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Louis XIV

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Louis XIV
Portrait of Louis XIV aged 63
King of France
Reign14 May 1643 – 1 September 1715
Coronation7 June 1654
Reims Cathedral
PredecessorLouis XIII
SuccessorLouis XV
RegentAnne of Austria (1643–1651)
Chief ministers
See list
Born(1638-09-05)5 September 1638
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
Died1 September 1715(1715-09-01) (aged 76)
Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
Burial9 September 1715
Spouses
(m. 1660; died 1683)
(m. 1683)
Issue
among others...
HouseBourbon
FatherLouis XIII
MotherAnne of Austria
ReligionCatholicism (Gallican Rite)
SignatureLouis XIV's signature

Louis XIV (Louis-Dieudonné; 5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great (Louis le Grand) or the Sun King (le Roi Soleil), was King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest of any sovereign in history whose date is verifiable.[1][a] Although Louis XIV's France was emblematic of the Age of Absolutism in Europe,[3] the King surrounded himself with a variety of significant political, military, and cultural figures, such as Bossuet, Colbert, Le Brun, Le Nôtre, Lully, Mazarin, Molière, Racine, Turenne, and Vauban.

Louis began his personal rule of France in 1661, after the death of his chief minister, the Cardinal Mazarin.[4] An adherent of the concept of the divine right of kings, Louis continued his predecessors' work of creating a centralised state governed from the capital. He sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of France; by compelling many members of the nobility to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, he succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde during his minority. By these means he became one of the most powerful French monarchs and consolidated a system of absolute monarchy in France that endured until the French Revolution. Louis also enforced uniformity of religion under the Gallican Catholic Church. His revocation of the Edict of Nantes abolished the rights of the Huguenot Protestant minority and subjected them to a wave of dragonnades, effectively forcing Huguenots to emigrate or convert, as well as virtually destroying the French Protestant community.

During Louis's long reign, France emerged as the leading European power and regularly asserted its military strength. A conflict with Spain marked his entire childhood, while during his personal rule, the kingdom took part in three major continental conflicts, each against powerful foreign alliances: the Franco-Dutch War, the Nine Years' War, and the War of the Spanish Succession. In addition, France also contested shorter wars, such as the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions. Warfare defined Louis's foreign policy and his personality shaped his approach. Impelled by "a mix of commerce, revenge, and pique", he sensed that war was the ideal way to enhance his glory. In peacetime, he concentrated on preparing for the next war. He taught his diplomats that their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military.[5] Upon his death in 1715, Louis XIV left his great-grandson and successor, Louis XV, a powerful kingdom, albeit in major debt after the War of the Spanish Succession that had raged on since 1701.

Significant achievements during his reign which would go on to have a wide influence on the early modern period well into the Industrial Revolution and until today, include the construction of the Canal du Midi, the patronage of artists, and the founding of the French Academy of Sciences.

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Absolutism (European history)

Absolutism (European history)

Absolutism or the Age of Absolutism is a historiographical term used to describe a form of monarchical power that is unrestrained by all other institutions, such as churches, legislatures, or social elites. Absolutism is typically used in conjunction with some European monarchs during the transition from feudalism to capitalism, and monarchs described as absolute can especially be found in the 16th century through the 19th century. Absolutism is characterized by the ending of feudal partitioning, consolidation of power with the monarch, rise of state power, unification of the state laws, and a decrease in the influence of the church and the nobility.

Charles Le Brun

Charles Le Brun

Charles Le Brun was a French painter, physiognomist, art theorist, and a director of several art schools of his time. As court painter to Louis XIV, who declared him "the greatest French artist of all time", he was a dominant figure in 17th-century French art and much influenced by Nicolas Poussin.

André Le Nôtre

André Le Nôtre

André Le Nôtre, originally rendered as André Le Nostre, was a French landscape architect and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France. He was the landscape architect who designed the gardens of the Palace of Versailles; his work represents the height of the French formal garden style, or jardin à la française.

Cardinal Mazarin

Cardinal Mazarin

Cardinal Jules Mazarin, born Giulio Raimondo Mazzarino, or Mazarini, was an Italian cardinal, diplomat and politician who served as the chief minister to the Kings of France Louis XIII and Louis XIV from 1642 to his death. In 1654, he acquired the title Duke of Mayenne and in 1659 that of 1st Duke of Rethel and Nevers.

Divine right of kings

Divine right of kings

In European Christianity, the divine right of kings, divine right, or God's mandation is a political and religious doctrine of political legitimacy of a monarchy. It stems from a specific metaphysical framework in which a monarch is, before birth, pre-ordained to inherit the crown, chosen by God and in the image of God. According to this theory of political legitimacy, the subjects of the crown have actively turned over the metaphysical selection of the king's soul – which will inhabit the body and rule them – to God. In this way, the "divine right" originates as a metaphysical act of humility and/or submission towards God. Divine right has been a key element of the legitimisation of many absolute monarchies.

Centralized government

Centralized government

A centralized government is one in which both executive and legislative power is concentrated centrally at the higher level as opposed to it being more distributed at various lower level governments. In a national context, centralization occurs in the transfer of power to a typically unitary sovereign nation state. Executive and/or legislative power is then minimally delegated to unit subdivisions. Menes, an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the early dynastic period, is credited by classical tradition with having united Upper and Lower Egypt, and as the founder of the first dynasty, became the first ruler to institute a centralized government.

Absolute monarchy

Absolute monarchy

Absolute monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch rules in their own right or power. In an absolute monarchy, the king or queen is by no means limited and has absolute power, though a limited constitution may exist in some countries. These are often hereditary monarchies. On the other hand, in constitutional monarchies, in which the authority of the head of state is also bound or restricted by the constitution, a legislature, or unwritten customs, the king or queen is not the only one to decide, and their entourage also exercises power, mainly the prime minister.

Catholic Church in France

Catholic Church in France

The Roman Catholic Church in France is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church in communion with the Pope in Rome. Established in the 2nd century in unbroken communion with the bishop of Rome, it is sometimes called the "eldest daughter of the church".

Catholic Church

Catholic Church

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide as of 2019. It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization. The church consists of 24 sui iuris churches, including the Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, which comprise almost 3,500 dioceses and eparchies located around the world. The pope, who is the bishop of Rome, is the chief pastor of the church. The bishopric of Rome, known as the Holy See, is the central governing authority of the church. The administrative body of the Holy See, the Roman Curia, has its principal offices in Vatican City, a small enclave of the Italian city of Rome, of which the pope is head of state.

Dragonnades

Dragonnades

The Dragonnades were a French government policy instituted by King Louis XIV in 1681 to intimidate Huguenot (Protestant) families into converting to Catholicism. This involved the billeting of ill-disciplined dragoons in Protestant households with implied permission to abuse the inhabitants and destroy or steal their possessions. The soldiers employed in this role were satirized as "missionary dragoons".

Early modern period

Early modern period

The early modern period of modern history spans the period after the Late Middle Ages of the post-classical era to the beginning of the Age of Revolutions. Although the chronological limits of this period are open to debate, the timeframe is variously demarcated by historians as beginning with the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Renaissance period in Europe and Timurid Central Asia, the Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent, the end of the Crusades, the Age of Discovery, and ending around the French Revolution in 1789, or Napoleon's rise to power.

Canal du Midi

Canal du Midi

The Canal du Midi is a 240 km (150 mi) long canal in Southern France. Originally named the Canal royal en Languedoc and renamed by French revolutionaries to Canal du Midi in 1789, the canal is considered one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century.

Early years

Louis XIV as a young child, unknown painter
Louis XIV as a young child, unknown painter
Baptismal certificate, 1638
Baptismal certificate, 1638

Louis XIV was born on 5 September 1638 in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, to Louis XIII and Anne of Austria. He was named Louis Dieudonné (Louis the God-given)[6] and bore the traditional title of French heirs apparent: Dauphin.[7] At the time of his birth, his parents had been married for 23 years. His mother had experienced four stillbirths between 1619 and 1631. Leading contemporaries thus regarded him as a divine gift and his birth a miracle of God.[8]

Louis's relationship with his mother was uncommonly affectionate for the time. Contemporaries and eyewitnesses claimed that the Queen would spend all her time with Louis.[9] Both were greatly interested in food and theatre, and it is highly likely that Louis developed these interests through his close relationship with his mother. This long-lasting and loving relationship can be evidenced by excerpts in Louis' journal entries, such as:

"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."[10]

It was his mother who gave Louis his belief in the absolute and divine power of his monarchical rule.[11]

During his childhood, he was taken care of by the governesses Françoise de Lansac and Marie-Catherine de Senecey. In 1646, Nicolas V de Villeroy became the young king's tutor. Louis XIV became friends with Villeroy's young children, particularly François de Villeroy, and divided his time between the Palais-Royal and the nearby Hotel de Villeroy.

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Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

The Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a former royal palace in the commune of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, in the département of Yvelines, about 19 km west of Paris, France. Today, it houses the musée d'Archéologie nationale.

Louis XIII

Louis XIII

Louis XIII was King of France from 1610 until his death in 1643 and King of Navarre from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged with the French crown.

Anne of Austria

Anne of Austria

Anne of Austria was an infanta of Spain who became Queen of France as the wife of King Louis XIII from their marriage in 1615 until Louis XIII died in 1643. She was also Queen of Navarre until that kingdom was annexed into the French crown in 1620. After her husband's death, Anne was regent to her son Louis XIV, during his minority, until 1651. During her regency, Cardinal Mazarin served as France's chief minister. Accounts of French court life of Anne's era emphasize her difficult marital relations with her husband, her closeness to her son, and her disapproval of her son's marital infidelity to her niece and daughter-in-law Maria Theresa.

Heir apparent

Heir apparent

An heir apparent, often shortened to heir, is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person; a person who is first in the order of succession but can be displaced by the birth of a more eligible heir is known as heir presumptive.

Dauphin of France

Dauphin of France

Dauphin of France, originally Dauphin of Viennois, was the title given to the heir apparent to the throne of France from 1350 to 1791, and from 1824 to 1830. The word dauphin is French for dolphin and was the hereditary title of the ruler of the Dauphiné of Viennois. While early heirs were granted these lands to rule, eventually only the title was granted.

Stillbirth

Stillbirth

Stillbirth is typically defined as fetal death at or after 20 or 28 weeks of pregnancy, depending on the source. It results in a baby born without signs of life. A stillbirth can result in the feeling of guilt or grief in the mother. The term is in contrast to miscarriage, which is an early pregnancy loss, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, where the baby dies a short time after being born alive.

Françoise de Lansac

Françoise de Lansac

Françoise de Lansac née de Sainte-Maure de Montausier (1582-1657) was a French courtier. She was the royal governess of King Louis XIV of France and his brother from 1638 until 1643.

Marie-Catherine de Senecey

Marie-Catherine de Senecey

Marie-Catherine de Senecey, née de La Rochefoucauld-Randan (1588–1677) was a French courtier. She served as Première dame d'honneur to the queen of France, Anne of Austria, from 1626 until 1638, and royal governess to king Louis XIV of France and his brother from 1643 until 1646.

Nicolas de Neufville de Villeroy

Nicolas de Neufville de Villeroy

Nicolas V de Neufville de Villeroy was a French nobleman and marshal of France. He was marquis then 1st duke of Villeroy and peer of France, marquis d'Alincourt and lord of Magny, and acted as governor of the young Louis XIV. His son François succeeded him as duke. He was the lover of Catherine-Charlotte de Gramont.

François de Neufville, duc de Villeroy

François de Neufville, duc de Villeroy

François de Neufville, Duke of Villeroy was a French nobleman and military officer.

Palais-Royal

Palais-Royal

The Palais-Royal is a former royal palace located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France. The screened entrance court faces the Place du Palais-Royal, opposite the Louvre. Originally called the Palais-Cardinal, it was built for Cardinal Richelieu from about 1633 to 1639 by the architect Jacques Lemercier. Richelieu bequeathed it to Louis XIII, and Louis XIV gave it to his younger brother, the Duke of Orléans. As the succeeding dukes of Orléans made such extensive alterations over the years, almost nothing remains of Lemercier's original design.

Minority and the Fronde

Accession

Louis XIV in 1643, just before becoming king, by Claude Deruet
Louis XIV in 1643, just before becoming king, by Claude Deruet

Sensing imminent death, Louis XIII decided to put his affairs in order in the spring of 1643, when Louis XIV was four years old. In defiance of custom, which would have made Queen Anne the sole regent of France, the king decreed that a regency council would rule on his son's behalf. His lack of faith in Queen Anne's political abilities was his primary rationale. He did, however, make the concession of appointing her head of the council.[12]

Louis XIII died on 14 May 1643, and on 18 May,[13] Queen Anne had her husband's will annulled by the Parlement de Paris (a judicial body comprising mostly nobles and high clergymen).[14] This action abolished the regency council and made Anne the sole Regent of France. Anne exiled some of her husband's ministers (Chavigny, Bouthilier), and she nominated Brienne as her minister of foreign affairs.[15]

Anne kept the direction of religious policy strongly in her hand until 1661; her most important political decisions were to nominate Cardinal Mazarin as her chief minister and the continuation of her late husband's and Cardinal Richelieu's policy, despite their persecution of her, for the sake of her son. Anne wanted to give her son absolute authority and a victorious kingdom. Her rationales for choosing Mazarin were mainly his ability and his total dependence on her, at least until 1653 when she was no longer regent. Anne protected Mazarin by arresting and exiling her followers who conspired against him in 1643: the Duke of Beaufort and Marie de Rohan.[16] She left the direction of the daily administration of policy to Cardinal Mazarin.

The best example of Anne's statesmanship and the partial change in her heart towards her native Spain is seen in her keeping of one of Richelieu's men, the Chancellor of France Pierre Séguier, in his post. Séguier was the person who had interrogated Anne in 1637, treating her like a "common criminal" as she described her treatment following the discovery that she was giving military secrets and information to Spain. Anne was virtually under house arrest for a number of years during her husband's rule. By keeping him in his post, Anne was giving a sign that the interests of France and her son Louis were the guiding spirit of all her political and legal actions. Though not necessarily opposed to Spain, she sought to end the war with a French victory, in order to establish a lasting peace between the Catholic nations.

The Queen also gave a partial Catholic orientation to French foreign policy. This was felt by the Netherlands, France's Protestant ally, which negotiated a separate peace with Spain in 1648.[17]

In 1648, Anne and Mazarin successfully negotiated the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War.[18] Its terms ensured Dutch independence from Spain, awarded some autonomy to the various German princes of the Holy Roman Empire, and granted Sweden seats on the Imperial Diet and territories to control the mouths of the Oder, Elbe, and Weser rivers.[19] France, however, profited most from the settlement. Austria, ruled by the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand III, ceded all Habsburg lands and claims in Alsace to France and acknowledged her de facto sovereignty over the Three Bishoprics of Metz, Verdun, and Toul.[20] 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, leading to the further diminution of Imperial power.

Early acts

As the Thirty Years' War came to an end, a civil war known as the Fronde (after the slings used to smash windows) erupted in France. It effectively checked France's ability to exploit the Peace of Westphalia. Anne and Mazarin had largely pursued the policies of Cardinal Richelieu, augmenting the Crown's power at the expense of the nobility and the Parlements. Anne was more concerned with internal policy than foreign affairs; she was a very proud queen who insisted on the divine rights of the King of France.[21]

Europe after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648
Europe after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648

All this led her to advocate a forceful policy in all matters relating to the King's authority, in a manner that was much more radical than the one proposed by Mazarin. The Cardinal depended totally on Anne's support and had to use all his influence on the Queen to temper some of her radical actions. Anne imprisoned any aristocrat or member of parliament who challenged her will; her main aim was to transfer to her son an absolute authority in the matters of finance and justice. One of the leaders of the Parlement of Paris, whom she had jailed, died in prison.[22]

The Frondeurs, political heirs of the disaffected feudal aristocracy, sought to protect their traditional feudal privileges from the increasingly centralized royal government. Furthermore, they believed their traditional influence and authority was being usurped by the recently ennobled bureaucrats (the Noblesse de Robe, or "nobility of the robe"), who administered the kingdom and on whom the monarchy increasingly began to rely. This belief intensified the nobles' resentment.

In 1648, Anne and Mazarin attempted to tax members of the Parlement de Paris. The members refused to comply and ordered all of the king's earlier financial edicts burned. Buoyed by the victory of Louis, duc d’Enghien (later known as le Grand Condé) at the Battle of Lens, Mazarin, on Queen Anne's insistence, arrested certain members in a show of force.[23] The most important arrest, from Anne's point of view, concerned Pierre Broussel, one of the most important leaders in the Parlement de Paris.

1655 portrait of Louis, the Victor of the Fronde, portrayed as the god Jupiter
1655 portrait of Louis, the Victor of the Fronde, portrayed as the god Jupiter

People in France were complaining about the expansion of royal authority, the high rate of taxation, and the reduction of the authority of the Parlement de Paris and other regional representative entities. Paris erupted in rioting as a result, and Anne was forced, under intense pressure, to free Broussel. Moreover, on the night of 9–10 February 1651, when Louis was twelve, a mob of angry Parisians broke into the royal palace and demanded to see their king. Led into the royal bed-chamber, they gazed upon Louis, who was feigning sleep, were appeased, and then quietly departed.[24] 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 allowed Condé's army to return to aid Louis and his court. Condé's family was close to Anne at that time, and he agreed to help her attempt to restore the king's authority.[25] The queen's army, headed by Condé, attacked the rebels in Paris; the rebels were under the political control of Anne's old friend Marie de Rohan. Beaufort, who had escaped from the prison where Anne had incarcerated him five years before, was the military leader in Paris, under the nominal control of Conti. After a few battles, a political compromise was reached; the Peace of Rueil was signed, and the court returned to Paris.

Unfortunately for Anne, her partial victory depended on Condé, who wanted to control the queen and destroy Mazarin's influence. It was Condé's sister who pushed him to turn against the queen. After striking a deal with her old friend Marie de Rohan, who was able to impose the nomination of Charles de l'Aubespine, marquis de Châteauneuf as minister of justice, Anne arrested Condé, his brother Armand de Bourbon, Prince of Conti, and the husband of their sister Anne Genevieve de Bourbon, duchess of Longueville. This situation did not last long, and Mazarin's unpopularity led to the creation of a coalition headed mainly by Marie de Rohan and the duchess of Longueville. This aristocratic coalition was strong enough to liberate the princes, exile Mazarin, and impose a condition of virtual house arrest on Queen Anne.

