Henry of Navarre was the first important leader of the Bourbon family. The Bourbons were Protestants ruling Navarre, a small kingdom on the border of Spain and France. In France, Protestants were known as Huguenots. Q: Where is Navarre?
In 1572, Henry married into a the French royal family, which was Catholic. The wedding was on the feast day of Saint Bartholomew. The Catholics of France were so angry to have a Protestant in their royal family that they killed thousands of Huguenots, in an atrocity known as the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Henry’s wife was Marie de Medicis. What was the significance of this?
Henry of Navarre converted to Catholicism in order to become King Henry IV of France. He famously said that, “Paris is well worth a mass.” In 1598 he issued the Edict of Nantes, which gave everyone the right to be either Catholic or Huguenot. A Catholic fanatic assassinated him in 1610. His son, Louis XIII, became King of France. Explain Henry’s quote about Paris.
Louis XIII was only nine years old when he became king. The kingdom was really run by a Catholic Cardinal, Richelieu. Richelieu’s power came from the king, so he did everything he could to turn France into an absolute monarchy.
Richelieu fought all of the people who stood in the king’s way, including the Huguenots and the nobles in the French Parlement. He set up royal administrators called intendants to replace the nobles in each province of France. The nobles fought back in the Fronde rebellion, but lost.
The 30 Years War between Catholics and Protestants was raging in Europe from 1618-1648. Most of the war was fought in the Holy Roman Empire.
Even though the war began over religion, national rivalries became more important by the end. Cardinal Richelieu fought against the Catholic Hapsburgs, because he wanted to make France the strongest country in Europe. France received the province of Alsace at the end of the war, the independence of the United Provinces and Switzerland was recognized, and the Hapsburg family was greatly weakened both in Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 marked the end of dynastic or ecclesiastic rule in Europe, and the beginning of the nation-state system. What do we mean by the words dynastic, ecclesiastic, and nation-state?
When Louis XIII died in 1643, his son, Louis XIV, became king. Like his father, he was just a boy when he became king. A new Catholic Cardinal, Mazarin, tried to run France just as Richelieu had. Louis XIV strengthened his position by marrying Marie Therese, a Spanish Hapsburg princess.
When Cardinal Mazarin died in 1661, 23 year old Louis XIV explained that he wanted to be a real King and the only power in France: "Up to this moment I have been pleased to entrust the government of my affairs to the late Cardinal. It is now time that I govern them myself. You [secretaries and ministers of state] will assist me with your counsels when I ask for them. I request and order you to seal no orders except by my command,... I order you not to sign anything, not even a passport... without my command; to render account to me personally each day and to favor no one." Louis XIV turned France into the most powerful absolute monarchy in Europe.
He called himself “The Sun King.” He is rumored to have said: “L'État, c'est moi!" (“I am the State!”)
He moved the court to Versailles and made the nobles live there, so he could keep his eye on them and control them. He also knew that the people would respect him more if they saw him less. How does this relate to Machiavelli’s The Prince?
Louis XIV made Versailles such a wonderful place that no noble would ever complain. The nobles even competed with each other to take turns serving the king or helping him get dressed.
The King controlled his own government until his death, by hiring and firing his own government ministers. One important minister was Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who strengthened the treasury with tariffs and taxes.
With Colbert’s help, French colonies abroad also came under strict royal control.
The turning point in Louis's reign came after Colbert's death in 1683. In 1685 the king revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had protected French Protestants – called Huguenots 200,000 Huguenots left the country, taking with them considerable capital as well as skills.
Next he fought the War of Spanish Succession (1701-14), in which he defended his grandson Philip V's inheritance of Spain when Charles II died. France - inherited by Louis XIV captured by 1659 - Dunkerque was taken from Spain by Cromwell 1658, sold to France by Charles II in 1662. captured by 1680 captured by 1680, given back 1713 1713 boundary of France remaining under Spanish control Spain recognised the independence of the northern Low Countries as the Dutch Republic in 1648
France lost some of its earlier conquests, and the Spanish empire was divided between Philip V and Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI Louis was forced to agree that the crowns of France and Spain would remain separate despite the family connection
Ultimately, Louis and his court came to set the standard for monarchies and aristocracies all over Europe. Less than fifty years after his death, the great French writer Voltaire used the title "Age of Louis XIV" to describe his history of Europe from 1661 to 1715. Historians have tended to use it ever since