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HOME   -   PEOPLE IN HISTORY A-Z   -   LOUIS XIV

 
   


Louis XIV 1638-1715
Louis XIV 1638-1715

 

The Sun King. Absolutely.

Louis XIV was also called Louis the Great or The Sun King.

He became the image of the classic monarch with supreme powers, the personification of  absolutism.

 

Image Above

Detail from the portrait of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud, who created this artwork in 1701.

Museo Nacional del Prado


Louis ruled France for 72 years under his slogan


L'État C'est Moi

(I Am the State)

 

Possessing a love for all things refined, he stood in stark contrast to the rustic and sturdy medieval rulers.

Louis brought Versailles to its glorious days. He survived devastating personal calamities with dignity. Louis had numerous love affairs, enjoyed gambling, entertaining, and dancing. He even established the Royal Academy of Dance.

Fame and France were Louis's passions.

 

Louis XIV, 1638 - 1715

 

Louis XIV — The Sun King

Louis chose the sun as his royal symbol. Many parallels may be found, i.e. everything revolved around Louis, the brilliance of his court, etc.


And here is a map of the territorial acquisitions during the reign of Louis XIV:


Eastern France 1643
Eastern France 1643-1715


 

The Family of Louis XIV

Louis's parents were Louis XIII and Anne of Austria.

The brother of Louis XIV was Philippe I de France, duke d'Orléans.


In 1660, Louis XIV married Marie-Thérèse of Austria who died 1683.

In 1684, he married Françoise Scarron, a poor author's widow, who died 1719.

Louis' son was Louis, Dauphin de Viennois, Grand Dauphin (son of Marie-Thérèse.) Louis had many other illegitimate children.
 

Château de Versailles
Picture R & L Akerson.
Château de Versailles. Louis XIV transformed the former hunting
lodge of Louis XIII into a breathtaking royal residence.


Here is more about Louis' family, the House of Bourbon.

 

Louis XIV — Military Campaigns

Under Louis XIV, twenty marshals served in the French army. Originally, this dignity had been reserved for only one marshal at the time.
 

1667 - 1668 War of Devolution
Louis XIV makes war in Spain and conquers a large part of the Spanish Netherlands.


1672 - 1678 Dutch War
France invades the
Dutch Republic, almost overpowers it. Charles II of England is Louis' prisoner. England helps the French in their attacks upon Holland until 1674. Heroic resistance of the Dutch under the Prince of Orange.


In 1674, Louis conquers Franche-Comte.


In 1681, Louis invades and occupies Alsace.


In 1685, Louis commences a merciless persecution of his Protestant subjects.



1689 - 1697 War of the Grand Alliance
The Austrian Habsburgs, the English, and the Dutch allied against France in defense of Holland, thus Louis supported the
Jacobites.


1701 - 1714 War of Spanish Succession
The Spanish ruler Charles II died without an heir. England, the Dutch Republic, and France claimed to have the rightful successor. Louis believed his grandson Philip V to be the rightful heir. Philip V was crowned King of Spain.



 

Louis XIV — More Events

November 7, 1659 - Treaty of the Pyrenees

 

Louis XIV — The Succession

Because Louis XIV outlived his son and grandson, he was succeeded by his great-grandson Louis XV.

 


Here is a
Louis XIV's timeline.

See also Governments of France.

 

Regarding Louis' finances, see also

Taxation in Pre-Revolutionary France

and a