart
Jules Hardouin-Mansart was a French architect whose work is generally considered to be the apex of French Baroque architecture, representing the power and grandeur of Louis XIV...

, Charles
Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault was a French author who laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known include Le Petit Chaperon rouge , Cendrillon , Le Chat Botté and La Barbe bleue...

 and Claude Perrault
Claude Perrault
Claude Perrault is best known as the architect of the eastern range of the Louvre Palace in Paris , but he also achieved success as a physician and anatomist, and as an author, who wrote treatises on physics and natural history.Perrault was born and died in Paris...

, and Le Nôtre
André Le Nôtre
André Le Nôtre was a French landscape architect and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France...

.

Upon his death just days before his seventy-seventh birthday, Louis was succeeded by his five-year-old great-grandson, Louis XV
Louis XV of France
Louis XV was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1 September 1715 until his death. He succeeded his great-grandfather at the age of five, his first cousin Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, served as Regent of the kingdom until Louis's majority in 1723...

. All his intermediate heirs—his son Louis, le Grand Dauphin; the Dauphin's eldest son Louis, duc de Bourgogne; and Bourgogne's eldest son and his second eldest son, Louis, duc de Bretagne (the older brothers of the future Louis XV)—predeceased him.

Birth, Ancestry and Early Life



Louis XIV was born on 5 September 1638 in the Chateau of Saint-Germain-en-Laye to Louis XIII
Louis XIII of France
Louis XIII was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1610 to 1643.Louis was only eight years old when he succeeded his father. His mother, Marie de Medici, acted as regent during Louis' minority...

 and Anne of Austria
Anne of Austria
Anne of Austria was Queen consort of France and Navarre, regent for her son, Louis XIV of France, and a Spanish Infanta by birth...

. At the time of his birth, his parents had been married for twenty-three years without surviving issue (his mother experienced four stillbirths between 1619 and 1631). Leading contemporaries thus regarded him as a divine gift, and his birth, a miracle of God. He was often referred to as "Louis-Dieudonné" (Louis-God-given) and also bore the traditional title of French heirs apparent—Dauphin.

Recognising that his death was imminent, Louis XIII in 1643 prepared for his son's impending minority rule
Minor (law)
In law, a minor is a person under a certain age — the age of majority — which legally demarcates childhood from adulthood; the age depends upon jurisdiction and application, but is typically 18...

. He decreed that a regency council should rule on Louis's behalf for the duration of the minority. Contrary to custom, he did not make Anne the sole regent despite her having given birth to Louis and his brother Philippe
Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
Philippe of France was the youngest son of Louis XIII of France and his queen consort Anne of Austria. His older brother was the famous Louis XIV, le roi soleil. Styled Duke of Anjou from birth, Philippe became Duke of Orléans upon the death of his uncle Gaston, Duke of Orléans...

, because he doubted her political abilities. He did however make her the head of the Council.

Louis XIV shared a very affectionate relationship with his mother, Anne, which was uncommon at the time. Sources such as contemporaries and the Queen's attendants stated that the Queen would spend almost all of her time with her son. Their shared interests revolved around food and theatre. The Queen was a food lover and passed that love unto Louis. Theatre was something Louis was immersed in because his mother held such a passion for it. Their loving relationship was long lasting and can be seen in excerpts of journal entries kept by Louis XIV: "Nature was responsible for the first knots which tied me to my mother. But attachments formed later by shared qualities of the spirit are far more difficult to break than those formed merely by blood."

Minority and the Fronde


On 14 May 1643, with Louis XIII dead, Anne had her husband's will annulled by the Parlement de Paris
Parlement
Parlements were regional legislative bodies in Ancien Régime France.The political institutions of the Parlement in Ancien Régime France developed out of the previous council of the king, the Conseil du roi or curia regis, and consequently had ancient and customary rights of consultation and...

(a judicial body comprising mostly nobles
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 and high clergymen), abolished the regency council, and became the sole regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

. She then entrusted power to Cardinal Mazarin.
Subsequently, in 1648, Mazarin successfully negotiated the Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

. Although war continued between France and Spain until the Treaty of the Pyrenees
Treaty of the Pyrenees
The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed to end the 1635 to 1659 war between France and Spain, a war that was initially a part of the wider Thirty Years' War. It was signed on Pheasant Island, a river island on the border between the two countries...

 in 1659, the Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 in Germany. Its terms ensured Dutch independence
Dutch Revolt
The Dutch Revolt or the Revolt of the Netherlands This article adopts 1568 as the starting date of the war, as this was the year of the first battles between armies. However, since there is a long period of Protestant vs...

 from Spain
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

, awarded some autonomy to the various German princes
Fürst
Fürst is a German title of nobility, usually translated into English as Prince.The term refers to the head of a principality and is distinguished from the son of a monarch, who is referred to as Prinz...

, and granted Sweden seats on the Imperial Diet and territories to control the mouths of the Oder, Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

 and Weser
Weser River
The Weser is a river in north-western Germany. Formed at Hann. Münden by the Fulda and Werra, it flows through Lower Saxony, then reaching the historic port city of Bremen before emptying into the North Sea 50 km further north at Bremerhaven, which is also a seaport...

. France, however, profited most from the settlement. Austria ceded to France all Habsburg lands and claims in Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 and acknowledged her de facto sovereignty over the Three Bishoprics
Three Bishoprics
The Three Bishoprics constituted a province of pre-Revolutionary France consisting of the prince-bishoprics of Verdun, Metz, and Toul within the Lorraine region....

. Moreover, eager to emancipate themselves from Habsburg domination, petty German states sought French protection. This anticipated the formation of the 1658 League of the Rhine
League of the Rhine
The League of the Rhine was a defensive union of more than 50 German princes and their cities along the River Rhine, formed in 14 August 1658 by Louis XIV of France and negotiated by Cardinal Mazarin , Hugues de Lionne and Johann...

, leading to the further diminution of Imperial power.

As the Thirty Years' War came to an end, a civil war—the Fronde
Fronde
The Fronde was a civil war in France, occurring in the midst of the Franco-Spanish War, which had begun in 1635. The word fronde means sling, which Parisian mobs used to smash the windows of supporters of Cardinal Mazarin....

—erupted in France. It effectively checked France's ability to exploit the Peace of Westphalia. Mazarin had largely pursued the policies of his predecessor, Cardinal Richelieu, augmenting the Crown's power at the expense of the nobility and the Parlement
Parlement
Parlements were regional legislative bodies in Ancien Régime France.The political institutions of the Parlement in Ancien Régime France developed out of the previous council of the king, the Conseil du roi or curia regis, and consequently had ancient and customary rights of consultation and...

s
. The Frondeurs, political heirs of a dissatisfied feudal aristocracy, sought to protect their traditional feudal privileges from an increasingly centralized royal government. Furthermore, they believed their traditional influence and authority was being usurped by the recently ennobled bureaucrats (the Noblesse de Robe) who administered the Kingdom and on whom the Monarchy increasingly began to rely. This belief intensified their resentment.

In 1648, Mazarin attempted to tax members of the Parlement de Paris
Parlement
Parlements were regional legislative bodies in Ancien Régime France.The political institutions of the Parlement in Ancien Régime France developed out of the previous council of the king, the Conseil du roi or curia regis, and consequently had ancient and customary rights of consultation and...

. The members not only refused to comply, but also ordered all his earlier financial edicts burned. Buoyed by the victory of Louis, duc d’Enghien
Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé
Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé was a French general and the most famous representative of the Condé branch of the House of Bourbon. Prior to his father's death in 1646, he was styled the Duc d'Enghien...

 (later le Grand Condé) at Lens
Battle of Lens
The Battle of Lens was a French victory under Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé against the Spanish army under Archduke Leopold in the Thirty Years' War . It was the last major battle of the war....

, Mazarin arrested certain members in a show of force. Paris erupted in rioting. A mob of angry Parisians broke into the royal palace and demanded to see their king. Led into the royal bedchamber, they gazed upon Louis, who was feigning sleep, were appeased, and quietly departed. The threat to the royal family prompted Anne to flee Paris with the king and his courtiers. Shortly thereafter, the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

 allowed Condé's army to return to aid Louis and his court.
As this first Fronde (Fronde parlementaire, 1648–1649) ended, a second (Fronde des princes, 1650–1653) began. Unlike that which preceded it, tales of sordid intrigue and half-hearted warfare characterised this second phase of upper-class insurrection. To the aristocracy, this rebellion represented a protest against and a reversal of their political demotion from vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

s to courtier
Courtier
A courtier is a person who is often in attendance at the court of a king or other royal personage. Historically the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and social and political life were often completely mixed together...

s. It was headed by the highest-ranking French nobles, among them Louis's uncle, Gaston, duc d'Orléans
Gaston, Duke of Orléans
Gaston of France, , also known as Gaston d'Orléans, was the third son of King Henry IV of France and his wife Marie de Medici. As a son of the king, he was born a Fils de France. He later acquired the title Duke of Orléans, by which he was generally known during his adulthood...

, and first cousin, la Grande Mademoiselle; more distantly related Princes of the Blood
Prince du Sang
A prince of the blood was a person who was legitimately descended in the male line from the monarch of a country. In France, the rank of prince du sang was the highest held at court after the immediate family of the king during the ancien régime and the Bourbon Restoration...

, like Condé, his brother, Conti, and their sister the duchesse de Longueville; dukes of legitimised royal descent, such as Henri, duc de Longueville
Henri II d'Orléans, duc de Longueville
Henri II d'Orléans, duc de Longueville or Henri de Valois-Longueville , a legitimated prince of France and peer of France, was a major figure in the civil war of France, the Fronde, and served as governor of Picardy, then of Normandy.Longueville headed the French delegation in the talks that led...

, and François, duc de Beaufort
François, Duke of Beaufort
François de Vendôme, Duc de Beaufort was the illegitimate grandson of Henry IV of France. He was also cousin to Louis XIV. He was a prominent figure in the Fronde, and later went on to fight in the Mediterranean. His mother was the heiress Françoise de Lorraine...

; and princes étrangers
Foreign Prince
Foreign Prince is the English translation of prince étranger, a high, though somewhat ambiguous, rank at the French royal court of the ancien régime.-Terminology:...

, such as Frédéric Maurice, duc de Bouillon, his brother, the famous Marshal of France
Marshal of France
The Marshal of France is a military distinction in contemporary France, not a military rank. It is granted to generals for exceptional achievements...

, Turenne
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne,often called simply Turenne was the most illustrious member of the La Tour d'Auvergne family. He achieved military fame and became a Marshal of France...

, and Marie de Rohan, duchesse de Chevreuse; and scion
Kinship
Kinship is a relationship between any entities that share a genealogical origin, through either biological, cultural, or historical descent. And descent groups, lineages, etc. are treated in their own subsections....

s of France's oldest families, such as François, duc de La Rochefoucauld
François de La Rochefoucauld (writer)
François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac was a noted French author of maxims and memoirs. The view of human conduct his writings describe has been summed up by the words "everything is reducible to the motive of self-interest", though the term "gently cynical" has also been applied...

.

The Frondeurs claimed to act on Louis's behalf and in his real interest against his mother and Mazarin. However, Louis's coming-of-age and subsequent coronation
Coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 deprived them of their pretext for revolt. Thus, the Fronde gradually lost steam and ended in 1653, when Mazarin returned triumphantly after having fled into exile on several occasions.

Personal reign and reforms


On Mazarin's death in 1661, Louis assumed personal control of the reins of government. He was able to utilize the widespread public yearning for law and order resulting from prolonged foreign war and domestic civil strife to further consolidate central political authority and reform at the expense of the feudal aristocracy. Praising his ability to choose and encourage men of talent, Chateaubriand noted that "it is the voice of genius of all kinds which sounds from the tomb of Louis".

Louis began his personal reign with administrative and fiscal reforms. In 1661, the treasury verged on bankruptcy. To rectify the situation, Louis chose Jean-Baptiste Colbert
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
Jean-Baptiste Colbert was a French politician who served as the Minister of Finances of France from 1665 to 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV. His relentless hard work and thrift made him an esteemed minister. He achieved a reputation for his work of improving the state of French manufacturing...

 as Contrôleur général des Finances
Controller-General of Finances
The Controller-General of Finances was the name of the minister in charge of finances in France from 1661 to 1791. The position replaced the former position of Superintendent of Finances , which was abolished with the downfall of Nicolas Fouquet.- History :The term "contrôleur général" in...

in 1665. However, Louis first had to eliminate Nicolas Fouquet
Nicolas Fouquet
Nicolas Fouquet, marquis de Belle-Île, vicomte de Melun et Vaux was the Superintendent of Finances in France from 1653 until 1661 under King Louis XIV...

, the Surintendant des Finances
Superintendent of Finances
The Superintendent of Finances was the name of the minister in charge of finances in France from 1561 to 1661. The position was abolished in 1661 with the downfall of Nicolas Fouquet, and a new position was created, the Controller-General of Finances....

. Fouquet was charged with Embezzlement
Embezzlement
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted....

. The Parlement found him guilty and sentenced him to exile. However, Louis commuted the sentence to life-imprisonment and also abolished Fouquet's post. Although Fouquet's financial indiscretions were not really very different from Mazarin before or Colbert after him, his ambition was worrying to Louis. He had, for example, built an opulent château at Vaux-le-Vicomte
Vaux-le-Vicomte
The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a baroque French château located in Maincy, near Melun, 55 km southeast of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne département of France...

 where he lavishly entertained a comparatively poorer Louis. He appeared eager to succeed Mazarin and Richelieu in assuming power and indiscreetly purchased and privately fortified Belle Île
Belle Île
Belle-Île or Belle-Île-en-Mer is a French island off the coast of Brittany in the département of Morbihan, and the largest of Brittany's islands. It is 14 km from the Quiberon peninsula.Administratively, the island forms a canton: the canton of Belle-Île...

. These acts sealed his doom.

Divested of Fouquet, Colbert reduced the national debt through more efficient taxation. The principal taxes included the aides
Aides
Aides has various meanings:*Aides is the Greek god Hades.*The aides was a French customs duty, during the time of Louis XIV*Aides are assistants.*Aides , a genus of butterflies in the grass skipper family....

and douanes (both customs duties), the gabelle
Gabelle
The gabelle was a very unpopular tax on salt in France before 1790. The term gabelle derives from the Italian gabella , itself from the Arabic qabala....

(a tax on salt), and the taille
Taille
The taille was a direct land tax on the French peasantry and non-nobles in Ancien Régime France. The tax was imposed on each household and based on how much land it held.-History:Originally only an "exceptional" tax The taille was a direct land tax on the French peasantry and non-nobles in Ancien...

(a tax on land). Louis and Colbert also had wide-ranging plans to bolster French commerce and trade. Colbert's mercantilist
Mercantilism
Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Mercantilism dominated Western European economic policy and discourse from...

 administration established new industries and encouraged manufacturers and inventors, such as the Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

 silk manufacturers and the Manufacture des Gobelins
Gobelins manufactory
The Manufacture des Gobelins is a tapestry factory located in Paris, France, at 42 avenue des Gobelins, near the Les Gobelins métro station in the XIIIe arrondissement...

, a producer of tapestries. He invited manufacturers and artisans from all over Europe to France, such as Murano
Murano
Murano is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. It lies about 1.5 km north of Venice and measures about across with a population of just over 5,000 . It is famous for its glass making, particularly lampworking...

 glassmakers, Swedish ironworkers, and Dutch shipbuilders. In this way, he aimed to decrease foreign imports while increasing French exports, hence reducing the net outflow of precious metals from France.

Louis instituted reforms in military administration through Le Tellier
Michel Le Tellier
Michel Le Tellier, marquis de Barbezieux, seigneur de Chaville et de Viroflay was a French statesman.-Biography:...

 and his son Louvois
François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois
François Michel Le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois was the French Secretary of State for War for a significant part of the reign of Louis XIV. Louvois and his father, Michel le Tellier, would increase the French Army to 400,000 soldiers, an army that would fight four wars between 1667 and 1713...

. They helped to curb the independent spirit of the nobility, imposing order on them at court and in the army. Gone were the days when generals protracted war at the frontiers while bickering over precedence and ignoring orders from the capital and the larger politico-diplomatic picture. The old military aristocracy (the Noblesse d'épée) ceased to have a monopoly over senior military positions and rank. Louvois in particular pledged himself to modernizing the army, re-organizing it into a professional, disciplined and well-trained force. He was devoted to the soldiers' material well-being and morale, and even tried to direct campaigns.

Legal matters did not escape Louis's attention, as is reflected in the numerous Grandes Ordonnances he enacted. Pre-revolutionary France was a patchwork of legal systems, with as many coutumes as there were provinces, and two co-existing legal traditions—customary law
Custom (law)
Custom in law is the established pattern of behavior that can be objectively verified within a particular social setting. A claim can be carried out in defense of "what has always been done and accepted by law." Customary law exists where:...

 in the northern pays de droit coutumier and Roman civil law
Roman law
Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, and the legal developments which occurred before the 7th century AD — when the Roman–Byzantine state adopted Greek as the language of government. The development of Roman law comprises more than a thousand years of jurisprudence — from the Twelve...

 in the southern pays de droit écrit. The 'Grande Ordonnance de Procédure Civile' of 1667, also known as Code Louis, was a comprehensive legal code attempting a uniform regulation of civil procedure
Civil procedure
Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the rules and standards that courts follow when adjudicating civil lawsuits...

 throughout legally irregular France. It prescribed inter alia baptismal, marriage and death records in the state's registers, not the church's, and also strictly regulated the right of the Parlements to remonstrate. The Code Louis played an important part in French legal history as the basis for the Code Napoléon
Napoleonic code
The Napoleonic Code — or Code Napoléon — is the French civil code, established under Napoléon I in 1804. The code forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs go to the most qualified...

, itself the origin of many modern legal codes.

One of Louis's more infamous decrees was the Grande Ordonnance sur les Colonies of 1685, also known as Code Noir
Code Noir
The Code noir was a decree originally passed by France's King Louis XIV in 1685. The Code Noir defined the conditions of slavery in the French colonial empire, restricted the activities of free Negroes, forbade the exercise of any religion other than Roman Catholicism , and ordered...

. Although it sanctioned slavery, it did attempt to humanise the practice by prohibiting the separation of families. Additionally, in the colonies, only Roman Catholics could own slaves, and these had to be baptised.

Patronage of the arts


The Sun King generously supported the royal court
Noble court
The court of a monarch, or at some periods an important nobleman, is a term for the extended household and all those who regularly attended on the ruler or central figure...

 and those who worked under him. He brought the Académie Française
Académie française
L'Académie française , also called the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution,...

 under his patronage
Patronage
Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings or popes have provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors...

, and became its "Protector". He allowed Classical French literature
French literature
French literature is, generally speaking, literature written in the French language, particularly by citizens of France; it may also refer to literature written by people living in France who speak traditional languages of France other than French. Literature written in French language, by citizens...

 to flourish by protecting such writers as Molière
Molière
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature...

, Racine
Jean Racine
Jean Racine , baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine , was a French dramatist, one of the "Big Three" of 17th-century France , and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition...

 and La Fontaine
Jean de La Fontaine
Jean de La Fontaine was the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional...

, whose works remain greatly influential to this day. Louis also patronised the visual arts by funding and commissioning various artists, such as Charles Le Brun
Charles Le Brun
Charles Le Brun , a French painter and art theorist, became the all-powerful, peerless master of 17th-century French art.-Biography:-Early life and training:...

, Pierre Mignard
Pierre Mignard
Pierre Mignard , called "Le Romain" to distinguish him from his brother Nicolas Mignard, was a French painter...

, Antoine Coysevox
Antoine Coysevox
Charles Antoine Coysevox , French sculptor, was born at Lyon, and belonged to a family which had emigrated from Spain...

 and Hyacinthe Rigaud
Hyacinthe Rigaud
Hyacinthe Rigaud was a French baroque painter of Catalan origin whose career was based in Paris.He is renowned for his portrait paintings of Louis XIV, the royalty and nobility of Europe, and members of their courts and considered one of the most notable French portraitists of the classical period...

 whose works became famous throughout Europe. In music, composers and musicians such as Lully
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste de Lully was an Italian-born French composer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French Baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in...

, Chambonnières
Jacques Champion de Chambonnières
Jacques Champion de Chambonnières was a French harpsichordist, dancer and composer. Born into a musical family, Chambonnières made an illustrious career as court harpsichordist in Paris and was considered by many of his contemporaries to be one of the greatest musicians in Europe...

 and François Couperin
François Couperin
François Couperin was a French Baroque composer, organist and harpsichordist. He was known as Couperin le Grand to distinguish him from other members of the musically talented Couperin family.-Life:Couperin was born in Paris...

 thrived.


Over the course of four building campaigns, Louis converted a hunting lodge built by Louis XIII into the spectacular Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

. With the exception of the current Royal Chapel (built near the end of Louis's reign), the palace achieved much of its current appearance after the third building campaign, which was followed by an official move of the royal court to Versailles on 6 May 1682.

Versailles became a dazzling, awe-inspiring setting for state affairs and the reception of foreign dignitaries. At Versailles, the king alone commanded attention. Several reasons have been suggested for the creation of the extravagant and stately palace, as well as the relocation of the monarchy's seat. For example, Saint-Simon
Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon
Louis de Rouvroy commonly known as Saint-Simon was a French soldier, diplomatist and writer of memoirs, was born in Paris...

 speculated that Louis viewed Versailles as an isolated power center where treasonous cabal
Cabal
A cabal is a group of people united in some close design together, usually to promote their private views and/or interests in a church, state, or other community, often by intrigue...

s could be more readily discovered and foiled. Alternatively, the Fronde allegedly caused Louis to hate Paris, which he abandoned for a country retreat. However, his many improvements, embellishments and developments of Paris, such as the establishment of a police and street-lighting, lend little credence to this theory. As further examples of his continued care for the capital, Louis constructed the Hôtel des Invalides
Les Invalides
Les Invalides , officially known as L'Hôtel national des Invalides , is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's...

—a military complex and home to this day for officers and soldiers rendered infirm either by injury or age. While pharmacology was still quite rudimentary in his day, les Invalides pioneered new treatments and set new standards for hospice treatment. The conclusion of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle
Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1668)
The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle or Treaty of Aachen was signed on May 2, 1668 in Aachen. It ended the war of Devolution between France and Spain. It was mediated by the Triple Alliance of England, the Dutch Republic and Sweden at the first Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle...

 in 1668 also induced Louis to demolish the northern walls of Paris in 1670 and replace them with wide tree-lined boulevards.

Louis also renovated and improved the Louvre
Palais du Louvre
The Louvre Palace , on the Right Bank of the Seine in Paris, is a former royal palace situated between the Tuileries Gardens and the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois...

 and many other royal residences. Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was an Italian artist who worked principally in Rome. He was the leading sculptor of his age and also a prominent architect...

 was originally to plan additions to the Louvre. However, his plans would have meant the destruction of much of the existing structure, replacing it with an Italian summer villa
Villa
A villa was originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in Late Antiquity,...

 in the centre of Paris. Bernini's plans were eventually shelved in favour of Perrault's elegant colonnade. With the relocation of the court to Versailles, the Louvre was given over to the arts and the public.
During his visit from Rome, Bernini also executed a portrait bust
Bust of Louis XIV (Bernini)
The Bust of Louis XIV is a marble portrait by the Italian artist Gianlorenzo Bernini. It was created in the year 1665 during Bernini's visit to Paris. It has been called the “grandest piece of portraiture of the baroque age” -Commissioning:...

 of the king.

Early wars in the Low Countries



The death of Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV was King of Spain between 1621 and 1665, sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands, and King of Portugal until 1640...

 in 1665 precipitated the War of Devolution
War of Devolution
The War of Devolution saw Louis XIV's French armies overrun the Habsburg-controlled Spanish Netherlands and the Franche-Comté, but forced to give most of it back by a Triple Alliance of England, Sweden, and the Dutch Republic in the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.-Background:Louis's claims to the...

. In 1660, Louis had married Philip IV's eldest daughter, Maria Theresa, as part of the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees. The marriage treaty specified that Maria Theresa was to renounce all claims to Spanish territory for herself and all her descendants. However, Mazarin and Lionne made the renunciation conditional on the full payment of a Spanish dowry of 500,000 écu
ECU
ECU may refer to:Automotive terms* Electronic control unit, a generic term for any embedded system that controls one or more of the electrical systems or subsystems in a motor vehicle...

s. The dowry was never paid and would later play a part persuading Charles II of Spain
Charles II of Spain
Charles II was the last Habsburg King of Spain and the ruler of large parts of Italy, the Spanish territories in the Southern Low Countries, and Spain's overseas Empire, stretching from the Americas to the Spanish East Indies...

 to leave his empire to Philippe d'Anjou (later Philip V of Spain)—the grandson of Louis and Maria Theresa.

The War of Devolution did not focus on the payment of the dowry. Rather, Louis's pretext for war was the "devolution" of land. In Brabant
Duchy of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was a historical region in the Low Countries. Its territory consisted essentially of the three modern-day Belgian provinces of Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant and Antwerp, the Brussels-Capital Region and most of the present-day Dutch province of North Brabant.The Flag of...

, children of the first marriage traditionally were not disadvantaged by their parents’ remarriages, and still inherited property. Louis's wife was Philip IV's daughter by his first marriage, while the new King of Spain, Charles II, was his son by a subsequent marriage. Thus, Brabant allegedly "devolved" on Maria Theresa. This excuse led to France's attack on the Spanish Netherlands.

Internal problems in the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 aided Louis's designs. The most prominent politician in the United Provinces at the time, Johan de Witt
Johan de Witt
Johan de Witt, heer van Zuid- en Noord-Linschoten, Snelrewaard, Hekendorp and IJsselveere was a key figure in Dutch politics in the mid 17th century, when its flourishing sea trade in a period of globalization made the United Provinces a leading European power during the Dutch Golden Age...

, Grand Pensionary
Grand Pensionary
The Grand Pensionary was the most important Dutch official during the time of the United Provinces. In theory he was only a civil servant of the Estates of the dominant province among the Seven United Provinces: the county of Holland...

, feared the ambition of the young William III, Prince of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

, specifically dispossession of his supreme power and the restoration of the House of Orange to the influence it had enjoyed before the death of William II, Prince of Orange
William II, Prince of Orange
William II, Prince of Orange was sovereign Prince of Orange and stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands from 14 March 1647 until his death three years later.-Biography:...

. The Dutch were thus initially more preoccupied with domestic affairs than the French advance into Spanish territory. Moreover, the French were nominally their allies against the English in the ongoing Second Anglo-Dutch War
Second Anglo-Dutch War
The Second Anglo–Dutch War was part of a series of four Anglo–Dutch Wars fought between the English and the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries for control over the seas and trade routes....

. Shocked by the rapidity of French successes and fearful of the future, the Dutch nonetheless turned on their nominal allies and made peace with England. Joined by Sweden, the English and Dutch formed a Triple Alliance
Triple Alliance of 1668
The Triple Alliance of England, Sweden, and the United Provinces was formed to halt the expansion of Louis XIV's France in the War of Devolution. The alliance never engaged in combat against France, but it was enough of a threat to force Louis to halt his offensive and sign the Treaty of...

 in 1668. The threat of an escalation of the conflict and a secret treaty partitioning the Spanish succession with Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 Leopold I
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
| style="float:right;" | Leopold I was a Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and King of Bohemia. A member of the Habsburg family, he was the second son of Emperor Ferdinand III and his first wife, Maria Anna of Spain. His maternal grandparents were Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria...

, the other major claimant to the throne of Spain, induced Louis to make peace.

The Triple Alliance did not last very long. In 1670, French gold bought the adherence of Charles II of England
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 to the secret Treaty of Dover. France and England, along with certain Rhineland princes, declared war on the United Provinces in 1672, sparking off the Franco-Dutch War
Franco-Dutch War
The Franco-Dutch War, often called simply the Dutch War was a war fought by France, Sweden, the Bishopric of Münster, the Archbishopric of Cologne and England against the United Netherlands, which were later joined by the Austrian Habsburg lands, Brandenburg and Spain to form a quadruple alliance...

