Finance & Economy

These cards concentrate on the economic ministers that Louis had and what they did for the finance and economy during Louis XIV's reign


Finance- Colbert's Policies up to 1683

Good degree of success

  • He increased revenue for the crown
    •  detection of false nobles
    • excelent management of crown lands
    • very careful accounting- via daily journal- less corruption
  • Made the system fairer & more managable which reduced corruption
    • created United Farms- all tax farmer had to join- greater supervision/ reduction of taille/ clergy had to increase don gratuit- all this doubled the crown's income


  • Due to Dutch War, by Colbert's death, debt was 28 million livres
  • Many good reforms were reversed to pay for war (resell crownlands)
  • Doesn't completely overhaul financial system. Priviliged classes did not pay the taille
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Finance- Policies of Other Economic Ministers from

2 key ministers did introduce radical financial reforms

  • PONTCHARTRAIN: introduced capitation in 1695- to help fund 9 yrs war. Population was divided into 22 classes, people paid based on principle of ability to pay and ALL classes had to pay
  • DESMERETZ: introduced Tenth (Dixieme)- 1700- it was to fund warof Spanish Succession. Also based on ability to pay


  • Not enough to pay for the wars- debt in 1715 was 2,200 million
  • Both taxes were temporary
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Economy- Colbert's Policies up to 1683

TRADE & INDUSTRY- Good degree of success/ variety of reforms introduced

  • Development of new industries- eg. silk industries at Lyons/ Gobelins tapestry works/ Van Robais woolen industry
  • Improved communication- roads & cannals
  • Tariff policies to protect French markets
  • Used skillful immigrants
  • SUCCESS?- Yes- valuable income/ profits for luxury market/ long term benefits of improved communications


  • Nobles didn't invest
  • Luxury market was hit first in Depression
  • Some trading companies failed
  • Dutch + Eng still superior to French at trading
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Economy: Policies of Other Economic Ministers fro


  • LOUVOIS + his military approach to Huguenots in 1685 led to 200,000 of them fleeing. Several towns badly hit, like 7,000 of the 12,000 silk workers left Lyons
    • This was a huge loss of skilled workers, tax payers, employers + loyal citizens. It also meant that Louis' enemies benefitted- Eng/ Holland/ Brandenburg as well as the fact that lengthy wars + economic depression affected growth of trade & industry
  • CHAMILLART: 1700- Council of Commerce- allowed merchants to trade with enemy when at war
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Economy: Agriculture

  • None of Louis' economic minsters were interested in agriculture because of their belief in mercantilism
  • None of them introduced reforms to insist that nobles invested in their lands- no new methods of farming, therefore there were many problems, eg. soil erosion, no support during femines- caused by harvest failures in 1670s/1690s/1700s- this led to starvation amongst the poor, whole communities in debt and by 1700s people resorted to cannibalism
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