Ivan the Terrible
* Intelligent and clever man, but grew to be mentally unstable * His tendency to break out in fits of rage was a result from a traumatizing childhood * Father died from blood poisoning when he was three years old; mother was assassinated when he was eight years old * Exposed to court intrigue and constant danger while growing up – this environment is what nurtured much of the vicious and suspicious characteristics Ivan the Terrible developed during his reign * The members of the nobility who took after Ivan the Terrible often scorned at him, contributing to his hatred for the boyar (noble) class, whom he suspected were also involved in his mother's death. * Allegedly tortured small animals as a boy
* Crowned as first czar of Russia in 1547
* During the early part of his reign, he introduced self-government to rural regions, reformed tax collection, and established statutory law and church reform * It is said that he gouged out the eyes of the architects who built St. Basil's so that a cathedral of such beauty could never be created again * Main goal: gain control of all independent areas to form a more centralized Russia * Gained absolute power after successfully conquering the remaining independent regions around Russia, such as Siberia * Went into deep depression upon the death of his first wife in 1560 * At one point, Ivan the Terrible left Moscow suddenly and threatened to abdicate the throne. Leaderless, the residents of Moscow pleaded for his return * assigned a master to the peasants who worked the lands around an estate, bringing forth system of serfdom * Ivan organised the Streltsy (members of the army elite) to govern his districts and the Oprichniki (the first police force) to suppress boyar (ruling-class nobles) rebellion * He confiscated the property of the boyars and granted state property to those who served him. * Russia lost its far northern territories and access to the Baltic in 1582, after the Livonian War with Poland and Sweden * In the same year of 1582, Ivan the Terrible, in a fit of rage, killed his son, Ivan * Russia was left in a state of almost total political and economic ruin when Ivan the Terrible died in 1584 Louis XIV of France
* His first goal as absolute monarch was to centralize and rein in control of France * With the help of his finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis XIV established reforms that cut France’s deficit and promoted industrial growth. * During his reign, Louis XIV managed to improve France’s disorganized system of taxation and limit formerly haphazard borrowing practices. * He also declared members of nobility exempt from paying taxes, actually causing them to become even more financially dependent on the crown * Not tolerant for any religion other than Catholicism
* Palace of Versailles isolated the nobles from their estates and their people and had them under Louis' constant scrutiny * Along with his changes to the government, Louis XIV created a number of programs and institutes to infuse more of the arts into French culture. * In implementing administrative reforms toward a more orderly and stable French government, Louis XIV forced provincial nobles to relinquish their former political influence. In so doing, he constructed a more centralized administration with the bourgeoisie, or middle class, as its foundation. * The War of the Spanish Succession, from 1701 to 1714, further hastened Louis XIV’s decline as a leader. In this conflict, Louis XIV appeared to many of his subjects to place his personal interests above his country’s, as his goal was to defend the right of his grandson, Philip V, to inherit the Spanish Empire. * The long war was so costly for France that it prompted famine and placed the country deep in debt. The public went from hailing Louis XIV as a hero to blaming him for France’s financial devastation. * Died...
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