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Louis XV was king of France from 1715 to 1774. He is best known for contributing to the decline of royal authority that led to the French Revolution in 1789.
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He took to the battlefield himself and seemed to take charge of the country's leadership. Louis XV chose to rule without having a first minister after the Fleury's death in 1743. The following year, Louis XV fell ill. He recovered, and his relieved constituents gave him the nickname "Le Bien-Aime," or "The Well-Loved."
Unfortunately, Louis didn't retain the affections of his people for long. The War of Austrian Succession proved costly for France. The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle,
which ended the war in 1748, did little to advance the country or to settle disputes with Britain over certain colonies. Louis XV was aided in many of his decisions by his longtime mistress Madame de Pompadour. Since their relationship began in the 1740s, she had become his most close confidante and advisor.
Tensions with Britain caused Louis XV to side with Austria, his former enemy, to fight together in Seven Years War, which began in 1756. France was defeated and was forced to surrender some of its holdings abroad. During this conflict, Louis XV managed to survive an assassination attempt on January 5, 1757. He was stabbed in his side by a supporter of the French parliament. His wound proved to be minor, but his nation was in failing health after this latest war.
In the 1760s and 1770s, Louis XV's government made some attempts at reform, but these efforts were too little too late. Louis XV himself lacked the leadership skills and drive necessary to help push through changes. He died on May 10, 1774, in his bedroom at Versailles. He was comforted by his last mistress, Jeanne Bécu, countess du Barry, in his final days.
Upon his death, Louis XV's grandson assumed the throne as King Louis XVI (Louis XV's son, Louis, dauphin de France, had died in 1765, thus Louis XVI was the next heir in line to the throne). Louis XVI's wife, Marie Antoinette, became queen. The pair would feel the wrath of the upcoming French Revolution, but some experts claim that the seeds of revolt had already been planted during King Louis XV's reign.
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