All these events were witnessed by Louis and largely explained his later distrust of Paris and the higher aristocracy.[26] "In one sense, Louis' childhood came to an end with the outbreak of the Fronde. It was not only that life became insecure and unpleasant – a fate meted out to many children in all ages – but that Louis had to be taken into the confidence of his mother and Mazarin on political and military matters of which he could have no deep understanding".[27] "The family home became at times a near-prison when Paris had to be abandoned, not in carefree outings to other chateaux but in humiliating flights".[27] The royal family was driven out of Paris twice in this manner, and at one point Louis XIV and Anne were held under virtual arrest in the royal palace in Paris. The Fronde years planted in Louis a hatred of Paris and a consequent determination to move out of the ancient capital as soon as possible, never to return.[28]

Just as the first Fronde (the Fronde parlementaire of 1648–1649) ended, a second one (the Fronde des princes of 1650–1653) began. Unlike that which preceded it, tales of sordid intrigue and half-hearted warfare characterized this second phase of upper-class insurrection. To the aristocracy, this rebellion represented a protest for the reversal of their political demotion from vassals to courtiers. It was headed by the highest-ranking French nobles, among them Louis' uncle Gaston, Duke of Orléans and first cousin Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier, known as la Grande Mademoiselle; Princes of the Blood such as Condé, his brother Armand de Bourbon, Prince of Conti, and their sister the Duchess of Longueville; dukes of legitimised royal descent, such as Henri, Duke of Longueville, and François, Duke of Beaufort; so-called "foreign princes" such as Frédéric Maurice, Duke of Bouillon, his brother Marshal Turenne, and Marie de Rohan, Duchess of Chevreuse; and scions of France's oldest families, such as François de La Rochefoucauld.

Queen Anne played the most important role in defeating the Fronde because she wanted to transfer absolute authority to her son. In addition, most of the princes refused to deal with Mazarin, who went into exile for a number of years. The Frondeurs claimed to act on Louis' behalf, and in his real interest, against his mother and Mazarin.

Queen Anne had a very close relationship with the Cardinal, and many observers believed that Mazarin became Louis XIV's stepfather by a secret marriage to Queen Anne.[29] However, Louis' coming-of-age and subsequent coronation deprived them of the Frondeurs' pretext for revolt. The Fronde thus gradually lost steam and ended in 1653, when Mazarin returned triumphantly from exile. From that time until his death, Mazarin was in charge of foreign and financial policy without the daily supervision of Anne, who was no longer regent.[30]

During this period, Louis fell in love with Mazarin's niece Marie Mancini, but Anne and Mazarin ended the king's infatuation by sending Mancini away from court to be married in Italy. While Mazarin might have been tempted for a short period of time to marry his niece to the King of France, Queen Anne was absolutely against this; she wanted to marry her son to the daughter of her brother, Philip IV of Spain, for both dynastic and political reasons. Mazarin soon supported the Queen's position because he knew that her support for his power and his foreign policy depended on making peace with Spain from a strong position and on the Spanish marriage. Additionally, Mazarin's relations with Marie Mancini were not good, and he did not trust her to support his position. All of Louis' tears and his supplications to his mother did not make her change her mind. The Spanish marriage would be very important both for its role in ending the war between France and Spain, because many of the claims and objectives of Louis' foreign policy for the next 50 years would be based upon this marriage, and because it was through this marriage that the Spanish throne would ultimately be delivered to the House of Bourbon (which holds it to this day).[31]

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Franco-Spanish War (1635–1659)

Franco-Spanish War (1635–1659)

The Franco-Spanish War (1635–1659) was fought between France and Spain, with the participation of a changing list of allies through the war. The first phase, beginning in May 1635 and ending with the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, is considered a related conflict of the Thirty Years' War. The second phase continued until 1659 when France and Spain agreed to peace terms in the Treaty of the Pyrenees.

Claude Deruet

Claude Deruet

Claude Deruet (1588–1660) was a famous French Baroque painter of the 17th century, from the city of Nancy.

Parlement

Parlement

Under the French Ancien Régime, a parlement was a provincial appellate court of the Kingdom of France. In 1789, France had 13 parlements, the oldest and most important of which was the Parlement of Paris. While both the modern French term parlement and the English word parliament derive from this French term, the Ancien Régime parlements were not legislative bodies and the modern and ancient terminology are not interchangeable.

Cardinal Mazarin

Cardinal Mazarin

Cardinal Jules Mazarin, born Giulio Raimondo Mazzarino, or Mazarini, was an Italian cardinal, diplomat and politician who served as the chief minister to the Kings of France Louis XIII and Louis XIV from 1642 to his death. In 1654, he acquired the title Duke of Mayenne and in 1659 that of 1st Duke of Rethel and Nevers.

Cardinal Richelieu

Cardinal Richelieu

Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu, known as Cardinal Richelieu, was a French statesman and clergyman. He was also known as l'Éminence rouge, or "the Red Eminence", a term derived from the title "Eminence" applied to cardinals and the red robes that they customarily wear.

Marie de Rohan

Marie de Rohan

Marie Aimée de Rohan was a French courtier and political activist, famed for being the center of many of the intrigues of the first half of the 17th century in France. In various sources, she is often known simply as Madame de Chevreuse.

Eighty Years' War

Eighty Years' War

The Eighty Years' War or Dutch Revolt (c.1566/1568–1648) was an armed conflict in the Habsburg Netherlands between disparate groups of rebels and the Spanish government. The causes of the war included the Reformation, centralisation, taxation, and the rights and privileges of the nobility and cities.

Holy Roman Empire

Holy Roman Empire

The Holy Roman Empire was a political entity in Western, Central, and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire)

Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire)

The Imperial Diet was the deliberative body of the Holy Roman Empire. It was not a legislative body in the contemporary sense; its members envisioned it more like a central forum where it was more important to negotiate than to decide.

Elbe

Elbe

The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Giant Mountains of the northern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia, then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 kilometres northwest of Hamburg. Its total length is 1,094 km (680 mi).

House of Habsburg

House of Habsburg

The House of Habsburg, alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English and also known as the House of Austria is one of the most prominent and important dynasties in European history.

Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor

Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor

Ferdinand III was from 1621 Archduke of Austria, King of Hungary from 1625, King of Croatia and Bohemia from 1627 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1637 until his death in 1657.

Personal reign and reforms

Coming of age and early reforms

Royal Monogram
Royal Monogram

Louis XIV was declared to have reached the age of majority on 7 September 1651. On the death of Mazarin, in March 1661, Louis assumed personal control of the reins of government and astonished his court by declaring that he would rule without a chief minister: "Up to this moment I have been pleased to entrust the government of my affairs to the late Cardinal. It is now time that I govern them myself. You [he was talking to the secretaries and ministers of state] will assist me with your counsels when I ask for them. I request and order you to seal no orders except by my command . . . I order you not to sign anything, not even a passport . . . without my command; to render account to me personally each day and to favor no one".[32] Louis was able to capitalize on the widespread public yearning for law and order, that resulted from prolonged foreign wars 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, the historian Chateaubriand noted: "it is the voice of genius of all kinds which sounds from the tomb of Louis".[33]

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 as Controller-General of Finances in 1665. However, Louis first had to neutralize Nicolas Fouquet, the Superintendent of Finances, in order to give Colbert a free hand. Although Fouquet's financial indiscretions were not very different from Mazarin's before him or Colbert's after him, his ambition was worrying to Louis. He had, for example, built an opulent château at Vaux-le-Vicomte where he entertained Louis and his court ostentatiously, as if he were wealthier than the king himself. The court was left with the impression that the vast sums of money needed to support his lifestyle could only have been obtained through embezzlement of government funds.

Fouquet appeared eager to succeed Mazarin and Richelieu in assuming power, and he indiscreetly purchased and privately fortified the remote island of Belle Île. These acts sealed his doom. Fouquet was charged with embezzlement. The Parlement found him guilty and sentenced him to exile. However, Louis altered the sentence to life imprisonment and abolished Fouquet's post.

With Fouquet dismissed, Colbert reduced the national debt through more efficient taxation. The principal taxes included the aides and douanes (both customs duties), the gabelle (a tax on salt), and the taille (a tax on land). The taille was reduced at first; financial officials were forced to keep regular accounts, auctioning certain taxes instead of selling them privately to a favoured few, revising inventories and removing unauthorized exemptions (for example, in 1661 only 10 per cent from the royal domain reached the King). Reform proved difficult because the taille was levied by officers of the Crown who had purchased their post at a high price: punishment of abuses necessarily lowered the value of the post. Nevertheless, excellent results were achieved: the deficit of 1661 turned into a surplus in 1666. The interest on the debt was reduced from 52 million to 24 million livres. The taille was reduced to 42 million in 1661 and 35 million in 1665; finally the revenue from indirect taxation progressed from 26 million to 55 million. The revenues of the royal domain were raised from 80,000 livres in 1661 to 5.5 million livres in 1671. In 1661, the receipts were equivalent to 26 million British pounds, of which 10 million reached the treasury. The expenditure was around 18 million pounds, leaving a deficit of 8 million. In 1667, the net receipts had risen to 20 million pounds sterling, while expenditure had fallen to 11 million, leaving a surplus of 9 million pounds.

Engraving of Louis XIV
Engraving of Louis XIV

To support the reorganized and enlarged army, the panoply of Versailles, and the growing civil administration, the king needed a good deal of money. Finance had always been the weak spot in the French monarchy: methods of collecting taxes were costly and inefficient; direct taxes passed through the hands of many intermediate officials; and indirect taxes were collected by private concessionaries, called tax farmers, who made a substantial profit. Consequently, the state always received far less than what the taxpayers actually paid.

The main weakness arose from an old bargain between the French crown and nobility: the king might raise taxes without consent if only he refrained from taxing the nobles. Only the "unprivileged" classes paid direct taxes, and this term came to mean the peasants only, since many bourgeois, in one way or another, obtained exemptions.

The system was outrageously unjust in throwing a heavy tax burden on the poor and helpless. Later, after 1700, the French ministers who were supported by Louis' secret wife Madame De Maintenon, were able to convince the king to change his fiscal policy. Louis was willing enough to tax the nobles but was unwilling to fall under their control, and only towards the close of his reign, under extreme stress of war, was he able, for the first time in French history, to impose direct taxes on the aristocratic elements of the population. This was a step toward equality before the law and toward sound public finance, but so many concessions and exemptions were won by nobles and bourgeois that the reform lost much of its value.[34]

Louis and Colbert also had wide-ranging plans to bolster French commerce and trade. Colbert's mercantilist administration established new industries and encouraged manufacturers and inventors, such as the Lyon silk manufacturers and the Gobelins manufactory, a producer of tapestries. He invited manufacturers and artisans from all over Europe to France, such as Murano 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 Michel le Tellier and the latter's son François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois. 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, or "nobility of the sword") ceased to have a monopoly over senior military positions and rank. Louvois, in particular, pledged to modernize the army and re-organize it into a professional, disciplined, well-trained force. He was devoted to the soldiers' material well-being and morale, and even tried to direct campaigns.

Relations with the major colonies

Louis and his family portrayed as Roman gods in a 1670 painting by Jean Nocret. L to R: Louis' aunt, Henriette-Marie; his brother, Philippe, duc d'Orléans; the Duke's daughter, Marie Louise d'Orléans, and wife, Henriette-Anne Stuart; the Queen-mother, Anne of Austria; three daughters of Gaston d'Orléans; Louis XIV; the Dauphin Louis; Queen Marie-Thérèse; la Grande Mademoiselle.
Louis and his family portrayed as Roman gods in a 1670 painting by Jean Nocret. L to R: Louis' aunt, Henriette-Marie; his brother, Philippe, duc d'Orléans; the Duke's daughter, Marie Louise d'Orléans, and wife, Henriette-Anne Stuart; the Queen-mother, Anne of Austria; three daughters of Gaston d'Orléans; Louis XIV; the Dauphin Louis; Queen Marie-Thérèse; la Grande Mademoiselle.

Legal matters did not escape Louis' attention, as is reflected in the numerous "Great Ordinances" he enacted. Pre-revolutionary France was a patchwork of legal systems, with as many legal customs as there were provinces, and two co-existing legal traditions—customary law in the north and Roman civil law in the south.[35] The Grande Ordonnance de Procédure Civile of 1667, also known as the Code Louis, was a comprehensive legal code attempting a uniform regulation of civil procedure throughout legally irregular France. Among other things, it prescribed baptismal, marriage and death records in the state's registers, not the church's, and it strictly regulated the right of the Parlements to remonstrate.[36] The Code Louis played an important part in French legal history as the basis for the Napoleonic code, from which many modern legal codes are, in turn, derived.

One of Louis' more infamous decrees was the Grande Ordonnance sur les Colonies of 1685, also known as the Code Noir ("black code"). Although it sanctioned slavery, it attempted 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.

Louis ruled through a number of councils:

  • Conseil d'en haut ("High Council", concerning the most important matters of state)—composed of the king, the crown prince, the controller-general of finances, and the secretaries of state in charge of various departments. The members of that council were called ministers of state.
  • Conseil des dépêches ("Council of Messages", concerning notices and administrative reports from the provinces).
  • Conseil de Conscience ("Council of Conscience", concerning religious affairs and episcopal appointments).
  • Conseil royal des finances ("Royal Council of Finances") who was headed by the "chef du conseil des finances" (an honorary post in most cases)—this was one of the few posts in the council that was opened to the high aristocracy.[37]

Discover more about Personal reign and reforms related topics

François-René de Chateaubriand

François-René de Chateaubriand

François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand was a French writer, politician, diplomat and historian who had a notable influence on French literature of the nineteenth century. Descended from an old aristocratic family from Brittany, Chateaubriand was a royalist by political disposition. In an age when large numbers of intellectuals turned against the Church, he authored the Génie du christianisme in defense of the Catholic faith. His works include the autobiography Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe, published posthumously in 1849–1850.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert

Jean-Baptiste Colbert

Jean-Baptiste Colbert was a French statesman who served as First Minister of State from 1661 until his death in 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV. His lasting impact on the organization of the country's politics and markets, known as Colbertism, a doctrine often characterized as a variant of mercantilism, earned him the nickname le Grand Colbert.

Controller-General of Finances

Controller-General of Finances

The Controller-General or Comptroller-General of Finances was the name of the minister in charge of finances in France from 1661 to 1791. It replaced the former position of Superintendent of Finances, which was abolished with the downfall of Nicolas Fouquet. It did not hold any real political power until 1665, when First Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who had acted upon financial matters since Fouquet's embezzlement charge, was appointed to the office.

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. He had a glittering career, and acquired enormous wealth. He fell out of favor, accused of peculation and lèse-majesté. The king had him imprisoned from 1661 until his death in 1680.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement

Embezzlement is a crime that consists of withholding assets for the purpose of conversion of such assets, by one or more persons to whom the assets were entrusted, either to be held or to be used for specific purposes. Embezzlement is a type of financial fraud. For example, a lawyer might embezzle funds from the trust accounts of their clients; a financial advisor might embezzle the funds of investors; and a husband or a wife might embezzle funds from a bank account jointly held with the spouse.

Belle Île

Belle Île

Belle-Île, Belle-Île-en-Mer, or Belle Isle is a French island off the coast of Brittany in the département of Morbihan, and the largest of Brittany's islands. It is 14 kilometres from the Quiberon peninsula.

Gabelle

Gabelle

The gabelle was a very unpopular tax on salt in France that was established during the mid-14th century and lasted, with brief lapses and revisions, until 1946. The term gabelle is derived from the Italian gabella, itself originating from the Arabic word قَبِلَ.

Mercantilism

Mercantilism

Mercantilism is an economic policy that is designed to maximize the exports and minimize the imports for an economy. It promotes imperialism, colonialism, tariffs and subsidies on traded goods to achieve that goal.

Lyon

Lyon

Lyon, also spelt in English as Lyons, is the third-largest city of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, to the northwest of the French Alps, 391 km (243 mi) southeast of Paris, 278 km (173 mi) north of Marseille, 113 km (70 mi) southwest of Geneva, 50 km (31 mi) northeast of Saint-Étienne.

Murano

Murano

Murano is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. It lies about 1.5 km (1 mi) north of Venice and measures about 1.5 km (1 mi) across with a population of just over 5,000. It is famous for its glass making. It was once an independent comune, but is now a frazione of the comune of Venice.

François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois

François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois

François Michel Le Tellier, Marquis of Louvois was the French Secretary of State for War during a significant part of the reign of Louis XIV. Together with his father, Michel le Tellier, he oversaw an increase in the numbers of the French Army, eventually reaching 340,000 soldiers – an army that would fight four wars between 1667 and 1713. He is commonly referred to as "Louvois".

Jean Nocret

Jean Nocret

Jean Nocret was a French painter who is best known for his portraits of the French royal family. Many portraits of uncertain origin have been attributed to him.

Early wars in the Low Countries

Spain

Louis XIV in 1670, engraved portrait by Robert Nanteuil
Louis XIV in 1670, engraved portrait by Robert Nanteuil
The future Philip V being introduced as king of Spain by his grandfather, Louis XIV
The future Philip V being introduced as king of Spain by his grandfather, Louis XIV

The death of his maternal uncle King Philip IV of Spain, in 1665, precipitated the War of Devolution. In 1660, Louis had married Philip IV's eldest daughter, Maria Theresa, as one of the provisions of the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees.[38] The marriage treaty specified that Maria Theresa was to renounce all claims to Spanish territory for herself and all her descendants.[38] Mazarin and Lionne, however, made the renunciation conditional on the full payment of a Spanish dowry of 500,000 écus.[39] The dowry was never paid and would later play a part persuading his maternal first cousin Charles II of Spain to leave his empire to Philip, Duke of Anjou (later Philip V of Spain), the grandson of Louis XIV and Maria Theresa.

The War of Devolution did not focus on the payment of the dowry; rather, the lack of payment was what Louis XIV used as a pretext for nullifying Maria Theresa's renunciation of her claims, allowing the land to "devolve" to him. In Brabant (the location of the land in dispute), children of first marriages traditionally were not disadvantaged by their parents' remarriages and still inherited property. Louis' 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" to Maria Theresa, giving France a justification to attack the Spanish Netherlands.

