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(born Feb. 15, 1710, Versailles, Francedied May 10, 1774, Versailles) King of France (1715–74). An orphan from age three, Louis succeeded to the throne on the death of his great-grandfather Louis XIV (1715), under the regency of Philippe II, duke d'Orléans (1674–1723). His marriage to Princess Marie Leszczynska of Poland (1703–68) in 1725 led to France's involvement in the War of the Polish Succession (1733–38). He chose André-Hercule de Fleury as his chief minister in 1726, and his own influence became perceptible only after Fleury's death in 1744. Louis's mistresses, particularly the marchioness de Pompadour, held considerable political influence. Louis brought France into the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48) and the Seven Years' War (1756–63), by which France lost to Britain almost all its colonial possessions. As the crown's moral and political authority declined, the Parlements gained in power, preventing fiscal reform. The king died hated by his subjects.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Louis XV, visit Britannica.com.
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