Louis XV

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Louis XV (1710-1774)
Successor to Louis XIV, his great- grandfather, Louis XV came to the throne as a child of five, which necessitated the appointment of a series of regents until he was ready to assume true power. Louis appeared somewhat uninterested in political affairs of state and was far less skilled than his great-grandfather had been. He was also a less-than-dedicated soldier and came to dislike warfare. Louis' famous mistress, Madame de Pompadour, provided an unusual counterpoint to the king's conservative views since she was close to many of the Enlightenment's important figures. It was largely due to her influence that certain reform measures were attempted. Over the course of Louis' long reign, he managed to achieve some notable successes, including an alliance with Spain (1761), the reconstruction of France's navy, the conquest of Corsica, and the
merging of Lorraine into France. He was unable to prevent the Treaty of Paris (1763), which ceded hegemony in India and America to France's traditional foe, Britain. After the deaths of both Madame de Pompadour and Louis' heir, he turned to another mistress, Madame du Barry. His grandson, the future Louis XVI, became the dauphin and was married off to Marie Antoinette, daughter of Holy Roman Empress, Maria Theresa. Louis' twilight years were relatively peaceful; it would be left to his grandson to face the unrest that would result in the revolution a scant 15 years after Louis XV's death.