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What reforms did the Duke de Sully institute during the reign of King Henry IV of France?

During the reign of King Henry IV, the Duke de Sully introduced order into France's economic affairs. As a man renowned for his honesty in an era of unscrupulous financiers, Sully centralized and reformed tax collection, removed some of the heavy taxes which overburdened France's peasants, and authorized the free export of grain and wine.

Sully's reforms gave to the monarchy the strength necessary to expand its power base after an era of weak kings.


What were the "sword nobles"?

In France, the term sword nobles refers to the traditional nobility of France. Sword nobles were sharply opposed to the monarchy's creation of new nobles from the upper levels of the merchant class during the late Medieval and early modern periods.


How did the French monarchy raise funds through the use of its power to create nobles?

French monarchs such as Henry IV and Louis XIV sold noble offices to wealthy merchants in exchange for large cash payments, and those new nobles became known as "robe nobles."

The sale of offices provided the French monarchy with much-needed funds and weakened the power of the sword nobles by providing the French monarchs with an alternative power base.


Who did Louis XIII, who reigned from 1610-1643, primarily rely upon to conduct French foreign policy? 

Louis XIII relied upon Cardinal Richelieu to conduct French foreign policy. A master politique, Richelieu guided France through the Thirty Years' War, and personally directed a ruthless suppression of the Huguenots. So powerful was Richelieu that he convinced the King to exile his own mother.

By the end of Louis XIII's reign, the Kingdom of France was the most powerful in Europe, although foreign affairs had distracted both the King and Richelieu from much-needed domestic reforms.


During the reign of Louis XIII, how were Intendents used to suppress the power of the nobility?

Although Louis XIII and his chief advisor Cardinal Richelieu were unable to institute major domestic reforms, they did strengthen the control of the French monarchy over the provinces by introducing Intendents, who were normally robe nobles.

Prior to Louis XIII's reign, sword nobles had been the provincial embodiment of the King's authority but the creation of the Intendents, who were administrative officials assigned by the King, severely undercut the sword nobles' authority and provided an alternative base of support for the monarchy.


What was The Fronde?

Taking place between 1648 and 1653, The Fronde was a series of civil wars in France early in the reign of King Louis XIV. Led by aristocratic sword nobles, bands of armed men roamed the countryside in opposition to the French monarchy.

At one point Louis XIV himself had to flee Paris for Versailles, instilling in him a significant distrust of France's hereditary nobility. Significantly, the aristocrats sought to limit the power of the French monarchy, not overthrow it.


Louis XIV is reported to have said "L'Etat, c'est moi." What did Louis XIV mean?

"L'Etat, c'est moi" roughly translates to "I am the State," and Louis XIV meant that his person as King was the sole legitimate authority in France.

As an absolute monarch, Louis XIV contended that all things revolved around him, hence he adopted the sun itself as his symbol.


How did Louis XIV govern France?

Deeply suspicious of anything that would subtract from his authority, Louis XIV had no chief minister after he came of age and commonly attended meetings of state.

Louis XIV was also distrustful of France's traditional authority; he used Intendents to establish his authority on a local level, created numerous robe nobles, and excluded the nobility from key positions.


What palace did Louis XIV remodel as a symbol of French power?

Sparing no expense, Louis XIV established the Palace of Versailles as the seat of French power. Designed to reflect France's magnificence and the power of Louis XIV personally, Versailles contained Louis XIV's personal image of the sun throughout.


What two goals governed France's foreign policy during Louis XIV's reign?

Louis XIV sought to extend France's borders to what he viewed was France's natural frontier, the Rhine River and the Swiss frontier, and to take control of Spain's American colonies.

He proved unable to accomplish either, although France did gain Alsace at the end of the War of Spanish Succession.


What economic polices were adopted by French finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert during the reign of Louis XIV?

Colbert was a staunch mercantilist. To encourage the development of French industry, he placed high tariffs on imports.

Colbert expended significant energy in an attempt to remedy France's inequitable tax system, but opposition from the nobility hindered his efforts.

Nevertheless, Colbert's efforts did increase the Crown's revenue, enabling Louis XIV to fund at least part of his many wars.


Which French King revoked the Edict of Nantes?

Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685, removing the protections that the Huguenots had enjoyed for nearly a century.

Louis XIV claimed that France should have "one king, one law, one faith," and violently suppressed any Huguenot resistance. Some 200,000 Huguenots left for England, the Protestant German Duchies, or the New World.


What war ended in 1697, primarily because the combatants had exhausted their financial resources?

The War of the League of Augsburg

France had begun the war in 1688 against the Holy Roman Empire in an effort to extend French control to the Rhine River. This provoked the creation of a Grand Alliance of England, the Netherlands, Spain, Savoy, and several German states against Louis XIV to preserve the balance of power.

As all wars were during the period, the conflict was highly expensive, and by 1696 France, England, and the Netherlands had exhausted their financial resources.


How did Europe's balance of power bring about the War of Spanish Succession?

In 1701 the Spanish King died without an heir and left his throne to Louis XIV of France. Allowing the French King to control both countries severely upset the balance of power, and the Kingdoms of England, Holland, Austria, Brandenburg, and the Duchy of Savoy united in the Grand Alliance to thwart Louis XIV's aims.


How did the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, restore Europe's balance of power?

The Treaty of Utrecht ended the War of Spanish Succession and preserved the balance of power by containing a French guarantee never to unite the French and Spanish Crowns.

The Treaty's other terms included replacing Spanish control in the Spanish Netherlands with Austrian control, and some territorial swaps in Italy.