Birth September 5, 1638
Death September 1, 1715
Title King of France
(May 14, 1643 - September 1, 1715)
King of Navarre
Predecessor Louis XIII
Successor Louis XV
Son of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria
Spouse Maria Theresa of Austria
Children Louis of France (1661-1711)
Louis of France (1667-1683)
Louis XIV, named at birth Louis-Dieudonné and subsequently nicknamed the Sun King or Louis the Great (Saint-Germain-en-Laye, September 5, 1638 - Versailles, September 1, 1715) was, from May 14, 1643 until 'At his death, King of France and Navarre, the third of the House of Bourbon of the Capetian dynasty. Louis XIV, who reigned for 72 years, is the head of state who has governed France the longest, and its sovereign who has reached the oldest age. He is the longest reigning monarch in Europe.
Louis XIV acceded to the throne a few months after his fifth birthday, but after a minority very marked by the revolt of the Fronde (1648-1653), he did not personally assume control of the government until the death of his Prime Minister. , Cardinal Mazarin, in 1661. He never took a Prime Minister, and further accentuated his direct role in the State after the death of his powerful ministers Colbert (1683) and Louvois (1691). His reign marked the apogee of the secular construction of a royal absolutism by divine right. Louis XIV saw his absolute authority benefit from the historic end of the great revolts of nobles, parliamentarians, Protestants and peasants, which had marked the life of the kingdom for at least more than a century.
Louis XIV increased the territory of France and its power in Europe. He conducts diplomacy and war at will, fighting in several series of European wars. He fortified the cities conquered by Vauban and thus surrounded the new borders with their "iron belt", as part of a territorial policy of "pre-square" which redrew and rationalized the limits of the country. His personal government also coincides with an effort of economic, commercial and colonial development, led in particular by his minister Colbert, and which is the economic aspect of the search for French predominance. Under his reign, France acquired not only political and military but also cultural European preeminence thanks to the presence of intellectual figures protected by royal patronage, such as Molière, Racine, Boileau, Lully, Le Brun and Le Nôtre. Others more independent such as the poet La Fontaine, the philosopher Blaise Pascal, the epistolier Mme de Sévigné, the moralist La Bruyère or the memoirist Saint-Simon also make the reign the historical apogee of French classicism. These cultural performances contribute to the prestige of France, of its people, of its language spoken in all the elites and the courts of Europe, and of course of its king. From his lifetime he was spoken of as the "century of Louis XIV", modeled on the centuries of Pericles and Augustus, or even the "Grand Siècle".
One of the great works of the king was also the establishment of a centralized and absolutist state. He directs it after 1682 from the vast Palace of Versailles, the construction of which he ordered. The latter, architectural model of many European palaces thereafter, is the framework of a very elaborate label to which he subjects the court nobility, which he holds closely in hand near him. Louis XIV also reduced the role of the Parliaments, suppressed the last peasant anti-tax revolts, maintained a very long standoff with the Jansenists and took the controversial decision to revoke the Edict of Nantes in 1685. The end of his long reign was tarnished by a series of military setbacks, by the very deadly famines of 1693 and 1709, by the revolt leading to the war of the Camisards, and by numerous deaths in the royal family. But the regency of his successor Louis XV, who was then five years old, is going smoothly, which testifies to the stability of the kingdom established by the monarch.
Inhabited by the idea of his glory and his divine right, anxious to permanently accomplish his "king's job", Louis XIV became the archetype of the absolute monarch.