114 Facts About Louis XIV


Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715.


An adherent of the concept of the divine right of kings, Louis XIV continued his predecessors' work of creating a centralised state governed from the capital.


Louis XIV sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of France; by compelling many members of the nobility to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, he succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde during his minority.


Louis XIV enforced uniformity of religion under the Gallican Catholic Church.


Louis XIV taught his diplomats that their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military.


Louis XIV was named Louis Dieudonne and bore the traditional title of French heirs apparent: Dauphin.


Louis XIV's mother had experienced four stillbirths between 1619 and 1631.


Louis XIV became friends with Villeroy's young children, particularly Francois de Villeroy, and divided his time between the Palais-Royal and the nearby Hotel de Villeroy.


Louis XIV did make the concession of appointing her head of the council.


Louis XIV left the direction of the daily administration of policy to Cardinal Mazarin.


Louis XIV was able to capitalize on the widespread public yearning for law and order, that resulted from prolonged foreign wars and domestic civil strife, to further consolidate central political authority and reform at the expense of the feudal aristocracy.


Louis XIV began his personal reign with administrative and fiscal reforms.


However, Louis XIV first had to neutralize Nicolas Fouquet, the Superintendent of Finances, in order to give Colbert a free hand.


Louis XIV had, for example, built an opulent chateau at Vaux-le-Vicomte where he entertained Louis and his court ostentatiously, as if he were wealthier than the king himself.


However, Louis XIV altered the sentence to life imprisonment and abolished Fouquet's post.


Louis XIV was willing enough to tax the nobles but was unwilling to fall under their control, and only towards the close of his reign, under extreme stress of war, was he able, for the first time in French history, to impose direct taxes on the aristocratic elements of the population.


Louis XIV invited manufacturers and artisans from all over Europe to France, such as Murano glassmakers, Swedish ironworkers, and Dutch shipbuilders.


Louis XIV instituted reforms in military administration through Michel le Tellier and the latter's son Francois-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois.


Louis XIV was devoted to the soldiers' material well-being and morale, and even tried to direct campaigns.


The Grande Ordonnance de Procedure Civile of 1667, known as the Code Louis XIV, was a comprehensive legal code attempting a uniform regulation of civil procedure throughout legally irregular France.


The Code Louis XIV played an important part in French legal history as the basis for the Napoleonic code, from which many modern legal codes are, in turn, derived.


In 1660, Louis XIV had married Philip IV's eldest daughter, Maria Theresa, as one of the provisions of the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees.


The War of Devolution did not focus on the payment of the dowry; rather, the lack of payment was what Louis XIV used as a pretext for nullifying Maria Theresa's renunciation of her claims, allowing the land to "devolve" to him.


Louis XIV' wife was Philip IV's daughter by his first marriage, while the new king of Spain, Charles II, was his son by a subsequent marriage.


The threat of an escalation and a secret treaty to divide Spanish possessions with Emperor Leopold, the other major claimant to the throne of Spain, led Louis XIV to relinquish many of his gains in the 1668 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.


Louis XIV placed little reliance on his agreement with Leopold and as it was now clear French and Dutch aims were in direct conflict, he decided to first defeat the Republic, then seize the Spanish Netherlands.


Louis XIV was at the height of his power, but at the cost of uniting his opponents; this increased as he continued his expansion.


Louis XIV maintained the strength of his army, but in his next series of territorial claims avoided using military force alone.


Louis XIV established the Chambers of Reunion to determine the full extent of his rights and obligations under those treaties.


Louis XIV sought Strasbourg, an important strategic crossing on the left bank of the Rhine and theretofore a Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire, annexing it and other territories in 1681.


In 1699, Louis XIV received a Moroccan ambassador, Abdallah bin Aisha, and in 1715, he received a Persian embassy led by Mohammad Reza Beg.


Louis XIV then sent another embassy in 1687, under Simon de la Loubere, and French influence grew at the Siamese court, which granted Mergui as a naval base to France.


Louis XIV received a Chinese Jesuit, Michael Shen Fu-Tsung, at Versailles in 1684.


Louis XIV took delivery of an African elephant as a gift from the king of Portugal.


Louis XIV thus compelled and seduced the old military aristocracy into becoming his ceremonial courtiers, further weakening their power.


Louis XIV judged that royal authority thrived more surely by filling high executive and administrative positions with these men because they could be more easily dismissed than nobles of ancient lineage and entrenched influence.


Under Louis XIV, France was the leading European power, and most wars pivoted around its aggressiveness.


Louis XIV taught his diplomats that their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military.


