Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Louis XIV.

Louis XIV., born in 1638. was still a child when he became king. He had been declared of age in 1651, but he took little part in the government till the death of Mazarin (q.v.) ten years later. The events which he had witnessed in his youth, and the counsels of Mazarin, set him firmly against constitutional government, and during more than half a century he was the actual ruler of France. He employed under him the old servants of Mazarin, but got rid of Fouquet (q.v.) as soon as the superintendent of finance showed that he aimed at the post of chief minister. The chief administrators under Louis were Le Tellier, and afterwards his son Louvois, Lyonne, and Colbert. A spirited foreign policy, successful at first, but in the end disastrous, was pursued. Charles II. and James II. became the pensioners of Louis, and the former restored Dunkirk for a sum of money. Pope Alexander VII. was humiliated, and the balance was held between England and Holland. In 1664 a contingent of French troops were sent to help Hungary against the Turks; and in the next year French troops secured the freedom of

Portugal from Spanish predominance. In 1667 Louis declared war against Spain, and, though compelled by the Triple Alliance to restore Franche-Comte, he retained his conquests in the Netherlands by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1668). In 1672, having broken up by diplomacy the Triple Alliance, Louis overran Holland with his troops, but here met with the man who was to check his career of success, William of Orange. The taxation and distress caused by the war produced revolts in France, but in the course nf 1678 and 1679 peace was made with every state. In 1681 the Chambers of Reunion awarded France practically the whole of Alsace, and in the same year Strasburg was seized; while in 1682 a synod of the clergy supported Louis against the Pope. In 1683, however, Louis lost his ablest minister by the death of Colbert, and two years later he deserted the traditions of the wisest French statesmanship by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. In 1686 a league was formed against France by the Emperor, Spain, Sweden, and Holland, and was afterwards joined by other German princes and the chief states of Italy. It had, too, the secret support of the Pope, offended by the extension of the regale and the arrogant claims of the French Embassy in Rome, and after the Revolution of 1688 England also formed part of it. During the war, which lasted from 1689 to 1697, France had sometimes as many as six armies in the field, and Louis and William III. - the most powerful men in Europe - faced each other in the Netherlands. The question of the succession to the Spanish throne caused the last great war of the reign. At the Peace of Utrecht (1713) Philip, Louis' grandson, had to renounce the French crown, and to give up to England Gibraltar and Minorca, while the same power was ceded important possessions in North America by France; and Holland was secured from further aggression on the part of the latter. In the subsequent treaties with the Emperor and Austria France fared rather better. Louis XIV. died in the autumn of 1715. Since the death of Louvois, Madame de Maintenon, whomhe had secretly married, had chiefly influenced him. [Mazaein, Colbeet, Huguenots, etc.]