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France 1764

Description: King Louis XIV Medal by Mauger.1764.
Obverse: Bust of Louis facing right. "LUDOVICUS MAGNUS REX CHRISTIANISSMUS". Below bust "J. Mavger F."
Reverse: King in Quadriga right, holding staff on which is Victory. "DE SEQUANIS ITERUM" In exergue: "ADDITA IMPERIO GALICO PROVINCIA / M.DC.LXXIV". Edge: plain.
Statistics: Bronze 41mm 33.1gm
Comment: The reverse inscriptions refer to the annexation of the Franche-Comte (Eastern France, bordering Switzerland), taken away from Spain and ratified by the Nijmegen peace treaty of 1678.


Louis XIV (5 September 1638 - 1 September 1715), known as the Sun King (French: le Roi Soleil), was King of France and of Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days, and is the longest documented reign of any European monarch.

Louis began personally governing France in 1661 after the death of his prime minister, the Italian Cardinal Mazarin. An adherent of the theory of the divine right of kings, which advocates the divine origin and lack of temporal restraint of monarchical rule, Louis continued his predecessors' work of creating a centralized state governed from the capital. He sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of France and, by compelling the noble elite to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde rebellion during Louis' minority.

For much of Louis's reign, France stood as the leading European power, engaging in three major wars - the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish Succession - and two minor conflicts - the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions. He encouraged and benefited from the work of prominent political, military and cultural figures such as Mazarin, Colbert, Turenne and Vauban, as well as Moliere, Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, Lully, Le Brun, Rigaud, Le Vau, Mansart, Perrault and Le Notre.

Upon his death just days before his seventy-seventh birthday, Louis was succeeded by his five-year-old great-grandson who became Louis XV. All his intermediate heirs - his son Louis, le Grand Dauphin; the Dauphin's eldest son Louis, duc de Bourgogne; and Bourgogne's eldest son Louis, duc de Bretagne - predeceased Louis.

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