Louis XIV recommended that France fight back by licensing French merchants ships to privateer and seize enemy merchant ships while avoiding its navies:.


Louis XIV decided to persecute Protestants and revoke the 1598 Edict of Nantes, which awarded Huguenots political and religious freedom.


Louis XIV saw the persistence of Protestantism as a disgraceful reminder of royal powerlessness.


An additional factor in Louis XIV' thinking was the prevailing contemporary European principle to assure socio-political stability, cuius regio, eius religio, the idea that the religion of the ruler should be the religion of the realm.


Louis XIV disallowed Protestant-Catholic intermarriages to which third parties objected, encouraged missions to the Protestants, and rewarded converts to Catholicism.


The principle of cuius regio, eius religio generally had meant that subjects who refused to convert could emigrate, but Louis XIV banned emigration and effectively insisted that all Protestants must be converted.


Louis XIV pressed her claims to land and chattels, hoping the latter, at least, would be given to her.


Louis XIV sought instead to install his own candidate, Wilhelm Egon von Furstenberg, to ensure the key Rhenish state remained an ally.


In light of his foreign and domestic policies during the early 1680s, which were perceived as aggressive, Louis XIV's actions, fostered by the succession crises of the late 1680s, created concern and alarm in much of Europe.


Louis XIV sailed for England with troops despite Louis's warning that France would regard it as a provocation.


Louis XIV triumphed at the Battles of Fleurus in 1690, Steenkerque in 1692, and Landen in 1693, although, the battles proved to be of little of strategic consequence.


Louis XIV personally supervised the captures of Mons in 1691 and Namur in 1692.


Louis XIV ordered the surprise destruction of a Flemish city to divert the attention of these troops.


Louis XIV tried to break up the alliance against him by dealing with individual opponents but did not achieve his aim until 1696 when the Savoyards agreed to the Treaty of Turin and switched sides.


Louis XIV secured permanent French sovereignty over all of Alsace, including Strasbourg, and established the Rhine as the Franco-German border.


William and Mary were recognised as joint sovereigns of the British Isles, and Louis XIV withdrew support for James II.


Louis XIV produced no children and consequently had no direct heirs.


Louis XIV thus offered the entire empire to the Dauphin's second son Philip, Duke of Anjou, provided it remained undivided.


Louis XIV could agree to a partition of the Spanish possessions and avoid a general war, or accept Charles II's will and alienate much of Europe.


Louis XIV emphasised that, should it come to war, William III was unlikely to stand by France since he "made a treaty to avoid war and did not intend to go to war to implement the treaty".


Louis XIV confirmed that Philip V retained his French rights despite his new Spanish position.


In desperation, Louis XIV ordered a disastrous invasion of the English island of Guernsey in the autumn of 1704 with the aim of raiding their successful harvest.


Louis XIV agreed that the entire Spanish empire should be surrendered to Archduke Charles, and consented to return to the frontiers of the Peace of Westphalia, giving up all the territories he had acquired over 60 years.


Louis XIV's heir was none other than Archduke Charles, who secured control of all of his brother's Austrian landholdings.


Louis XIV agreed to withdraw his support for James Stuart, son of James II and pretender to the throne of Great Britain, and ceded Newfoundland, Rupert's Land, and Acadia in the Americas to Anne.


France retained Ile-Saint-Jean and Ile Royale, and Louis XIV acquired a few minor European territories, such as the Principality of Orange and the Ubaye Valley, which covered transalpine passes into Italy.


Maria Theresa died in 1683, whereupon Louis XIV remarked that she had never caused him unease on any other occasion.


Louis XIV took a series of mistresses, both official and unofficial.


Louis XIV proved relatively more faithful to his second wife, Francoise d'Aubigne, Marquise de Maintenon.


Louis XIV was a pious and devout king who saw himself as the head and protector of the Catholic Church in France.


Louis XIV made his devotions daily regardless of where he was, following the liturgical calendar regularly.


Louis XIV established the Paris Foreign Missions Society, but his informal alliance with the Ottoman Empire was criticised for undermining Christendom.


Louis XIV generously supported the royal court of France and those who worked under him.


Louis XIV brought the Academie Francaise under his patronage and became its "Protector".


Louis XIV allowed Classical French literature to flourish by protecting such writers as Moliere, Racine, and La Fontaine, whose works remain influential to this day.


Louis XIV patronised the visual arts by funding and commissioning artists such as Charles Le Brun, Pierre Mignard, Antoine Coysevox, and Hyacinthe Rigaud, whose works became famous throughout Europe.


