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Louvois, François Michel Le Tellier, marquis de

François Michel Le Tellier Louvois, marquis de (fräNswä´ mēshĕl´ lə tĕlyā´ märkē´ də lōōvwä´), 1641–91, French statesman, minister during the reign of King Louis XIV. After 1654 he was associated in office with his father, Michel Le Tellier, and from 1666 he functioned as war minister, officially replacing his father in 1677. His father shared in the reforms credited to Louvois. Among these reforms were the creation of an efficient provisioning system, the introduction of the bayonet and the flintlock rifle, the close coordination of the artillery and the corps of engineers with the infantry, the creation of grades to which officers might be promoted without purchasing their commissions, and the establishment of a fixed rate of pay. By these measures the French army became the most powerful military force in Europe. After the death of Jean Baptiste Colbert (1683), Louvois became the most influential of Louis's ministers. He supported the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (see Nantes, Edict of) and was largely responsible for the brutal enforcement of that measure. Louvois also was instrumental in the shaping of Louis's aggressive policies. The devastation of the Palatinate (1689) by the French army under his orders during the War of the Grand Alliance earned him condemnation throughout Europe.

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