Louis XIV

Louis XIV (Louis-Dieudonné) (September 5, 1638 – September 1, 1715) reigned as King of France and King of Navarre from May 14, 1643 until his death. He was a minor when he inherited the Crown; he did not actually assume personal control of the government until the death of his chief minister, Jules Cardinal Mazarin, in 1661. Louis, who is known as The Sun King (French: Le Roi Soleil) and as Louis the Great (French: Louis le Grand), ruled France for seventy-two years-a longer reign than any other French or other major European monarch.

Louis did attempt to increase the power of France in Europe, fighting four major wars: the War of Devolution, the Dutch War, the War of the Grand Alliance, and the War of the Spanish Succession. He worked successfully to create an absolutist and centralised state; he is often cited as an example of an enlightened despot. He is supposed to have once remarked, "L'État, c'est moi!" (I am the state!), but this quotation is most likely apocryphal. Louis is the archetype of an absolute monarch.

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