In 1661, Louis XIV founded the Academie Royale de Danse, and in 1669, the Academie d'Opera, important driving events in the evolution of ballet.


Louis XIV attracted, supported and patronized such artists as Andre Charles Boulle, who revolutionised marquetry with his art of inlay, today known as "Boulle work".


The memoirist Saint-Simon speculated that Louis XIV viewed Versailles as an isolated power centre where treasonous cabals could be more readily discovered and foiled.


Louis XIV renovated and improved the Louvre and other royal residences.


Louis XIV cultivated his image as the Sun King, the center of the universe "without equal".


Louis XIV used court ritual and the arts to validate and augment his control over France.


Over his lifetime, Louis XIV commissioned numerous works of art to portray himself, among them over 300 formal portraits.


The earliest portrayals of Louis XIV already followed the pictorial conventions of the day in depicting the child king as the majestically royal incarnation of France.


However, Louis XIV was so pleased with the work that he kept the original and commissioned a copy to be sent to his grandson.


Louis XIV commissioned "war artists" to follow him on campaigns to document his military triumphs.


Louis XIV' reign marked the birth and infancy of the art of medallions.


Louis XIV struck more than 300 to celebrate the story of the king in bronze, that were enshrined in thousands of households throughout France.


Louis XIV used tapestries as a medium of exalting the monarchy.


Louis XIV loved ballet and frequently danced in court ballets during the early half of his reign.


In general, Louis XIV was an eager dancer who performed 80 roles in 40 major ballets.


Louis XIV danced four parts in three of Moliere's comedies-ballets, which are plays accompanied by music and dance.


Louis XIV played an Egyptian in Le Mariage force in 1664, a Moorish gentleman in Le Sicilien in 1667, and both Neptune and Apollo in Les Amants magnifiques in 1670.


Louis XIV sometimes danced leading roles that were suitably royal or godlike.


Louis XIV integrated ballet deeply in court social functions and fixated his nobles' attention on upholding standards in ballet dancing, effectively distracting them from political activities.


Pierre Beauchamp, his private dance instructor, was ordered by Louis XIV to come up with a notation system to record ballet performances, which he did with great success.


Louis XIV's work was adopted and published by Feuillet in 1700 as Choregraphie.


Louis XIV greatly emphasized etiquettes in ballet dancing, evidently seen in "La belle danse".


Louis XIV had many ailments: for example, symptoms of diabetes, as confirmed in reports of suppurating periostitis in 1678, dental abscesses in 1696, along with recurring boils, fainting spells, gout, dizziness, hot flushes, and headaches.


Louis XIV's body was laid to rest in Saint-Denis Basilica outside Paris.


Louis XIV's last surviving legitimate son, the Dauphin, died in 1711.


Barely a year later, the Duke of Burgundy, the eldest of the Dauphin's three sons and then heir-apparent to Louis XIV, followed his father.


Louis XIV foresaw an underaged successor and sought to restrict the power of his nephew Philip II, Duke of Orleans, who, as his closest surviving legitimate relative in France, would probably become regent to the prospective Louis XIV XV.


Orleans had Louis XIV' will annulled by the Parlement of Paris after his death and made himself sole regent.


Louis XIV stripped Maine and his brother, Louis-Alexandre, Count of Toulouse, of the rank of Prince of the Blood, which Louis had granted them, and significantly reduced Maine's power and privileges.


Louis XIV's only surviving legitimate grandson, Philip V, was not included in the line of succession due to having renounced the French throne after the war of the Spanish Succession, which lasted for 13 years after the death of Charles II of Spain in 1700.


Louis XIV' detractors have argued that his considerable foreign, military and domestic expenditure impoverished and bankrupted France.


Louis XIV's supporters distinguish the state, which was impoverished, from France, which was not.


Alternatively, Louis XIV' critics attribute the social upheaval culminating in the French Revolution to his failure to reform French institutions while the monarchy was still secure.


The memoirist Saint-Simon, who claimed that Louis XIV slighted him, criticised him thus:.


Voltaire's history, The Age of Louis XIV, named Louis' reign as not only one of the four great ages in which reason and culture flourished, but the greatest ever.


Louis XIV named it after Louis IX and intended it as a reward for outstanding officers.


Louis XIV' patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.


Patrilineal descent is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations - which means that if King Louis XIV were to choose an historically accurate house name it would be Robertian, as all his male-line ancestors have been of that house.


Louis XIV is a member of the House of Bourbon, a branch of the Capetian dynasty and of the Robertians.


Louis XIV' patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.