. The rapid invasion and occupation of most of the Netherlands precipitated a coup that toppled De Witt and brought William III to power.

In 1674, when France lost the assistance of England, which sued for peace by the Treaty of Westminster
Treaty of Westminster (1674)
The Treaty of Westminster of 1674 was the peace treaty that ended the Third Anglo-Dutch War. Signed by the Netherlands and England, it provided for the return of the colony of New Netherland to England and renewed the Treaty of Breda of 1667...

, William III received the help of Spain, the Emperor Leopold I, and the rest of the Empire. Despite these diplomatic reverses, the French continued to triumph against overwhelming opposing forces. Within a few weeks, French forces led by Louis captured all of Spanish-held Franche-Comté
Franche-Comté
Franche-Comté the former "Free County" of Burgundy, as distinct from the neighbouring Duchy, is an administrative region and a traditional province of eastern France...

 in 1674. Despite being greatly outnumbered, Condé trounced William III's coalition army of Austrians, Spaniards and Dutchmen at the Battle of Seneffe
Battle of Seneffe
The Battle of Seneffe was fought on 11 August 1674 and resulted in a draw.The armies were under the command of Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé and the Dutch-German-Spanish army under William III of Orange....

, and prevented him from descending on Paris. Another outnumbered general, Turenne, conducted a daring and brilliant campaign in the winter of 1674–1675 against the Imperial armies under Raimondo Montecuccoli
Raimondo Montecuccoli
Raimondo, Count of Montecúccoli or Montecucculi was an Italian military general who also served as general for the Austrians, and was also a prince of the Holy Roman Empire and Neapolitan Duke of Melfi....

, driving them back across the Rhine out of Alsace, which had been invaded. Through a series of feints, marches and counter-marches in 1678, Louis besieged and captured Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

. By placing Louis in a military position far superior to his enemies, these victories brought the war to a speedy end. Six years of war had exhausted Europe, and peace negotiations were soon concluded in 1678 with the Treaty of Nijmegen. Although Louis returned all Dutch territory he captured, he retained Franche-Comté and gained more land in the Spanish Netherlands.

The conclusion of a general peace permitted Louis to intervene in the Scanian War
Scanian War
The Scanian War was a part of the Northern Wars involving the union of Denmark-Norway, Brandenburg and Sweden. It was fought mainly on Scanian soil, in the former Danish provinces along the border with Sweden and in Northern Germany...

 in 1679 on behalf of his ally Sweden. He forced Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia is the historiographic denomination for the Early Modern realm of the Brandenburgian Hohenzollerns between 1618 and 1701. Based in the Electorate of Brandenburg, the main branch of the Hohenzollern intermarried with the branch ruling the Duchy of Prussia, and secured succession...

 to the peace table at the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1679)
The Treaty or Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye of 19 June or 29 June 1679 was a peace treaty between France and the Electorate of Brandenburg. It restored to France's ally Sweden her dominions Bremen-Verden and Swedish Pomerania, lost to Brandenburg in the Scanian War...

 and imposed peace on Denmark-Norway by the Treaty of Fontainebleau
Treaty of Fontainebleau (1679)
The Treaty of Fontainebleau, signed on 23 August / 2 September 1679, ended hostilities between Denmark-Norway and the Swedish Empire in the Scanian War. Denmark, pressured by France, restored all conquests made during the war to Sweden in turn for a "paltry indemnity". The treaty was confirmed,...

 and the Peace of Lund
Peace of Lund
The Peace of Lund, signed on 16 September / 26 September 1679, was the final peace treaty between Denmark-Norway and the Swedish Empire in the Scanian War.The war had started when Sweden on French initiative attacked Brandenburg-Prussia...

.
The successful conclusion of the Treaty of Nijmegen enhanced French influence in Europe, but Louis was still not satisfied. In 1679, he dismissed his foreign minister Simon Arnauld, marquis de Pomponne
Simon Arnauld, marquis de Pomponne
Simon Arnauld de Pomponne, Seigneur and then Marquis of Pomponne was a French diplomat and minister.-Early life:...

, because he was seen as having compromised too much with the allies. Louis maintained the strength of his army, but in his next series of territorial claims, Louis avoided using military force alone. Rather, he combined it with legal pretexts in his efforts to augment the boundaries of his kingdom. Contemporary treaties were intentionally phrased ambiguously. Louis established the Chambres des Réunions to determine the full extent of his rights and obligations under those treaties.

Cities and territories such as Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 and Casale
Casale
Casale, Italian from the late Latin casalis for an isolated house, or group of houses, in the countryside, may refer to:-People:*Gerald Casale musician*Giovanni Casale , an Italian judoka*Giuseppe Casale Italian bishop...

 were prized for their strategic position on the frontier and access to important waterways. Louis also sought Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, an important strategic crossing on the Rhine through which various Imperial armies had invaded France. Although a part of Alsace, Strasbourg was not part of Habsburg-ruled Alsace and was thus not ceded to France in the Peace of Westphalia. Following the determinations of the Chambres des Réunions, Louis seized these and other territories. Infuriated by his annexations, Spain declared war, precipitating the War of the Reunions
War of the Reunions
The War of the Reunions was a short conflict between France and Spain and its allies. It was fueled by the long-running desire of Louis XIV to conquer new lands, many of them comprising part of the Spanish Netherlands, along France's northern and eastern borders...

. However, the Spanish were rapidly defeated because the Emperor (distracted by the Great Turkish War
Great Turkish War
The Great Turkish War refers to a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and contemporary European powers, then joined into a Holy League, during the second half of the 17th century.-1667–1683:...

) abandoned them, and the Dutch only supported them minimally. By the Truce of Ratisbon
Truce of Ratisbon
The Truce of Ratisbon, or Truce of Regensburg, concluded the War of the Reunions between Spain and France. The Truce was signed on 15 August 1684 at the Dominican convent at Ratisbon in Bavaria between Louis XIV of France on the one side, and the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I, and the Spanish King,...

 in 1684, Spain was forced to cede most of the conquered territories to France for a duration of 20 years.

Non-European relations and the colonies



French colonies
French colonial empire
The French colonial empire was the set of territories outside Europe that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. The French colonial empire...

 multiplied in the Americas, Asia and Africa during Louis's reign, and French explorers made important discoveries in North America. Jolliet
Louis Jolliet
Louis Jolliet , also known as Louis Joliet, was a French Canadian explorer known for his discoveries in North America...

 and Marquette
Jacques Marquette
Father Jacques Marquette S.J. , sometimes known as Père Marquette, was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan...

 discovered the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 in 1673. In 1682, Cavelier de La Salle
René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle
René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, or Robert de LaSalle was a French explorer. He explored the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico...

 followed the Mississippi
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 to the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

 and claimed the vast Mississippi basin in Louis's name, calling it Louisiane
Louisiana (New France)
Louisiana or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control from 1682–1763 and 1800–03, the area was named in honor of Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle...

. French trading posts were also established in India at Chandernagore and Pondicherry, and in the Indian Ocean at Île Bourbon
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

.


Meanwhile, diplomatic relations were initiated with distant countries. In 1669, Suleiman Aga
Suleiman Aga
Suleiman Aga, also Soleiman Agha or Müteferrika Süleyman Ağa, was an Ottoman Empire ambassador to the French king Louis XIV in 1669. Suleiman visited Versailles, but only wore a simple wool coat and refused to bow to Louis XIV. Louis XIV immediately banned him to Paris, away from Versailles...

 led an Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 embassy, reviving the old Franco-Ottoman alliance
Franco-Ottoman alliance
The Franco-Ottoman alliance, also Franco-Turkish alliance, was an alliance established in 1536 between the king of France Francis I and the Turkish ruler of the Ottoman Empire Suleiman the Magnificent. The alliance has been called "the first non-ideological diplomatic alliance of its kind between a...

. Then, in 1682, after the reception of the embassy of Mohammed Tenim in France, Moulay Ismail, Sultan of Morocco
Ismail Ibn Sharif
Moulay Ismaïl Ibn Sharif was the second ruler of the Moroccan Alaouite dynasty. Like others of the dynasty, Ismaïl claimed to be a descendant of Muhammad through his roots to Hassan ibn Ali...

, allowed French consular and commercial establishments in his country. Louis once again received a Moroccan ambassador
Abdallah bin Aisha
Abdallah bin Aisha, also Abdellah Ben Aicha, was a Moroccan Admiral and ambassador the France and England in the 17th century. Abdallah departed for France on 11 November 1698 in order to negotiate a treaty. He spoke Spanish and English fluently, but not French...

 in 1699. He also received a Persian embassy
Persian embassy to Louis XIV
The Persian embassy to Louis XIV caused a dramatic flurry at the court of Louis XIV in 1715, the year of the Sun King's death. Mohammed Reza Beg, or in French sources Méhémet Riza Beg, was a high-ranking official to the Persian governor of the Yerevan province...

 led by Mohammed Reza Beg in 1715.


From further afield, Siam dispatched an embassy in 1684, reciprocated by the French magnificently the next year under Alexandre, Chevalier de Chaumont
Alexandre, Chevalier de Chaumont
Alexandre, Chevalier de Chaumont was the first French ambassador for King Louis XIV in Siam. He was accompanied on his mission by Abbé de Choisy, the Jesuit Guy Tachard, and Father Bénigne Vachet of the Société des Missions Étrangères de Paris...

. This, in turn, was succeeded by another Siamese embassy under Kosa Pan
Kosa Pan
Pan , known by his rank Chao Phraya Kosathibodi or former rank Ok Phra Wisut Sunthon or by the nickname Kosa Pan , was a Siamese diplomat and minister who led the Second Siamese Embassy to France sent by king Narai in 1686...

 superbly received at Versailles in 1686. Louis then sent another embassy in 1687 under Simon de la Loubère
Simon de la Loubère
Simon de la Loubère was a French diplomat, writer, mathematician and poet.-Mission to Siam:Simon de la Loubère led an embassy to Siam in 1687 . The embassy, composed of five warships, arrived in Bangkok in October 1687 and was received by Ok-khun Chamnan...

, and French influence grew at the Siamese court, which granted Mergui
Mergui
Myeik is a city in Tanintharyi Division in Myanmar , located in the extreme south of the country on the coast of an island on the Andaman Sea. the estimated population was over 209,000. The area inland from the city is a major smuggling corridor into Thailand.-History:Myeik was the southernmost...

 as a naval base to France. However, the death of Narai, King of Ayutthaya
Narai
Somdet Phra Narai or Somdet Phra Ramathibodi III was the king of Ayutthaya from 1656 to 1688 and arguably the most famous Ayutthayan king. His reign was the most prosperous during the Ayutthaya period and saw the great commercial and diplomatic activities with foreign nations including the...

, the execution of his pro-French minister Phaulkon
Constantine Phaulkon
Constantine Phaulkon was a Greek adventurer, who became first counsellor to King Narai of Ayutthaya.Born on the Ionian island of...

 and the Siege of Bangkok
Siege of Bangkok
The Siege of Bangkok was a key event of the Siamese revolution of 1688, in which the Siamese people ousted the French from Siam. Following a coup d'état, in which the pro-Western king Narai was replaced by Phetracha, Siamese troops besieged the French fortress in Bangkok for four months...

 in 1688 ended this era of French influence.

France also actively participated in Jesuit missions
Jesuit China missions
The history of the missions of the Jesuits in China is part of the history of relations between China and the Western world. The missionary efforts and other work of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, between the 16th and 17th century played a significant role in continuing the transmission of...

 to China. To break the Portuguese dominance there, Louis sent five Jesuit "mathematicians" (Fontaney
Jean de Fontaney
Jean de Fontaney was a French Jesuit who led a mission to China in 1687.Jean de Fontaney had been a teacher of mathematics and astronomy at the College Louis le Grand...

, Bouvet
Joachim Bouvet
Joachim Bouvet was a French Jesuit who worked in China, and the leading member of the Figurist movement.-Biography:...

, Gerbillon
Jean-François Gerbillon
Jean-François Gerbillon was a French missionary, who worked in China.He entered the Society of Jesus, 5 Oct, 1670, and after completing the usual course of study taught grammar and humanities for seven years...

, Le Comte
Louis le Comte
Louis le Comte , also Louis-Daniel Lecomte, was a French Jesuit who participated in the 1687 French Jesuit mission to China under Jean de Fontaney. He arrived in China on 7 February 1688....

 and Visdelou
Claude de Visdelou
Claude de Visdelou was a French Jesuit missionary.-Life:De Visdelou was born at the Château de Bienassis, Erquy, Brittany. He entered the Society of Jesus on 5 September 1673, and was one of the missionaries sent to China by Louis XIVin 1687. He acquired a wide knowledge of the Chinese language...

) to the court of the Kangxi Emperor
Kangxi Emperor
The Kangxi Emperor ; Manchu: elhe taifin hūwangdi ; Mongolian: Энх-Амгалан хаан, 4 May 1654 –20 December 1722) was the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, the first to be born on Chinese soil south of the Pass and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper, from 1661 to 1722.Kangxi's...

 in 1685. Louis also received the visit of a Chinese Jesuit, Michael Shen Fu-Tsung
Michael Shen Fu-Tsung
Michael Alphonsius Shen Fu-Tsung, also Michel Sin, Michel Chin-fo-tsoung, Shen Fo-tsung, Shen Fuzong , was a Qing Chinese mandarin from Nanjing and a convert to Catholicism who was brought to Europe by the Flemish Jesuit priest Philippe Couplet, Procurator of the China Jesuit Missions in Rome...

. Furthermore, he had at his court a Chinese librarian and translator—Arcadio Huang
Arcadio Huang
Arcadio Huang, also Arcadius Huang or Arcade Huang , was a Chinese Christian convert, brought to Paris by the Missions étrangères. He took a pioneering role in the teaching of the Chinese language in France around 1715...

.

Height of power


By the early 1680s Louis had greatly augmented French influence in the world. Domestically, he successfully increased the Crown's influence and authority over the Church and aristocracy, thus consolidating absolute monarchy in France.

Louis initially supported traditional Gallicanism
Gallicanism
Gallicanism is the belief that popular civil authority—often represented by the monarchs' authority or the State's authority—over the Catholic Church is comparable to that of the Pope's...

