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Louis XV

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Louis XV
Portrait by Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, 1748
King of France
Reign1 September 1715 – 10 May 1774
Coronation25 October 1722
Reims Cathedral
PredecessorLouis XIV
SuccessorLouis XVI
RegentPhilippe d'Orléans (1715–23)
Born(1710-02-15)15 February 1710
Palace of Versailles, France
Died10 May 1774(1774-05-10) (aged 64)
Palace of Versailles, France
Royal Basilica, Saint Denis, France
SpouseMarie Leszczyńska
(1725–68; her death)
Full name
Louis de France
FatherLouis, Duke of Burgundy
MotherMarie Adélaïde of Savoy
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SignatureLouis XV's signature

Louis XV (15 February 1710 – 10 May 1774) was a French king, who ruled from 1715 until his death. He is the great-grandson of Louis XIV whom he succeeded at age of five. He was called "The Beloved" (French: le Bien-Aimé). His failure to provide strong leadership and badly needed reforms contributed to the crisis that brought on the French Revolution.

Early life and reign

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Louis was born at Versailles on 15 February 1710, the son of Louis, Dauphin of France and his mother Marie Adélaïde of Savoy. Philippe, Duke of Orléans, Regent of France, governed as regent until Louis reached his legal majority in 1723. In 1725 the king married Maria Leszczyńska, daughter of Stanisław I of Poland. The following year his former tutor, André Hercule de Fleury, became the chief minister. Fleury gave France a stable administration until his death 17 years later. Thereafter Louis himself was in nominal control, but he took only a sporadic interest in government and never followed any consistent policy at home or abroad. He was frequently influenced by his mistresses, the most powerful of whom was the marquise de Pompadour.

Wars and death

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France was involved in three wars during Louis's reign. As a result of the first, the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), France gained the province of Lorraine. The second, the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), which marked the beginning of a colonial struggle with Britain, was indecisive. In the last, the Seven Years' War (1756-63), France, crippled by corruption and mismanagement, lost most of its overseas possessions to the British. French foreign policy in this period was made chaotic by Louis's “secret diplomacy,” as his agents in other countries sometimes pursued aims that were in conflict with those of his own ministers. The situation improved somewhat in the 1760s, when a new minister, the duc de Choiseul, restored some order to the government and tried to repair the damage done by the Seven Years' War. In the last years of his reign, Louis cooperated with his chancellor, René de Maupeou, in an effort to reform the country's inequitable and inefficient system of taxation. In 1771 the parlements, or sovereign courts, which had opposed reform, were reorganized and stripped of their power to obstruct royal decrees. Measures were then implemented to tax the previously exempt nobility and clergy, but these were reversed after the king's death at Versailles on 10 May 1774. Louis XV died of smallpox as a defeated and unpopular king. He was succeeded by his grandson, Louis XVI, who was later guillotined during the French Revolution.


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