Relations with the Dutch

Louis XIV crosses the Lower Rhine at Lobith on 12 June 1672; Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Louis XIV crosses the Lower Rhine at Lobith on 12 June 1672; Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

During the Eighty Years' War with Spain, France supported the Dutch Republic as part of a general policy of opposing Habsburg power. Johan de Witt, Dutch Grand Pensionary from 1653 to 1672, viewed them as crucial for Dutch security and against his domestic Orangist opponents. Louis provided support in the 1665-1667 Second Anglo-Dutch War but used the opportunity to launch the War of Devolution in 1667. This captured Franche-Comté and much of the Spanish Netherlands; French expansion in this area was a direct threat to Dutch economic interests.[40]

The Dutch opened talks with Charles II of England on a common diplomatic front against France, leading to the Triple Alliance, between England, the Dutch and Sweden. The threat of an escalation and a secret treaty to divide Spanish possessions with Emperor Leopold, the other major claimant to the throne of Spain, led Louis to relinquish many of his gains in the 1668 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.[41]

Louis placed little reliance on his agreement with Leopold and as it was now clear French and Dutch aims were in direct conflict, he decided to first defeat the Republic, then seize the Spanish Netherlands. This required breaking up the Triple Alliance; he paid Sweden to remain neutral and signed the 1670 Secret Treaty of Dover with Charles, an Anglo-French alliance against the Dutch Republic. In May 1672, France invaded the Republic, supported by Münster and the Electorate of Cologne.[42]

Louis XIV, 1670, by Claude Lefèbvre
Louis XIV, 1670, by Claude Lefèbvre

Rapid French advance led to a coup that toppled De Witt and brought William III to power. Leopold viewed French expansion into the Rhineland as an increasing threat, especially after their seizure of the strategic Duchy of Lorraine in 1670. The prospect of Dutch defeat led Leopold to an alliance with Brandenburg-Prussia on 23 June, followed by another with the Republic on 25th.[43] Although Brandenburg was forced out of the war by the June 1673 Treaty of Vossem, in August an anti-French alliance was formed by the Dutch, Spain, Emperor Leopold and the Duke of Lorraine.[44]

The French alliance was deeply unpopular in England, and only more so after the disappointing battles against Michiel de Ruyter's fleet. Charles II of England made peace with the Dutch in the February 1674 Treaty of Westminster. However, French armies held significant advantages over their opponents; an undivided command, talented generals like Turenne, Condé and Luxembourg and vastly superior logistics. Reforms introduced by Louvois, the Secretary of War, helped maintain large field armies that could be mobilised much more quickly, allowing them to mount offensives in early spring before their opponents were ready.[45]

The French were still forced to retreat from most of the Dutch Republic; something that deeply shocked Louis and he retreated to St Germain for while, where no one, except a few intimates, were allowed to disturb him.[46] French military advantages allowed them however to hold their ground in Alsace and the Spanish Netherlands while retaking Franche-Comté. By 1678, mutual exhaustion led to the Treaty of Nijmegen, which was generally settled in France's favour and allowed Louis to intervene in the Scanian War. Despite military defeat, his ally Sweden regained much of what they had lost under the 1679 treaties of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Fontainebleau and Lund imposed on Denmark–Norway and Brandenburg.[47] Yet Louis' first two goals, the destruction of the Dutch Republic and the conquest of the Spanish Netherlands, had failed.[48]

Louis was at the height of his power, but at the cost of uniting his opponents; this increased as he continued his expansion. In 1679, he dismissed his foreign minister Simon Arnauld, marquis de Pomponne, 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 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 Chambers of Reunion to determine the full extent of his rights and obligations under those treaties.

Silver coin of Louis XIV, dated 1674
Obverse. The Latin inscription is LVDOVICVS XIIII D[EI] GRA[TIA] ("Louis XIV, by the grace of God"). Reverse. The Latin inscription is FRAN[CIÆ] ET NAVARRÆ REX 1674 ("King of France and of Navarre, 1674").

Cities and territories, such as Luxembourg and Casale, were prized for their strategic positions on the frontier and access to important waterways. Louis also sought Strasbourg, an important strategic crossing on the left bank of the Rhine and theretofore a Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire, annexing it and other territories in 1681. 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 these annexations, Spain declared war, precipitating the War of the Reunions. However, the Spanish were rapidly defeated because the Emperor (distracted by the Great Turkish War) abandoned them, and the Dutch only supported them minimally. By the Truce of Ratisbon, in 1684, Spain was forced to acquiesce in the French occupation of most of the conquered territories, for 20 years.[49]

Louis' policy of the Réunions may have raised France to its greatest size and power during his reign, but it alienated much of Europe. This poor public opinion was compounded by French actions off the Barbary Coast and at Genoa. First, Louis had Algiers and Tripoli, two Barbary pirate strongholds, bombarded to obtain a favourable treaty and the liberation of Christian slaves. Next, in 1684, a punitive mission was launched against Genoa in retaliation for its support for Spain in previous wars. Although the Genoese submitted, and the Doge led an official mission of apology to Versailles, France gained a reputation for brutality and arrogance. European apprehension at growing French might and the realisation of the extent of the dragonnades' effect (discussed below) led many states to abandon their alliances with France.[50] Accordingly, by the late 1680s, France became increasingly isolated in Europe.

Non-European relations and the colonies

The Persian embassy to Louis XIV sent by Sultan Husayn in 1715. Ambassade de Perse auprès de Louis XIV, studio of Antoine Coypel.
The Persian embassy to Louis XIV sent by Sultan Husayn in 1715. Ambassade de Perse auprès de Louis XIV, studio of Antoine Coypel.

French colonies multiplied in Africa, the Americas, and Asia during Louis' reign, and French explorers made important discoveries in North America. In 1673, Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette discovered the Mississippi River. In 1682, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, followed the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico and claimed the vast Mississippi basin in Louis' name, calling it Louisiane. French trading posts were also established in India, at Chandernagore and Pondicherry, and in the Indian Ocean at Île Bourbon. Throughout these regions Louis and Colbert embarked on an extensive program of architecture and urbanism meant to reflect the styles of Versailles and Paris and the 'gloire' of the realm.[51]

Siamese embassy of King Narai to Louis XIV in 1686, led by Kosa Pan. Engraving by Nicolas Larmessin.
Siamese embassy of King Narai to Louis XIV in 1686, led by Kosa Pan. Engraving by Nicolas Larmessin.

Meanwhile, diplomatic relations were initiated with distant countries. In 1669, Suleiman Aga led an Ottoman embassy to revive the old Franco-Ottoman alliance.[52] Then, in 1682, after the reception of the Moroccan embassy of Mohammed Tenim in France, Moulay Ismail, Sultan of Morocco, allowed French consular and commercial establishments in his country.[53] In 1699, Louis once again received a Moroccan ambassador, Abdallah bin Aisha, and in 1715, he received a Persian embassy led by Mohammad Reza Beg.

From farther afield, Siam dispatched an embassy in 1684, reciprocated by the French magnificently the next year under Alexandre, Chevalier de Chaumont. This, in turn, was succeeded by another Siamese embassy under Kosa Pan, superbly received at Versailles in 1686. Louis then sent another embassy in 1687, under Simon de la Loubère, and French influence grew at the Siamese court, which granted Mergui as a naval base to France. However, the death of Narai, King of Ayutthaya, the execution of his pro-French minister Constantine Phaulkon, and the Siege of Bangkok in 1688 ended this era of French influence.[54]

France also attempted to participate actively in Jesuit missions to China. To break the Portuguese dominance there, Louis sent Jesuit missionaries to the court of the Kangxi Emperor in 1685: Jean de Fontaney, Joachim Bouvet, Jean-François Gerbillon, Louis Le Comte, and Claude de Visdelou.[55] Louis also received a Chinese Jesuit, Michael Shen Fu-Tsung, at Versailles in 1684.[56] Furthermore, Louis' librarian and translator Arcadio Huang was Chinese.[57][58]

Discover more about Early wars in the Low Countries related topics

Franco-Dutch War

Franco-Dutch War

The Franco-Dutch War, also known as the Dutch War, was fought between France and the Dutch Republic, supported by its allies the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, Brandenburg-Prussia and Denmark-Norway. In its early stages, France was allied with Münster and Cologne, as well as England. The 1672 to 1674 Third Anglo-Dutch War and 1675 to 1679 Scanian War are considered related conflicts.

Philip IV of Spain

Philip IV of Spain

Philip IV, also called the Planet King, was King of Spain from 1621 to his death and King of Portugal from 1621 to 1640. Philip is remembered for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez, and his rule over Spain during the Thirty Years' War.

Maria Theresa of Spain

Maria Theresa of Spain

Maria Theresa of Spain was Queen of France from 1660 to 1683 as the wife of King Louis XIV. She was born an Infanta of Spain and Portugal as the daughter of King Philip IV and Elisabeth of France, and was also an Archduchess of Austria as a member of the Spanish branch of the House of Habsburg.

Hugues de Lionne

Hugues de Lionne

Hugues de Lionne was a French statesman.

Charles II of Spain

Charles II of Spain

Charles II of Spain, known as the Bewitched, was the last Habsburg ruler of the Spanish Empire. Best remembered for his physical disabilities and the War of the Spanish Succession that followed his death, Charles's reign has traditionally been viewed as one of managed decline. However, many of the issues Spain faced in this period were inherited from his predecessors and some recent historians have suggested a more balanced perspective.

Philip V of Spain

Philip V of Spain

Philip V was King of Spain from 1 November 1700 to 14 January 1724, and again from 6 September 1724 to his death in 1746. His total reign of 44 years is the longest in the history of the Spanish monarchy surpassing Philip II. Philip instigated many important reforms in Spain, most especially the centralization of power of the monarchy and the suppression of regional privileges, via the Nueva Planta decrees, and restructuring of the administration of the Spanish Empire on the Iberian peninsula and its overseas regions.

Duchy of Brabant

Duchy of Brabant

The Duchy of Brabant was a State of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1183. It developed from the Landgraviate of Brabant and formed the heart of the historic Low Countries, part of the Burgundian Netherlands from 1430 and of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1482, until it was partitioned after the Dutch revolt.

Lower Rhine

Lower Rhine

The Lower Rhine flows from Bonn, Germany, to the North Sea at Hook of Holland, Netherlands ; alternatively, Lower Rhine may refer to the part upstream of Pannerdens Kop, excluding the Nederrijn.

Eighty Years' War

Eighty Years' War

The Eighty Years' War or Dutch Revolt (c.1566/1568–1648) was an armed conflict in the Habsburg Netherlands between disparate groups of rebels and the Spanish government. The causes of the war included the Reformation, centralisation, taxation, and the rights and privileges of the nobility and cities.

Habsburg Spain

Habsburg Spain

Habsburg Spain is a contemporary historiographical term referring to the huge extent of territories ruled between the 16th and 18th centuries (1516–1713) by kings from the Spanish branch of the House of Habsburg. Habsburg Spain was a composite monarchy and a personal union. The Habsburg Hispanic Monarchs reached the zenith of their influence and power ruling the Spanish Empire. They controlled territories over the five continents, including the Americas, the East Indies, the Low Countries, Belgium, Luxembourg, and territories now in Italy, France and Germany in Europe, the Portuguese Empire from 1580 to 1640, and various other territories such as small enclaves like Ceuta and Oran in North Africa. This period of Spanish history has also been referred to as the "Age of Expansion".

Dutch Republic

Dutch Republic

The United Provinces of the Netherlands, officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, and commonly referred to in historiography as the Dutch Republic, was a confederation that existed from 1579 until the Batavian Revolution in 1795. It was a predecessor state of the present-day Netherlands. The republic was established after seven Dutch provinces in the Spanish Netherlands revolted against Spanish rule, forming a mutual alliance against Spain in 1579 and declaring their independence in 1581. It comprised Groningen, Frisia, Overijssel, Guelders, Utrecht, Holland and Zeeland.

Johan de Witt

Johan de Witt

Johan de Witt, lord of Zuid- en Noord-Linschoten, Snelrewaard, Hekendorp en IJsselvere, was a Dutch statesman and a major political figure in the Dutch Republic in the mid-17th century, the First Stadtholderless Period, when its flourishing sea trade in a period of globalization made the republic a leading European trading and seafaring power – now commonly referred to as the Dutch Golden Age. De Witt controlled the Dutch political system from around 1650 until shortly before his murder and cannibalisation by a pro-Orangist mob in 1672.

Height of power

Centralisation of power

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

Louis initially supported traditional Gallicanism, which limited papal authority in France, and convened an Assembly of the French clergy in November 1681. Before its dissolution eight months later, the Assembly had accepted the Declaration of the Clergy of France, 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 not make ecclesiastical law, all papal regulations without royal assent were invalid in France. Unsurprisingly, the Pope repudiated the Declaration.[4]

Louis receiving the Doge of Genoa at Versailles on 15 May 1685, following the Bombardment of Genoa. (Reparation faite à Louis XIV par le Doge de Gênes. 15 mai 1685 by Claude Guy Halle, Versailles.)
Louis receiving the Doge of Genoa at Versailles on 15 May 1685, following the Bombardment of Genoa. (Reparation faite à Louis XIV par le Doge de Gênes. 15 mai 1685 by Claude Guy Halle, Versailles.)

By attaching nobles to his court at Versailles, Louis achieved increased control over the French aristocracy. According to historian Philip Mansel, the king turned the palace into:

an irresistible combination of marriage market, employment agency and entertainment capital of aristocratic Europe, boasting the best theatre, opera, music, gambling, sex and (most important) hunting.[59]

Apartments were built to house those willing to pay court to the king.[60] However, the pensions and privileges necessary to live in a style appropriate to their rank were only possible by waiting constantly on Louis.[61] For this purpose, an elaborate court ritual was created wherein the king became the centre of attention and was observed throughout the day by the public. With his excellent memory, Louis could then see who attended him at court and who was absent, facilitating the subsequent distribution of favours and positions. Another tool Louis used to control his nobility was censorship, which often involved the opening of letters to discern their author's opinion of the government and king.[60] Moreover, by entertaining, impressing, and domesticating them with extravagant luxury and other distractions, Louis not only cultivated public opinion of him, but he also ensured the aristocracy remained under his scrutiny.

Louis's extravagance at Versailles extended far beyond the scope of elaborate court rituals. He took delivery of an African elephant as a gift from the king of Portugal.[62] He encouraged leading nobles to live at Versailles. This, along with the prohibition of private armies, 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 "nobility of the sword") into becoming his ceremonial courtiers, further weakening their power. In their place, he raised commoners or the more recently ennobled bureaucratic aristocracy (the "nobility of the robe"). He judged that royal authority thrived more surely by filling high executive and administrative positions with these men because they could be more easily dismissed than nobles of ancient lineage and entrenched influence. It is believed that Louis's policies were rooted in his experiences during the Fronde, when men of high birth readily took up the rebel cause against their king, who was actually the kinsman of some. This victory over the nobility may thus have ensured the end of major civil wars in France until the French Revolution about a century later.

France as the pivot of warfare

Louis XIV
Louis XIV

Under Louis, France was the leading European power, and most wars pivoted around its aggressiveness. No European state exceeded it in population, and no one could match its wealth, central location, and very strong professional army. It had largely avoided the devastation of the Thirty Years' War. Its weaknesses included an inefficient financial system that was hard-pressed to pay for its military adventures, and the tendency of most other powers to gang up against it.

During Louis's reign, France fought three major wars: the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish Succession. There were also two lesser conflicts: the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions.[63] The wars were very expensive but defined Louis XIV's foreign policy, and his personality shaped his approach. Impelled "by a mix of commerce, revenge, and pique," Louis sensed that war was the ideal way to enhance his glory. In peacetime he concentrated on preparing for the next war. He taught his diplomats that their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military.[5] By 1695, France retained much of its dominance but had lost control of the seas to England and Holland, and most countries, both Protestant and Catholic, were in alliance against it. Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, France's leading military strategist, warned Louis in 1689 that a hostile "Alliance" was too powerful at sea. He recommended that France fight back by licensing French merchants ships to privateer and seize enemy merchant ships while avoiding its navies:

France has its declared enemies Germany and all the states that it embraces; Spain with all its dependencies in Europe, Asia, Africa and America; the Duke of Savoy [in Italy], England, Scotland, Ireland, and all their colonies in the East and West Indies; and Holland with all its possessions in the four corners of the world where it has great establishments. France has ... undeclared enemies, indirectly hostile, hostile, and envious of its greatness, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Portugal, Venice, Genoa, and part of the Swiss Confederation, all of which states secretly aid France's enemies by the troops that they hire to them, the money they lend them and by protecting and covering their trade.[64]

Vauban was pessimistic about France's so-called friends and allies:

For lukewarm, useless, or impotent friends, France has the Pope, who is indifferent; the King of England [James II] expelled from his country; the Grand Duke of Tuscany; the Dukes of Mantua, Modena, and Parma [all in Italy]; and the other faction of the Swiss. Some of these are sunk in the softness that comes of years of peace, the others are cool in their affections....The English and Dutch are the main pillars of the Alliance; they support it by making war against us in concert with the other powers, and they keep it going by means of the money that they pay every year to... Allies.... We must therefore fall back on privateering as the method of conducting war which is most feasible, simple, cheap, and safe, and which will cost least to the state, the more so since any losses will not be felt by the King, who risks virtually nothing....It will enrich the country, train many good officers for the King, and in a short time force his enemies to sue for peace.[65]

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Gallicanism

Gallicanism

Gallicanism is the belief that popular civil authority—often represented by the monarch's or the state's authority—over the Catholic Church is comparable to that of the Pope. Gallicanism is a rejection of ultramontanism; it has something in common with Anglicanism, but is nuanced, in that it plays down the authority of the Pope in church without denying that there are some authoritative elements to the office associated with being primus inter pares. Other terms for the same or similar doctrines include Erastianism, Febronianism, and Josephinism.

Pope

Pope

The Pope, also known as supreme pontiff, Roman pontiff or sovereign pontiff, is the bishop of Rome, head of the worldwide Catholic Church, and has also served as the head of state or sovereign of the Papal States and later the Vatican City State since the eighth century. From a Catholic viewpoint, the primacy of the bishop of Rome is largely derived from his role as the apostolic successor to Saint Peter, to whom primacy was conferred by Jesus, who gave Peter the Keys of Heaven and the powers of "binding and loosing", naming him as the "rock" upon which the Church would be built. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013.

Assembly of the French clergy

Assembly of the French clergy

The assembly of the French clergy was in its origins a representative meeting of the Catholic clergy of France, held every five years, for the purpose of apportioning the financial burdens laid upon the clergy of the French Catholic Church by the kings of France. Meeting from 1560 to 1789, the Assemblies ensured to the clergy an autonomous financial administration, by which they defended themselves against taxation.

Declaration of the Clergy of France

Declaration of the Clergy of France

The Declaration of the Clergy of France was a four-article document of the 1681 assembly of the French clergy. Promulgated in 1682, it codified the principles of Gallicanism into a system for the first time into an official and definitive formula.

