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The Early Reign of Louis XIV 101

Forgotten triumphs and tragic downfall...

Louis XIV remains, without a glimpse of a doubt, one of the greatest French kings. His reign was a synonym of cultural, intellectual and military achievements which left an undeniable footprint in French history. Unfortunately, historians have not always been complaisant in their historical assessments. For a long time, his reign was heavily criticized for its absolutism, religious intolerances, famine, endless wars, and the disastrous economic situation towards the end. Historiography has drastically changed in the last decades, offering a more positive perspective on the reign. Louis XIV is undoubtedly a complex and ambiguous historical figure that needs to be understood. His reign is extremely long and almost impossible to cover entirely. Therefore, this series of articles will offer a brief overview of some key aspects of the Sun King.

This article explores the creation and collapse of the French navy during the reign of Louis XIV. Created by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the navy stands as an unknown and forgotten accomplishment of the early reign in collective minds but which saw its potential ruined in the last decades of the reign.

The Early Reign of Louis XIV series is divided into six chapters:

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