KING LOUIS XIV

"The Sun King"

 

King Louis XIV of France reigned for 72 years (1643-1715).  His reign was a prime example of an ABSOLUTE government.  He became King when he was only 5 years old.  Until he was old enough to take control of the country (population: 17 million at the time), the ruling of the kingdom was done by CARDINAL MAZARIN, with Louis' mother acting on her son's behalf.

Louis as a young man.

Even though his formal education was neglected, Louis grew up to be an extremely intelligent man.  He was also considered hard-working and pleasant.

Louis had many goals for France and took his position very seriously.  By today's standards, Louis would be considered a Type-A personality and a "control freak".  He kept total control over everything that happened in the country.  He chose "non-nobles" as his advisors, people less likely to question his decisions and motives) and kept the nobles around him socially, as they depended on him for their positions and wealth.

 

Louis also worked towards religious harmony in France.  He figured that a united population would be easier to rule.  He wanted to bring France to "glory".  He wanted the other European nations to fear, respect, and imitate France.

Louis lived at the "PALACE OF VERSAILLES", about 18 kms outside of Paris.  He wanted to distance himself form the "common" people of France, and enjoy the outside lifestyle that Versailles could give him. 

 

The palace began as his father's hunting lodge.  Louis added pieces at different times over a 20 year period.  The town of Versailles had a population of 35000 (today is has 100 000). The cost of the construction topped $500 million.

Features of the Palace:

-forests for hunting

-man-made canal for sailing

-heat by fireplace only

-two smaller guests "palaces"

(Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon)

-royal apartments

-grand dining room, ball rooms

-several theatres

-served food was almost always cold--the kitchen was too far from dining area!

-formal gardens, several statues and fountains (if the fountains were turned on, Paris went without water!)

-the King changed styles and colors of drapes, furniture, etc. with the changing of the seasons.

EVERYTHING ABOUT VERSAILLES WAS DONE IN EXCESS!  THIS WAS EXACTLY HOW THE KING WANTED IT...THE PALACE WAS MUCH ADMIRED AND COPIED BY THE OTHER MONARCHS OF EUROPE.

 

Virtual Tour

of the Palace of Versailles

Louis was involved in several wars during his reign.    He built a huge standing army (ready to go at any time).  Louis thought that successful wars would bring glory and respect to France.  He wanted other nations to fear him and his country. The three major wars that Louis was involved in were:

The War of Devolution

The Dutch War

The War of the Spanish Succession

"THE SUN KING"

King Louis XIV did give France glory, but at a price.

Was that price too high????