Louis_XIV_of_FranceOn this date in 1643, four-year-old Louis XIV became king of France when his father, Louis XIII died, who had himself become king on this date in 1610 when his father Henry IV was assassinated. Louis XIV is known as the “Sun King” for the glorious epoch of French history he ushered in. Through many wars and political intrigue he formed what is today considered modern France. Although his exploits nearly bankrupted the state of France, the French nation became extremely wealthy and was the leading power culturally, economically and politically in Europe. But he did have his naughty side. Although he and is wife, Maria Theresa of Spain, had a loving relationship, he maintained many mistresses. He had at least 14 illegitimate children (and likely many more) who he married off to other members of the royal family. Louis ruled for 72 years, still the longest reign of any European monarch. Today is perhaps best remembered for having built the spectacular Palace of Versailles with its famous Hall of Mirrors.

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