Louis XIV, byname Louis the Great, Louis the Grand Monarch, or the Sun King, French Louis le Grand, Louis le Grand Monarque, or le Roi Soleil, (born September 5, 1638, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France—died September 1, 1715, Versailles, France), king of France (1643–1715) who ruled his country, principally from his great palace at Versailles, during one of its most brilliant periods and who ...
- Louis XIV: The Sun Kingyoutube.com
- Louis XIV Documentary - Biography of the life of Louis XIV The Sun Kingyoutube.com
- The Court of Louis XIV | How To Get Ahead | Absolute Historyyoutube.com
- The Vibrant Sun King of France | Louis XIV | Real Royaltyyoutube.com
- Early Life and Reign of Louis XIV
- Louis XIV Assumes Control of France
- The Arts and The Royal Court Under Louis XIV
- Louis XIV and Foreign Policy
- Louis XIV and Religion
- Death of Louis XIV
Born on September 5, 1638, to King Louis XIII of France (1601-1643) and his Habsburg queen, Anne of Austria (1601-1666), the future Louis XIV was his parents’ first child after 23 years of marriage; in recognition of this apparent miracle, he was christened Louis-Dieudonné, meaning “gift of God.” A younger brother, Philippe (1640-1701), followed two years later. When the king died on May 14, 1643, 4-year-old Louis inherited the crown of a fractured, unstable and nearly insolvent France. After...
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...
A hard-working and meticulous ruler who oversaw his programs down to the last detail, Louis XIV nevertheless appreciated art, literature, music, theater and sports. He surrounded himself with some of the greatest artistic and intellectual figures of his time, including the playwright Molière (1622-1673), the painter Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) and the composer Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687). He also appointed himself patron of the Académie Française, the body that regulates the French langua...
In 1667 Louis XIV launched the War of Devolution (1667-1668), the first in a series of military conflicts that characterized his aggressive approach to foreign policy, by invading the Spanish Netherlands, which he claimed as his wife’s inheritance. Under pressure from the English, Swedish and especially the Dutch, France retreated and returned the region to Spain, gaining only some frontier towns in Flanders. This unsatisfactory outcome led to the Franco-Dutch War (1672-1678), in which France...
It was not only decades of warfare that weakened both France and its monarch during the latter half of Louis XIV’s reign. In 1685, the devoutly Catholic king revoked the Edict of Nantes, issued by his grandfather Henry IV in 1598, which had granted freedom of worship and other rights to French Protestants (known as Huguenots). With the Edict of Fontainebleau, Louis ordered the destruction of Protestant churches, the closure of Protestant schools and the expulsion of Protestant clergy. Protest...
On September 1, 1715, four days before his 77th birthday, Louis XIV died of gangrene at Versailles. His reign had lasted 72 years, longer than that of any other known European monarch, and left an indelible mark on the culture, history and destiny of France. His 5-year-old great-grandson succeeded him as Louis XV.
Louis XIV was born on 5 September 1638 in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, to Louis XIII and Anne of Austria.He was named Louis Dieudonné (Louis the God-given) and bore the traditional title of French heirs apparent: Dauphin.
Louis XIV was born on September 5, 1638, in Saint-Germaine-en-Laye, France, and christened Louis-Dieudonné—French for "Gift of God." His mother was the Hapsburg Spanish queen Anne of Austria ...
- September 5, 1638
- 43 min
- September 1, 1715
Louis XIV, also popularly known as the Sun King (5 September 1638–1 September 1715) was the King of France and King of Navarre from 14 May 1643 until his death. He was a king for 72 years. This was the longest recorded rule of any European monarch. He is often seen as the typical example of absolutism.
The reign of Louis XIV is often referred to as “Le Grand Siècle” (the Great Century), forever associated with the image of an absolute monarch and a strong, centralised state. Coming to the throne at a tender age, tutored by Cardinal Mazarin, the Sun King embodied the principles of absolutism. In 1682 he moved the royal Court to the Palace of Versailles, the defining symbol of his power ...
- His Character
- Military Activities
- Domestic Policy
- Culture and Art
- Personal Life
- Further Reading on Louis XIV
Unlike his father, Louis enjoyed excellent health almost all his life. His appetites for food, hunting, and sex were enormous, and he had a passion, unusual in those days, for fresh air and walking. Though not tall, he was extremely impressive in appearance due to his great dignity and royal presence, particularly as he grew older and left his youthful exuberance behind. While he frequently displayed gross and even brutal selfishness, he was courteous, considerate, and good-natured, and he showed great loyalty to his friends and his servants. His concept of his royal position was undoubtedly arrogant, but he was always conscious of his duty as king and sincerely believed that he was devoting himself to the wellbeing of his subjects. He detested inefficiency, corruption, and the abuse of privilege and stamped them out wherever he encountered them. However, his own passion for personal glory led him to drag France into a series of wars, ultimately at appalling cost to his people. On h...
For the next 11 years Louis's primary commitment was the restoration of the French economy to health and vigor after the neglect of Mazarin's time. In 1672, however, exasperated at his failure to destroy the economic supremacy of the Dutch, he invaded their country, assisted by England whose king, Charles II, was on his payroll. Instead of the easy triumph he had expected, he found himself faced by dogged Dutch resistance, resolutely led by William of Orange and supported by a growing number of allies. The war lasted for 6 years and ended with Dutch economic ascendancy as strong as ever. France had acquired Franche-Comté from Spain and useful gains in the Spanish Netherlands, but at the cost of permanently abandoning the economic and fiscal progress made by Colbert down to 1672. For the rest of the reign the economic progress of France was first halted and then reversed. Louis then pursued a policy of deliberate, though limited, aggression, bullying his neighbors and encroaching on...