, which limited papal
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 authority in France, and convened an Assemblée du Clergé in November 1681. Before its dissolution eight months later, the Assembly had accepted the Declaration of the Clergy of France
Declaration of the Clergy of France
Under the Declaration of the Clergy of France of 1682, the following privileges were claimed by France in relation to the Holy See. They are the framework of Gallicanism, and have never been accepted by the Pope....

, which increased royal authority at the expense of papal power. Without royal approval, bishops could not leave France and appeals could not be made to the Pope. Additionally, government officials could not be excommunicated for acts committed in pursuance of their duties. Although the King could make ecclesiastical law, all papal regulations without royal assent were invalid in France. Unsurprisingly, the pope repudiated the Declaration.


By attaching nobles to his court, Louis achieved increased control over the French aristocracy. Pensions and privileges necessary to live in a style appropriate to their rank were only possible by waiting constantly on Louis. Moreover, by entertaining, impressing and domesticating them with extravagant luxury and other distractions, Louis expected them to remain under his scrutiny. This prevented them from passing time on their own estates and in their regional power-bases, from which they historically waged local wars and plotted resistance to royal authority. Louis thus compelled and seduced the old military aristocracy (the noblesse d'épée) into becoming his ceremonial courtiers, further weakening their power. The underlying rationale for Louis's actions could be found in experiences of the Fronde. Louis judged that royal power thrived better by filling high executive or administrative posts with commoners or the more recently ennobled bureaucratic aristocracy (the noblesse de robe). These could be more easily dismissed than a grandee of ancient lineage whose entrenched influence would be more difficult to destroy. In fact, Louis's final victory over the nobility may have ensured the end of major French civil wars until the Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 about a century later.

Louis XIV, used his palace in Versailles to gain control over the French nobility. “He built an infinite number of apartments, which were asked for by those who wished to pay their court to them" . By King Louis XIV moving the nobles into his palace, he became extremely likeable but very dangerous. One of the ways in which King Louis XIV was able to reduce the power that the nobility had before his reign was to eliminate any private armies that they had which could possibly interfere with his reign. He also completely stripped them of their privacy by means of spying. A cruel way in which privacy was totally removed was the opening of the letters sent by the nobility. It was stated that the King would open the letters in order to see if any of the nobles were making jokes about him, basically humiliating him. He was able to see the "extracts from all the letters in which there were passages that the chiefs of the post office, and then the minister who governed it, thought ought to go before him" . Louis had an enormous amount of attention paid to him at all times by the nobles. Whether he was eating, walking through his apartments, or even waking up in his bed, he was noticed. This also meant that Louis began to recognize every single noble that lived in his palace, no one went unnoticed. King Louis began to realize who did not appear in court and later confronted them asking for their reasoning. King Louis XIV had an excellent memory and he used it to his advantage.
The 1680s would see France not only becoming more isolated from its former allies, but also at the height and apogee of its power. Louis's policy of Réunions brought France to its largest extent during his reign. Furthermore, the bombardment of the Barbary pirate strongholds of Algiers
Algiers
' is the capital and largest city of Algeria. According to the 1998 census, the population of the city proper was 1,519,570 and that of the urban agglomeration was 2,135,630. In 2009, the population was about 3,500,000...

 and Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

 produced favourable treaties and the liberation of Christian slaves. Lastly, in 1684, Louis ordered the bombardment of Genoa
Bombardment of Genoa
The Bombardment of Genoa was a military event during the War of the Reunions when France bombarded the city of Genoa from the sea between May 18 and May 28 1684.- Background :...

 for its support of Spain in previous wars, and procured Genoese submission and an official apology by the Doge
Doge of Genoa
The Republic of Genoa, in what is now northern Italy, was technically a communal republic in the early Middle Ages, although it was actually an oligarchy ruled by a small group of merchant families, from whom were selected the Doges of Genoa.- History :...

 at Versailles.

Personal life


Having been married in 1660, Louis and Maria Theresa of Spain
Maria Theresa of Spain
Maria Theresa of Austria was the daughter of Philip IV, King of Spain and Elizabeth of France. Maria Theresa was Queen of France as wife of King Louis XIV and mother of the Grand Dauphin, an ancestor of the last four Bourbon kings of France.-Early life:Born as Infanta María Teresa of Spain at the...

 had six children. However, only one child, the eldest, survived to adulthood: Louis, le Grand Dauphin, known as Monseigneur. Maria Theresa died in 1683, whereupon Louis remarked that she had caused him unease on no other occasion.

Despite evidence of affection early on in their marriage, Louis did not remain faithful to Maria Theresa for long. He took a series of mistresses, both official and unofficial, among them Mademoiselle de La Vallière
Louise de La Vallière
Louise de La Vallière was a mistress of Louis XIV of France from 1661 to 1667. She later became the Duchess of La Vallière and Duchess of Vaujours in her own right...

, Madame de Montespan
Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan
Françoise Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, marquise of Montespan , better known as Madame de Montespan, was the most celebrated maîtresse en titre of King Louis XIV of France, by whom she had seven children....

, and Mademoiselle de Fontanges
Angélique de Fontanges
Marie Angélique de Scorailles was a French noblewoman and one of the many mistresses of Louis XIV. A lady-in-waiting to his sister-in-law the Duchess of Orléans, she caught the attention of the Sun King and became his lover in 1679...

. Through these liaisons, he produced numerous illegitimate children, most of whom he married to members of cadet branch
Cadet branch
Cadet branch is a term in genealogy to describe the lineage of the descendants of the younger sons of a monarch or patriarch. In the ruling dynasties and noble families of much of Europe and Asia, the family's major assets – titles, realms, fiefs, property and income – have...

es of the royal family
Royal family
A royal family is the extended family of a king or queen regnant. The term imperial family appropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress, while the terms "ducal family", "grand ducal family" or "princely family" are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning...

.

Louis proved more faithful to his second wife, Madame de Maintenon
Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon
Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon was the second wife of King Louis XIV of France. She was known during her first marriage as Madame Scarron, and subsequently as Madame de Maintenon...

. It is believed that they were married secretly on or around 10 October 1683 at Versailles. This marriage, though never announced or publicly discussed, was an open secret
Open secret
An open secret is a concept or idea that is "officially" secret or restricted in knowledge, but is actually widely known; or refers to something which is widely known to be true, but which none of the people most intimately concerned are willing to categorically acknowledge in public.Examples of...

 and lasted until his death.

Revocation of the Edict of Nantes



It has traditionally been suggested that Madame de Maintenon pushed Louis to persecute Protestants and revoke the Edict of Nantes
Edict of Nantes
The Edict of Nantes, issued on 13 April 1598, by Henry IV of France, granted the Calvinist Protestants of France substantial rights in a nation still considered essentially Catholic. In the Edict, Henry aimed primarily to promote civil unity...

, which had awarded Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

s political and religious freedom, but this is now being questioned. Louis himself saw the persistence of Protestantism as a disgraceful reminder of royal powerlessness. After all, the Edict was Henry IV's pragmatic concession to end the longstanding Wars of Religion
European wars of religion
The European wars of religion were a series of wars waged in Europe from ca. 1524 to 1648, following the onset of the Protestant Reformation in Western and Northern Europe...

. Moreover, since the 1555 Peace of Augsburg
Peace of Augsburg
The Peace of Augsburg, also called the Augsburg Settlement, was a treaty between Charles V and the forces of the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of Lutheran princes, on September 25, 1555, at the imperial city of Augsburg, now in present-day Bavaria, Germany.It officially ended the religious...

, the prevailing contemporary European principle to assure socio-political stability was cuius regio, eius religio
Cuius regio, eius religio
Cuius regio, eius religio is a phrase in Latin translated as "Whose realm, his religion", meaning the religion of the ruler dictated the religion of the ruled...

— the religion of the ruler should be the religion of the realm.

Responding to petitions, Louis initially excluded Protestants from office, constrained the meeting of synods, closed churches outside Edict-stipulated areas, banned Protestant outdoor preachers, and prohibited domestic Protestant migration. He also disallowed Protestant-Catholic intermarriages if objections existed, encouraged missions to the Protestants and rewarded converts to Catholicism. Despite this discrimination, Protestants largely did not rebel, and there occurred a steady conversion of Protestants, especially among the noble elites.

In 1681, Louis dramatically increased his persecution of Protestants. The principle of cuius regio, euis religio generally had also meant that subjects who refused to convert could emigrate, but Louis banned emigration and effectively insisted that all Protestants must be converted. Secondly, following René de Marillac and Louvois's proposal, he began quartering dragoon
Dragoon
The word dragoon originally meant mounted infantry, who were trained in horse riding as well as infantry fighting skills. However, usage altered over time and during the 18th century, dragoons evolved into conventional light cavalry units and personnel...

s in Protestant homes. Although this was within his legal rights, the dragonnades inflicted severe financial strain on Protestants and atrocious abuse. Between 300,000 and 400,000 Huguenots nominally converted, as this entailed financial rewards and exemption from the dragonnades.

On 15 October 1685, citing the extensive conversion of Protestants which rendered privileges for the remainder redundant, Louis issued the Edict of Fontainebleau
Edict of Fontainebleau
The Edict of Fontainebleau was an edict issued by Louis XIV of France, also known as the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The Edict of Nantes of 1598, had granted the Huguenots the right to practice their religion without persecution from the state...

, which revoked the Edict of Nantes. His reasons for doing so have been debated. Louis may have been seeking to placate the Catholic Church, which had chafed under his numerous restrictions, or he may have acted to regain international prestige after the defeat of the Turks without French aid, or to end the remaining division in French society dating to the Wars of Religion. Perhaps, he may have just been motivated by his coronation oath to eradicate heresy.

The Edict of Fontainebleau exiled pastors, demolished churches, instituted forced baptisms
Forced conversion
A forced conversion is the religious conversion or acceptance of a philosophy against the will of the subject, often with the threatened consequence of earthly penalties or harm. These consequences range from job loss and social isolation to incarceration, torture or death...

 and banned Protestant groups. Defying royal decree, about 200,000 Huguenots (roughly one-fourth of the Protestant population, or 1% of the French population) fled France, taking their skills with them. Thus, some have found the Edict very injurious to France. However, others believe this an exaggeration. Although many left, most of France's preeminent Protestant businessmen and industrialists converted and remained. The reaction to the Revocation was mixed. French Catholic leaders applauded, but Protestants across Europe were horrified, and even Pope Innocent XI
Pope Innocent XI
Blessed Pope Innocent XI , born Benedetto Odescalchi, was Pope from 1676 to 1689.-Early life:Benedetto Odescalchi was born at Como in 1611 , the son of a Como nobleman, Livio Odescalchi, and Paola Castelli Giovanelli from Gandino...

, still arguing with Louis over Gallicanism, criticised the violence.

Causes and conduct of the war



The War of the League of Augsburg (1688–1697) had two immediate causes with French influence in the Rhineland at stake. First, the death of Charles II, Elector Palatine
Charles II, Elector Palatine
Charles II was Elector Palatine from 1680 to 1685. He was the son of Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine and Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel.Charles was a strict Calvinist. In 1671, his aunt Electress Sophia of Hanover arranged his marriage to Princess Wilhelmina Ernestina, daughter of King Frederick III...

 in 1685 caused a succession crisis, in which Louis's sister-in-law Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate
Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate
Elizabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine was a German princess and the wife of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, younger brother of Louis XIV of France. Her vast correspondence provides a detailed account of the personalities and activities at the court of her brother-in-law, Louis XIV...

 had interests. The death of Max Henry, Archbishop of Cologne
Maximilian Henry of Bavaria
thumb|154 px|Maximilian Heinrich of BavariaMaximilian Henry of Bavaria was the third son and fourth child of Albert VI, landgrave of Leuchtenberg and his wife, Mechthilde von Leuchtenberg. In 1650, he was named Archbishop of Cologne, Bishop of Hildesheim and Bishop of Liège succeeding his uncle,...

 produced another succession crisis in 1688.

Growing concern about France led to the formation of the 1686 League of Augsburg
Grand Alliance
The Grand Alliance was a European coalition, consisting of Austria, Bavaria, Brandenburg, the Dutch Republic, England, the Holy Roman Empire, Ireland, the Palatinate of the Rhine, Portugal, Savoy, Saxony, Scotland, Spain and Sweden...

 by the Emperor, Spain, Sweden, Saxony and Bavaria; it intended to return France at least to the borders agreed to in the Treaty of Nijmegen. Conversely, the Emperor's refusal to change Ratisbon into a permanent treaty amplified Louis's fear that the Emperor's Balkan victories entailed an imminent attack on the Reunions.

The birth of James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

's son and Catholic heir, James Stuart
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

, precipitated the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

, an event that Louis found threatening. The Protestant William III of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

, grandson of Charles I, sailed for England with troops despite Louis's warning that France would regard it as a casus belli
Casus belli
is a Latin expression meaning the justification for acts of war. means "incident", "rupture" or indeed "case", while means bellic...

. James II was deposed and his throne expropriated by his daughter Mary II and his son-in-law and nephew William III (now also of England). Vehemently anti-French, William III pushed his new kingdoms into war, thus transforming the League of Augsburg into the Grand Alliance
Grand Alliance
The Grand Alliance was a European coalition, consisting of Austria, Bavaria, Brandenburg, the Dutch Republic, England, the Holy Roman Empire, Ireland, the Palatinate of the Rhine, Portugal, Savoy, Saxony, Scotland, Spain and Sweden...

. In 1688, however, this was as yet unsettled. Expecting the expedition to absorb William III and his allies, Louis dispatched troops to the Rhineland to compel confirmation of Ratisbon and acceptance of his demands about the succession crises, as his ultimatum to the German princes indicated. He also sought to protect his eastern provinces from Imperial invasion by depriving the enemy army of sustenance, thus explaining the pre-emptive devastation
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 of much of southwestern Germany (the "Devastation of the Palatinate").
French armies were generally victorious throughout the war because of Imperial commitments in the Balkans, French logistical superiority, and the quality of French generals such as Condé's famous pupil, François Henri de Montmorency-Bouteville, duc de Luxembourg
François Henri de Montmorency-Bouteville, duc de Luxembourg
François Henri de Montmorency-Bouteville, duc de Piney, called de Luxembourg was a French general, marshal of France, famous as the comrade and successor of the great Condé.-Early years:...

