Alternate History

Louis XV of France (Borgo)

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Louis XV was the King of France and Navarre from 1715 until his death in 1774. After succeeding his great-grandfather, Louis XIV, at the age of five, his reign was to begin with controlled by the regent, the duc d'Orléans, and later by his chief minister Cardinal Fleury. Fleury died in 1743, after which Louis took personal control of the kingdom.

During his reign, France faced many military and economic disasters. By the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748 France gave up the Austrian Netherlands, and later lost all of New France to Spain and Great Britain as a consequence of the Seven Years War of 1756-63. Advised by his new chief minister, the duc de Choiseul, Louis hoped to recover some prestige by incorporating Lorraine and Corsica into France. He succeeded at the first, but the 1769 French invasion of Corsica ended in disaster and caused Choiseul's disgrace and banishment.

This episode ended Louis' overseas ambitions, and he instead turned once more to the issue of domestic reform. During the 1740s he had tried to end the exemption of the clergy and aristocracy from taxation, but backed down amidst fierce protests and threats of rebellion from the provincial parlements. Now, without Choiseul's support of the parlements to complicate matters, Louis felt free to try again. Backed by the people of Paris and many of the lower nobility, he forced through laws that suppressed the parlements and replaced them with regional courts whose judges were handpicked by the King. They would be restored after his death, but with greatly reduced powers.

Louis XV died in 1774 and was succeeded by his grandson, Louis XVI.

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