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 Louis XIV

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Louis XIV

  • Birth 5 Sep 1638 Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Departement des Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
  • Death 1 Sep 1715 Versailles, Departement des Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
  • Burial Saint-Denis, Departement de Seine-Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France
  • Memorial ID 7531

French Monarch. The longest-reigning monarch in European history, Louis ascended the throne at the age of four with his mother, Anne of Austria, acting as regent and her adviser, Cardinal Jules Raymond Mazarin, serving as first minister. While still a child, Louis saw his reign threatened by a series of rebellions collectively called "The Fronde." While these rebellions were unsuccessful, they impressed upon Louis the need for a strong central government and a weak nobility. Accordingly, he did not appoint a first minister after Mazarin's death. Louis' strategy would be a personal, absolutist rule, typified by his famous statement "I am the state (L'etat, c'est moi)." He systematically humbled the great nobles, appointing newly ennobled subjects with fewer hereditary claims to important positions. Further, he took steps to eliminate the autonomous Protestant Huguenot regions in France, revoking their charter in 1685 and forcing more than 200,000 into exile. His military campaigns sought to insulate France from foreign aggression and end France's encirclement by hostile neighbors. As such, he campaigned against the Spanish Netherlands in 1667 and against Dutch Protestants from 1672 to 1678. Though he did not build an Empire with these wars, Louis was able to secure additional security for France and partition his enemies' territory. Louis was also a master at cultivating a powerful public image, employing the great artists of the French Baroque to paint and sculpt his image in glorious manner. The centerpiece of this public display was his palace at Versailles, the most impressive royal residence of its day. Louis would also found the Academies of Painting and Sculpture, Science, and Architecture, commission works by dramatists like Moliere and composers like Jean Baptiste Lully, and take steps toward making Paris a modern city rather than a walled capitol. He faced several setbacks later in life in the War of the League of Augsburg (1688-1697) and the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713), the last of these being an unsuccessful attempt to secure the Spanish throne for his grandson Philip, thus creating a union of France and Spain. Successful in gaining French security but failing to establish French dominance, Louis passed away in 1715, his last words being "I depart; France remains."

Bio by: Stuthehistoryguy

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 10 Dec 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7531
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Louis XIV (5 Sep 1638–1 Sep 1715), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7531, citing Saint Denis Basilique, Saint-Denis, Departement de Seine-Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .