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The Kingdom of France (French: Royaume de France) is a sovereign state comprising territory in western Europe and several overseas territories. The French Kingdom is one of the most powerful states in Europe, a great power since the Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War. It was also an early colonial power, with significant possessions in North America. France borders From northeast to southwest, Spanish Netherlands, Holy Roman Empire, Switzerland, Kingdom of Sardinia (under Habsburg Spain), and Spain. The papal territory of Avignon is an enclave.
France in the early modern era was increasingly centralised, the French language began to displace other languages from official use, and the monarch expanded his absolute power, albeit in an administrative system (the Ancien Régime) complicated by historic and regional irregularities in taxation, legal, judicial, and ecclesiastic divisions, and local prerogatives. Religiously France became divided between the Catholic majority and a Protestant minority, the Huguenots. After a series of civil wars, the Wars of Religion (1562–1598), tolerance was granted to the Huguenots in the Edict of Nantes.
The reign of Louis XIV
Louis XIV (1643–1715), known as Louis the Great (Louis le Grand) or the Sun King (le Roi-Soleil) began his personal rule of France in 1661 after the death of his chief minister, the Italian Cardinal Mazarin. An adherent of the concept of the divine right of kings, which advocates the divine origin 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 many members of the nobility to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde rebellion during Louis's minority. By these means he became one of the most powerful French monarchs and consolidated a system of absolute monarchical rule in France.
During Louis's reign, France was the leading European power and it fought three major wars: the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish Succession. There were also two lesser conflicts: the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions. Louis encouraged and benefited from the work of prominent political, military, and cultural figures such as Mazarin, Colbert, the Grand Condé, Turenne and Vauban, as well as Molière, Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, Lully, Marais, Le Brun, Rigaud, Bossuet, Le Vau, Mansart, Charles and Claude Perrault, and Le Nôtre.
Under his rule, the Edict of Nantes which granted rights to Huguenots was abolished (1685). The revocation effectively forced Huguenots to emigrate or convert in a wave of dragonnades. Louis XIV managed to virtually destroy the French Protestant minority, which had survived more than 150 years of wars and persecution under previous French kings.
Warfare defined the foreign policies of Louis XIV, and his personality shaped his approach. Impelled "by a mix of commerce, revenge, and pique," Louis sensed that warfare was the ideal way to enhance his glory. In peacetime he concentrated on preparing for the next war. He taught his diplomats their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military
The French colonial empire consisted:
In the Americas
- New France (including Canada and Louisiana)
- French West Indies (including Saint-Domingue, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, Tobago and other islands)
- French Guyana.
In the Indian Ocean
- Île de Bourbon
- Chandernagore (1673)
- Pondichéry (1674)
- Yanam (1723)
- Mahe (1725)
- Karikal (1739)
- ↑ OTL Réunion