Doge of Genoa

Doge of Genoa

The Doge of Genoa was the head of state of the Republic of Genoa, a city-state and soon afterwards a maritime republic, from 1339 until the state's extinction in 1797. Originally elected for life, after 1528 the Doges were elected for terms of two years.

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is a former royal residence built by King Louis XIV located in Versailles, about 12 miles (19 km) west of Paris, France. The palace is owned by the French Republic and since 1995 has been managed, under the direction of the French Ministry of Culture, by the Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum and National Estate of Versailles. About 15,000,000 people visit the palace, park, or gardens of Versailles every year, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.

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.

Philip Mansel

Philip Mansel

Philip Mansel is a historian of courts and cities, and the author of a number of books about the history of France and the Ottoman Empire. He was born in London in 1951 and educated at Eton College, Balliol College, Oxford, and obtained a doctorate at University College London in 1978. He has lived in Paris, Istanbul and Beirut and now lives in London.

African elephant

African elephant

African elephants (Loxodonta) are a genus comprising two living elephant species, the African bush elephant and the smaller African forest elephant. Both are social herbivores with grey skin, but differ in the size and colour of their tusks and in the shape and size of their ears and skulls.

Franco-Dutch War

Franco-Dutch War

The Franco-Dutch War, also known as the Dutch War, was fought between France and the Dutch Republic, supported by its allies the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, Brandenburg-Prussia and Denmark-Norway. In its early stages, France was allied with Münster and Cologne, as well as England. The 1672 to 1674 Third Anglo-Dutch War and 1675 to 1679 Scanian War are considered related conflicts.

Nine Years' War

Nine Years' War

The Nine Years' War (1688–1697), also known as the War of the Grand Alliance or War of the League of Augsburg, was a conflict between France and the Grand Alliance, a coalition including the Holy Roman Empire, the Dutch Republic, England, Spain, and Savoy. While concentrated in Europe, fighting spread to the Americas, India, and West Africa, and it has been called the first world war. Related conflicts included the Williamite war in Ireland, and King William's War in North America.

Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban

Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban

Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, Seigneur de Vauban, later Marquis de Vauban, commonly referred to as Vauban, was a French military engineer who worked under Louis XIV. He is generally considered the greatest engineer of his time, and one of the most important in European military history.

Edict of Fontainebleau

Louis XIV in 1685, the year he revoked the Edict of Nantes
Louis XIV in 1685, the year he revoked the Edict of Nantes

Louis decided to persecute Protestants and revoke the 1598 Edict of Nantes, which awarded Huguenots political and religious freedom. He saw the persistence of Protestantism as a disgraceful reminder of royal powerlessness. After all, the Edict was the pragmatic concession of his grandfather Henry IV to end the longstanding French Wars of Religion. An additional factor in Louis' thinking was the prevailing contemporary European principle to assure socio-political stability, cuius regio, eius religio ("whose realm, his religion"), the idea that the religion of the ruler should be the religion of the realm (as originally confirmed in central Europe in the Peace of Augsburg of 1555).[66]

Responding to petitions, Louis initially excluded Protestants from office, constrained the meeting of synods, closed churches outside of Edict-stipulated areas, banned Protestant outdoor preachers, and prohibited domestic Protestant migration. He also disallowed Protestant-Catholic intermarriages to which third parties objected, encouraged missions to the Protestants, and rewarded converts to Catholicism.[67] This discrimination did not encounter much Protestant resistance, and a steady conversion of Protestants occurred, especially among the noble elites.

In 1681, Louis dramatically increased his persecution of Protestants. The principle of cuius regio, eius 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 the proposal of René de Marillac and the Marquis of Louvois, he began quartering dragoons 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 converted, as this entailed financial rewards and exemption from the dragonnades.[68]

Protestant peasants rebelled against the officially sanctioned dragonnades (conversions enforced by dragoons, labeled "missionaries in boots") that followed the Edict of Fontainebleau.
Protestant peasants rebelled against the officially sanctioned dragonnades (conversions enforced by dragoons, labeled "missionaries in boots") that followed the Edict of Fontainebleau.

On 15 October 1685, Louis issued the Edict of Fontainebleau, which cited the redundancy of privileges for Protestants given their scarcity after the extensive conversions. The Edict of Fontainebleau revoked the Edict of Nantes and repealed all the privileges that arose therefrom.[4] By his edict, Louis no longer tolerated the existence of Protestant groups, pastors, or churches in France. No further churches were to be constructed, and those already existing were to be demolished. Pastors could choose either exile or secular life. Those Protestants who had resisted conversion were now to be baptised forcibly into the established church.[69]

Historians have debated Louis' reasons for issuing the Edict of Fontainebleau. He may have been seeking to placate Pope Innocent XI, with whom relations were tense and whose aid was necessary to determine the outcome of a succession crisis in the Electorate of Cologne. He may also have acted to upstage Emperor Leopold I and regain international prestige after the latter defeated the Turks without Louis' help. Otherwise, he may simply have desired to end the remaining divisions in French society dating to the Wars of Religion by fulfilling his coronation oath to eradicate heresy.[70][71]

Many historians have condemned the Edict of Fontainebleau as gravely harmful to France.[72] In support, they cite the emigration of about 200,000 highly skilled Huguenots (roughly one quarter of the Protestant population, or 1% of the French population) who defied royal decrees and fled France for various Protestant states, weakening the French economy and enriching that of Protestant states. On the other hand, there are historians who view this as an exaggeration. They argue that most of France's preeminent Protestant businessmen and industrialists converted to Catholicism and remained.[73]

What is certain is that reaction to the Edict was mixed. Even while French Catholic leaders exulted, Pope Innocent XI still argued with Louis over Gallicanism and criticized the use of violence. Protestants across Europe were horrified at the treatment of their co-religionists, but most Catholics in France applauded the move. Nonetheless, it is indisputable that Louis' public image in most of Europe, especially in Protestant regions, was dealt a severe blow.

In the end, however, despite renewed tensions with the Camisards of south-central France at the end of his reign, Louis may have helped ensure that his successor would experience fewer instances of the religion-based disturbances that had plagued his forebears. French society would sufficiently change by the time of his descendant, Louis XVI, to welcome tolerance in the form of the 1787 Edict of Versailles, also known as the Edict of Tolerance. This restored to non-Catholics their civil rights and the freedom to worship openly.[74] With the advent of the French Revolution in 1789, Protestants were granted equal rights with their Roman Catholic counterparts.

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Edict of Fontainebleau

Edict of Fontainebleau

The Edict of Fontainebleau was an edict issued by French King Louis XIV and is also known as the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The Edict of Nantes (1598) had granted Huguenots the right to practice their religion without state persecution. Protestants had lost their independence in places of refuge under Cardinal Richelieu on account of their supposed insubordination, but they continued to live in comparative security and political contentment. From the outset, religious toleration in France had been a royal, rather than popular, policy.

Edict of Nantes

Edict of Nantes

The Edict of Nantes was signed on 13 April 1598 by King Henry IV and granted the Calvinist Protestants of France, also known as Huguenots, substantial rights in the nation, which was predominantly Catholic. In the edict, Henry aimed primarily to promote civil unity. The edict separated civil from religious unity, treated some Protestants for the first time as more than mere schismatics and heretics and opened a path for secularism and tolerance. In offering a general freedom of conscience to individuals, the edict offered many specific concessions to the Protestants, such as amnesty and the reinstatement of their civil rights, including the right to work in any field, even for the state, and to bring grievances directly to the king. It marked the end of the French Wars of Religion, which had afflicted France during the second half of the 16th century.

Henry IV of France

Henry IV of France

Henry IV, also known by the epithets Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a Catholic zealot, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII.

French Wars of Religion

French Wars of Religion

The French Wars of Religion is the term which is used in reference to a period of civil war between French Catholics and Protestants, commonly called Huguenots, which lasted from 1562 to 1598. According to estimates, between two and four million people died from violence, famine or diseases which were directly caused by the conflict; additionally, the conflict severely damaged the power of the French monarchy. The fighting ended in 1598 when Henry of Navarre, who had converted to Catholicism in 1593, was proclaimed Henry IV of France and issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted substantial rights and freedoms to the Huguenots. However, Catholics continued to have a hostile opinion of Protestants in general and of Henry, and his assassination in 1610 triggered a fresh round of Huguenot rebellions in the 1620s.

Cuius regio, eius religio

Cuius regio, eius religio

Cuius regio, eius religio is a Latin phrase which literally means "whose realm, their religion" – meaning that the religion of the ruler was to dictate the religion of those ruled. This legal principle marked a major development in the collective freedom of religion within Western civilization. Before tolerance of individual religious divergences became accepted, most statesmen and political theorists took it for granted that religious diversity weakened a state – and particularly weakened ecclesiastically-transmitted control and monitoring in a state. The principle of "cuius regio" was a compromise in the conflict between this paradigm of statecraft and the emerging trend toward religious pluralism developing throughout the German-speaking lands of the Holy Roman Empire. It permitted assortative migration of adherents to just two theocracies, Roman Catholic and Lutheran, eliding other confessions.

Peace of Augsburg

Peace of Augsburg

The Peace of Augsburg, also called the Augsburg Settlement, was a treaty between Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and the Schmalkaldic League, signed in September 1555 at the imperial city of Augsburg. It officially ended the religious struggle between the two groups and made the legal division of Christianity permanent within the Holy Roman Empire, allowing rulers to choose either Lutheranism or Roman Catholicism as the official confession of their state. However, the Peace of Augsburg arrangement is also credited with ending much Christian unity around Europe. Calvinism was not allowed until the Peace of Westphalia.

Dragoon

Dragoon

Dragoons were originally a class of mounted infantry, who used horses for mobility, but dismounted to fight on foot. From the early 17th century onward, dragoons were increasingly also employed as conventional cavalry and trained for combat with swords and firearms from horseback. While their use goes back to the late 16th century, dragoon regiments were established in most European armies during the 17th and early 18th centuries; they provided greater mobility than regular infantry but were far less expensive than cavalry.

Dragonnades

Dragonnades

The Dragonnades were a French government policy instituted by King Louis XIV in 1681 to intimidate Huguenot (Protestant) families into converting to Catholicism. This involved the billeting of ill-disciplined dragoons in Protestant households with implied permission to abuse the inhabitants and destroy or steal their possessions. The soldiers employed in this role were satirized as "missionary dragoons".

Forced conversion

Forced conversion

Forced conversion is the adoption of a different religion or the adoption of irreligion under duress. Someone who has been forced to convert to a different religion or irreligion may continue, covertly, to adhere to the beliefs and practices which were originally held, while outwardly behaving as a convert. Crypto-Jews, crypto-Christians, crypto-Muslims and crypto-Pagans are historical examples of the latter.

Electorate of Cologne

Electorate of Cologne

The Electorate of Cologne, sometimes referred to as Electoral Cologne, was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire that existed from the 10th to the early 19th century. It consisted of the Hochstift — the temporal possessions — of the Archbishop of Cologne, and was ruled by him in his capacity as prince-elector. There were only two other ecclesiastical prince-electors in the Empire: the Electorate of Mainz and the Electorate of Trier. The Archbishop-Elector of Cologne was also Arch-chancellor of Italy and, as such, ranked second among all ecclesiastical and secular princes of the Empire, after the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz, and before that of Trier.

Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor

Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor

Leopold I was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia. The second son of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, by his first wife, Maria Anna of Spain, Leopold became heir apparent in 1654 by the death of his elder brother Ferdinand IV. Elected in 1658, Leopold ruled the Holy Roman Empire until his death in 1705, becoming the second longest-ruling Habsburg emperor. He was both a composer and considerable patron of music.

Coronation of the French monarch

Coronation of the French monarch

The accession of the King of France to the royal throne was legitimized by a ceremony performed with the Crown of Charlemagne at the Reims Cathedral. In late medieval and early modern times, the new king did not need to be anointed in order to be recognized as French monarch but ascended upon the previous monarch's death with the proclamation "Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!"

Nine Years' War

Causes and conduct of the war

Louis in 1690
Louis in 1690

The Nine Years' War, which lasted from 1688 to 1697, initiated a period of decline in Louis's political and diplomatic fortunes. It arose from two events in the Rhineland. First, in 1685, the Elector Palatine Charles II died. All that remained of his immediate family was Louis's sister-in-law, Elizabeth Charlotte. German law ostensibly barred her from succeeding to her brother's lands and electoral dignity, but it was unclear enough for arguments in favour of Elizabeth Charlotte to have a chance of success. Conversely, the princess was clearly entitled to a division of the family's personal property. Louis pressed her claims to land and chattels, hoping the latter, at least, would be given to her.[75] Then, in 1688, Maximilian Henry of Bavaria, Archbishop of Cologne, an ally of France, died. The archbishopric had traditionally been held by the Wittelsbachs of Bavaria, but the Bavarian claimant to replace Maximilian Henry, Prince Joseph Clemens of Bavaria, was at that time not more than 17 years old and not even ordained. Louis sought instead to install his own candidate, Wilhelm Egon von Fürstenberg, to ensure the key Rhenish state remained an ally.[76]

In light of his foreign and domestic policies during the early 1680s, which were perceived as aggressive, Louis's actions, fostered by the succession crises of the late 1680s, created concern and alarm in much of Europe. This led to the formation of the 1686 League of Augsburg by the Holy Roman Emperor, Spain, Sweden, Saxony, and Bavaria. Their stated intention was to return France to at least the borders agreed to in the Treaty of Nijmegen.[77] Emperor Leopold I's persistent refusal to convert the Truce of Ratisbon into a permanent treaty fed Louis's fears that the Emperor would turn on France and attack the Reunions after settling his affairs in the Balkans.[78]

Another event Louis found threatening was England's Glorious Revolution of 1688. Although King James II was Catholic, his two Anglican daughters, Mary and Anne, ensured the English people a Protestant succession. But when James II's son James Francis Edward Stuart was born, he took precedence in succession over his sisters. This seemed to herald an era of Catholic monarchs in England. Protestant lords called on the Dutch Prince William III of Orange, grandson of Charles I of England, to come to their aid. He sailed for England with troops despite Louis's warning that France would regard it as a provocation. Witnessing numerous desertions and defections, even among those closest to him, James II fled England. Parliament declared the throne vacant, and offered it to James's daughter Mary II and his son-in-law and nephew William. Vehemently anti-French, William (now William III of England) pushed his new kingdoms into war, thus transforming the League of Augsburg into the Grand Alliance. Before this happened, Louis expected William's expedition to England to absorb his energies and those of his allies, so he dispatched troops to the Rhineland after the expiry of his ultimatum to the German princes requiring confirmation of the Truce of Ratisbon and acceptance of his demands about the succession crises. This military manoeuvre was also intended to protect his eastern provinces from Imperial invasion by depriving the enemy army of sustenance, thus explaining the preemptive scorched earth policy pursued in much of southwestern Germany (the "Devastation of the Palatinate").[79]

Louis XIV at the siege of Namur (1692)
Louis XIV at the siege of Namur (1692)

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.[80] He triumphed at the Battles of Fleurus in 1690, Steenkerque in 1692, and Landen in 1693, although, the battles proved to be of little of strategic consequence.[81][82] Mostly due to the nature of late 17th-century warfare.[83]

Marshal de Luxembourg
Marshal de Luxembourg

Although an attempt to restore James II failed at the Battle of the Boyne 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 captures of Mons in 1691 and Namur in 1692. Luxembourg gave France the defensive line of the Sambre by capturing Charleroi in 1693. France also overran most of the Duchy of Savoy after the battles of Marsaglia and Staffarde in 1693. While naval stalemate ensued after the French victory at the Battle of Beachy Head in 1690 and the Allied victory at Barfleur-La Hougue in 1692, the Battle of Torroella in 1694 exposed Catalonia to French invasion, culminating in the capture of Barcelona. The Dutch captured Pondichéry in 1693, but a 1697 French raid on the Spanish treasure port of Cartagena, Spain, yielded a fortune of 10,000,000 livres.

In July 1695, the city of Namur, occupied for three years by the French, was besieged by an allied army led by William III. Louis XIV ordered the surprise destruction of a Flemish city to divert the attention of these troops. This led to the bombardment of Brussels, in which more than 4,000 buildings were destroyed, including the entire city centre. The strategy failed, as Namur fell three weeks later, but harmed Louis XIV's reputation: a century later, Napoleon deemed the bombardment "as barbarous as it was useless."[84]

Peace was broached by Sweden in 1690. By 1692, both sides evidently wanted peace, and secret bilateral talks began, but to no avail.[85] Louis tried to break up the alliance against him by dealing with individual opponents but did not achieve his aim until 1696 when the Savoyards agreed to the Treaty of Turin and switched sides. Thereafter, members of the League of Augsburg rushed to the peace table, and negotiations for a general peace began in earnest, culminating in the Peace of Ryswick of 1697.[86]

Peace of Ryswick

The Peace of Ryswick ended the War of the League of Augsburg and disbanded the Grand Alliance. By manipulating their rivalries and suspicions, Louis divided his enemies and broke their power.

The treaty yielded many benefits for France. Louis secured permanent French sovereignty over all of Alsace, including Strasbourg, and established the Rhine as the Franco-German border (as it is to this day). Pondichéry and Acadia were returned to France, and Louis's de facto possession of Saint-Domingue was recognised as lawful. However, he returned Catalonia and most of the Reunions.

French military superiority might have allowed him to press for more advantageous terms. Thus, his generosity to Spain with regard to Catalonia has been read as a concession to foster pro-French sentiment and may ultimately have induced King Charles II to name Louis's grandson Philip, Duke of Anjou, heir to the Spanish throne.[87] In exchange for financial compensation, France renounced its interests in the Electorate of Cologne and the Palatinate. Lorraine, which had been occupied by the French since 1670, was returned to its rightful Duke Leopold, albeit with a right of way to the French military. William and Mary were recognised as joint sovereigns of the British Isles, and Louis withdrew support for James II. The Dutch were given the right to garrison forts in the Spanish Netherlands that acted as a protective barrier against possible French aggression. Though in some respects the Treaty of Ryswick may appear a diplomatic defeat for Louis since he failed to place client rulers in control of the Palatinate or the Electorate of Cologne, he did in fact fulfil many of the aims laid down in his 1688 ultimatum.[88] In any case, peace in 1697 was desirable to Louis, since France was exhausted from the costs of the war.

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Battle of Fleurus (1690)

Battle of Fleurus (1690)

The Battle of Fleurus, fought on 1 July 1690 near the town of Fleurus in modern Belgium, was a major engagement of the Nine Years' War. In a bold envelopment, Marshal Luxembourg, commanding a French army, inflicted a severe defeat on an Allied force led by Prince Waldeck.

