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Overview - Louis XIV
During his minority, his mother, Anne of Austria, acted as regent. The actual power was in the hands of the chief minister, Cardinal Mazarin. On the death of Mazarin, Louis was aided chiefly by Colbert, minister of finance, and Louvois,minister of war.
Under Louis, the aim of France was to extend its boundaries up to the mountains and the Rhine River. Other countries of Europe, fearing that such expansion would upset the balance of power in Europe, made numerous coalitions against France and prevented expansion to the lower Rhine. When Louis tried to seat his grandson on the throne of Spain, a great European war broke out in which France and Spain were defeated. Despite defeat, Louis did succeed in seating his grandson on the Spanish throne, and by revoking the Edict of Nantes, 1685, he drove thousands of Frenchmen into neighboring countries.
His reign was the epitome of absolute monarchism. France reach its zenith during his reign. His court was the most magnificent in Europe, and letters, music, art, and architecture all enjoyed a "golden age".

Contributed by Gifford, Katya
15 January 2003

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