Louis's religion was a rather unintelligent and bigoted Catholicism. At the same time he regarded himself as God's deputy in France and would allow no challenge to his authority, from the Pope or anyone else. As a result, he was involved in a series of unedifying quarrels with successive popes, which dragged on for years of futile stalemate and gave rise to the probably baseless suspicion that he might be contemplating a break with the Church on the lines of Henry VIII. To reassure Catholic opinion as to his orthodoxy, Louis kept up a steady pressure against the Protestants in France. Finally, in 1685, he revoked the Edict of Nantes (by which Protestants had been granted toleration in 1598), forbade the practice of the Calvinist religion in France (he was less concerned about Lutherans), expelled all Calvinist pastors, and forbade lay Protestants, under savage penalties, to emigrate. There was great indignation abroad, even in Catholic circles, but in the intolerant atmosphere then...
The reign of Louis XIV is often equated with the great age of French culture. In fact, this age began under Richelieu and was clearly over some years before Louis died. Nor did he do very much to help it. In the 1660s he indulged in some patronage of writers, but his benevolence was capriciously bestowed, frequently on secondrate men, and it dried up almost entirely when economic conditions worsened after 1672. Nevertheless, Jean Racine and Molière were substantially helped by Louis, and it was largely thanks to the king that Molière's plays were performed in spite of conservative opposition. The King's enthusiasm for building (Versailles, Marly, Trianon, and others), while costing the country more than it could afford, certainly furnished artists and architects with valuable commissions, and the King's love of musical spectacles offered a golden opportunity for composers. The flowering of painting, architecture, music, and landscape gardening in France at this time must be largely...
Louis was married to Maria Theresa, daughter of Philip IV of Spain, as part of the settlement by which Mazarin ended the Spanish war. He married her reluctantly (he was in love with Mazarin's own niece at the time) and made no pretense of being faithful to her; but he was fond of her after his fashion, and at her death observed, "This is the first sorrow she has ever caused me. " Overcharged with sexual energy practically all his life, he had a number of mistresses, whose jealousy of each other was a principal topic of court gossip. By the two bestknown, Louise de La Vallière and Athénaïs de Montespan, he had a number of illegitimate children, of whom he was very fond; his fatherly attempts to secure for them, after his death, a position above their station caused a good deal of trouble. His attention was finally caught by Françoise Scarron, who had become the governess of these children; he made her Marquise de Maintenon and settled down in domestic respectability with her. In late...
There is no definitive biography of Louis. John B. Wolf, Louis XIV (1968), is in general satisfactory for Louis himself but leaves gaps in its coverage of the reign. A valuable recent work, with emphasis on France rather than on Louis and with an immensely useful picture of the economic and social situation in his reign, is Pierre Goubert, Louis XIV and Twenty Million Frenchmen, translated by Anne Carter (1970). W. H. Lewis, Louis XIV: An Informal Portrait (1959), does not purport to give the whole picture but brings Louis to life as a man and is written in a delightful style. For background reading on the period, Lewis's The Splendid Century (1953) presents a series of fascinating insights into the France of Louis XIV, as well as filling out the picture of Louis himself. A more complete presentation of the entire period is in Geoffrey Treasure, Seventeenth-century France(1966).
- Louis XIV ascended to the throne at the age of four. When France’s King Louis XIII died at the age of 41 on May 14, 1643, the monarchy passed to his eldest child, Louis XIV, who was just four years and eight months old.
- The princess Louis XIV married was his first cousin. The king’s first true love was Mazarin’s niece, Marie Mancini, but both the queen and the cardinal frowned upon their relationship.
- One of Louis XIV’s mistresses bore more of his children than his wife. Marie-Thérèse gave birth to six of the king’s children, but only one, Louis, survived past the age of five.
- Louis XIV built the extravagant Palace of Versailles. After the civil war known as the Fronde forced a young Louis XIV to flee his palace in Paris, the monarch took a dislike to the capital city.
- Jesse Greenspan
- Few monarchs have ruled for longer. Born in 1638, Louis XIV became king at age 4 following the death of his father, Louis XIII, and remained on the throne for the next 72 years.
- Louis’ mother served as his regent. In his will, Louis XIII arranged for a regency council to rule on his young son’s behalf. But his Habsburg wife, Anne of Austria, orchestrated an annulment of the council and took over as sole regent.
- He ruled without a chief minister. As a young man, Louis XIV largely left the decision-making to Mazarin, his mentor and godfather. But when Mazarin died in 1661, the 22-year-old immediately informed his astonished court that he would henceforth rule without a chief minister—something no French king had done for generations.
- Louis considered himself God’s representative on Earth. Although Louis XIV did not invent the “divine right of kings” doctrine, which held that monarchs derived their authority from God and were therefore entitled to wield absolute power, he was certainly an adherent.
Louis XIV had a real eye for the ladies. His first love, Marie Mancini, was Mazarin’s niece but both the cardinal and Anne of Austria were vehemently opposed to this union, and the brief encounter between the King and the princess on 22 June 1659 was their last before she was banished from the court into exile.