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.

Maximilian Henry of Bavaria

Maximilian Henry of Bavaria

Maximilian 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-Elector of Cologne, Bishop of Hildesheim and Bishop of Liège succeeding his uncle, Ferdinand of Bavaria. He worked throughout his career with the French to limit the authority of the Holy Roman Emperor, and participated in the Franco-Dutch War on the opposite side from the Empire.

Archbishop of Cologne

Archbishop of Cologne

The Archbishop of Cologne is an archbishop governing the Archdiocese of Cologne of the Catholic Church in western North Rhine-Westphalia and is also a historical state in the Rhine holding the birthplace of Beethoven and northern Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany and was ex officio one of the Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire, the Elector of Cologne, from 1356 to 1801.

Bavaria

Bavaria

Bavaria, officially the Free State of Bavaria, is a state in the south-east of Germany. With an area of 70,550.19 km2 (27,239.58 sq mi), Bavaria is the largest German state by land area, comprising roughly a fifth of the total land area of Germany. With over 13 million inhabitants, it is the second largest German state in terms of population only to North Rhine-Westphalia, but due to its large size its population density is below the German average. Bavaria's main cities are Munich, Nuremberg, and Augsburg.

Joseph Clemens of Bavaria

Joseph Clemens of Bavaria

Joseph Clemens of Bavaria was a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty of Bavaria and Archbishop-Elector of Cologne from 1688 to 1723.

Grand Alliance (League of Augsburg)

Grand Alliance (League of Augsburg)

The Grand Alliance was the anti-French coalition formed on 20 December 1689 between the Dutch Republic, England and the Holy Roman Empire. It was signed by the two leading opponents of France: William III, Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic and King of England, and Emperor Leopold I, on behalf of the Archduchy of Austria.

Glorious Revolution

Glorious Revolution

The Glorious Revolution is the term first used in 1689 to summarise events leading to the deposition of James II and VII of England, Ireland and Scotland in November 1688, and his replacement by his daughter Mary II and her husband and James's nephew William III of Orange, de facto ruler of the Dutch Republic. Known as the Glorieuze Overtocht or Glorious Crossing in the Netherlands, it has been described both as the last successful invasion of England as well as an internal coup.

James II of England

James II of England

James II was King of England and King of Ireland, and King of Scotland as James VII from the death of his elder brother, Charles II, on 6 February 1685. He was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. He was the last Catholic monarch of England, Scotland, and Ireland. His reign is now remembered primarily for conflicts over religious tolerance, but it also involved struggles over the principles of absolutism and the divine right of kings. His deposition ended a century of political and civil strife in England by confirming the primacy of the English Parliament over the Crown.

Anglicanism

Anglicanism

Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation, in the context of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. It is one of the largest branches of Christianity, with around 110 million adherents worldwide as of 2001.

Mary II of England

Mary II of England

Mary II was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, co-reigning with her husband, William III & II, from 1689 until her death in 1694.

Anne, Queen of Great Britain

Anne, Queen of Great Britain

Anne was Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland from 8 March 1702 until 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, the kingdoms of England and Scotland united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. Anne continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1714.

War of the Spanish Succession

Causes and build-up to the war

By the time of the Peace of Ryswick, the Spanish succession had been a source of concern to European leaders for well over forty years. King Charles II ruled a vast empire comprising Spain, Naples, Sicily, Milan, the Spanish Netherlands, and numerous Spanish colonies. He produced no children, however, and consequently had no direct heirs.

The principal claimants to the throne of Spain belonged to the ruling families of France and Austria. The French claim derived from Louis XIV's mother Anne of Austria (the older sister of Philip IV of Spain) and his wife Maria Theresa (Philip IV's eldest daughter). Based on the laws of primogeniture, France had the better claim as it originated from the eldest daughters in two generations. However, their renunciation of succession rights complicated matters. In the case of Maria Theresa, nonetheless, the renunciation was considered null and void owing to Spain's breach of her marriage contract with Louis. In contrast, no renunciations tainted the claims of Emperor Leopold I's son Charles, Archduke of Austria, who was a grandson of Philip III's youngest daughter Maria Anna. The English and Dutch feared that a French or Austrian-born Spanish king would threaten the balance of power and thus preferred the Bavarian Prince Joseph Ferdinand, a grandson of Leopold I through his first wife Margaret Theresa of Spain (the younger daughter of Philip IV).

In an attempt to avoid war, Louis signed the Treaty of the Hague with William III of England in 1698. This agreement divided Spain's Italian territories between Louis's son le Grand Dauphin and Archduke Charles, with the rest of the empire awarded to Joseph Ferdinand. William III consented to permitting the Dauphin's new territories to become part of France when the latter succeeded to his father's throne.[89] The signatories, however, omitted to consult the ruler of these lands, and Charles II was passionately opposed to the dismemberment of his empire. In 1699, he re-confirmed his 1693 will that named Joseph Ferdinand as his sole successor.[90]

Six months later, Joseph Ferdinand died. Therefore, in 1700, Louis and William III concluded a fresh partitioning agreement, the Treaty of London. This allocated Spain, the Low Countries, and the Spanish colonies to the Archduke. The Dauphin would receive all of Spain's Italian territories.[91] Charles II acknowledged that his empire could only remain undivided by bequeathing it entirely to a Frenchman or an Austrian. Under pressure from his German wife, Maria Anna of Neuburg, Charles II named Archduke Charles as his sole heir.

Acceptance of the will of Charles II and consequences

Louis in 1701
Louis in 1701

On his deathbed in 1700, Charles II of Spain unexpectedly changed his will. The clear demonstration of French military superiority for many decades before this time, the pro-French faction at the court of Spain, and even Pope Innocent XII convinced him that France was more likely to preserve his empire intact. He thus offered the entire empire to the Dauphin's second son Philip, Duke of Anjou, provided it remained undivided. Anjou was not in the direct line of French succession, thus his accession would not cause a Franco-Spanish union.[91] If Anjou refused, the throne would be offered to his younger brother Charles, Duke of Berry. If the Duke of Berry declined it, it would go to Archduke Charles, then to the distantly related House of Savoy if Charles declined it.[92]

Louis was confronted with a difficult choice. He could agree to a partition of the Spanish possessions and avoid a general war, or accept Charles II's will and alienate much of Europe. He may initially have been inclined to abide by the partition treaties, but the Dauphin's insistence persuaded him otherwise.[93] Moreover, Louis's foreign minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, marquis de Torcy, pointed out that war with the Emperor would almost certainly ensue whether Louis accepted the partition treaties or Charles II's will. He emphasised that, should it come to war, William III was unlikely to stand by France since he "made a treaty to avoid war and did not intend to go to war to implement the treaty".[90] Indeed, in the event of war, it might be preferable to be already in control of the disputed lands. Eventually, therefore, Louis decided to accept Charles II's will. Philip, Duke of Anjou, thus became Philip V, King of Spain.

Most European rulers accepted Philip as king, some reluctantly. Depending on one's views of the war's inevitability, Louis acted reasonably or arrogantly.[94] 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. But his actions were certainly not read as disinterested. Moreover, Louis sent troops to the Spanish Netherlands to evict Dutch garrisons and secure Dutch recognition of Philip V. In 1701, Philip transferred the asiento (the right to supply slaves to Spanish colonies) to France, as a sign of the two nations' growing connections. As tensions mounted, Louis decided to acknowledge James Stuart, the son of James II, as king of England on the latter's death, infuriating William III. These actions enraged Britain and the Dutch Republic.[95] With the Holy Roman Emperor and the petty German states, they formed another Grand Alliance and declared war on France in 1702. French diplomacy secured Bavaria, Portugal, and Savoy as Franco-Spanish allies.[96]

Commencement of fighting

The Franco-Spanish army led by the Duke of Berwick defeated decisively the Alliance forces of Portugal, England, and the Dutch Republic at the Battle of Almansa.
The Franco-Spanish army led by the Duke of Berwick defeated decisively the Alliance forces of Portugal, England, and the Dutch Republic at the Battle of Almansa.
The Battle of Ramillies between the French and the English, 23 May 1706
The Battle of Ramillies between the French and the English, 23 May 1706

Even before war was officially declared, hostilities began with Imperial aggression in Italy. Once finally declared, the War of the Spanish Succession lasted almost until Louis's death, at great cost to him and France.

The war began with French successes, but the talents of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, and Eugene of Savoy checked these victories and broke the myth of French invincibility. The duo allowed the Palatinate and Austria to occupy Bavaria after their victory at the Battle of Blenheim. Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, had to flee to the Spanish Netherlands. The impact of this victory won the support of Portugal and Savoy. Later, the Battle of Ramillies delivered the Low Countries to the Allies, and the Battle of Turin forced Louis to evacuate Italy, leaving it open to Allied forces. Marlborough and Eugene met again at the Battle of Oudenarde, which enabled them to invade France.

France established contact with Francis II Rákóczi and promised support if he took up the cause of Hungarian independence.

Defeats, famine, and mounting debt greatly weakened France. Between 1693 and 1710, over two million people died in two famines, made worse as foraging armies seized food supplies from the villages.[97] In desperation, Louis ordered a disastrous invasion of the English island of Guernsey in the autumn of 1704 with the aim of raiding their successful harvest. By the winter of 1708–09, he was willing to accept peace at nearly any cost. He agreed that the entire Spanish empire should be surrendered to Archduke Charles, and also consented to return to the frontiers of the Peace of Westphalia, giving up all the territories he had acquired over 60 years. But he could not promise that Philip V would accept these terms, so the Allies demanded that Louis single-handedly attack his grandson to force these terms on him. If he could not achieve this within the year, the war would resume. Louis could not accept these terms.[98]

Turning point

Louis XIV depicted on a Louis d'or in 1709
Louis XIV depicted on a Louis d'or in 1709

The final phases of the War of the Spanish Succession demonstrated that the Allies could not maintain Archduke Charles in Spain just as surely as France could not retain the entire Spanish inheritance for Philip V. The Allies were definitively expelled from central Spain by the Franco-Spanish victories at the Battles of Villaviciosa and Brihuega in 1710. French forces elsewhere remained obdurate despite their defeats. The Allies suffered a Pyrrhic victory at the Battle of Malplaquet with 21,000 casualties, twice that of the French.[99] Eventually, France recovered its military pride with the decisive victory at Denain in 1712.

French military successes near the end of the war took place against the background of a changed political situation in Austria. In 1705, Emperor Leopold I died. His elder son and successor, Joseph I, followed him in 1711. His heir was none other than Archduke Charles, who secured control of all of his brother's Austrian landholdings. If the Spanish empire then fell to him, it would have resurrected a domain as vast as Holy Roman Emperor Charles V's in the 16th century. To the maritime powers of Great Britain and the Dutch Republic, this would have been as undesirable as a Franco-Spanish union.[100]

Conclusion of peace

Map of France after the death of Louis XIV
Map of France after the death of Louis XIV

As a result of the fresh British perspective on the European balance of power, Anglo-French talks began, culminating in the 1713 Peace of Utrecht between Louis, Philip V of Spain, Anne of Great Britain, and the Dutch Republic. In 1714, after losing Landau and Freiburg, the Holy Roman Emperor also made peace with France in the Treaties of Rastatt and Baden.

In the general settlement, Philip V retained Spain and its colonies, while Austria received the Spanish Netherlands and divided Spanish Italy with Savoy. Britain kept Gibraltar and Menorca. Louis agreed to withdraw his support for James Stuart, son of James II and pretender to the throne of Great Britain, and ceded Newfoundland, Rupert's Land, and Acadia in the Americas to Anne. Britain gained the most from the treaty, but the final terms were much more favourable to France than those being discussed in peace negotiations in 1709 and 1710. France retained Île-Saint-Jean and Île Royale, and Louis acquired a few minor European territories, such as the Principality of Orange and the Ubaye Valley, which covered transalpine passes into Italy. Thanks to Louis, his allies the Electors of Bavaria and Cologne were restored to their prewar status and returned their lands.[101]

Discover more about War of the Spanish Succession related topics

Charles II of Spain

Charles II of Spain

Charles II of Spain, known as the Bewitched, was the last Habsburg ruler of the Spanish Empire. Best remembered for his physical disabilities and the War of the Spanish Succession that followed his death, Charles's reign has traditionally been viewed as one of managed decline. However, many of the issues Spain faced in this period were inherited from his predecessors and some recent historians have suggested a more balanced perspective.

Kingdom of Naples

Kingdom of Naples

The Kingdom of Naples, also known as the Kingdom of Sicily, was a state that ruled the part of the Italian Peninsula south of the Papal States between 1282 and 1816. It was established by the War of the Sicilian Vespers (1282–1302), when the island of Sicily revolted and was conquered by the Crown of Aragon, becoming a separate kingdom also called the Kingdom of Sicily. This left the Neapolitan mainland under the possession of Charles of Anjou. Later, two competing lines of the Angevin family competed for the Kingdom of Naples in the late 14th century, which resulted in the death of Joan I by Charles III of Naples. Charles' daughter Joanna II adopted King Alfonso V of Aragon as heir, who would then unite Naples into his Aragonese dominions in 1442.

Kingdom of Sicily

Kingdom of Sicily

The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of the Italian Peninsula and for a time the region of Ifriqiya from its founding by Roger II of Sicily 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 the southern peninsula. The island was divided into three regions: Val di Mazara, Val Demone and Val di Noto.

Milan

Milan

Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its metropolitan city has 3.26 million inhabitants. Its continuously built-up urban area is the fourth largest in the EU with 5.27 million inhabitants. According to national sources, the population within the wider Milan metropolitan area, is estimated between 8.2 million and 12.5 million making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and one of the largest in the EU.

Philip IV of Spain

Philip IV of Spain

Philip IV, also called the Planet King, was King of Spain from 1621 to his death and King of Portugal from 1621 to 1640. Philip is remembered for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez, and his rule over Spain during the Thirty Years' War.

Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor

Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor

Charles VI was Holy Roman Emperor and ruler of the Austrian Habsburg monarchy from 1711 until his death, succeeding his elder brother, Joseph I. He unsuccessfully claimed the throne of Spain following the death of his relative, Charles II. In 1708, he married Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, by whom he had his four children: Leopold Johann, Maria Theresa, Maria Anna, and Maria Amalia.

Philip III of Spain

Philip III of Spain

Philip III was King of Spain. As Philip II, he was also King of Portugal, Naples, Sicily and Sardinia and Duke of Milan from 1598 until his death in 1621.

Maria Anna of Spain

Maria Anna of Spain

Maria Anna of Spain was a Holy Roman Empress and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia by marriage to Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor. She acted as regent on several occasions during the absences of her spouse, notably during his absence in Bohemia in 1645.

Balance of power (international relations)

Balance of power (international relations)

The balance of power theory in international relations suggests that states may secure their survival by preventing any one state from gaining enough military power to dominate all others. If one state becomes much stronger, the theory predicts it will take advantage of its weaker neighbors, thereby driving them to unite in a defensive coalition. Some realists maintain that a balance-of-power system is more stable than one with a dominant state, as aggression is unprofitable when there is equilibrium of power between rival coalitions.

Margaret Theresa of Spain

Margaret Theresa of Spain

Margaret Theresa of Spain was, by marriage to Leopold I, Holy Roman Empress, German Queen, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. She was the daughter of King Philip IV of Spain and the elder full-sister of Charles II, the last of the Spanish Habsburgs. She is the central figure in the famous Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, and the subject of many of his later paintings.

Maria Anna of Neuburg

Maria Anna of Neuburg

Maria Anna of Neuburg, was a German princess and member of the Wittelsbach family, who became Queen consort of Spain in 1689 as the second wife of Charles II, last Habsburg King of Spain.

Charles, Duke of Berry (1686–1714)

Charles, Duke of Berry (1686–1714)

Charles of France, Duke of Berry, was a grandson of Louis XIV of France. Although he was only a grandson of Louis XIV, Berry held the rank of fils de France, rather than petit-fils de France, as the son of the Dauphin, heir apparent to the throne. The Duke of Berry was for seven years (1700–1707) heir presumptive to the throne of Spain, until his elder brother Philip V of Spain fathered a son in 1707.

Personal life

Marriages and children

Dual Cypher of King Louis XIV & Queen Marie Thérèse
Dual Cypher of King Louis XIV & Queen Marie Thérèse

Louis and his wife Maria Theresa of Spain had six children from the marriage contracted for them in 1660. 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 never caused him unease on any other occasion.

Despite evidence of affection early on in their marriage, Louis was never faithful to Maria Theresa. He took a series of mistresses, both official and unofficial. Among the better documented are Louise de La Vallière (with whom he had five children; 1661–1667), Bonne de Pons d'Heudicourt (1665), Catherine Charlotte de Gramont (1665), Françoise-Athénaïs, Marquise de Montespan (with whom he had seven children; 1667–1680), Anne de Rohan-Chabot (1669–1675), Claude de Vin des Œillets (one child born in 1676), Isabelle de Ludres (1675–1678), and Marie Angélique de Scorailles (1679–1681), who died at age 19 in childbirth. Through these liaisons, he produced numerous illegitimate children, most of whom he married to members of cadet branches of the royal family.

Louis proved relatively more faithful to his second wife, Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon. He first met her through her work caring for his children by Madame de Montespan, noting the care she gave to his favourite, Louis Auguste, Duke of Maine.[102] The king was, at first, put off by her strict religious practice, but he warmed to her through her care for his children.[102]

When he legitimized his children by Madame de Montespan on 20 December 1673, Françoise d'Aubigné became the royal governess at Saint-Germain.[102] As governess, she was one of very few people permitted to speak to him as an equal, without limits.[102] It is believed that they were married secretly at Versailles on or around 10 October 1683[103] or January 1684.[104] This marriage, though never announced or publicly discussed, was an open secret and lasted until his death.[105]

Piety and religion

Louis XIV encouraged Catholic missions through the creation of the Paris Foreign Missions Society
Louis XIV encouraged Catholic missions through the creation of the Paris Foreign Missions Society

Louis was a pious and devout king who saw himself as the head and protector of the Catholic Church in France. He made his devotions daily regardless of where he was, following the liturgical calendar regularly.[106] Under the influence of his very religious second wife, he became much stronger in the practice of his Catholic faith.[107] This included banning opera and comedy performances during Lent.[107]

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, annual celebrations, such as those of Holy Week, and special ceremonies.[108] Louis established the Paris Foreign Missions Society, but his informal alliance with the Ottoman Empire was criticised for undermining Christendom.[109]

Patronage of the arts

Painting from 1667 depicting Louis as patron of the fine arts
Painting from 1667 depicting Louis as patron of the fine arts
The Cour royale and the Cour de marbre at Versailles
The Cour royale and the Cour de marbre at Versailles

Louis generously supported the royal court of France and those who worked under him. He brought the Académie Française under his patronage and became its "Protector". He allowed Classical French literature to flourish by protecting such writers as Molière, Racine, and La Fontaine, whose works remain influential to this day. Louis also patronised the visual arts by funding and commissioning artists such as Charles Le Brun, Pierre Mignard, Antoine Coysevox, and Hyacinthe Rigaud, whose works became famous throughout Europe. Composers and musicians such as Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jacques Champion de Chambonnières, and François Couperin thrived. In 1661, Louis founded the Académie Royale de Danse, and in 1669, the Académie d'Opéra, important driving events in the evolution of ballet. He also attracted, supported and patronized such artists as André Charles Boulle, who revolutionised marquetry with his art of inlay, today known as "Boulle work". Always on the lookout for new talent, the king launched music competitions: in 1683, Michel-Richard de Lalande thus became deputy master of the Royal Chapel, composing his Symphonies for the Soupers du Roy along with 77 large scale Grand Motets.

