• Louis XIV
Born in Saint-Germaine-en-Laye, France, on September 5, 1638, Louis XIV became the king of France on the year 1643. He was born and baptized as Louis-Dieudonné, the French word for “Gift of God”. His father was Louis XIII, king of France, while his mother was the Hapsburg Spanish Queen Anne of Austria. He also has a younger brother named Philippe.
• King of France
Louis XIII, Louis XIV’s father, passed away on May 14, 1643, when his son was only 4 years old. He succeeded the throne from his father, passing the responsibility of over 19 million French subjects. Chief Minister Cardinal Jules Mazarin govern the whole country when the child Louis XIV can’t take responsibility yet.
Louis XIV faces rebellion against his throne when he was a child. A civil war called Fronde emerged from the rebellion and it dealt Louis XIV hardships during a long period of time. Fronde had been demolished during 1653 with the full effort of Chief Minister Mandarin. After the war, Louis XIV stood by and watched how his grandfather developed a new administration that will help prevent this kind of events.
• Sun King
Louis XIV was also named as the Sun King of France as he chose the sun as his personal symbol. It was unclear if Sun King was the nickname he gave himself or it was given to him by his subjects. He attended ballet in his early days and played a role of a sun king. Louis XIV was even compared to Apollo, the Greek God of Sun.
• Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was built within 40 years of Louis XIV’s reign. The Apollo room inside the palace was named after the Greek Sun God because it was the chamber of King Louis XIV. The formation and decoration of the room reflects the combined images of the king and Apollo.
• Unhappy Marriage
Louis XIV first fell in love with Maria Mancini, but in 1660, he chose to marry the daughter of Philip IV of Spain, Maria Therese. This marriage strengthens the bonds between France and Spain. The couple bore a child in 1661, named Louis the Dauphin.
• King’s Mistresses
Louis XIV had many mistresses despite of being married with the daughter of the king of Spain. Those who are named are Louise de la Vallière, Françoise-Athénaïs, Marquise of Montespan, Françoise Scarron, and Madame de Maintenon. The last known was Madame de Maintenon where he married after the death of his legal wife in 1683.
• Nine Year’s War
In Louis XIV’s attempt to expand more of France’s territory with the use of military prowess, the country had become a notorious threat against his neighboring European countries. Nations including Spain, England, and the Holy Roman Empire joint forces to form the Grand Alliance. The war between France and Grand Alliance lead to the force signage of Treaty of Rijswijk by France. This war places France in a huge debt, but makes a place for Louis XIV’s grandson to rule the Spanish Empire.
• Edict of Fontainebleau
The Edict of Fontainebleau is a formal command from Louis XIV that exterminates Protestant churches against Roman Catholic. The king is a devoted Christian which was lead to the force christening of all children in France. This makes many French to leave France to seek religious freedom.
• Louis XIV’s Death
Louis XIV died on September 1, 1715, 4 days before his 77th birthday. He reigned over 72 years starting from childhood longer than any European monarch. His grandson, Louis XV, inherited the throne.
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