Reign of Louis XIV

Unit 3 – The Age of Absolute
Monarchs (1500 – 1800)
Lesson 2 - The Reign of Louis XIV
Religious Wars and Power Struggles
• 1562-1598 – France had 8
religious wars
• Henry of Navarre, a Huguenot
prince married the daughter
of Catherine de Medicis (wife
of King Henry II & mother of 3
French kings)
• 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day
Massacre in Paris began as a
protest vs. this wedding – 6
weeks of violence followed!
Henry of Navarre becomes Henry IV
• 1589 – Catherine and her last son
died; King Henry IV is the 1st
Bourbon King of France.
• To satisfy Cath. he gave up
Protestantism & became Cath.
• 1598 – Edict of Nantes –
Huguenots could live in peace &
build churches in some cities
• He restored the monarchy and
brought peace to France
• 1610 – He was killed by a religious
fanatic Francois Ravaillac.
King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu
• Louis XIII (1624-1643) = weak king
• Cardinal Richelieu, head of Cath.
church, was his minister
• To increase Bourbon power he
removed walls from Huguenot cities
& increased power of agents from
middle class to curb power of nobles
who had to take down fortified
• He wanted to make France the
greatest power in Eur. vs. Hapsburgs
as a result he involved France in the
Thirty Years War (1618-1648)
Louis XIV (1643-1715) = The Sun King
• King at 4 yrs. old & real ruler was
Cardinal Mazarin who followed
• Greatest triumph- he ended the
Thirty Years War in 1643
• He was hated by nobles b/c he
taxed & strengthened central
gov’t (violent riots 1648-53 &
even threatened little Louis).
• Riots failed b/c nobles didn’t trust
each other, gov’t was ruthless, &
peasants grew tired of violence
Louis XIV Weakens the Nobility
• 1661-Louis (22 yrs) takes control
• Excluded nobles from his councils
• Appointed gov’t agents called
intendants who taxed, adm. law, &
recruited soldiers for the king
• Reorganized army & assigned
ranks; it went from 100 K to 400 K
• He kept intendants in touch with
him on a regular basis
• “L’etat, c’est moi”
Exit Slip – Louis XIV Comes to Power
1. How did Henry of Navarre end the religious wars in France?
a. Edict of Nantes b. Skepticism c. Asked the Pope
2. Who was Louis XIII’s minister who worked to strengthen the
Bourbon monarchy?
a. Cardinal Mazarin b. Cardinal Richelieu c. Colbert
3. How old was Louis XIV when he began his reign?
a. 3 b. 4 c. 12 d. 31
4. Louis XIV increased the power of the ________ to improve
communication through the empire.
a. Nobles b. Cardinals c. intendants
France’s Economy Under Louis XIV
• Louis’ goal was to make Fr. an
economic power
• Jean Baptiste Colbert – finance
minister & mercantilist worked to
make France become self-sufficient
• Expanded manufacturing by financing
& giving tax breaks to Fr. companies
• Set tariffs high on imported goods
• Raised taxes & reduced corruption
• Emphasized importance of colonies &
fur trade in New France
• He died in 1683 & Louis repealed the
Edict of Nantes & exodus hurt growth
Stylin’ & Profilin’ w/ The Sun King
• 500 cooks, waiters, & servants!
• Each meal was a feast! (4 soups, 1
pheasant, 1 partridge in garlic, 2
slices of ham, 1 salad, pastries, fruit,
& 2 boiled eggs for 1 meal!
• 8:30 AM – 100 of most privileged
nobles at bed side to wait on him!
• Only 4 allowed to help dress him.
• If nobles didn’t show to flatter him
Louis turned against them.
The Palace of Versailles
11 miles SW of Paris; & cost $ 2.5 B today’s $!
36 K workers & 6 K horses 27 yrs. to build it!
5,000 acres of gardens, lawns, & woods!
1,400 fountains and Hall of Mirrors (17 huge
mirrors opposite 17 windows looking on
gardens) considered most impressive room.
• 4 K candles & silver + crystal chandeliers in Hall
were lit on special occasions.
• King’s BR furniture contained 1 ton of silver!
• Cost more than 50% of all taxes collected in Fr!
Here it is!
Virtual Tour of Versailles
Wars Are Disastrous to France
• 30/54 yrs. France was at war!
• 1667 (after death of Mazarin)
Louis invades Sp. Neth. & took
several Dutch towns by 1678.
• 1689 – Wm. of Orange became
King of England and joined
League of Augsburg – an alliance
to protect each other from
France (Austria, Sweden, Spain,
& smaller states = France’s
The War of the Spanish Succession
(1701 – 1714)
Spanish Musketeers
• 1700 – King Charles II (Spain) died
childless & Louis XIV’s grandson,
Phillip of Anjou (16 yrs) promised
throne. This would join Fr. & Sp.
• 1701 – Eng., Austria, Dutch R., &
several Ger. & Itl. States said no.
• Treaty of Utrecht (1714) said Phillip
could be king if thrones not united.
• Eng. Got Gibraltar and slave trade + N.
Scotia & Newfoundland
• Austrian Hapsburgs took Sp. Neth.
• France was ruined & Louis died 1715.
The Legacy of Louis XIV
• People of France rejoiced when
he died
• France did become a world
power and a showcase for art,
lit. & culture in Europe
• $21 Billion in debt!
• He advised his great gr. son
(Louis XV) “Do not imitate me”
• Planted the seeds for the
French Revolution (1789)

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