Over the course of four building campaigns, Louis converted a hunting lodge built by Louis XIII into the spectacular Palace of Versailles. With the exception of the current Royal Chapel (built near the end of his 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.

Bust of Louis XIV by Gianlorenzo Bernini
Bust of Louis XIV by Gianlorenzo Bernini

Several reasons have been suggested for the creation of the extravagant and stately palace, as well as the relocation of the monarchy's seat. The memoirist Saint-Simon speculated that Louis viewed Versailles as an isolated power centre where treasonous cabals could be more readily discovered and foiled.[61] There has also been speculation that the revolt of the Fronde caused Louis to hate Paris, which he abandoned for a country retreat, but his sponsorship of many public works in Paris, such as the establishment of a police force and of street-lighting,[110] lend little credence to this theory. As a further example of his continued care for the capital, Louis constructed the Hôtel des Invalides, a military complex and home to this day for officers and soldiers rendered infirm either by injury or old age. While pharmacology was still quite rudimentary in his day, the Invalides pioneered new treatments and set new standards for hospice treatment. The conclusion of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1668 also induced Louis to demolish Paris's northern walls in 1670 and replace them with wide tree-lined boulevards.[111]

Louis also renovated and improved the Louvre and other royal residences. Gian Lorenzo Bernini 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 in the centre of Paris. Bernini's plans were eventually shelved in favour of the elegant Louvre Colonnade designed by three Frenchmen: Louis Le Vau, Charles Le Brun, and Claude Perrault. With the relocation of the court to Versailles, the Louvre was given over to the arts and the public.[112] During his visit from Rome, Bernini also executed a renowned portrait bust of the king.

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Maria Theresa of Spain

Maria Theresa of Spain

Maria Theresa of Spain was Queen of France from 1660 to 1683 as the wife of King Louis XIV. She was born an Infanta of Spain and Portugal as the daughter of King Philip IV and Elisabeth of France, and was also an Archduchess of Austria as a member of the Spanish branch of the House of Habsburg.

Louise de La Vallière

Louise de La Vallière

Françoise Louise de La Vallière, Duchess of La Vallière and Vaujours, born Françoise Louise de La Baume Le Blanc de La Vallière, Mademoiselle de La Vallière was a French noblewoman and the first mistress of Louis XIV of France from 1661 to 1667. She was created suo jure Duchess of La Vallière and Duchess of Vaujours. After leaving the royal court, Louise dedicated her life to religion, becoming a nun in 1674.

Bonne de Pons d'Heudicourt

Bonne de Pons d'Heudicourt

Bonne de Pons d'Heudicourt, was a French courtier, known as the royal mistress of Louis XIV of France. She was known as La Grande Louve after her spouse, who was the king's official Master of the Wolf Hunt.

Catherine Charlotte de Gramont

Catherine Charlotte de Gramont

Catherine Charlotte de Gramont was the Princess of Monaco by marriage to Louis I of Monaco. She is known to have been a mistress of Louis XIV of France in 1666.

Anne de Rohan-Chabot

Anne de Rohan-Chabot

Anne de Rohan-Chabot was a French noble. A member of the House of Rohan, she was wife of the Prince of Soubise. It was she who brought the lordship of Soubise into the junior line of the House of Rohan. She was for some time the mistress of Louis XIV. She was sometimes called Madame de Frontenay due to being the Dame of Frontenay.

Claude de Vin des Œillets

Claude de Vin des Œillets

Claude de Vin des Œillets, known as Mademoiselle des Œillets, was a mistress of King Louis XIV of France and the companion of the official royal mistress and favourite Madame de Montespan. She was known for her involvement in the famous Affair of the Poisons (1679–1680).

Isabelle de Ludres

Isabelle de Ludres

Marie-Élisabeth "Isabelle" de Ludres, Marquess of Ludres was a French noblewoman and lady-in-waiting, known for being the mistress of Louis XIV, King of France between 1675 and 1676.

Cadet branch

Cadet branch

In history and heraldry, a cadet branch consists of the male-line descendants of a monarch's or patriarch's younger sons (cadets). In the ruling dynasties and noble families of much of Europe and Asia, the family's major assets—realm, titles, fiefs, property and income—have historically been passed from a father to his firstborn son in what is known as primogeniture; younger sons—cadets—inherited less wealth and authority to pass to future generations of descendants.

Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon

Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon

Françoise d'Aubigné, known first as Madame Scarron and subsequently as Madame de Maintenon, was a French noblewoman who secretly married King Louis XIV. Although she was never considered queen of France, she was one of the King's closest advisers and the royal children's governess. In 1686, she founded the Maison royale de Saint-Louis, a school for girls from poorer noble families.

Louis Auguste, Duke of Maine

Louis Auguste, Duke of Maine

Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, duc du Maine was an illegitimate son of Louis XIV and his official mistress, Madame de Montespan. The king's favourite son, he was the founder of the semi-royal House of Bourbon-Maine named after his title and his surname.

Lent

Lent

Lent is the solemn Christian religious observance in the liturgical year commemorating the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert and enduring temptation by Satan, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, before beginning his public ministry. Lent is observed in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, United Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions of Christianity. Some Anabaptist, Baptist, Reformed, and nondenominational Christian churches also observe Lent, although many churches in these traditions do not.

Holy Week

Holy Week

Holy Week is the most sacred week in the liturgical year in Christianity. In Eastern Churches, which includes Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Eastern Lutheran traditions, Holy Week occurs the week after Lazarus Saturday and starts on the evening of Palm Sunday. In the denominations of the Western Christianity, which includes the Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, Moravianism, Anglicanism, Methodism and Reformed Christianity, it begins with Palm Sunday and concludes on Easter Sunday. For all Christian traditions it is a moveable observance. In Eastern Rite Churches, Holy Week starts after 40 days of Lent and two transitional days, namely Saturday of Lazarus and Palm Sunday. In the Western Christian Churches, Holy Week falls on the last week of Lent or Sixth Lent Week.

Image and depiction

Bronze bust of Louis XIV. Circa 1660, by an unknown artist. From Paris, France. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Bronze bust of Louis XIV. Circa 1660, by an unknown artist. From Paris, France. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Few rulers in world history have commemorated themselves in as grand a manner as Louis.[113] He cultivated his image as the Sun King (le Roi Soleil), the center of the universe "without equal". Louis used court ritual and the arts to validate and augment his control over France. With his support, Colbert established from the beginning of Louis' 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 that diffused royal propaganda to the population at large.

Evolution of royal portraiture

Le roi gouverne par lui-même, modello for the central panel of the ceiling of the Hall of Mirrors ca. 1680 by Le Brun, (1619–1690)
Le roi gouverne par lui-même, modello for the central panel of the ceiling of the Hall of Mirrors ca. 1680 by Le Brun, (1619–1690)

Over his lifetime, Louis commissioned numerous works of art to portray himself, among them 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, which avoided depictions of the effect of smallpox that Louis contracted in 1647. In the 1660s, Louis began to be shown as a Roman emperor, the god Apollo, or Alexander the Great, as can be seen in many works of Charles Le Brun, such as sculpture, paintings, and the decor of major monuments.

The depiction of the king in this manner focused on allegorical or mythological attributes, instead of attempting to produce a true likeness. As Louis aged, so too did the manner in which he was depicted. Nonetheless, there was still a disparity between realistic representation and the demands of royal propaganda. There is no better illustration of this than in Hyacinthe Rigaud's frequently-reproduced Portrait of Louis XIV of 1701, in which a 63-year-old Louis appears to stand on a set of unnaturally young legs.[114]

Rigaud's portrait exemplified the height of royal portraiture during Louis' reign. Although Rigaud crafted a credible likeness of Louis, the portrait was neither meant as an exercise in realism nor to explore Louis' personal character. Certainly, Rigaud was concerned with detail and depicted the king's costume with great precision, down to his shoe buckle.[115]

However, Rigaud's intention was to glorify the monarchy. Rigaud's original, now housed in the Louvre, was originally meant as a gift to Louis' grandson, Philip V of Spain. 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 over a century later. In his work, Rigaud proclaims Louis' 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 draperies, serves to frame this image of majesty.

Other works of art

In addition to portraits, Louis commissioned at least 20 statues of himself in the 1680s, to stand in Paris and provincial towns as physical manifestations of his rule. He also commissioned "war artists" to follow him on campaigns to document his military triumphs. To remind the people of these triumphs, Louis erected permanent triumphal arches in Paris and the provinces for the first time since the decline of the Roman Empire.

Louis' reign marked the birth and infancy of the art of medallions. Sixteenth-century rulers had often issued medals in small numbers to commemorate the major events of their reigns. Louis, however, struck more than 300 to celebrate the story of the king in bronze, that were enshrined in thousands of households throughout France.

He also used tapestries as a medium of exalting the monarchy. Tapestries could be allegorical, depicting the elements or seasons, or realist, portraying royal residences or historical events. They were among the most significant means to spread royal propaganda prior to the construction of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.[116]

Ballet

Louis XIV as Apollo in the Ballet Royal de la Nuit (1653)
Louis XIV as Apollo in the Ballet Royal de la Nuit (1653)
Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles
Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles

Louis loved ballet and frequently danced in court ballets during the early half of his reign. In general, Louis was an eager dancer who performed 80 roles in 40 major ballets. This approaches the career of a professional ballet dancer.[117]

His choices were strategic and varied. He danced four parts in three of Molière's comédies-ballets, which are 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.

He sometimes danced leading roles that were suitably royal or godlike (such as Neptune, Apollo, or the Sun).[117] At other times, he would adopt mundane roles before appearing at the end in the lead role. It is considered that, at all times, he provided his roles with sufficient majesty and drew the limelight with his flair for dancing.[117] For Louis, ballet may not have merely been a tool for manipulation in his propaganda machinery. The sheer number of performances he gave as well as the diversity of roles he played may serve to indicate a deeper understanding and interest in the art form.[117][118]

Ballet dancing was actually used by Louis as a political tool to hold power over his state. He integrated ballet deeply in court social functions and fixated his nobles' attention on upholding standards in ballet dancing, effectively distracting them from political activities.[119] In 1661, the Royal Academy of Dance was founded by Louis to further his ambition. Pierre Beauchamp, his private dance instructor, was ordered by Louis to come up with a notation system to record ballet performances, which he did with great success. His work was adopted and published by Feuillet in 1700 as Choregraphie. This major development in ballet played an important role in promoting French culture and ballet throughout Europe during Louis' time.[120]

Louis greatly emphasized etiquettes in ballet dancing, evidently seen in "La belle danse" (the French noble style). More challenging skills were required to perform this dance with movements very much resembling court behaviours, as a way to remind the nobles of the king's absolute power and their own status. All the details and rules were compressed in five positions of the bodies codified by Beauchamp.[121]

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 rumours that provided an alternative interpretation of Louis and his government. They often focused on the miseries arising from poor government, but also carried the hope for a better future when Louis 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.[122]

In fiction

Literature

  • Alexandre Dumas portrayed Louis in his two sequels to his 1844 novel The Three Musketeers: first as a child in Twenty Years After (1845), then as a young man in The Vicomte de Bragelonne (1847–1850), in which he is a central character. The final part of the latter novel recounts the legend that a mysterious prisoner in an iron mask was actually Louis' twin brother and has spawned numerous film adaptations generally titled The Man in the Iron Mask.
  • In 1910, the American historical novelist Charles Major 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 Angélique series. 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, a series of four alternate history novels written by American science fiction and fantasy author Gregory Keyes.
  • Louis features significantly in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, specifically in the 2003 novel 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.
  • He is called the son of Apollo in Rick Riordan's Trials of Apollo series.
  • Louis XIV is portrayed in Vonda N. McIntyre's 1997 novel The Moon and the Sun.

Films

Television

  • The 15-year-old Louis XIV, as played by the Irish actor Robert Sheehan, is a major character of the short-lived historical fantasy series Young Blades from January to June 2005.
  • George Blagden portrays Louis XIV in the Canal+ series Versailles which aired for three seasons from 2015.

Musicals

Discover more about Image and depiction related topics

Hall of Mirrors

Hall of Mirrors

The Hall of Mirrors is a grand Baroque style gallery and one of the most emblematic rooms in the royal Palace of Versailles near Paris, France. The grandiose ensemble of the hall and its adjoining salons was intended to illustrate the power of the absolutist monarch Louis XIV. Located on the first floor of the palace's central body, it faces west towards the Palace Gardens. The Hall of Mirrors has been the scene of events of great historic significance, including the Proclamation of the German Empire and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

Charles Le Brun

Charles Le Brun

Charles Le Brun was a French painter, physiognomist, art theorist, and a director of several art schools of his time. As court painter to Louis XIV, who declared him "the greatest French artist of all time", he was a dominant figure in 17th-century French art and much influenced by Nicolas Poussin.

Apollo

Apollo

Apollo is one of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The national divinity of the Greeks, Apollo has been recognized as a god of archery, music and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases, the Sun and light, poetry, and more. One of the most important and complex of the Greek gods, he is the son of Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Seen as the most beautiful god and the ideal of the kouros. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu.

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great

Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon. He succeeded his father Philip II to the throne in 336 BC at the age of 20, and spent most of his ruling years conducting a lengthy military campaign throughout Western Asia and Egypt. By the age of 30, he had created one of the largest empires in history, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered to be one of history's greatest and most successful military commanders.

Hyacinthe Rigaud

Hyacinthe Rigaud

Jacint Rigau-Ros i Serra, known in French as Hyacinthe Rigaud, was a Catalan-French baroque painter most famous for his portraits of Louis XIV and other members of the French nobility.

Louvre

Louvre

The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world's most-visited museum, and a historic landmark in Paris, France. It is the home of some of the best-known works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city's 1st arrondissement. At any given point in time, approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are being exhibited over an area of 72,735 square meters. Attendance in 2022 was 7.8 million visitors, up 170 percent from 2021, but still below the 10.8 million visitors in 2018 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charles X

Charles X

Charles X was King of France from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. An uncle of the uncrowned Louis XVII and younger brother to reigning kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile. After the Bourbon Restoration in 1814, Charles became the leader of the ultra-royalists, a radical monarchist faction within the French court that affirmed rule by divine right and opposed the concessions towards liberals and guarantees of civil liberties granted by the Charter of 1814. Charles gained influence within the French court after the assassination of his son Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry, in 1820 and succeeded his brother Louis XVIII in 1824.

Fall of the Western Roman Empire

Fall of the Western Roman Empire

The fall of the Western Roman Empire was the loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire, a process in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into several successor polities. The Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control over its Western provinces; modern historians posit factors including the effectiveness and numbers of the army, the health and numbers of the Roman population, the strength of the economy, the competence of the emperors, the internal struggles for power, the religious changes of the period, and the efficiency of the civil administration. Increasing pressure from invading barbarians outside Roman culture also contributed greatly to the collapse. Climatic changes and both endemic and epidemic disease drove many of these immediate factors. The reasons for the collapse are major subjects of the historiography of the ancient world and they inform much modern discourse on state failure.

Medal

Medal

A medal or medallion is a small portable artistic object, a thin disc, normally of metal, carrying a design, usually on both sides. They typically have a commemorative purpose of some kind, and many are presented as awards. They may be intended to be worn, suspended from clothing or jewellery in some way, although this has not always been the case. They may be struck like a coin by dies or die-cast in a mould.

Ballet Royal de la Nuit

Ballet Royal de la Nuit

The Ballet Royal de la Nuit, Ballet Royal de la Nuict in its original spelling and often referred to simply as the Ballet de la Nuit, is a ballet de cour with a libretto by Isaac de Benserade and music by Jean de Cambefort, Jean-Baptiste Boësset, Michel Lambert and possibly others, which premiered on February 23, 1653, at the Salle du Petit-Bourbon in Paris. It took 13 hours to perform and debuted fourteen year old Louis XIV as Apollo, the Sun King.

French ballet

French ballet

In the French courts during the 17th Century, ballet first begins to flourish with the help of several important men: King Louis XIV, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Pierre Beauchamps, and Molière. The combination of different talents and passions of these four men shaped ballet to what it is today.

Académie Royale de Danse

Académie Royale de Danse

The Académie Royale de Danse, founded by Letters Patent on the initiative of King Louis XIV of France in March 1661, was the first dance institution established in the Western world. As one of King Louis’ first official edicts after the death of royal adviser Jules Mazarin, the “Letters Patent of the King to Establish a Royal Academy of Dance in the City of Paris” represented a critical step towards the young King's wielding of consolidated personal power. Structurally, the Académie consisted of thirteen dancing masters selected by King Louis XIV for being the “most experienced in the Art [of dance].” This "experience" was determined by each dancer's history of success in previous royal productions of ballets de cour. Most famously, eight of the selected dancing masters performed with King Louis XIV during his portrayal of Apollo, the Sun King, in Le Ballet de la nuit (1653). Although the object of the Académie was to reflect, analyze and normalize matters of dance, no document relating to its activity or to this theorization has survived. The Académie Royale de Musique, founded in 1669 as the Académie d'Opéra, was a closely related opera and ballet company, and although the two institutions never merged, members of the dance academy were also associated with the opera. Little by little, recruitment of dancers into the royal entourage gave way to recruitment into the ballet-corps of the Opéra. This slowly altered the Académie's profile, making it and its members more dedicated to dance training alone. By 1775, the Académie was nearing the end of its life. On joining the Académie, Jean-Georges Noverre, one of ballet d’action’s most influential choreographers, commented on its ineffectiveness in making meaningful contributions to the dance world. But Noverre’s dismissive remarks concerning the organization cannot be taken at face value, since on a number of accounts, his statements are polemical, biased and misleading. It is often claimed that the Académie ceased to exist after 1778, merely because a list of the thirteen members was no longer published after this date, or alternatively after 1789, with the coming of French Revolution and the abolition or nationalization of royal institutions. In a tribute to his deceased brother Maximilien published in the Courrier des spectacles , Pierre Gardel, the head choreographer at the Paris Opéra at that time, writes that “these positions, which came with a pension [of 500 livres], passed in turn to the most distinguished dancers. Citizens [Auguste] Vestris and [Pierre] Gardel, currently at the Théâtre de la République et des Arts, are the last to have enjoyed these.” It appears then that the Académie was indeed defunct by 1798. The opera and ballet company has survived and today is known as the Opéra National de Paris.

