Louis XIV

Early Reign

After his father's death his mother, Anne of Austria, was regent for Louis, but the real power was wielded by Anne's adviser, Cardinal Mazarin. Louis did not take over the government until Mazarin's death (1661). By then France was economically exhausted by the Thirty Years War, by the Fronde, and by fiscal abuses. But the centralizing policies of Richelieu and Mazarin had prepared the ground for Louis, under whom absolute monarchy, based on the theory of divine right, reached its height.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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