Louis XV , de France
b.15 Feb 1710 Versailles, Yvelines, France
d.10 May 1774
m. 17 Dec 1697
Facts and Events
Louis XV (15 February 1710 – 10 May 1774), known as Louis the Beloved (Louis le bien aimé) was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1 September 1715 until his death. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached maturity in 1723, his kingdom was ruled by Philippe II, Duke of Orléans as Regent of France; the duke was his maternal great-uncle, as well as first cousin twice removed patrilineally. Cardinal Fleury was his chief minister from 1726 until the Cardinal's death in 1743, at which time the young king took sole control of the kingdom.
During his reign, Louis returned the Austrian Netherlands; this territory was won at the Battle of Fontenoy of 1745 but given back to Austria by the terms of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748. Louis also ceded New France in North America at the conclusion of the Seven Years' War in 1763. He incorporated the territories of Lorraine and Corsica into the kingdom of France. He was succeeded by his grandson Louis XVI in 1774.
Most scholars believe Louis XV's decisions damaged the power of France, weakened the treasury, discredited the absolute monarchy, and made it more vulnerable to distrust and destruction, as happened in the French Revolution, which broke out 15 years after his death. Davies says that after Louis XV took full control in 1723, his reign "was one of debilitating stagnation," characterized by lost wars, endless clashes between the Court and Parliament, and religious feuds. A few scholars defend Louis, arguing that his highly negative reputation was based on propaganda meant to justify the French Revolution. Blum says he was "a perpetual adolescent called to do a man's job."