. His triumphs at Fleurus
Battle of Fleurus (1690)
The Battle of Fleurus, fought on 1 July 1690, was a major engagement of the Nine Years' War. In a bold envelopment the Duc de Luxembourg, commanding Louis XIV’s army of some 35,000 men, soundly defeated Prince Waldeck’s Allied force of approximately 38,000 men comprising mainly Dutch, German, and...

, Steenkerque
Battle of Steenkerque
The Battle of Steenkerque was fought on August 3, 1692, as a part of the Nine Years' War. It resulted in the victory of the French under Marshal François-Henri de Montmorency, duc de Luxembourg against a joint English-Scottish-Dutch-German army under Prince William of Orange...

 and Neerwinden
Battle of Landen
The Battle of Landen , in the current Belgian province of Flemish Brabant, was a battle in the Nine Years' War, fought in present-day Belgium on 29 July 1693 between the French army of Marshal Luxembourg and the Allied army of King William III of England...

 preserved northern France from invasion and dubbed him le tapissier de Notre-Dame for the numerous captured enemy standards he sent to decorate the Cathedral.
Although the attempt to restore James II failed at the Battle of the Boyne
Battle of the Boyne
The Battle of the Boyne was fought in 1690 between two rival claimants of the English, Scottish and Irish thronesthe Catholic King James and the Protestant King William across the River Boyne near Drogheda on the east coast of Ireland...

 in 1690, France accumulated a string of victories from Flanders in the north, Germany in the east, and Italy and Spain in the south, to the high seas and the colonies. Louis personally supervised the capture of Mons
Mons
Mons is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut, of which it is the capital. The Mons municipality includes the old communes of Cuesmes, Flénu, Ghlin, Hyon, Nimy, Obourg, Baudour , Jemappes, Ciply, Harmignies, Harveng, Havré, Maisières, Mesvin, Nouvelles,...

 and the reputedly impregnable fortress of Namur
Namur (city)
Namur is a city and municipality in Wallonia, in southern Belgium. It is both the capital of the province of Namur and of Wallonia....

; Luxembourg's capture of Charleroi
Charleroi
Charleroi is a city and a municipality of Wallonia, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. , the total population of Charleroi was 201,593. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of and had a total population of 522,522 as of 1 January 2008, ranking it as...

 gave France the defensive line of the Sambre
Sambre
The Sambre is a river in northern France and Wallonia, southern Belgium, left tributary of the Meuse River. The ancient Romans called the river Sabis.-Course:...

. France also overran most of the Duchy of Savoy
Duchy of Savoy
From 1416 to 1847, the House of Savoy ruled the eponymous Duchy of Savoy . The Duchy was a state in the northern part of the Italian Peninsula, with some territories that are now in France. It was a continuation of the County of Savoy...

 after the battles of Marsaglia
Battle of Marsaglia
The Battle of Marsaglia was a battle in the Nine Years' War, fought in Italy on 4 October 1693 between the French army of Marshal Nicolas Catinat and the Allied army of Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy ....

 and Staffarde
Battle of Staffarda
The Battle of Staffarda was fought during Nine Years' War in Piedmont-Savoy, modern-day northern Italy, on 18 August 1690. The engagement was the first major encounter in the Italian theatre since Victor Amadeus, the Duke of Savoy, had joined the Grand Alliance in opposition to France earlier that...

. While naval stalemate ensued after the French victory at Beachy Head
Battle of Beachy Head (1690)
The Battle of Beachy Head was a naval engagement fought on 10 July 1690 during the Nine Years' War. The battle was the greatest French tactical naval victory over their English and Dutch opponents during the war...

 and the Allied victory at Barfleur-La Hougue
Battles of Barfleur and La Hougue
The related naval battles of Barfleur and La Hogue took place between 29 May and 4 June New Style , 1692 ....

, the Battle of Torroella
Battle of Torroella
The Battle of Torroella, also known as Battle of the river Ter, was a battle in the Nine Years' War, fought on 27 May 1694 along the banks and fords of the Ter River near the Puente Mayor in the vicinity of the important town of Girona, Catalonia, Spain.- Prelude :In the year 1694 the French king...

 exposed Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 to French invasion, culminating in the capture of Barcelona. Although the Dutch captured Pondicherry, a French raid on the Spanish treasure port of Cartagena (in present-day Colombia) yielded a fortune of 10 000 000 livres.

In 1690, Sweden first offered to mediate. By 1692, both sides evidently wanted peace, and secret bilateral talks had already begun. By the Treaty of Turin in 1696, which finally hastened the end of the War, Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy
Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia
Victor Amadeus II was Duke of Savoy from 1675 to 1730. He also held the titles of marquis of Saluzzo, duke of Montferrat, prince of Piedmont, count of Aosta, Moriana and Nizza. Louis XIV organised his marriage in order to maintain French influence in the Duchy but Victor Amadeus soon broke away...

, separately concluded peace and switched sides. Thereafter, negotiations for a general peace began in earnest, culminating in the Treaty of Ryswick
Treaty of Ryswick
The Treaty of Ryswick or Ryswyck was signed on 20 September 1697 and named after Ryswick in the Dutch Republic. The treaty settled the Nine Years' War, which pitted France against the Grand Alliance of England, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the United Provinces.Negotiations started in May...

.

Treaty of Ryswick



The Treaty of Ryswick
Treaty of Ryswick
The Treaty of Ryswick or Ryswyck was signed on 20 September 1697 and named after Ryswick in the Dutch Republic. The treaty settled the Nine Years' War, which pitted France against the Grand Alliance of England, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the United Provinces.Negotiations started in May...

 in 1697 ended the War of the League of Augsburg and led to the disbanding of the Grand Alliance. By manipulating their rivalries and suspicions, Louis divided his enemies and broke their power.

Although Louis returned Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 and most of the Reunions, he secured permanent French sovereignty over all of Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

, including Strasbourg, thus guaranteeing the Rhine as the Franco-German border to this day. Louis's generosity to Spain despite French military superiority, which could have resulted in more advantageous terms, has been read as a concession to foster pro-French sentiment; it may ultimately have induced Charles II
Charles II of Spain
Charles II was the last Habsburg King of Spain and the ruler of large parts of Italy, the Spanish territories in the Southern Low Countries, and Spain's overseas Empire, stretching from the Americas to the Spanish East Indies...

 to name Louis's grandson, Philippe, duc d'Anjou
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

, as heir.

Besides the return of Pondicherry and Acadia
Acadia
Acadia was the name given to lands in a portion of the French colonial empire of New France, in northeastern North America that included parts of eastern Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and modern-day Maine. At the end of the 16th century, France claimed territory stretching as far south as...

, Louis's de facto possession of Saint-Domingue
Saint-Domingue
The labour for these plantations was provided by an estimated 790,000 African slaves . Between 1764 and 1771, the average annual importation of slaves varied between 10,000-15,000; by 1786 it was about 28,000, and from 1787 onward, the colony received more than 40,000 slaves a year...

 was recognised. Compensated financially, he renounced interests in the Electorate of Cologne and the Palatinate, and returned Lorraine to its duke, albeit under restrictive terms allowing unhindered French passage. The Treaty allowed the Dutch to garrison forts in the Spanish Netherlands as a protective barrier against possible French aggression and recognised William III and Mary II as joint sovereigns of the British Isles. Consequently, Louis withdrew support for James II.

Though the final peace may appear a diplomatic defeat for Louis, he in fact fulfilled many of the aims laid down in his 1688 ultimatum. In any case, to him peace in 1697 was victory.

Causes and build-up to the war


The Spanish succession finally created a crisis in Europe after the Treaty of Ryswick. Charles II ruled a vast, much-prized empire, comprising Spain, Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

, Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

, Milan, the Spanish Netherlands and numerous colonies
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

. But he had no direct heirs.

The main claimants to the throne of Spain were French and Austrian and closely linked to Charles II. The French claim was derived from Anne of Austria (Philip III of Spain
Philip III of Spain
Philip III , also known as Philip the Pious, was the King of Spain and King of Portugal and the Algarves, where he ruled as Philip II , from 1598 until his death...

's eldest daughter) and Marie-Thérèse (Philip IV's eldest daughter). Based on the laws of primogeniture
Primogeniture
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings . Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females...

, France had the better claim as it originated from eldest daughters in each generation. However, the princesses’ renunciations to the throne complicated matters; nevertheless, Marie-Thérèse's renunciation was considered null and void owing to Spain's breach of the marriage agreement.

In contrast, no renunciation tainted the claims of Charles, Archduke of Austria
Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles VI was the penultimate Habsburg sovereign of the Habsburg Empire. He succeeded his elder brother, Joseph I, as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia , Hungary and Croatia , Archduke of Austria, etc., in 1711...

. He descended from Maria Anna (Philip III's youngest daughter).

The English and Dutch feared that a French or Austrian-born Spanish king would threaten the balance of power
Balance of power in international relations
In international relations, a balance of power exists when there is parity or stability between competing forces. The concept describes a state of affairs in the international system and explains the behavior of states in that system...

 and thus preferred the Bavarian Joseph Ferdinand
Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria, Prince of Asturias
Duke Joseph Ferdinand Leopold of Bavaria, Prince of Asturias was the son of Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria and his first wife, Maria Antonia of Austria, daughter of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, maternal granddaughter of King Felipe IV of Spain.--Youth--Prince Joseph Ferdinand was...

, Leopold I's grandson, through his first wife Margaret Theresa of Spain
Margaret Theresa of Spain
Margaret Theresa of Spain was Holy Roman Empress, German Queen, Archduchess consort of Austria, Queen consort of Hungary and Bohemia. She was the daughter of King Philip IV of Spain and his second wife Mariana of Austria...

 (Philip IV's younger daughter). But, to appease the parties and avoid war, the First Partition Treaty
Treaty of The Hague (1698)
The Treaty of Den Haag was signed on October 11, 1698 between England and France. The accord attempted to resolve the issue of who would inherit the Spanish throne and proposed that Duke Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria be the heir...

 of 1698 divided the Italian territories between le Grand Dauphin and the Archduke, awarding the rest of the empire to Joseph Ferdinand. Presumably, the Dauphin's new territories would become part of France when he succeeded Louis. Passionately against his empire's dismemberment, Charles II in 1699 reiterated his will of 1693, which named Joseph Ferdinand as his sole successor.

Six months later, Josef Ferdinand died. Louis and William III in 1700 again concluded a Partition Treaty, allocating Spain, the Low Countries and colonies to the Archduke, and Spanish lands in Italy to the Dauphin. Acknowledging that his empire could only remain undivided by bequeathing it entirely to a Frenchman or an Austrian, and pressured by his German wife, Maria Anna of Neuburg, Charles II named the Archduke Charles as sole heir.

Acceptance of the will and consequences



On his deathbed in 1700, Charles II unexpectedly changed his will. Past French military superiority, the pro-French faction and even Pope Innocent XII
Pope Innocent XII
Pope Innocent XII , born Antonio Pignatelli, was Pope from 1691 to 1700.-Biography:He was born in Spinazzola to one of the most aristocratic families of the Kingdom of Naples, which included many Viceroys, and ministers to the crown, and was educated at the Jesuit college in Rome.In his twentieth...

 convinced him that France was more likely to preserve his empire intact. He thus offered the Dauphin's second son, Philip, Duke of Anjou
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

, the entire empire, provided it remained undivided. Anjou was not in the direct line of French succession, thus his accession would not cause a Franco-Spanish union. If Anjou refused, the throne would be offered to his younger brother, Charles de France, after which, to the Archduke Charles, and lastly, to the distantly related House of Savoy
House of Savoy
The House of Savoy was formed in the early 11th century in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, it grew from ruling a small county in that region to eventually rule the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until the end of World War II, king of Croatia and King of Armenia...

.

Louis was confronted with a difficult choice. He could agree to the partition and hopefully avoid a general war, or accept Charles II's will and alienate others. Initially, Louis may have inclined towards abiding by the partition treaties. However, the Dauphin's insistence persuaded Louis otherwise. Moreover, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, marquis de Torcy
Jean-Baptiste Colbert, marquis de Torcy
Jean-Baptiste Colbert, marquis de Torcy , generally called Colbert de Torcy, was a French diplomat, who negotiated some of the most important treaties towards the end of Louis XIV's reign, notably the treaty that occasioned the War of the Spanish Succession , in which the dying Charles II of Spain...

 pointed out that war with the Emperor would almost certainly ensue even if Louis only accepted part of the Spanish inheritance. He emphasised William III's reluctance to assist France in war because he "made a treaty to avoid war and did not intend to go to war to implement the treaty". Eventually, Louis decided to accept Charles II's will. Philippe, duc d'Anjou, thus became Philip V, king of Spain.

Most European rulers accepted Philip as King of Spain, though some only reluctantly. Depending on one's views of the war as inevitable or not, Louis acted reasonably or arrogantly. He confirmed that Philip V retained his French rights despite his new Spanish position. Admittedly, he may only have been hypothesising a theoretical eventuality and not attempting a Franco-Spanish union. However, Louis also sent troops to the Spanish Netherlands, evicting Dutch garrisons and securing Dutch recognition of Philip V. In 1701, he transferred the asiento
Asiento
The Asiento in the history of slavery refers to the permission given by the Spanish government to other countries to sell people as slaves to the Spanish colonies, between the years 1543 and 1834...

to France, alienating English traders. He also acknowledged James Stuart
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

, James II's son, as king on the latter's death, infuriating William III. These actions enraged Britain and the United Provinces. Consequently, with the Emperor and the petty German states, they formed another Grand Alliance, declaring war on France in 1702. French diplomacy, however, secured Bavaria, Portugal and Savoy as Franco-Spanish allies.

Commencement of fighting


Beginning with Imperial aggression in Italy even before war was officially declared, the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

 lasted almost until Louis's death, proving costly for him. Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Prince of Mindelheim, KG, PC , was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs through the late 17th and early 18th centuries...

 and Eugene of Savoy checked French initial success and broke the myth of French invincibility.

Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy's victory at Blenheim
Battle of Blenheim
The Battle of Blenheim , fought on 13 August 1704, was a major battle of the War of the Spanish Succession. Louis XIV of France sought to knock Emperor Leopold out of the war by seizing Vienna, the Habsburg capital, and gain a favourable peace settlement...

 caused Bavaria's occupation by the Palatinate and Austria, compelling Maximilian II Emanuel
Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria
Maximilian II , also known as Max Emanuel or Maximilian Emanuel, was a Wittelsbach ruler of Bavaria and an elector of the Holy Roman Empire. He was also the last Governor of the Spanish Netherlands and duke of Luxembourg...

 to flee to the Spanish Netherlands. Portugal and Savoy defected to the Allies after Blenheim. Later, the battles of Ramillies
Battle of Ramillies
The Battle of Ramillies , fought on 23 May 1706, was a major engagement of the War of the Spanish Succession. For the Grand Alliance – Austria, England, and the Dutch Republic – the battle had followed an indecisive campaign against the Bourbon armies of King Louis XIV of France in 1705...

 and Oudenarde
Battle of Oudenarde
The Battle of Oudenaarde was a key battle in the War of the Spanish Succession fought on 11 July 1708 between the forces of Great Britain, the Dutch Republic and the Holy Roman Empire on the one side and the French on the other...

 precipitated the capture of the Low Countries and an invasion of France, whereas the Battle of Turin
Battle of Turin
The Siege of Turin was undertaken by the Duke of Orléans and Marshal de la Feuillade between May and September 1706 against the Savoyard city of Turin during the War of the Spanish Succession...

 forced Louis to evacuate Italy, leaving it open to Allied armies.

Defeats, famine and mounting debt greatly weakened France. Two massive famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

s struck France between 1693 and 1710, killing over two million people. In both cases the impact of harvest failure was exacerbated by wartime demands on the food supply. In his desperation, Louis XIV even ordered a disastrous invasion of Guernsey
Guernsey
Guernsey, officially the Bailiwick of Guernsey is a British Crown dependency in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy.The Bailiwick, as a governing entity, embraces not only all 10 parishes on the Island of Guernsey, but also the islands of Herm, Jethou, Burhou, and Lihou and their islet...

 in the autumn of 1704 with the aim of raiding their successful harvest.

By the winter of 1708–1709, Louis became willing to accept peace at nearly any cost. He agreed to surrender the entire Spanish empire to the Archduke, and even to return all that he gained over sixty years in his reign and revert to the frontiers of the Peace of Westphalia. However, he stopped short of accepting the Allies’ inflexible requirement that he attack his own grandson to force the humiliating terms on the latter. Thus, the war continued.

Turning point


The Allies could not overthrow Philip V in Spain as clearly as France could not retain the entire Spanish inheritance. The Franco-Spanish victories at Almansa
Battle of Almansa
The Battle of Almansa, fought on 25 April 1707, was one of the most decisive engagements of the War of the Spanish Succession. At Almansa, the Franco–Spanish army under Berwick soundly defeated the allied forces of Portugal, England, and the United Provinces led by the Earl of Galway,...

, Villaviciosa
Battle of Villaviciosa
The Battle of Villaviciosa took place on December 10, 1710, between the Franco-Spanish army led by Louis Joseph, Duke of Vendôme and Philip V of Spain and the Habsburg-Allied army commanded by the Austrian Guido Starhemberg during the War of the Spanish Succession, one day after the decisive...

 and Brihuega
Battle of Brihuega
The Battle of Brihuega took place on 8 December 1710 in the War of the Spanish Succession, during the allied retreat from Madrid to Barcelona...

 definitively drove Allied forces from central Spain. Moreover, the Allied Pyrrhic victory
Pyrrhic victory
A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with such a devastating cost to the victor that it carries the implication that another such victory will ultimately cause defeat.-Origin:...

 of Malplaquet
Battle of Malplaquet
The Battle of Malplaquet, fought on 11 September 1709, was one of the main battles of the War of the Spanish Succession, which opposed the Bourbons of France and Spain against an alliance whose major members were the Habsburg Monarchy, Great Britain, the United Provinces and the Kingdom of...

 revealed the French difficult to defeat. At 21,000 casualties, the Allies suffered double those of the French, who eventually fully recovered their military pride at the decisive victory of Denain
Battle of Denain
The Battle of Denain was fought on 24 July 1712, as part of the War of the Spanish Succession, and resulted in a French victory under Marshal Villars against Austrian and Dutch forces under Prince Eugene of Savoy.-Prelude:...

.

In 1705, Leopold I died. His elder son and successor, Joseph I
Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph I , Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, King of Hungary, King of the Romans was the elder son of Emperor Leopold I and his third wife, Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg....

, followed him in 1711. The Archduke Charles subsequently inherited his brother's Austrian lands. If the Spanish empire then fell to him, it would have resurrected a domain as vast as that of Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

. To the Maritime Powers, this was as undesirable as the feared Franco-Spanish union.

Road to and conclusion of peace


Accordingly, Anglo-French talks began, culminating in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 between France, Spain, Britain, and the Dutch. In 1714, after losing Landau
Landau
Landau or Landau in der Pfalz is an autonomous city surrounded by the Südliche Weinstraße district of southern Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is a university town , a long-standing cultural centre, and a market and shopping town, surrounded by vineyards and wine-growing villages of the...

 and Freiburg
Freiburg
Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In the extreme south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain...

, the Emperor and Empire also made peace with France in the Treaty of Rastatt
Treaty of Rastatt
The Treaty of Rastatt of 7 March 1714, ended hostilities between France and Austria at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. It complemented the Treaty of Utrecht, which had, the previous year, ended hostilities with Britain and the Dutch Republic...

 and that of Baden
Treaty of Baden
The Treaty of Baden was the treaty that ended hostilities between France and the Holy Roman Empire, who had been at war since the start of the War of the Spanish Succession. It was signed on 7 September 1714 in Baden, Switzerland and complemented the Treaty of Utrecht, and the Treaty of Rastatt by...

.

By the general settlement, Philip V retained Spain and the colonies, Austria received the Low Countries and divided Spanish Italy with Savoy, and Britain kept Gibraltar and Minorca. Louis agreed to withdraw his support for James Stuart, and ceded Newfoundland, Rupert's Land
Rupert's Land
Rupert's Land, or Prince Rupert's Land, was a territory in British North America, consisting of the Hudson Bay drainage basin that was nominally owned by the Hudson's Bay Company for 200 years from 1670 to 1870, although numerous aboriginal groups lived in the same territory and disputed the...

 and Acadia in the Americas to Britain. Admittedly, Britain gained the most from the Treaty, but the final terms were very much more favourable to France than those of 1709 and 1710. France retained Île-Saint-Jean
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

 and Île Royale
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America. It likely corresponds to the word Breton, the French demonym for Brittany....

, and notwithstanding Allied intransigence, was returned most of the captured Continental lands, preserving its antebellum frontiers. Louis even acquired additional territory, such as the Principality of Orange
Orange, Vaucluse
Orange is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.It has a primarily agricultural economy...

, and the Ubaye Valley
Ubaye Valley
The Ubaye Valley is an area in the Alpes de Haute-Provence département, in the French Alps and has approximately 7,700 residents. Its residents are called Ubayens. Its chief town is the sous-préfecture of Barcelonnette....

, which covered transalpine passes into Italy. Moreover, Louis secured the rehabilitation to pre-war status and lands of his allies, the Electors of Bavaria and of Cologne.

Death



After a reign of 72 years, Louis died of gangrene
Gangrene
Gangrene is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that arises when a considerable mass of body tissue dies . This may occur after an injury or infection, or in people suffering from any chronic health problem affecting blood circulation. The primary cause of gangrene is reduced blood...

 at Versailles on 1 September 1715, four days before his 77th birthday.

Reciting the psalm Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina (O Lord, make haste to help me), Louis "yielded up his soul without any effort, like a candle going out". His body lies in Saint-Denis Basilica, outside Paris.

The Dauphin had predeceased Louis in 1711, leaving three children: Louis, Duke of Burgundy; Philip V of Spain; and Charles, Duke of Berry. The eldest, Burgundy, followed in 1712, and was himself soon followed by his elder son, Louis, Duke of Brittany. Thus, on Louis XIV's deathbed, his heir was his five-year-old great-grandson, Louis, Duke of Anjou
Louis XV of France
Louis XV was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1 September 1715 until his death. He succeeded his great-grandfather at the age of five, his first cousin Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, served as Regent of the kingdom until Louis's majority in 1723...

, Burgundy's youngest son, and Dauphin after the deaths in short succession of his grandfather, father and elder brother.

Louis foresaw a minority and sought to restrict the power of his nephew, Philippe d'Orléans, who as closest surviving legitimate relative in France would become the prospective Louis XV's regent. Accordingly, he created a regency council as Louis XIII did in anticipation of his own minority with some power vested in his illegitimate son, Louis Auguste de Bourbon, duc du Maine.

Orléans, however, would have Louis's will annulled by the Parlement de Paris after his death and make himself sole regent. He stripped Maine and his brother, Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, comte de Toulouse
Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, Comte de Toulouse
Louis Alexandre de Bourbon, comte de Toulouse , duc de Penthièvre , d'Arc, de Châteauvillain and de Rambouillet , , was the son of Louis XIV and of his mistress Madame de Montespan...

, of the rank of "prince of the blood
Prince du Sang
A prince of the blood was a person who was legitimately descended in the male line from the monarch of a country. In France, the rank of prince du sang was the highest held at court after the immediate family of the king during the ancien régime and the Bourbon Restoration...

", which Louis had given them, and significantly reduced Maine's power and privileges.

Legacy


According to Philippe de Dangeau
Philippe de Dangeau
Philippe de Courcillon, Marquis de Dangeau was a French officer and author.Born in Dangeau, he is most remembered for keeping a diary from 1684 till the year of his death...

's Journal, Louis on his deathbed advised his heir:
"Do not follow the bad example which I have set you; I have often undertaken war too lightly and have sustained it for vanity. Do not imitate me, but be a peaceful prince, and may you apply yourself principally to the alleviation of the burdens of your subjects".


Given the Baroque inclination to magnify one's sins as a demonstration of piety, however, some historians argue that Louis may have been too harsh with himself. For instance, despite engaging in many years of war, Louis ultimately placed a French prince successfully on the Spanish throne. This largely ended the threat, dating back to the 16th century, of a hostile Spain that had frequently interfered in domestic French politics. Moreover, Louis's wars expanded France and created a more defensible frontier, protecting his country from foreign invasion at least until the Revolution.

Louis arguably applied himself to "the alleviation of the burdens of [his] subjects". For example, Louis's patronage of the arts encouraged the growth of industry, and his policies increased trade and commerce. Furthermore, his consolidation of royal authority over the feudal elites significantly reduced the incidence of civil wars and aristocratic rebellions, which had frequently plagued France before Louis's reign. His early reforms and centralisation of France also marked the birth of the modern State and served as an example of political organisation for much of Europe during the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

.

It has been argued that Louis's considerable foreign, military and domestic expenditure impoverished and bankrupted France. Other historians, however, have dismissed such claims. They draw a distinction between the royal treasury, which was impoverished, and France, which was not. In support, they cite the Lettres Persanes
Persian Letters
Persian Letters is a literary work by Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu, recounting the experiences of two Persian noblemen, Usbek and Rica, who are traveling through France.-Plot summary:...

by the socio-political thinker and commentator Montesquieu
Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu
Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu , generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French social commentator and political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment...

 as literary evidence of the wealth and opulence of France and French society even in the darkest days of the royal treasury.

Alternatively, it has been argued that Louis's failure to reform French institutions at a time when monarchy was secure in France led to the social upheaval culminating in the Revolution. In response, other scholars have argued that Louis had little reason to dabble with the reformation of institutions which largely worked well under him. Moreover, he could not reasonably have foreseen and provided for events occurring nearly eighty years after his death, during which time his successors could have successfully instituted reforms but failed to do so.

Ultimately, in often triumphant wars against several great European alliances, Louis gave France ten new provinces, an overseas empire and the pre-eminent position in Europe. His political and military victories, as well as numerous cultural achievements, earned France the admiration of Europe for its success, power and sophistication. Much of Europe began to emulate French manners, values, goods and way-of-life. The European elite even conversed increasingly in predominantly French. Louis himself became the model for many Enlightenment monarchs.

Louis, it seems, had his personal flaws. Saint-Simon
Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon
Louis de Rouvroy commonly known as Saint-Simon was a French soldier, diplomatist and writer of memoirs, was born in Paris...

, who claimed that Louis slighted him, criticised him thus:
"There was nothing he liked so much as flattery, or, to put it more plainly, adulation; the coarser and clumsier it was, the more he relished it".
However, the anti-Bourbon Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 honoured Louis not only as "a great king", but also as "the only King of France worthy of the name". Indeed, even the German Protestant philosopher Leibniz commended him as "one of the greatest kings that ever was". And Lord Acton went so far as to describe Louis as "by far the ablest man who was born in modern times on the steps of a throne". Finally, comparing Louis to Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 dubbed his reign "an eternally memorable age" and "le Grand Siècle" (the "Great Century").

Image and depiction


Few rulers in world history have commemorated themselves in as grand a manner as Louis. Louis used the arts and court ritual to demonstrate, augment and maintain his control over France. With his support, Colbert established from the beginning of Louis's personal reign a centralised and institutionalised system for creating and perpetuating the royal image. The King was thus portrayed largely in majesty or at war, notably against Spain. This portrayal of the monarch was to be found in numerous media of artistic expression, such as painting, sculpture, theatre, dance, music, and the almanacs which diffused royal propaganda to the population at large.

Evolution of royal portraiture



Over his lifetime, Louis commissioned numerous works of art to portray himself, amongst which are over 300 formal portraits. The earliest portrayals of Louis already followed the pictorial conventions of the day in depicting the child king as the majestically royal incarnation of France. This idealisation of the monarch continued in later works. These avoided depicting any trace of smallpox, which Louis suffered from in 1647. Moreover, by the 1660s, Louis began to be shown as a Roman emperor, Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 or Alexander, as may be seen in many of Le Brun
Charles Le Brun
Charles Le Brun , a French painter and art theorist, became the all-powerful, peerless master of 17th-century French art.-Biography:-Early life and training:...

