Louis XIV (5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715), known as Louis the Great (French: "Louis le Grand") or the Sun King(French: le Roi-Soleil), was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and 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. As such, it is one of the longest documented reigns of any European monarch.
Louis began his personal rule of France in 1661 after the death of his chief 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 feudalismpersisting 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. By these means he consolidated a system of absolute monarchical rule in France that endured until the French Revolution.
France was the leading European power and fought 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. Louis encouraged and benefited from the work of prominent political, military and cultural figures such as Mazarin, Colbert, Turenne andVauban, as well as Molière, Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, Lully, Le Brun, Rigaud, Le Vau, Mansart, Charles and Claude Perrault, and Le Nôtre.
Upon his death just days before his seventy-seventh birthday, Louis was succeeded by his five-year-old great-grandson, 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 and his second eldest son, Louis, duc de Bretagne (the older brothers of the future Louis XV)—predeceased him