Louis XIV during the fifty-five years of his personal reign (1661-1715) created the institutional foundations for the science and technology of France. These institutions were outwardly an attempt both to meet the needs of the French state for technical advice and to provide professional scientists with the necessary support for pure scientific research. In a less obvious sense, the origin and evolution of these institutions represented an attempt on the part of the monarchy to disentangle the pursuit of knowledge from the prevailing system of political patronage and from the political and religious speculation that fed the social conflicts of the period. By the end of the seventeenth century, Louis XIV and his ministers had attained these goals and set French science and technology on the high road of success for the duration of the eighteenth century.


Louis XIV, France, Science, Technology

Published in:

The Sun King: Louis XIV and the New World, edited by Steven G. Reinhardt, pp. 155-67. New Orleans: Louisiana Museum Foundation, 1984.

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