's works such as sculpture, paintings and the decor in major monuments. The depiction of the King in this manner focussed on the allegorical or the mythological, instead of attempting to produce true likenesses. As Louis aged, so too did his likenesses in portraits. However, the conflict between representing him realistically and representing him in the manner required by royal propaganda continued and was demonstrated in Rigaud
Hyacinthe Rigaud
Hyacinthe Rigaud was a French baroque painter of Catalan origin whose career was based in Paris.He is renowned for his portrait paintings of Louis XIV, the royalty and nobility of Europe, and members of their courts and considered one of the most notable French portraitists of the classical period...

's Portrait of Louis XIV of 1701 where a 63 year-old Louis appears to stand on a set of unnaturally young legs.

Indeed, Rigaud's portrait exemplified the height of royal portraiture in Louis's reign. Although Rigaud made a credible likeness of Louis, the portrait was neither meant as an exercise in realism nor to explore Louis's personal character. Rather, it was intended to glorify the monarchy. Rigaud's original, now housed in the Louvre, was originally meant as a gift to Louis's grandson, Philip V of Spain
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

. However, Louis was so pleased with the work that he kept the original and commissioned a copy to be sent to his grandson. That became the first of many copies, both in full and half-length formats, to be made by Rigaud, often with the help of his assistants. The portrait also became a model for French royal and imperial portraiture down to the time of Charles X
Charles X of France
Charles X was known for most of his life as the Comte d'Artois before he reigned as King of France and of Navarre from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. A younger brother to Kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile and eventually succeeded him...

, over a century later. In his work, Rigaud proclaims Louis's exalted royal status through his elegant stance and haughty expression, the royal regalia and throne, rich ceremonial fleur-de-lys robes, as well as the upright column in the background, which, together with the drapperies, serves to frame this image of majesty. Despite the vast expanse of canvas he had to cover, Rigaud was also concerned with details and depicted in great detail the King's costume, even his shoe buckles.

Other works of art


In addition to these portraits, Louis also commissioned at least twenty statues of himself in the 1680s to stand in Paris and in provincial towns as physical manifestations of himself to his people. He also commissioned "war artists" to follow him on campaign to document his military triumphs. To remind the people of these triumphs, Louis erected in Paris and the provinces permanent triumphal arches for the first time since the decline of the Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

. Louis's reign also marked the birth and infancy of the art of medallions. 16th century rulers had often issued medals to commemorate the major events of their reigns. Louis, however, struck more than 300, celebrating the story of the King in bronze to be enshrined in thousands of households. He also used tapestries as a main medium of exalting the monarchy. Tapestries were either allegorical, depicting the elements or seasons, or realist, portraying royal residences or historical events. They were amongst the most significant means of royal propaganda prior to the construction of the Hall of Mirrors
Hall of Mirrors (Palace of Versailles)
The Hall of Mirrors is the central gallery of the Palace of Versailles and is renowned as being one of the most famous rooms in the world.As the principal and most remarkable feature of King Louis XIV of France's third building campaign of the Palace of Versailles , construction of the Hall of...

 (French: la Galerie des Glaces) at Versailles.

At Versailles


It was at his great palace, with its gardens, architecture, interior design and works of art, that Louis sought to visually represent the absolute power of the monarchy. The Hall of Mirrors became the setting for court events and became the most prestigious part of the vast complex. Under the King's close supervision, Le Brun finalised the decoration of the Hall of Mirrors, which retraced the important accomplishments of Louis's reign, such as his accession or the War of Devolution. Decorative arches emphasise the significant events during the Dutch War. These decorations were intended to depict Louis's grandeur and understandably omit any mention of French losses and defeats suffered as well as the subsequent diplomatic isolation of France.

Ballet


Louis loved ballet and frequently danced in court ballets during the early half of his reign. He danced four parts in three of Molière
Molière
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature...

's comédies-ballets—plays accompanied by music and dance. Louis played an Egyptian in Le Mariage forcé in 1664, a Moorish gentleman in Le Sicilien in 1667, and both Neptune and Apollo in Les Amants magnifiques in 1670. However, performances at court and in Paris differed substantially. Performances at court were often accompanied by suitably majestic music, especially for those ballets danced by the King. Moreover, the lyrics usually conveyed royal power and benevolence as the patron of the arts. On the other hand, parts played by the King no longer stood out from those of other performers when performed in Paris. In fact, the plays which most overtly promoted Louis's royal image were not performed at all outside of court. This testifies to Molière's readiness to adapt his plays according to the venue and the audience.

Unofficial image


Besides the official depiction and image of Louis, his subjects also followed a non-official discourse, consisting mainly of clandestine publications, popular songs, and rumors. This provided an alternative interpretation of the King and his government. They often focussed on the miseries arising from poor government, but also carried the hope for a better future in the event the King escaped the malignant influence of his ministers and mistresses and took the government into his own hands. On the other hand, petitions addressed either directly to Louis or to his ministers exploited the traditional imagery and language of monarchy. These varying interpretations of Louis abounded in self-contradictions that reflected the people's amalgamation of their everyday experiences with the idea of monarchy.

Piety and religion



Brought up by his Spanish mother to respect Roman Catholicism, Louis became a largely pious and devout king. Viewing himself as the protector of the Gallican Church, Louis made his devotions daily regardless of where he was, following the liturgical calendar regularly. Towards the middle and the end of his reign, the centre for the King's religious observances was usually the Chapelle Royale at Versailles. Ostentation was a distinguishing feature of daily Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

, annual celebrations, such as those of Holy Week
Holy Week
Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter...

, and special ceremonies. Louis's concern for the spread of the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 led him to establish the Paris Foreign Missions Society
Paris Foreign Missions Society
The Society of Foreign Missions of Paris is a Roman Catholic missionary organization. It is not a religious order, but an organization of secular priests and lay persons dedicated to missionary work in foreign lands....

. Nevertheless, his informal alliance with the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 was criticised for being un-Christian because it supported an Islamic power against much of Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

.

Quotes


The phrase "L'Etat, c'est moi" ("The state, it is I") is frequently attributed to him, though considered an inaccuracy by historians.

Quite contrary to that apocryphal quote, Louis XIV is actually reported to have said on his death bed: "Je m'en vais, mais l'État demeurera toujours." ("I depart, but the State shall always remain").

Style and arms


Louis's formal style was "Louis XIV, par la grâce de Dieu, roi de France et de Navarre", or "Louis XIV, by the Grace of God, King of France and of Navarre". His arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 were Azure three fleurs-de-lis Or (for France) impaling Gules on a chain in cross saltire and orle Or an emerald Proper (for Navarre).

Order of Saint Louis


On 5 April 1693, Louis also founded the Royal and Military Order of Saint Louis
Order of Saint Louis
The Royal and Military Order of Saint Louis was a military Order of Chivalry founded on 5 April 1693 by Louis XIV and named after Saint Louis . It was intended as a reward for exceptional officers, and is notable as the first decoration that could be granted to non-nobles...

 , a military Order of Chivalry
Order (decoration)
An order or order of merit is a visible honour, awarded by a government, dynastic house or international organization to an individual, usually in recognition of distinguished service to a nation or to humanity. The distinction between orders and decorations is somewhat vague, except that most...

. He named it after Louis IX and intended it as a reward for outstanding officers. It is notable as the first decoration that could be granted to non-nobles and is roughly the forerunner of the Légion d'honneur
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

, with which it shares the red ribbon (though the Légion d'honneur is awarded to military personnel and civilians alike).

See also


  • List of French monarchs
  • France
  • Outline of France
  • Levée (ceremony)
    Levée (ceremony)
    Lever , adopted in English as levée—initially the simple act of getting up in the morning—has traditionally been a daily moment of intimacy and accessibility to a monarch or leader...

  • Charles de Lorme
    Charles de Lorme
    Charles de Lorme, Delorme, d'lorm, or De l'Orme , was a medical doctor. Charles was the son of Jean Delorme , who was the primary doctor to Marie de' Medici. This ultimately opened doors for Charles' medical career soon after he graduated from the University of Montpellier in 1607 at the age of 23...

    , personal medical doctor to Louis XIV

Ancestors


King of France and of Navarre]]
|5= 5. Marie de' Medici
Marie de' Medici
Marie de Médicis , Italian Maria de' Medici, was queen consort of France, as the second wife of King Henry IV of France, of the House of Bourbon. She herself was a member of the wealthy and powerful House of Medici...


|6= 6. Philip III/II,
King of Spain and Portugal
Philip III of Spain
Philip III , also known as Philip the Pious, was the King of Spain and King of Portugal and the Algarves, where he ruled as Philip II , from 1598 until his death...


|7= 7. Margaret of Austria
|8= 8. Antoine,
Duke of Vendôme,
King of Navarre
Antoine of Navarre
Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme was head of the House of Bourbon from 1537 to 1562, and jure uxoris King of Navarre from 1555 to 1562.-Family:...


|9= 9. Jeanne III,
Queen of Navarre
Jeanne III of Navarre
Jeanne d'Albret , also known as Jeanne III or Joan III, was the queen regnant of Navarre from 1555 to 1572. She married Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme, and was the mother of Henry of Bourbon, who became King of Navarre and of France as Henry IV, the first Bourbon king...


|10= 10. Francesco I de' Medici,
Grand Duke of Tuscany
Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany was the second Grand Duke of Tuscany, ruling from 1574 to 1587.- Biography :...


|11= 11. Joanna of Austria
Johanna of Austria
Joanna of Austria was born an Archduchess of Austria as the youngest daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary. By marriage, she was the Grand Princess of Tuscany and later the Grand Duchess of Tuscany...


|12= 12. Philip II/I,
King of Spain and Portugal
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....


|13= 13. Anne of Austria
Anna of Austria (1549-1580)
Anna of Austria , was Queen consort of Spain and Portugal by virtue of her marriage to King Philip II of Spain.-Family:She was the eldest daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain...


|14= 14. Charles II,
Archduke of Inner Austria
|15= 15. Maria Anna of Bavaria
|16= 16. Charles,
Duke of Vendôme
|17= 17. Françoise d'Alençon
Françoise d'Alençon
Françoise d'Alençon was the eldest daughter of René of Alençon and Margaret of Lorraine, and the younger sister and despoiled heiress of Charles IV, Duke of Alençon....


|18= 18. Henry II,
King of Navarre
Henry II of Navarre
Henry II was the eldest son of John III of Navarre and Catherine I of Navarre, sister and heiress of Francis Phoebus, King of Navarre; he was born at Sangüesa.-King of Navarre:...


|19= 19. Marguerite d'Angoulême,
Queen of Navarre
Marguerite de Navarre
Marguerite de Navarre , also known as Marguerite of Angoulême and Margaret of Navarre, was the queen consort of Henry II of Navarre...


|20= 20. Cosimo I de' Medici,
Grand Duke of Tuscany
Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Cosimo I de' Medici was Duke of Florence from 1537 to 1574, reigning as the first Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1569.-Biography:...


|21= 21. Eleonora di Toledo
Eleonora di Toledo
Eleanor of Toledo Eleanor of Toledo Eleanor of Toledo (Italian: Eleonora di Toledo (1522 – 17 December 1562), born Doña Leonor Álvarez de Toledo y Osorio, was a Spanish noblewoman who was Duchess of Florence from 1539. She is credited with being the first modern first lady, or consort...


|22= 22. Ferdinand I,
Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558 and king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.The key events during his reign were the contest...

 (=28, 52, 62)
|23= 23. Anne of Bohemia and Hungary (=29, 53, 63)
|24= 24. Charles V/I,
King of Spain,
Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 (=54)
|25= 25. Isabella of Portugal
Isabella of Portugal
Isabella of Portugal was a Portuguese Princess and Holy Roman Empress, Duchess of Burgundy, and a Queen Regent/Consort of Spain. She was the daughter of Manuel I of Portugal and Maria of Aragon. By her marriage to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Isabella was also Holy Roman Empress and Queen...

 (=55)
|26= 26. Maximilian II,
King of Bohemia and of Hungary,
Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian II was king of Bohemia and king of the Romans from 1562, king of Hungary and Croatia from 1563, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation from 1564 until his death...


|27= 27. Maria of Spain
Maria of Spain
Archduchess Maria of Austria was the spouse of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia and Hungary. She was the daughter of Emperor Charles V and twice served as regent of Spain.-Life:...


|28= 28. Ferdinand I,
Archduke of Austria,
King of Bohemia and of Hungary,
Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558 and king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.The key events during his reign were the contest...

 (=22, 52, 62)
|29= 29. Anne of Bohemia and Hungary (=23, 53, 63)
|30= 30. Albert V,
Duke of Bavaria
Albert V, Duke of Bavaria
Albert V was Duke of Bavaria from 1550 until his death. He was born in Munich to William IV and Marie Jacobaea of Baden.-Early life:Albert was educated at Ingolstadt under good Catholic teachers...


|31= 31. Anne of Austria
Anna of Austria (1528-1590)
Anna of Austria was the daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and his wife Anna of Bohemia and Hungary .- Family :Anna was the third of fifteen children...


|32= 32. Francis, Count of Vendôme
|33= 33. Marie de Luxembourg
Marie de Luxembourg
Marie of Luxembourg was a French noblewoman, the elder daughter and principal heiress of Pierre II de Luxembourg, Count of Saint-Pol, by Margaret, a daughter of Louis, Duke of Savoy...


|34= 34. René of Alençon
René of Alençon
René of Alençon , was the son of John II of Alençon and Marie of Armagnac.-Restoration of title:...


|35= 35. Margaret of Lorraine
Margaret of Lorraine
Margaret of Lorraine was Duchess of Alençon, and a nun of the order of Poor Clares . She was beatified in 1921.-Marriage and children:...


|36= 36. John III of Navarre
John III of Navarre
John III , also known as Jean d'Albret, was jure uxoris, King consort of the Queen regnant Catherine of Navarre.He was a son of Alain I of Albret, Lord of Albret, and his wife, Frances of Châtillon-Limoges.-King of Navarre:...


|37= 37. Catherine I of Navarre
|38= 38. Charles, Count of Angoulême
Charles, Count of Angoulême
Charles d'Orléans, Count of Angoulême was a member of the French Orléans family descended from Louis I de Valois, Duke of Orléans, who was the son of Charles V of France. He was the son of John, Count of Angoulême and Marguerite de Rohan, and was Count of Angoulême from 1467-1496...


|39= 39. Louise of Savoy
Louise of Savoy
Louise of Savoy was a French noble, Duchess regnant of Auvergne and Bourbon, Duchess of Nemours, the mother of King Francis I of France...


|40= 40. Giovanni dalle Bande Nere
Giovanni dalle Bande Nere
Lodovico de Medici also known as Giovanni dalle Bande Nere was an Italian condottiero.-Biography:Giovanni was born in the Northern Italian town of Forlì to Giovanni de' Medici and Caterina Sforza, one of the most famous women of the Italian Renaissance.From an early age, he demonstrated great...


|41= 41. Maria Salviati
Maria Salviati
Maria Salviati was an Italian noblewoman, the daughter of Lucrezia di Lorenzo de' Medici and Jacopo Salviati. She married Giovanni dalle Bande Nere and was the mother of Cosimo I de Medici. Her husband died November 30, 1526, leaving her a widow at the age of 27...


|42= 42. Pedro Álvarez de Toledo
Pedro Álvarez de Toledo
Don Pedro Álvarez de Toledo y Zúñiga, jure uxoris Marquis of Villafranca del Bierzo was the first effective Spanish viceroy of Naples, 1532 - 1552, responsible for considerable social, economic and urban change in the city and southern Italian kingdom, in general.-Early life:He was born in 1484...


|43= 43. Maria Osorio Pimentel
|44= 44. Philip I of Castile
Philip I of Castile
Philip I , known as Philip the Handsome or the Fair, was the first Habsburg King of Castile...

