|Louis XIV statue at Carnavalet Musee, by DG Hudson|
X = X - XVIII
Louis X (10th) to Louis XVIII (18th)
In honour of the letter X, this post will focus on a specific group of rulers in French history from Louis 10th through Louis 18th, when the monarchy ended.
From the benevolent and the cunning to the Sun King and the Restorer of French Liberty, these kings managed to rule for a long time. The third race of kings to rule in France, the Capetian dynasty, male-line descendants of Hugh Capet, ruled continuously from 987 to 1792 and again from 1814-1848.
Coat of Arms of the Monarchy
|Arms of the King of France (Modern)|
Louis X, the Quarreller 1314-1316
Louis X allowed serfs to buy their freedom, which was the first step towards the abolition of serfdom, he abolished slavery, and readmitted French Jews into the kingdom.
Louis XI, the Prudent, the Cunning, the Universal Spider 1461-1483
This Louis' taste for intrigue and his intense diplomatic activity earned him the nicknames the Cunning and the Universal Spider, as he was accused by his enemies of spinning webs of plots and conspiracies.
Louis XII Father of the People 1498 - 1515
A popular king, Louis XII was proclaimed 'Father of the People' in 1506 by the Estates-General of Tours, for his reduction of the tax known as taille (direct land tax), legal reforms, and civil peace in France.
Louis XIII, the Just 1610-1643
Louis XIII, a suspicious sort, relied heavily on his chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu, to govern the kingdom of France. King and cardinal are remembered for the establishment of the Académie francaise and for putting an end to the revolt of the French nobility.
Louis worked to reverse the trend of French artists leaving for Italy to work and study. He commissioned the painters Nicolas Poussin and Philippe de Champaigne to decorate the Louvre Palace.
Louis XIV the Great, the Sun King 1643 - 1715
|Statue of the Sun King, Louis XIV, Versailles, by DG Hudson|
Louis XIV's reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest of any monarch of a major European country in history. He wanted to eradicate feudalism which persisted in parts of France and by having the members of the nobility inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, he succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy. Unfortunately for him, all his intermediate heirs predeceased him. He was succeeded by his five year old great-grandson, Louis XV.
Louis XV, the Beloved 1710 - 1774
(Louis le bien aimé)
Louis the Beloved was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from September 1715 until his death in 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Most scholars believe Louis XV policies damaged the power of France, weakened the treasury, discredited the absolute monarchy and made it more vulnerable to distrust. The French Revolution broke out 15 years after his death.
Louis XVI, the Restorer of French Liberty, 1754 - 1793
Louis, the Restorer, also known as Louis Capet, was King of the France from 1774 until his deposition in 1792, although his formal title after 1791 was King of the French. He was executed during the French Revolution. Louis succeeded his grandfather, Louis XV in 1774.
|Painting of Louis XVI, WC*|
From 1776, Louis XVI actively supported the North American colonists who were seeking independence from Great Britain. The ensuing debt and financial crisis contributed to the unpopularity of the Ancien Regime which culminated at the Estates-General of 1789.
Discontent among the members of the middle and lower classes resulted in opposition to The French aristocracy and to the absolute monarchy. Louis and his queen, Marie Antoinette, were viewed as representatives. In 1789, the storming of the Bastille during riots in Paris marked the beginning of the French Revolution.
Louis XVII the Claimant 1785 - 1795
Son of Louis XVI, who was born in Versailles and died in Paris. He was known by several names: Louis-Charles, Duke of Normandy, then as Louis-Charles, Dauphin of France,and finally as Louis-Charles, Prince Royal of France. He was the second son and third child of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. He had a short life, following the demise of his father's rule.
Louis XVIII the Desired 1755 - 1824
Grandson of Louis XV and younger brother of Louis XVI, Louis XVIII was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1814 to 1824 except for a period in 1815 known as the Hundred Days. He spent 23 years in exile from 1791 - 1814 during the French Revolution and the First French Empire. He also spent time in exile for the Hundred Days, when Napoleon returned from Elba. Louis XVIII was the last French monarch to die while reigning.
Did you know there were so many Louis' in France history? Do you know who the Sun King Louis XIV was or Louis XVI, who ruled at the time at the time of the French Revolution? Were you aware that the French monarchy helped support the Colonies' War for Independence?
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List of French monarchs