Xv

 Louis XV, known as Louis the Well beloved was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France and Navarre from 1 September 1715 until his death. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached maturity in 1723, his kingdom was ruled by Philippe II, Duke of OrlĂ©ans, his first cousin twice removed, as Regent of France. Cardinal Fleury was his chief minister from 1726 until the Cardinal's death in 1743, at which time the young king took over sole control of the kingdom.

During his reign, Louis's government returned the Austrian Netherlands, won at the Battle of Fontenoy of 1745, but given back to Austria by the terms of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748, and ceded most of New France to Great Britain at the conclusion of the Seven Years' War in 1763. His reign also saw the incorporation of the territories of Lorraine and Corsica into the kingdom of France. He was succeeded by his grandson Louis XVI in 1774.

Most scholars believe Louis XV's decisions damaged the power of France, weakened the treasury, discredited the absolute monarchy, and made it more vulnerable to distrust and destruction, as happened in the French Revolution, which broke out 15 years after his death. Davies says that after he took full control in 1723 his reign "was one of debilitating stagnation," characterized by lost wars, endless clashes between the Court and Parliament, and religious feuds. A few scholars defend Louis, arguing that his highly negative reputation was based on propaganda meant to justify the French Revolution. Blum says he was "a perpetual adolescent called to do a man's job.

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