 (=48, 56)
|45= 45. Joanna I of Castile (=49, 57)
|46= 46. Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary
Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary
Vladislaus II, also known as Ladislaus Jagiellon ; was King of Bohemia from 1471 and King of Hungary from 1490 until his death in 1516...

 (=58)
|47= 47. Anne of Foix-Candale (=59)
|48= 48. Philip I of Castile
Philip I of Castile
Philip I , known as Philip the Handsome or the Fair, was the first Habsburg King of Castile...

 (=44, 56)
|49= 49. Joanna I of Castile (=45, 57)
|50= 50. Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...


|51= 51. Maria of Aragon
Maria of Aragon (1482-1517)
Maria of Aragon was a Spanish infanta and the second wife of Portuguese King Manuel I, thus queen consort of Portugal from her marriage on 30 October 1500 until her death.-Family:She was born at Córdoba on 29 June 1482 as the third surviving daughter of Isabella I of...


|52= 52. Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558 and king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.The key events during his reign were the contest...

 (=22, 28, 62)
|53= 53. Anne of Bohemia and Hungary (=23, 29, 63)
|54= 54. Charles V,
King of Spain,
Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 (=24)
|55= 55. Isabella of Portugal
Isabella of Portugal
Isabella of Portugal was a Portuguese Princess and Holy Roman Empress, Duchess of Burgundy, and a Queen Regent/Consort of Spain. She was the daughter of Manuel I of Portugal and Maria of Aragon. By her marriage to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Isabella was also Holy Roman Empress and Queen...

 (=25)
|56= 56. Philip I of Castile
Philip I of Castile
Philip I , known as Philip the Handsome or the Fair, was the first Habsburg King of Castile...

 (=44, 48)
|57= 57. Joanna I of Castile (=45, 57)
|58= 58. Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary
Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary
Vladislaus II, also known as Ladislaus Jagiellon ; was King of Bohemia from 1471 and King of Hungary from 1490 until his death in 1516...

 (=46)
|59= 59. Anne of Foix-Candale (=47)
|60= 60. William IV, Duke of Bavaria
William IV, Duke of Bavaria
William IV of Bavaria was Duke of Bavaria from 1508 to 1550, until 1545 together with his younger brother Louis X, Duke of Bavaria....


|61= 61. Marie of Baden-Sponheim
Marie of Baden-Sponheim
Marie Jakobaea of Baden-Sponheim was a German noblewoman and duchess of Bavaria.- Life :...


|62= 62. Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558 and king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.The key events during his reign were the contest...

 (=22, 28, 52)
|63= 63. Anne of Bohemia and Hungary (=22, 28, 52)
}}

Issue


In fiction


Alexandre Dumas portrayed Louis in novels, first as a child in Twenty Years After
Twenty Years After
Twenty Years After is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, père, first serialized from January to August, 1845. A book of the D'Artagnan Romances, it is a sequel to The Three Musketeers and precedes The Vicomte de Bragelonne .The novel follows events in France during La Fronde, during the childhood reign...

, then as a young man in The Vicomte de Bragelonne
The Vicomte de Bragelonne
The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later is a novel by Alexandre Dumas. It is the third and last of the d'Artagnan Romances, following The Three Musketeers and Twenty Years After. It appeared first in serial form between 1847 and 1850...

, in which he is a central character. French academic Jean-Yves Tadié argued that the latter novel really revolves around the beginning of Louis's personal rule. Dumas's novel The Man in the Iron Mask recounts the legend that the mysterious prisoner was actually Louis's twin brother and has spawned numerous film adaptations
The Man in the Iron Mask (film)
There have been several films that have had the title The Man in the Iron Mask, or that have been based on the final section of the novel The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père, which was itself based on the 18th century legend of The Man in the Iron Mask...

.

In 1910, the American historical novelist Charles Major
Charles Major
Charles Major was an American lawyer and novelist.Born to an upper-middle class Indianapolis family, Major developed an interest in both law and English history at an early age and attended the University of Michigan from 1872 through 1875, being admitted to the Indiana bar association in 1877...

 wrote "The Little King: A Story of the Childhood of King Louis XIV". Louis is a major character in the 1959 historical novel "Angélique et le Roy" ("Angélique and the King"), part of the Angelique Series
Angelique (series)
Angelique is series of 13 French historical adventure books by the novelist duo Anne and Serge Golon. The first 10 books have been adapted into English while numbers 11-13 have not...

. The protagonist, a strong-willed lady at Versailles, rejects the King's advances and refuses to become his mistress. A later book, the 1961 "Angélique se révolte" ("Angélique in Revolt") details the dire consequences of her defying this powerful monarch.

A character based on Louis plays an important role in The Age of Unreason
The Age of Unreason
The Age of Unreason is a series of four novels written by Gregory Keyes:* Newton's Cannon , ISBN 1-56865-829-X* A Calculus of Angels , ISBN 0-7394-0260-9* Empire of Unreason , ISBN 0-345-40609-5...

, a series of four alternate history novels written by American science fiction and fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 author Gregory Keyes
Gregory Keyes
Gregory Keyes is an American writer of science fiction and fantasy who has written both original and media-related novels under both the names "J. Gregory Keyes" and "Greg Keyes". He is famous for his quartet The Age of Unreason, a steampunk/alchemical story starring Benjamin Franklin and Isaac...

.

While The Taking of Power by Louis XIV
The Taking of Power by Louis XIV
The Taking of Power by Louis XIV is a French television film by Italian film director Roberto Rossellini. The film revolves around the French king Louis XIV's rise to power after the death of his powerful advisor, Cardinal Mazarin...

, directed by Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini was an Italian film director and screenwriter. Rossellini was one of the directors of the Italian neorealist cinema, contributing films such as Roma città aperta to the movement.-Early life:Born in Rome, Roberto Rossellini lived on the Via Ludovisi, where Benito Mussolini had...

 in 1966, shows Louis's rise to power after the death of Cardinal Mazarin, Le Roi Danse
Le Roi Danse
The King is dancing is a 2000 film by Belgian filmmaker Gérard Corbiau based on Philippe Beaussant's biography of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Lully ou le musicien du soleil . Set in 17th century France, it depicts the life of Jean-Baptiste Lully and his relationship with King Louis XIV of France...

 (The King Dances), directed by Gérard Corbiau
Gérard Corbiau
Gérard Corbiau is a Belgian film director.Corbiau was born in Brussels, Belgium. He is best known for his costume dramas about music, Le maître de musique , Farinelli and Le roi danse . Two of them were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film...

 in 2000, reveals Louis through the eyes of Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste de Lully was an Italian-born French composer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French Baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in...

, his court musician. Julian Sands portrayed Louis in Roland Jaffe's Vatel
Vatel (film)
Vatel is a 2000 film based on the life of 17th century French chef François Vatel, directed by Roland Joffé and starring Gérard Depardieu, Uma Thurman, and Tim Roth. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction - Set Decoration. The film opened the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.-...

 in 2000.

Louis features significantly in Neal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson
Neal Town Stephenson is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction.Difficult to categorize, his novels have been variously referred to as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk...

's Baroque Cycle, specifically The Confusion, the greater part of which takes place at Versailles.

In the 39 Clues series universe, it has been noted that Louis was part of the Cahill branch, Tomas.

The 16-year-old Louis XIV, as played by the Irish actor Robert Sheehan, was a major character of the short-lived historical fantasy series Young Blades
Young Blades
Young Blades is an historical fantasy television series that aired on PAX from January to June 2005, lasting only thirteen episodes before cancellation...

from January to June 2005.

Further reading

  • Ashley, Maurice P. Louis XIV And The Greatness Of France (1965) excerpt and text search
  • Beik, William. Louis XIV and Absolutism: A Brief Study with Documents (2000) excerpt and text search
  • Beik, William. "The Absolutism of Louis XIV as Social Collaboration." Past & Present 2005 (188): 195–224. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/past_and_present/v188/188.1beik.htmlonline at Project MUSE
    Project MUSE
    Project MUSE is an online database of current and back issues of peer-reviewed humanities and social sciences journals. It was founded in 1993 by Todd Kelley and Susan Lewis and is a project of the Johns Hopkins University Press and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. It had support from the Mellon...

    ]
  • Bluche, François, Louis XIV, (Franklin Watts, 1990)
  • Buckley, Veronica
    Veronica Buckley
    Veronica Buckley is a writer and biographer. She was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 1979 she graduated from the University of Canterbury with first class honours in French with philosophy, and was awarded a postgraduate scholarship in cultural and social history at the University of London...

    . Madame de Maintenon: The Secret Wife of Louis XIV. London: Bloomsbury, 2008
  • Burke, Peter. The Fabrication of Louis XIV (1994) excerpt and text search
  • Cambridge Modern History: Vol. 5 The Age Of Louis XIV (1908), old, solid articles by scholars; complete text online
  • Campbell, Peter Robert. Louis XIV, 1661–1715 (London, 1993)
  • Church, William F., ed. The Greatness of Louis XIV. (1972).
  • Cowart, Georgia J. The Triumph of Pleasure: Louis XIV and the Politics of Spectacle (U of Chicago Press, 2008) 299 pp; focus on opera and ballet
  • Cronin, Vincent
    Vincent Cronin
    Vincent Archibald Patrick Cronin, FRSL was a British historical, cultural, and biographical writer, best-known for his biographies of Louis XIV, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, and Napoleon, as well as for his books on the Renaissance.Cronin was born in Tredegar, Monmouthshire...

    . Louis XIV. London: HarperCollins, 1996 (ISBN 0002720728)
  • Dunlop, Ian. Louis XIV (2000), 512pp excerpt and text search
  • Erlanger, Philippe, Louis XIV (Praeger 1970)
  • Fraser, Antonia. Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0-297-82997-1); New York: Nan A. Talese, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0385509847)
  • Goubert, Pierre. Louis XIV and Twenty Million Frenchmen (1972), social history from Annales School
    Annales School
    The Annales School is a group of historians associated with a style of historiography developed by French historians in the 20th century. It is named after its scholarly journal Annales d'histoire économique et sociale, which remains the main source of scholarship, along with many books and...

  • Jones, Colin. The Great Nation: France from Louis XIV to Napoleon (1715–1799) (2002)
  • Lewis, W. H. The Splendid Century: Life in the France of Louis XIV (1953) excerpt and text search; also online complete edition
  • Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel. The Ancien Regime: A History of France 1610–1774 (1999), survey by leader of the Annales School
    Annales School
    The Annales School is a group of historians associated with a style of historiography developed by French historians in the 20th century. It is named after its scholarly journal Annales d'histoire économique et sociale, which remains the main source of scholarship, along with many books and...

     excerpt and text search
  • Lynn, John A. The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667–1714 (1999) excerpt and text search
  • Mitford, Nancy. The Sun King (1995), popular excerpt and text search
  • Nolan, Cathal J. Wars of the Age of Louis XIV, 1650–1715: An Encyclopedia of Global Warfare and Civilization . (2008) 607pp; over 1000 entries; ISBN 978-0-313-33046-9
  • Rowlands, Guy. The Dynastic State and the Army under Louis XIV: Royal Service and Private Interest, 1661–1701 (2002) online edition
  • Rubin, David Lee, ed. Sun King: The Ascendancy of French Culture during the Reign of Louis XIV. Washington: Folger Books and Cranbury: Associated University Presses, 1992.
  • Shennan, J. H. Louis XIV (1993) online edition
  • Thompson, Ian. The Sun King's Garden: Louis XIV, André Le Nôtre And the Creation of the Gardens of Versailles. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006 ISBN 1582346313
  • Treasure, Geoffrey. Louis XIV (London, 2001).
  • Wilkinson, Rich. Louis XIV (2007)
  • Wolf, John B. Louis XIV (1968), the standard scholarly biography online edition

External links


  • "Louis XIV."
  • "Music and politics in the court of Louis XIV"
  • Chronology Louis XIV
  • Full text of marriage contract (PDF), France National Archives transcription
  • "Le siècle de Louis XIV" by Voltaire
    Voltaire
    François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

    , 1751
  • List of films dedicated to Louis XIV and period Of particular interest: Documentary on Versailles—The Visit.
  • The Story of Civilization VIII: The Age of Louis XIV online ebook by historians Will Durant
    Will Durant
    William James Durant was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife Ariel Durant and published between 1935 and 1975...

     and Ariel Durant
    Ariel Durant
    Ariel Durant was the co-author of The Story of Civilization.-Biography:Durant was born in Proskurov as Chaya Kaufman to Ethel Appel Kaufman and Joseph Kaufman. The family emigrated to the United States in 1901. She met her future husband, Will Durant, while a student at Ferrer Modern School in...

    .
  • Louis XIV
  • http://genealogics.org/getperson.php?personID=I00000061&tree=LEO