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by what name was louis xiv known?

by what name was louis xiv known?

by what name was louis xiv known?

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Louis XIV

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 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in history.[1][a] 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 Mazarin, Colbert, Louvois, the Grand Condé, Turenne, Vauban, Boulle, Molière, Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, Lully, Charpentier, Marais, Le Brun, Rigaud, Bossuet, Le Vau, Mansart, Charles Perrault, Claude Perrault, and Le Nôtre.

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 and, by compelling many members of the nobility to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde rebellion during his minority.

Gallican Catholic Church

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. He 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, and virtually destroying the French Protestant community.


During Louis’ 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 reign, the kingdom took part in three major continental conflicts, each against powerful foreign alliances: the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, 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 13-year-long War of Spanish succession.

Significant achievements during his reign which would go on to have a wide influence on the early modern era well into the Industrial Revolution and up to today, include the construction of the Canal du Midi, the creation of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles, the sponsorship and patronage of such artists and composers as Jean-Baptiste de Lully, Molière, and Hyacinthe Rigaud, as well as the founding of the French Academy of Sciences, among others.

Early life and marriage

Louis was the son of Louis XIII and his Spanish queen, Anne of Austria. He succeeded his father on May 14, 1643. At the age of four years and eight months, he was, according to the laws of the kingdom, not only the master but the owner of the bodies and property of 19 million subjects. Although he was saluted as “a visible divinity,” he was, nonetheless, a neglected child given over to the care of servants. He once narrowly escaped drowning in a pond because no one was watching him. Anne of Austria, who was to blame for this negligence, inspired him with a lasting fear of “crimes committed against God.”

Louis was nine years old when the nobles and the Paris Parlement (a powerful law court), driven by hatred of the prime minister Jules Cardinal Mazarin, rose against the crown in 1648. This marked the beginning of the long civil war known as the Fronde, in the course of which Louis suffered poverty, misfortune, fear, humiliation, cold, and hunger. These trials shaped the future character, behaviour, and mode of thought of the young king. He would never forgive either Paris, the nobles, or the common people.


In 1653 Mazarin was victorious over the rebels and then proceeded to construct an extraordinary administrative apparatus with Louis as his pupil. The young king also acquired Mazarin’s partiality for the arts, elegance, and display. Although he had been proclaimed of age, the king did not dream of disputing the cardinal’s absolute power.

The war begun in 1635 between France and Spain was then entering its last phase. The outcome of the war would transfer European hegemony from the Habsburgs to the Bourbons. A French king had to be a soldier, and so Louis served his apprenticeship on the battlefield.

In 1658 Louis faced the great conflict between love and duty, a familiar one for princes of that period. He struggled with himself for two years over his love for Mazarin’s niece, Marie Mancini. He finally submitted to the exigencies of politics and in 1660 married Marie-Thérèse of Austria, daughter of King Philip IV of Spain, in order to ratify peace between their two countries.

The childhood of Louis XIV was at an end, but no one believed him capable of seizing the reins of power. No one suspected his thoughts.


from royal residences to the palace of versailles

by what name was louis xiv known?

Until the official inauguration of the Palace of Versailles on 6 May 1682, the royal court often changed locations. Louis XIV and his courtiers were based in the Louvre Palace, then the Tuileries, alternating with stints at the Châteaux of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Vincennes, Fontainebleau and the rapidly-growing Versailles. The task of building and decorating the ultimate royal residence was entrusted to artists such as André Le Nôtre, Louis Le Vau, Charles Le Brun and Jules Hardouin-Mansart.

In 1678 work began on the Hall of Mirrors, the most potent symbol of the King’s absolute power. With enough room to house the whole court, the Palace and its surrounding buildings rapidly became symbols of an age when the nobility were prepared to go to any lengths to be close to the King, who respected the royal tradition whereby the monarch had to be accessible to his courtiers.

Under the sovereign’s watchful eye, the nobility could no longer plot against the throne; the great lords kept in their place in the army or at court, eager to serve and please the King. Intimidating, majestic, kept informed by an army of spies, the king controlled everything.

During the early years of Louis XIV’s reign, Anne and Mazarin introduced policies that further consolidated the monarchy’s power, angering nobles and members of the legal aristocracy. Beginning in 1648, their discontent erupted into a civil war known as the Fronde, which forced the royal family to flee Paris and instilled a lifelong fear of rebellion in the young king.

Mazarin suppressed the revolt in 1653 and by decade’s end had restored internal order and negotiated a peace treaty with Hapsburg Spain, making France a leading European power. The following year, 22-year-old Louis married his first cousin Marie-Thérèse (1638-1683), daughter of King Philip IV of Spain. A diplomatic necessity more than anything else, the union produced six children, of whom only one, Louis (1661-1711), survived to adulthood. (A number of illegitimate offspring resulted from Louis XIV’s affairs with a string of official and unofficial mistresses.)

Louis XIV Assumes Control of France

After Mazarin’s death in 1661, Louis XIV broke with tradition and astonished his court by declaring that he would rule without a chief minister. He viewed himself as the direct representative of God, endowed with a divine right to wield the absolute power of the monarchy. To illustrate his status, he chose the sun as his emblem and cultivated the image of an omniscient and infallible “Roi-Soleil” (“Sun King”) around whom the entire realm orbited. While some historians question the attribution, Louis often remembered for the bold and infamous statement “L’État, c’est moi” (“I am the State”).

A state named in his honor

When Frenchman René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle claimed the interior of North America drained by the Mississippi River and its tributaries for his country in 1682, the explorer named it Louisiana in honor of Louis XIV. The Louisiana Territory became American property after the United States purchased it in 1803, and the state of Louisiana joined the union in 1812.



Louis XIV died on September 1, 1715 of gangrene, a few days before his seventy-seventh birthday. His body lies in the Saint Denis Basilica in Saint Denis, a suburb of Paris. He had reigned for 72 years, making his the longest reign in the recorded history of Europe. Almost all of Louis XIV’s legitimate children died during childhood.

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