Henri IV (1589-1610), the grandfather of
Louis XIV, had issued L'Edit de Nantes (1598) to bring an end to the
French religious wars by providing French Protestants with certain
rights, but his assassination in 1610 proved that unrest still
continued. His nine-year-old son, Louis XIII (1610-43) inherited
the throne, while the queen, Marie de Médicis (1573-1642),
served as regent. Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu
(1585-1642), an unscrupulous, crafty figure who became premier ministre
in 1624, soon superseded the power of the queen.
Richelieu--credited with coining the term "raison
d'état"--carried out a multi-pronged plan to make France the
greatest power in Europe.
For Richelieu, and France, the Thirty Years' War (1618-48) proved to be of decisive importance. The War
was actually a series of wars that
began in May 1618 with the defenestration of Prague--Calvinist nobles in Prague tossed the representatives
of the Holy Roman Emperor out the window.
The Treaty of Westphalia (1648) ended the war with a series of clauses:
- Against the Huguenots
- 1628, captured La Rochelle (the last Huguenot fortress in France).
- 1629, issued the L'Edit de Grâce d'Alès which annulled Protestant political and military privileges.
- Against the French nobility
- prohibited duels.
- demolished fortified châteaus.
- appointed intendants to run the provinces.
- Against French neighbors (Thirty Years' War)
The treaty greatly weakened the Holy Roman
Empire, delayed the unification of Germany, confirmed the decline of
Spain and crowned the appearance of France as the newly-emerging,
dominant power in Europe. In the midst of the war, Louis XIV was
born and became king of France.
- Calvinism became a recognized Protestant faith along with Lutheranism.
- German princes could choose the religion of the inhabitants of their territory.
- Protestants could keep all lands seized from Catholics.
- Each German prince became a sovereign entity.
- France received Alsace, Metz, Toul, Verdun and part of Lorraine.
- Sweden received part of Pomerania, Bremen and Stettin.
- Switzerland and Holland were recognized as independent.
Books about Louis XIII
- A. Lloyd Moote. Louis XIII, the Just. Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1989.
- James Collins. The State in Early Modern France. New York: Cambridge
University Press, 1995.
- Sharon Kettering. Judicial Politics and Urban Revolt: The
Parlement of Aix, 1629-1659. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978.
- Russell Major. From Renaissance Monarchy to Absolute Monarchy: French
Kings, Nobles, and Estates. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.
- Elizabeth Marvick. Louis XIII: The Making of a King. New
Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1986.
- Hester Chapman. Privileged Persons: Four Seventeenth-Century Studies. New
York: Reynal, 1966.
Web Resources about Louis XIII (There is not much.)
- Victor Tapié. France in the
Age of Louis XIII and Richelieu. Translated and edited by
D. M. Lockie. Foreword and bibliography by R. J. Knecht. New
York: Cambridge University Press, 1984 (1974).
- Armand Jean du Plessis duc de Richelieu. Testament
politique de Richelieu. Edited by Françoise Hildesheimer. Paris: Société
de l'Histoire de France, 1995.
- Armand Jean du Plessis duc de Richelieu. Mémoires
du cardinal de Richelieu. Paris: Librairie Renouard, H. Laurens, 1908-31. 10 vols.
- Alexandre Dumas. Trois mousquetaires [The Three Musketeers]. Paris,
1844 (Many English editions).
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