Health and death

Louis XIV (seated) with his son le Grand Dauphin (to the left), his grandson Louis, Duke of Burgundy (to the right), his great-grandson Louis Duke of Anjou, and Madame de Ventadour, Anjou's governess, who commissioned this painting; busts of Henry IV and Louis XIII are in the background.
Louis XIV (seated) with his son le Grand Dauphin (to the left), his grandson Louis, Duke of Burgundy (to the right), his great-grandson Louis Duke of Anjou, and Madame de Ventadour, Anjou's governess, who commissioned this painting; busts of Henry IV and Louis XIII are in the background.

Despite the image of a healthy and virile king that Louis sought to project, evidence exists to suggest that his health was not very good. He had many ailments: for example, symptoms of diabetes, as confirmed in reports of suppurating periostitis in 1678, dental abscesses in 1696, along with recurring boils, fainting spells, gout, dizziness, hot flushes, and headaches.

From 1647 to 1711, the three chief physicians to the king (Antoine Vallot, Antoine d'Aquin, and Guy-Crescent Fagon) recorded all of his health problems in the Journal de Santé du Roi (Journal of the King's Health), a daily report of his health. On 18 November 1686, Louis underwent a painful operation for an anal fistula that was performed by the surgeon Charles Felix de Tassy, who prepared a specially shaped curved scalpel for the occasion. The wound took more than two months to heal.[123]

Louis died of gangrene at Versailles on 1 September 1715, four days before his 77th birthday, after 72 years on the throne. Enduring much pain in his last days, he finally "yielded up his soul without any effort, like a candle going out", while reciting the psalm Deus, in adjutorium me festina (O Lord, make haste to help me).[124] His body was laid to rest in Saint-Denis Basilica outside Paris. It remained there undisturbed for about 80 years until revolutionaries exhumed and destroyed all of the remains found in the Basilica.[125]

Cardinal Armand Gaston Maximilien de Rohan gave Last Rites (confession, viaticum, and unction) to king Louis XIV.[126]

Succession

Louis outlived most of his immediate legitimate family. His last surviving legitimate son, the Dauphin, died in 1711. Barely a year later, the Duke of Burgundy, the eldest of the Dauphin's three sons and then heir-apparent to Louis, followed his father. Burgundy's elder son, Louis, Duke of Brittany, joined them a few weeks later. Thus, on his deathbed, Louis' heir-apparent was his five-year-old great-grandson, Louis, Duke of Anjou, Burgundy's younger son.

Louis foresaw an underaged successor and sought to restrict the power of his nephew Philip II, Duke of Orléans, who, as his closest surviving legitimate relative in France, would probably become regent to the prospective Louis XV. Accordingly, the king created a regency council as Louis XIII had in anticipation of Louis XIV's own minority, with some power vested in his illegitimate son Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, Duke of Maine.[127] Orléans, however, had Louis' will annulled by the Parlement of Paris after his death and made himself sole regent. He stripped Maine and his brother, Louis-Alexandre, Count of Toulouse, of the rank of Prince of the Blood, which Louis had granted them, and significantly reduced Maine's power and privileges.[128]

Line of succession in 1715

Line of succession to the French throne upon the death of Louis XIV in 1715. Louis XIV's only surviving legitimate grandson, Philip V, was not included in the line of succession due to having renounced the French throne after the war of the Spanish Succession, which lasted for 13 years after the death of Charles II of Spain in 1700.[129]

Further down the French line of succession in 1715 was the House of Conde, followed by the House of Conti (a cadet branch of the House of Conde). Both of these royal houses were descended in the male line from Henri II, Prince of Conde, a second cousin of French King Louis XIII (the father of Louis XIV) in the male line.

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Madame de Ventadour

Madame de Ventadour

Charlotte de La Motte Houdancourt, Duchess of Ventadour was a French office holder of the French Royal Court. She was the governess of King Louis XV of France, great-grandson of King Louis XIV. She is credited with saving Louis XV from the ministrations of the royal doctors when he was ill as a child. She was the Gouvernante des enfants royaux, Governess of the Children of France like her mother, granddaughter, granddaughter in law and great grand daughter.

Henry IV of France

Henry IV of France

Henry IV, also known by the epithets Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a Catholic zealot, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII.

Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a group of common endocrine diseases characterized by sustained high blood sugar levels. Diabetes is due to either the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the cells of the body not responding properly to the insulin produced. Diabetes, if left untreated, leads to many health complications. Untreated or poorly treated diabetes accounts for approximately 1.5 million deaths per year.

Dental abscess

Dental abscess

A dental abscess is a localized collection of pus associated with a tooth. The most common type of dental abscess is a periapical abscess, and the second most common is a periodontal abscess. In a periapical abscess, usually the origin is a bacterial infection that has accumulated in the soft, often dead, pulp of the tooth. This can be caused by tooth decay, broken teeth or extensive periodontal disease. A failed root canal treatment may also create a similar abscess.

Boil

Boil

A boil, also called a furuncle, is a deep folliculitis, which is an infection of the hair follicle. It is most commonly caused by infection by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, resulting in a painful swollen area on the skin caused by an accumulation of pus and dead tissue. Boils which are expanded are basically pus-filled nodules. Individual boils clustered together are called carbuncles. Most human infections are caused by coagulase-positive S. aureus strains, notable for the bacteria's ability to produce coagulase, an enzyme that can clot blood. Almost any organ system can be infected by S. aureus.

Gout

Gout

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis characterized by recurrent attacks of a red, tender, hot and swollen joint, caused by the deposition of needle-like crystals of uric acid known as monosodium urate crystals. Pain typically comes on rapidly, reaching maximal intensity in less than 12 hours. The joint at the base of the big toe is affected (Podagra) in about half of cases. It may also result in tophi, kidney stones, or kidney damage.

Dizziness

Dizziness

Dizziness is an imprecise term that can refer to a sense of disorientation in space, vertigo, or lightheadedness. It can also refer to disequilibrium or a non-specific feeling, such as giddiness or foolishness.

Headache

Headache

Headache, also known as cephalalgia, is the symptom of pain in the face, head, or neck. It can occur as a migraine, tension-type headache, or cluster headache. There is an increased risk of depression in those with severe headaches.

Antoine d'Aquin

Antoine d'Aquin

Antoine d'Aquin born in 1629 in Paris and died on 17 May 1696 in Vichy was a French physician. In April 1672, he became the king's first doctor in the service of Louis XIV. He was Lord and Count de Jouy-en-Josas.

Guy-Crescent Fagon

Guy-Crescent Fagon

Guy-Crescent Fagon was a French physician and botanist. He came from nobility and his uncle, Guy de La Brosse, had founded the Royal Gardens. Fagon was director of the gardens too. His substitute professors were Gilles-François Boulduc, Antoine de Saint-Yon and Étienne François Geoffroy.

Anal fistula

Anal fistula

Anal fistula is a chronic abnormal communication between the anal canal and usually the perianal skin. An anal fistula can be described as a narrow tunnel with its internal opening in the anal canal and its external opening in the skin near the anus. Anal fistulae commonly occur in people with a history of anal abscesses. They can form when anal abscesses do not heal properly.

Gangrene

Gangrene

Gangrene is a type of tissue death caused by a lack of blood supply. Symptoms may include a change in skin color to red or black, numbness, swelling, pain, skin breakdown, and coolness. The feet and hands are most commonly affected. If the gangrene is caused by an infectious agent, it may present with a fever or sepsis.

Legacy

Reputation

According to Philippe de Courcillon's Journal, Louis on his deathbed advised his heir with these words:

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.[130]

Territorial expansion of France under Louis XIV (1643–1715) is depicted in orange.
Territorial expansion of France under Louis XIV (1643–1715) is depicted in orange.

Some historians point out that it was a customary demonstration of piety in those days to exaggerate one's sins. Thus they do not place much emphasis on Louis' deathbed declarations in assessing his accomplishments. Rather, they focus on military and diplomatic successes, such as how he placed a French prince on the Spanish throne. This, they contend, ended the threat of an aggressive Spain that historically interfered in domestic French politics. These historians also emphasise the effect of Louis' wars in expanding France's boundaries and creating more defensible frontiers that preserved France from invasion until the Revolution.[130]

Arguably, Louis also applied himself indirectly to "the alleviation of the burdens of [his] subjects." For example, he patronised the arts, encouraged industry, fostered trade and commerce, and sponsored the founding of an overseas empire. Moreover, the significant reduction in civil wars and aristocratic rebellions during his reign are seen by these historians as the result of Louis' consolidation of royal authority over feudal elites. In their analysis, his early reforms centralised France and marked the birth of the modern French state. They regard the political and military victories as well as numerous cultural achievements as the means by which Louis helped raise France to a preeminent position in Europe.[131] Europe came to admire France for its military and cultural successes, power, and sophistication. Europeans generally began to emulate French manners, values, goods, and deportment. French became the universal language of the European elite.

Louis' detractors have argued that his considerable foreign, military and domestic expenditure impoverished and bankrupted France. His supporters, however, distinguish the state, which was impoverished, from France, which was not. As supporting evidence, they cite the literature of the time, such as the social commentary in Montesquieu's Persian Letters.[132]

Alternatively, Louis' critics attribute the social upheaval culminating in the French Revolution to his failure to reform French institutions while the monarchy was still secure. Other scholars counter that there was little reason to reform institutions that largely worked well under Louis. They also maintain that events occurring almost 80 years after his death were not reasonably foreseeable to Louis and that in any case, his successors had sufficient time to initiate reforms of their own.[133]

Royal procession passing the Pont-Neuf under Louis XIV
Royal procession passing the Pont-Neuf under Louis XIV

Louis has often been criticised for his vanity. The memoirist Saint-Simon, 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.

For his part, Voltaire saw Louis' vanity as the cause for his bellicosity:

It is certain that he passionately wanted glory, rather than the conquests themselves. In the acquisition of Alsace and half of Flanders, and of all of Franche-Comté, what he really liked was the name he made for himself.[134]

Nonetheless, Louis has also received praise. The anti-Bourbon Napoleon described him not only as "a great king", but also as "the only King of France worthy of the name".[135] Leibniz, the German Protestant philosopher, commended him as "one of the greatest kings that ever was".[136] And Lord Acton admired him as "by far the ablest man who was born in modern times on the steps of a throne".[137] The historian and philosopher Voltaire wrote: "His name can never be pronounced without respect and without summoning the image of an eternally memorable age".[138] Voltaire's history, The Age of Louis XIV, named Louis' reign as not only one of the four great ages in which reason and culture flourished, but the greatest ever.[139][140]

In 1848, at Nuneham House, a piece of Louis' mummified heart, taken from his tomb and kept in a silver locket by Lord Harcourt, Archbishop of York, was shown to the Dean of Westminster, William Buckland, who ate it.[141]

Quotes

Numerous quotes have been attributed to Louis XIV by legend.

The well-known "I am the state" ("L'État, c'est moi.") was reported from at least the late 18th century.[142] It was widely repeated but also denounced as apocryphal by the early 19th century.[143][b][144]

He did say, "Every time I appoint someone to a vacant position, I make a hundred unhappy and one ungrateful."[145][146] Louis is recorded by numerous eyewitnesses as having said on his deathbed: "Je m'en vais, mais l'État demeurera toujours." ("I depart, but the State shall always remain.")[147]

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Philippe de Courcillon

Philippe de Courcillon

Philippe de Courcillon, Marquis de Dangeau was a French officer and author.

Montesquieu

Montesquieu

Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, man of letters, historian, and political philosopher.

Persian Letters

Persian Letters

Persian Letters is a literary work, published in 1721, by Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu, recounting the experiences of two fictional Persian noblemen, Usbek and Rica, who spend several years in France under Louis XIV and the Regency.

Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon

Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon

Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, GE, was a French soldier, diplomat, and memoirist. He was born in Paris at the Hôtel Selvois, 6 rue Taranne. The family's ducal peerage (duché-pairie), granted in 1635 to his father Claude de Rouvroy (1608–1693), served as both perspective and theme in Saint-Simon's life and writings. He was the second and last Duke of Saint-Simon.

Napoleon

Napoleon

Napoleon Bonaparte, later known by his regnal name Napoleon I, was a French military commander and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars. He was the de facto leader of the French Republic as First Consul from 1799 to 1804, then Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814 and again in 1815. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy endures to this day, as a highly celebrated and controversial leader. He initiated many liberal reforms that have persisted in society, and is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His wars and campaigns are studied by militaries all over the world. Between three and six million civilians and soldiers perished in what became known as the Napoleonic Wars.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz was a German polymath active as a mathematician, philosopher, scientist and diplomat. He is a prominent figure in both the history of philosophy and the history of mathematics. He wrote works on philosophy, theology, ethics, politics, law, history and philology. Leibniz also made major contributions to physics and technology, and anticipated notions that surfaced much later in probability theory, biology, medicine, geology, psychology, linguistics and computer science. In addition, he contributed to the field of library science by devising a cataloguing system whilst working at Wolfenbüttel library in Germany that would have served as a guide for many of Europe's largest libraries. Leibniz's contributions to a wide range of subjects were scattered in various learned journals, in tens of thousands of letters and in unpublished manuscripts. He wrote in several languages, primarily in Latin, French and German, but also in English, Italian and Dutch.

The Age of Louis XIV

The Age of Louis XIV

The Age of Louis XIV is a historical work by the French historian, philosopher, and writer Voltaire, first published in 1751. Through it, the French 17th century became identified with Louis XIV of France, who reigned from 1643 to 1715.

Nuneham House

Nuneham House

Nuneham House is an eighteenth century villa in the Palladian style, set in parkland at Nuneham Courtenay in Oxfordshire, England. It is currently owned by Oxford University and is used as a retreat centre by the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. In September 2016 the house and a thousand acres of surrounding parkland and farmland, including the village of Nuneham Courtenay, were put up for sale in three separate lots for a total of £22 million.

Edward Venables-Vernon-Harcourt

Edward Venables-Vernon-Harcourt

Edward Venables-Vernon-Harcourt was a Church of England bishop. He was the Bishop of Carlisle from 1791 to 1807 and then the Archbishop of York until his death.

Archbishop of York

Archbishop of York

The archbishop of York is a senior bishop in the Church of England, second only to the archbishop of Canterbury. The archbishop is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and the metropolitan bishop of the province of York, which covers the northern regions of England as well as the Isle of Man.

Dean of Westminster

Dean of Westminster

The Dean of Westminster is the head of the chapter at Westminster Abbey. Due to the Abbey's status as a Royal Peculiar, the dean answers directly to the British monarch. Initially, the office was a successor to that of Abbot of Westminster, and was for the first 10 years cathedral dean for the Diocese of Westminster. The current dean is David Hoyle.

L'État, c'est moi

L'État, c'est moi

L'État, c'est moi is an apocryphal saying attributed to Louis XIV, King of France and Navarre, it was allegedly said on 13 April 1655 before the Parliament of Paris. It is supposed to recall the primacy of the royal authority in a context of defiance with the Parliament, which contests royal edicts taken in lit de justice on 20 March 1655. The phrase symbolizes absolute monarchy and absolutism.

Arms

Coat of arms of Louis XIV
Grand Royal Coat of Arms of France & Navarre.svg
Notes
Upon his accession to the throne Louis assumed the royal coat of arms of France & Navarre.[148]
Adopted
1643–1715
Crest
The Royal crown of France
Helm
An opened gold helmet, with blue and gold mantling.
Escutcheon
Azure, three fleurs-de-lis Or (for France) impaling Gules on a chain in cross saltire and orle Or an emerald Proper (for Navarre).
Supporters
The two supporters are two angels, acting as heralds for the two realms. The dexter angel carries a standard with the arms of France, and wearing a tabard with the same arms. The sinister angel also carries a standard and wears a tabard, but that of Navarre. Both are standing on puffs of cloud.
Motto
The motto is written in gold on a blue ribbon: MONTJOIE SAINT DENIS the war cry of France, Saint Denis was also the abbey where the oriflamme was kept.
Orders
The escutcheons are surrounded first by the chain of the Order of Saint Michael and by the chain of the Order of the Holy Spirit, both were known as the ordres du roi.
Other elements
Above all is a pavilion armoyé with the Royal crown. From it, is a royal blue mantle with a semis of fleurs-de-lis Or, lined on the inside with ermine.
Banner
Royal Standard of King Louis XIV.svg Royal standard of the king

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Coat of arms

Coat of arms

A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon, surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement, which in its whole consists of a shield, supporters, a crest, and a motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to the armiger. The term itself of 'coat of arms' describing in modern times just the heraldic design, originates from the description of the entire medieval chainmail 'surcoat' garment used in combat or preparation for the latter.

French Crown Jewels

French Crown Jewels

The French Crown Jewels comprise the crowns, orb, sceptres, diadems and jewels that were symbols of Royal power between 752 and 1825. These were worn by many Kings and Queens of France as well as Emperor Napoleon. The set was finally broken up, with most of it sold off in 1885 by the Third Republic. The surviving French Crown Jewels, principally a set of historic crowns, diadems and parures, are mainly on display in the Galerie d'Apollon of the Louvre, France's premier museum and former royal palace, together with the Regent Diamond, the Sancy Diamond and the 105-carat (21.0 g) Côte-de-Bretagne red spinel, carved into the form of a dragon. In addition, some gemstones and jewels are on display in the Treasury vault of the Mineralogy gallery in the National Museum of Natural History.

Herald

Herald

A herald, or a herald of arms, is an officer of arms, ranking between pursuivant and king of arms. The title is commonly applied more broadly to all officers of arms.

Tabard

Tabard

A tabard is a type of short coat that was commonly worn by men during the late Middle Ages and early modern period in Europe. Generally worn outdoors, the coat was either sleeveless or had short sleeves or shoulder pieces. In its more developed form it was open at the sides, and it could be worn with or without a belt. Though most were ordinary garments, often work clothes, tabards might be emblazoned on the front and back with a coat of arms (livery), and in this form they survive as the distinctive garment of officers of arms.

