Louis XIV

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Louis XIV (1638-1715)
Louis came to the throne of France as a child of five. In hisyouth, the duties of state were carried out by his mother, Anne ofAustria, and her lover, the Cardinal Mazarin. At 22, Louis marriedthe Infanta of Spain and soon after, he assumed control of hisgovernment, serving as his own 'prime minister'. Known for his"L'état c'est moi" philosophy, Louis himself made the majority ofimportant decisions for his country. Much of his long reign isconsidered to have been one of brilliance, particularly insofar asliterature and the arts are concerned. Some of France's greatestartistic sons including Racine, Moliere, and Poussin, among manyothers, flourished under Louis as did the nascent art of ballet. But this was not all Louis was about. His early energies weredirected towards reshaping the French army into Europe's mostpotent military force and a navy was also created. Variousmilitary efforts were launched as Louis sought to take advantage ofcontinually shifting European political realities. On the darkerside, Louis' revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) resulted inmassive persecution of French Protestants as well as the wholesaleemigration of the Huguenots to England and the Netherlands. Thedisastrous "War of the Spanish Succession" left France virtuallybankrupt. In gloomy old age, Louis died two years after the Treatyof Utrecht was signed; he was succeeded by his great-grandson,another 5 year old king, Louis XV.