Biography of Louis XIV, the Sun King

Biography of Louis XIV, the Sun King

Louis XIV was born September 5, 1638 at Saint Germain en Laye, near Paris. Their parents were King Louis XIII and his wife Anne of Austria. Louis XIII He died in 1643, so the queen acted as regent of the young dolphin, commissioning his education to cardinal Mazarin. This taught him the importance and meaning of royalty, as well as advising him to use men so that they do not use him.

Between the years 1648 and 1653 the Fronde civil strife produced by the Mazarino mismanagement and the creation of new taxes. The protests were nodded by the parliamentarians of Paris. Mazarin ordered one of the leaders, Broussel, to be arrested, prompting the city will revolt and the royal family had to flee.

The Prime Minister called in the troops of the Prince de Condé. Thanks to this, the parliamentarians ceased their purposes, but Condé took advantage of the success to ask for a lot of honors. Mazarin then decided to arrest him in January 1650, which angered the nobility. But nevertheless, The lack of agreement between the rebels was the end. The enraged mass came to enter the palace until they reached the room of the young prince, who was pretending to be asleep. Watching him, tempers calmed down and they decided leave the place and pray for him.

All of this made a deep impression on the prince. Convinced him that he should alienate the government from both the plebs and the nobility. Regarding the great men, which included parliamentarians, lawyers and judges, decided it was best for them to be under the absolute power of the crown.

In 1651 he was declared of legal age and in 1654 he was appointed King of France. Thanks to his encounters with Mazarin, he realized that he should give his life to politics and government of the people. Therefore, he did not hesitate to marry Maria Teresa of Austria, daughter of Felipe IV, King of Spain, a union that could greatly benefit France.

March 9, 1661 Mazarin died, so that Louis XIV could finally be absolute king, eliminating even the post of prime minister. This is how he founded the absolute monarchy in France. Not even the queen mother was invited to the meetings of the councils of state; Only Jean-Baptiste Colbert, François-Michel Le Tellier and Hugues de Lionne attended.

That same year, Louis XIV ordered the arrest of Mazarino's finance superintendent, Nicolas Fouquet, whom he considered too dangerous and capable of obtaining the position of Mazarin. He was sentenced to life in Pinerolo. This served warning for those who wish stand up to royal power. This made the king see himself as a God's representative on earth.

He centralized all powers in him, establishing the cult of the king, everything was under his control. The nobility was the first affected, since it went from being an important factor in politics to simply becoming a social class that I tried to please the king to get favors.

The king was assiduous parties and sexual pleasures, something that scandalized in court. However, the adoration exercised by his wife did not diminish one iota despite the love affairs of the king, giving him six children, of whom only one would survive childhood, the future dolphin. The greatest scandal came when he took the Marchioness of Montespan, who dominated the king and the court. He got rid of her when he was involved in the called case of poisons, a scandal in which numerous personalities were accused of witchcraft and murder.

In foreign policy he was convinced that impose French supremacy. He began making reforms in the Treasury and applying protectionist measures in industry and commerce. All this allowed him to organize a powerful army, which increased to almost half a million men.

When King Philip IV died in 1665, Louis began to reclaim Spanish land in the Netherlands his wife's name. May 21, 1667 invaded the flamenco territories. England allied with Holland and Sweden, which caused the contest to end with the Peace of Aachen in 1668, in which Spain recovered Besançon and France stayed with Flanders.

Four years later he decided take revenge on Holland. For this, he obtained the support of England and with an army commanded by the king himself invaded the country in just a few weeks. However, Holland turned to the main enemy of France, William of Orange. He ordered the destruction of the levees to stop the enemy. This resistance made France be isolated of his allies and had to give up his purpose. The confrontation ended in Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678, by which he renounced Flanders and obtained the Spanish Franche-Comté.

After this, he returned to court and there imposed an environment not as liberal as the previous one, moving away from sexual scandals like those of Madame de Montespan, leaving aside entertainment and ostentation. Yet a new woman ruled at court, Madame de Maintenon. The king secretly married her in 1683after the death of Queen Maria Teresa. This union eventually led to the king's departure from his former lively life.

His influence was evident, as it convinced him that imposed the catholic religion, dismissing Protestantism as an offense to the king. Because of this, mass conversions until revoking on October 18, 1685 the Edict of Nantes in which Calvinism was authorized. Schools were closed, temples were destroyed and shepherds were exiled, in addition to the exodus of thousands of Protestants who fled to Holland.

Louis XIV had to face another confrontation that would suppose a setback in French expansionism. England joined Germany and Austria in a war to stop the king's purposes. It ended with the Ryswick Peace, by which Lorena was returned to Duke Leopoldo; Luxembourg was returned to Spain; and finally William III was crowned King of England.

But nevertheless, there is an even more significant showdown. Charles II the Bewitched, King of Spain, died in 1700 leaving no heir. In his testament he named imperial heir to Felipe de Anjou, the future Felipe V, who was the grandson of King Louis XIV. By accepting the will, the dilemma between French hegemony or the balance of the continent was raised again, so a war was declared.

Part of Europe was hurt by the imperialist policy, so it was contrary to that hegemony. Again England, Austria and Holland fought against France. Despite the incipient victories, from 1708 the defeats followed one another to the point that the Gallic country was on the verge of losing its conquests, so the king had to ask for peace. Louis XIV accepted the Treaty of Utrecht, giving Newfoundland, Acadia and Hudson Bay to England, but in exchange the Bourbons kept the Spanish crown.

This weakened the absolutist regime along with the social and economic crisis. The revolts of the peasants and the people were innumerable plain that rose up against its lords and against the privileged. Many of them were executed and hanged, since the riots were harshly repressed.

This was joined by the inheritance problem, since throughout those years both the great dolphin and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren would die. Only one heir remained, his third great-grandson, the Duke of Anjou, who would be the future Louis XV.

In the winter of 1709 the people marched on Paris and Versailles due to famine, being first heard by the king. Louis XIV fell into deep sadness accompanied by numerous illnesses that were little by little diminishing the king. In 1715 he began to notice pain in his legs and black spots began to appear on them; the doctors you were diagnosed with gangrene.

After receiving the news with great integrity, put order to his affairs and finally he met with his successor, advising him to take care of the people, to listen to advice and never forget his duty taking care of his subjects. He died on September 1, 1715, making his reign the longest in the history of the Old Continent.

Images: Public domain

With a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was a child I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.

Video: The Rise and Fall of Versailles Part 1 of 3