Louis XIV was one of the most powerful rulers in the history of France. By the end of his reign, however, the country was left in financial turmoil.
Louis XIV became king when he was only five-years-old. So, his mother ruled for him until he was twelve-years-old. During his mother's reign, the people of France rebelled and demanded lower taxes. By 1648, Louis XIV and his family were forced to flee Paris and the rebellion for their safety.
Louis XIV returned to Paris and took the throne in 1653. He made the people of Paris very angry because he raised taxes once again. He also spent an obscene amount of money on himself, including building his massive palace in Versailles.
Louis XIV had the palace, also named Versailles, built a few miles outside Paris. Louis XIV intended for it to be a symbol of France’s greatness. The palace took eight years to construct, and it's construction cost a quarter of the country's money. When it was done, it became the center of the government for France. One of the more lavish parts of the palace is The Hall of Mirrors, which has statues, tapestries, paintings, and glass work to show the king's greatness.
Much of the tax money Louis XIV collected during his reign also went towards various wars. He further pushed for the expansion of France’s borders even though it came with a heavy price.
High taxes and famine during Louis XIV's rule ultimately lead to revolts that were violently suppressed. In addition, religious intolerance at the time forced many skilled workers to leave the country. This made France's economic situation worse.
Louis XIV's expansion of France was a success, but it also left the country in great debt. When Louis XIV died in 1715 at the age of 77, he left behind a country with an uncertain future. His reign and his legacy—especially the palace of Versailles—will be remembered for many years.
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