Montjoie Saint Denis!

Montjoie Saint Denis!

Montjoie Saint Denis! was the battle-cry and motto of the Kingdom of France. It allegedly refers to Charlemagne's legendary banner, the Oriflamme, which was also known as the "Montjoie" and was kept at the Abbey of Saint Denis, though alternative explanations exist. The battle-cry was first known to be used during the 12th century reign of Louis VI of France, the first royal bearer of the Oriflamme.

Oriflamme

Oriflamme

The Oriflamme, a pointed, blood-red banner flown from a gilded lance, was the battle standard of the King of France in the Middle Ages. The oriflamme originated as the sacred banner of the Abbey of St. Denis, a monastery near Paris. When the oriflamme was raised in battle by the French royalty during the Middle Ages, most notably during the Hundred Years War, no prisoners were to be taken until it was lowered. Through that tactic, they hoped to strike fear into the hearts of the enemy, especially the nobles, who could usually expect to be taken alive for ransom during such military encounters.

Order of Saint Michael

Order of Saint Michael

The Order of Saint Michael is a French dynastic order of chivalry, founded by King Louis XI of France on 1 August 1469, in competitive response to the Order of the Golden Fleece founded by Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy, Louis' chief competitor for the allegiance of the great houses of France, the dukes of Orléans, Berry, and Brittany. As a chivalric order, its goal was to confirm the loyalty of its knights to the king. Originally, there were a limited number of knights, at first thirty-one, then increased to thirty-six including the king. An office of Provost was established in 1476. The Order of St Michael was the highest Order in France until it was superseded by the Order of the Holy Spirit.

Order of the Holy Spirit

Order of the Holy Spirit

The Order of the Holy Spirit, is a French order of chivalry founded by Henry III of France in 1578. Today, it is a dynastic order under the House of France.

Order of Saint Louis

On 5 April 1693, Louis also founded the Royal and Military Order of Saint Louis (French: Ordre Royal et Militaire de Saint-Louis), a military order of chivalry.[149][150] 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, with which it shares the red ribbon (though the Légion d'honneur is awarded to military personnel and civilians alike).

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Order of Saint Louis

Order of Saint Louis

The Royal and Military Order of Saint Louis is a dynastic order of chivalry founded 5 April 1693 by King Louis XIV, named after Saint Louis. It was intended as a reward for exceptional officers, notable as the first decoration that could be granted to non-nobles. By the authorities of the French Republic, it is considered a predecessor of the Legion of Honour, with which it shares the red ribbon.

French language

French language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the Latin spoken in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Order of chivalry

Order of chivalry

An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights, typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic military orders of the Crusades and paired with medieval concepts of ideals of chivalry.

Family

Ancestry

Patrilineal descent

Patrilineal descent

Louis' patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.

Patrilineal descent is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations - which means that if King Louis were to choose an historically accurate house name it would be Robertian, as all his male-line ancestors have been of that house.

Louis is a member of the House of Bourbon, a branch of the Capetian dynasty and of the Robertians.

Louis' patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son. It follows the Bourbon, Kings of France, and the Counts of Paris and Worms. This line can be traced back more than 1,200 years from Robert of Hesbaye to the present day, through Kings of France & Navarre, Spain and Two-Sicilies, Dukes of Parma and Grand-Dukes of Luxembourg, Princes of Orléans and Emperors of Brazil. It is one of the oldest in Europe.

  1. Robert II of Worms and Rheingau (Robert of Hesbaye), 770–807
  2. Robert III of Worms and Rheingau, 808–834
  3. Robert IV the Strong, 820–866
  4. Robert I of France, 866–923
  5. Hugh the Great, 895–956
  6. Hugh Capet, 941–996
  7. Robert II of France, 972–1031
  8. Henry I of France, 1008–1060
  9. Philip I of France, 1053–1108
  10. Louis VI of France, 1081–1137
  11. Louis VII of France, 1120–1180
  12. Philip II of France, 1165–1223
  13. Louis VIII of France, 1187–1226
  14. Louis IX of France, 1215–1270
  15. Robert, Count of Clermont, 1256–1317
  16. Louis I, Duke of Bourbon, 1279–1342
  17. James I, Count of La Marche, 1319–1362
  18. John I, Count of La Marche, 1344–1393
  19. Louis, Count of Vendôme, 1376–1446
  20. Jean VIII, Count of Vendôme, 1428–1478
  21. François, Count of Vendôme, 1470–1495
  22. Charles de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme, 1489–1537
  23. Antoine, King of Navarre, Duke of Vendôme, 1518–1562
  24. Henry IV, King of France and of Navarre, 1553–1610
  25. Louis XIII, King of France and Navarre, 1601–1643
  26. Louis XIV, King of France and Navarre, 1638–1715

Issue

Name Birth Death Notes
By Maria Theresa, Infanta of Spain, Archduchess of Austria, Queen of France and of Navarre (20 September 1638 – 30 July 1683)
Louis, le Grand Dauphin 1 November 1661 14 April 1711 Fils de France. Dauphin of France (1661–1711). Had issue. Father of Louis, Dauphin of France, Philip V of Spain and Charles, Duke of Berry. Grandfather of Louis XV of France
Anne Élisabeth 18 November 1662 30 December 1662 Fille de France. Died in infancy.
Marie Anne 16 November 1664 26 December 1664 Fille de France. Died in infancy.
Marie Thérèse 2 January 1667 1 March 1672 Fille de France. Known as Madame Royale and la Petite Madame. Died in childhood.
Philippe Charles, Duke of Anjou 5 August 1668 10 July 1671 Fils de France. Died in childhood.
Louis François, Duke of Anjou 14 June 1672 4 November 1672 Fils de France. Died in infancy.

This is an incomplete list of Louis XIV's illegitimate children. He reputedly had more, but the difficulty in fully documenting all such births restricts the list only to the better-known and/or legitimised.

Name Birth Death Notes
By NN, a gardener
Daughter 1660 unknown She married N de la Queue, a sentry.[157]
By Louise de La Vallière (6 August 1644 – 6 June 1710)
Charles de La Baume Le Blanc 19 December 1663 15 July 1665 (aged 1) Not legitimised.
Philippe de La Baume Le Blanc 7 January 1665 1666 (aged 1) Not legitimised.
Louis de La Baume Le Blanc 27 December 1665 1666 (aged 1) Not legitimised.[158][159]
Marie Anne de Bourbon 2 October 1666 3 May 1739 (aged 73) Legitimised on 14 May 1667. Married Louis Armand I, Prince of Conti.
Louis, Count of Vermandois 3 October 1667 18 November 1683 (aged 16) Legitimised on 20 February 1669. Held the office of Admiral of France.
By Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan (5 October 1641 – 27 May 1707)
Louise Françoise de Bourbon at the end of March 1669 23 February 1672 (aged 2)
Louis Auguste, Duke of Maine 31 March 1670 14 May 1736 (aged 66) Legitimised on 20 December 1673. Held numerous offices, of which: Colonel General of the Suisses et Grisons, Governor of Languedoc, General of the Galleys, and Grand Master of Artillery. Also Duke of Aumale, Count of Eu and Prince of Dombes. Had issue. Founder of the Maine Line. Heir presumptive for several days.
Louis César, Count of Vexin 20 June 1672 10 January 1683 (aged 10) Legitimised on 20 December 1673.
Louise Françoise de Bourbon 1 June 1673 16 June 1743 (aged 70) Legitimised on 20 December 1673. Married Louis III, Prince of Condé. Had issue.
Louise Marie Anne de Bourbon 12 November 1674 15 September 1681 (aged 6) Legitimised in January 1676.
Françoise Marie de Bourbon 9 February 1677 1 February 1749 (aged 72) Legitimised in November 1681. Married Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, the Regent of France under Louis XV. Had issue.
Louis Alexandre, Count of Toulouse 6 June 1678 1 December 1737 (aged 59) Legitimised on 22 November 1681. Held numerous offices, of which: Admiral of France, Governor of Guyenne, Governor of Brittany, and Grand Huntsman of France. Also Duke of Damville, of Rambouillet and of Penthièvre. Had issue.
by Claude de Vin, Mademoiselle des Œillets (1637 – 18 May 1687)
Louise de Maisonblanche c. 17 June 1676 12 September 1718 (aged 42) In 1696 she married Bernard de Prez, Baron de La Queue.[160]
by Angélique de Fontanges (1661 – 28 June 1681)
Son January 1680 January 1680 (stillborn)
Daughter March 1681 March 1681 (stillborn) Her existence is doubtful.

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Antoine of Navarre

Antoine of Navarre

Antoine de Bourbon, roi de Navarre was the King of Navarre through his marriage to Queen Jeanne III, from 1555 until his death. He was the first monarch of the House of Bourbon, of which he was head from 1537. Despite being first prince of the blood he was dominated by king Henry II's favourites the Montmorency and Guise families in regards to political influence. When Henri died in 1559 he found himself sidelined in the Guise-dominated government, and then compromised by his brother's treason. When Francis in turn died he returned to the centre of politics, becoming Lieutenant-General of France, and leading the army of the crown in the first of the French Wars of Religion. He died of wounds sustained during the Siege of Rouen. He was the father of Henry IV of France.

Henry IV of France

Henry IV of France

Henry IV, also known by the epithets Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a Catholic zealot, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII.

Jeanne d'Albret

Jeanne d'Albret

Jeanne d'Albret, also known as Jeanne III, was Queen of Navarre from 1555 to 1572.

Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany

Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany

Francesco I was the second Grand Duke of Tuscany, ruling from 1574 until his death in 1587. He was a member of the House of Medici.

Marie de' Medici

Marie de' Medici

Marie de' Medici was Queen of France and Navarre as the second wife of King Henry IV. Marie served as regent of France between 1610 and 1617 during the minority of her son Louis XIII. Her mandate as regent legally expired in 1614, when her son reached the age of majority, but she refused to resign and continued as regent until she was removed by a coup in 1617.

Joanna of Austria, Grand Duchess of Tuscany

Joanna of Austria, Grand Duchess of Tuscany

Joanna of Austria was an Archduchess of Austria. By marriage to Francesco I de' Medici, she was the Grand Princess of Tuscany and later the Grand Duchess of Tuscany. One of her daughters was Marie de' Medici, second wife of King Henry IV of France.

Anna of Austria, Queen of Spain

Anna of Austria, Queen of Spain

Anna of Austria was Queen of Spain by marriage to her uncle, King Philip II of Spain. During her last days of life she was also briefly Queen of Portugal.

Anne of Austria

Anne of Austria

Anne of Austria was an infanta of Spain who became Queen of France as the wife of King Louis XIII from their marriage in 1615 until Louis XIII died in 1643. She was also Queen of Navarre until that kingdom was annexed into the French crown in 1620. After her husband's death, Anne was regent to her son Louis XIV, during his minority, until 1651. During her regency, Cardinal Mazarin served as France's chief minister. Accounts of French court life of Anne's era emphasize her difficult marital relations with her husband, her closeness to her son, and her disapproval of her son's marital infidelity to her niece and daughter-in-law Maria Theresa.

Charles II, Archduke of Austria

Charles II, Archduke of Austria

Charles II Francis of Austria was an Archduke of Austria and ruler of Inner Austria from 1564. He was a member of the House of Habsburg.

Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain

Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain

Margaret of Austria was Queen of Spain and Portugal by her marriage to King Philip III & II.

House of Bourbon

House of Bourbon

The House of Bourbon is a European dynasty of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty, the royal House of France. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma. Spain and Luxembourg have monarchs of the House of Bourbon.

Capetian dynasty

Capetian dynasty

The Capetian dynasty, also known as the House of France, is a dynasty of Frankish origin, and a branch of the Robertians. It is among the largest and oldest royal houses in Europe and the world, and consists of Hugh Capet, the founder of the dynasty, and his male-line descendants, who ruled in France without interruption from 987 to 1792, and again from 1814 to 1848. The senior line ruled in France as the House of Capet from the election of Hugh Capet in 987 until the death of Charles IV in 1328. That line was succeeded by cadet branches, the Houses of Valois and then Bourbon, which ruled without interruption until the French Revolution abolished the monarchy in 1792. The Bourbons were restored in 1814 in the aftermath of Napoleon's defeat, but had to vacate the throne again in 1830 in favor of the last Capetian monarch of France, Louis Philippe I, who belonged to the House of Orléans. Cadet branches of the Capetian House of Bourbon house are still reigning over Spain and Luxembourg.

Source: "Louis XIV", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, March 22nd), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XIV.

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Notes
  1. ^ Some monarchs of states that were not fully sovereign for most of their reign ruled for longer. For example, Sobhuza II of Swaziland at 82 years and Lord Bernard VII of Lippe in the Holy Roman Empire at 81 years.[2]
  2. ^ The anecdote as circulated after the French Revolution, designed to illustrate the tyrannical character of the absolutism of the Ancien Régime, held that the president of the parlement began to address the king with the words Sire, l'Etat [...] but was cut off by the king interjecting L'Etat c'est moi.
References
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  2. ^ Buchanan, Rose Troup (29 August 2015). "Longest serving rulers ever". The Independent. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  3. ^ Spielvogel 2016, p. 419.
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  5. ^ a b Nathan 1993, p. 633.
  6. ^ Brémond, Henri (1908). La Provence mystique au XVIIe siècle (in French). Paris, France: Plon-Nourrit. pp. 381–382.
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  9. ^ Luc Panhuysen 2016, p. 26.
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  14. ^ Bély 2001, p. 57.
  15. ^ Sonnino 1998, pp. 217–218.
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  18. ^ Beem 2018, p. 83.
  19. ^ Barentine 2016, p. 131.
  20. ^ Dvornik 1962, p. 456.
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  70. ^ Sturdy 1998, pp. 96–97.
  71. ^ Bluche 1986, pp. 20–21.
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  73. ^ Sturdy 1998, p. 98, citing Scoville, Warren C. (1960). The Persecution of Huguenots and French Economic Development, 1680–1720. University of California Press. OCLC 707588406.
  74. ^ Edwards 2007, pp. 212–213.
  75. ^ Durant & Durant 1963, p. 691.
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  77. ^ Dunlop 2000, p. 313.
  78. ^ Lynn 1999, pp. 189–191.
  79. ^ Lynn 1999, pp. 192–193.
  80. ^ Lynn 1999, p. .
  81. ^ Wijn 1950, p. 28 & 58 & 71-72.
  82. ^ Lynn 1999, p. 209 & 227 & 235.
  83. ^ Lynn 1999, p. 209.
  84. ^ Quoted in Terlinden, Ch. (1958). "Les rapports de l'internonce Piazza sur le bombardement de Bruxelles en 1695". Cahiers bruxellois (in French). III (II): 85–106. aussi barbare qu'inutile
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  86. ^ Lynn 1999, p. 253.
  87. ^ Bluche 1986, p. 653.
  88. ^ Lossky 1994, p. 255.
  89. ^ Lynn 1999, p. 267.
  90. ^ a b Dunlop 2000, p. 353.
  91. ^ a b Lynn 1999, p. 268.
  92. ^ Kamen 2001, p. 6.
  93. ^ Dunlop 2000, p. 358.
  94. ^ Lynn 1999, p. 269, see footnote 1.
  95. ^ Lynn 1999, pp. 269–270.
  96. ^ Merryman 2007, p. 321.
  97. ^ Ó Gráda & Chevet 2002, pp. 706–733.
  98. ^ Lynn 1999, p. 326.
  99. ^ Lynn 1999, p. 334.
  100. ^ Lynn 1999, p. 342.
  101. ^ Lynn 1999, pp. 356–360.
  102. ^ a b c d Bryant 2004, p. 80.
  103. ^ Buckley 2008, p. 276.
  104. ^ Bryant 2004, p. 77.
  105. ^ Velde, François (11 November 2003). "Morganatic and Secret Marriages in the French Royal Family". Heraldica.org. Retrieved 10 July 2008. The description of the marriage as morganatic is inaccurate as French law does not define such marriages.
  106. ^ Wolf 1968, p. 280.
  107. ^ a b Bryant 2004, p. 83.
  108. ^ Gaudelus 2000, pp. 513–526.
  109. ^ Claydon 2007, p. 182.
  110. ^ Dunlop 2000, pp. 242–251.
  111. ^ Dunlop 2000, p. 247.
  112. ^ Bluche 1986, p. 497.
  113. ^ Burke 1992.
  114. ^ Perez 2003, pp. 62–95.
  115. ^ See also Schmitter, Amy M. (2002). "Representation and the Body of Power in French Academic Painting". Journal of the History of Ideas. 63 (3): 399–424. doi:10.1353/jhi.2002.0027. ISSN 0022-5037. JSTOR 3654315. S2CID 170904125.
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  118. ^ See also Louis' commissioned academy of dance, discussed in Needham, Maureen (1997). "Louis XIV and the Académie Royale de Danse, 1661: A Commentary and Translation". Dance Chronicle. 20/2 (2): 173–190. doi:10.1080/01472529708569278. JSTOR 1568065.
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  120. ^ Homans 2010, pp. 64–66.
  121. ^ Homans 2010, pp. 66–72.
  122. ^ Jens Ivo 2003, pp. 96–126.
  123. ^ Régnier 2009, p. 318.
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  125. ^ Schama 1990, p. 829.
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  137. ^ Durant & Durant 1963, p. 721.
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  143. ^ Marignié, Jean Etienne François (1818). Le roi ne peut jamais avoit tort, le roi ne peut mal faire [The king was not wrong, the king can do no wrong] (in French). Le Normant. p. 12.
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  146. ^ Wilson 2000, p. 54.
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  148. ^ Velde, François (22 April 2010). "Arms of France". heraldica.org.
  149. ^ * Hamilton, Walter (1895). Dated Book-plates (Ex Libris) with a Treatise on Their Origin. A.C. Black. p. 37.
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  154. ^ a b Marie de Médicis at the Encyclopædia Britannica
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  157. ^ Marek, Miroslav. "Capet 40". euweb.cz.
  158. ^ Bluche 2005, p. .
  159. ^ Petitfils 2011, p. .
  160. ^ "Suzanne de Mésenge". roglo.eu.
Bibliography
External links
Louis XIV
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 5 September 1638 Died: 1 September 1715
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of France
14 May 1643 – 1 September 1715
Succeeded by
Preceded by Co-Prince of Andorra
14 May 1643 – 1 September 1715
Succeeded by
French royalty
Preceded by Dauphin of France
5 September 1638 – 14 May 1643
Succeeded by
Categories

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