Louis XIV the Sun King (1638-1715) was King of France from 1643, when he succeeded his father Louis Xlll; his mother was Anne of Austria.
Until 1661 France was ruled by the chief minister, Mazarin, but later Louis took absolute power, summed up in his saying L'Etat c'est moi ('I am the State'). Throughout his reign he was engaged in unsuccessful expansionist wars -1667-1668,1672-1678,1688-1697, and 1701-1713 (the War of the Spanish Succession) - against various European alliances, always containing Britain and the Netherlands. He was a patron of the arts.
Greatest of his ministers was Colbert, whose work was undone by the king's military adventures. Louis attempted (1667-1668) to annex the Spanish Netherlands, but was frustrated by an alliance of the Nethe
rlands, Britain, and Sweden. Having detached Britain from the alliance, he invaded the Netherlands in 1672, but the Dutch stood firm (led by William of Orange; see William III of England) and despite the European alliance formed against France, achieved territorial gains at the Peace of Nijmegen in 1678.
When war was renewed 1688-1697 between Louis and the Grand Alliance (including Britain), formed by William of Orange, the French were everywhere victorious on land, but the French fleet was almost destroyed at the battle of La Hague in 1692.
The acceptance by Louis of the Spanish throne in 1700 (for his grandson) precipitated the War of the Spanish Succession, and the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 ended French supremacy in Europe.
In 1660 Louis married the Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain, but he was greatly influenced by his mistresses, including Louise deLa Valliere.
Why is Louis XIV famous?
Louis XIV was a French monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre.