France 1789 CE

France is on the verge of Revolution!

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What is happening in France in 1789CE

After Cardinal Mazarin’s death in 1661, the young king Louis XIV took personal control of the government. He oversaw a mass of military and administrative reforms to give him a higher degree of control over the state than any of his predecessors. He built the great palace at Versailles, where his huge court could be housed in appropriate splendour.

Louis removed a potential source of resistance to his rule by revoking the Edict of Nantes (1685), causing hundreds of thousands of French Protestants (Huguenots) to flee abroad.

Louis attempted to establish France’s frontiers at the Rhine. In this he failed, but he positioned France as the leading nation in Europe. This was the case in culture as well as politics, and throughout the 18th century leading French intellectuals such as Voltaire (1694-1778), Diderot (1713-84) and Rousseau (1712-78), have greatly influenced European thinking on all sorts of subjects. Indeed the Age of Enlightenment (as this period would later be labelled) has profoundly shaped Western world views right up to the present day.

Louis XIV’s successors have been less successful in maintaining France’s dominant political position, particularly in relation to Britain, with which she has fought a series of expensive and unsuccessful wars. These have contributed to the chronic financial problems which have forced king Louis XVI to call the Estates-General. The French Revolution breaks out this year (1789), as a direct result of these developments. This will sweep away the Ancient Regime centred on the monarchy of Louis XIV and his family.

Next map, France in 1837

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