IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > B. Early Modern Europe, 1479–1815 > 1. Europe, 1479–1675 > d. France > 1627–28
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
Siege of La Rochelle under the personal supervision of Richelieu. Despite the dispatch of three fleets from England to the aid of the Huguenots, the city surrendered on Oct. 28, 1628, after a heroic resistance of 14 months. Defeat of the duke of Rohan and complete subjugation of the Huguenots, who thereafter were no longer an armed political party but only a tolerated sect.  1
War in Italy with Spain; subjugation of Savoy, Richelieu at the head of the army.  2
Treaty of Cherasco. France renounced all conquests in Italy, but by a secret treaty with Victor Amadeus, duke of Savoy, Pignerol was surrendered to France.  3
FRENCH PARTICIPATION IN THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR (See The Swedish-French Period, 1635–48).  4
Richelieu's fundamental goal was the establishment of a strong monarchy through the subordination of its historic enemy, the nobility; the reduction of the parliaments and the Huguenots; and the strengthening of the state bureaucracy (intendants). Although he wrote, “Finances are the sinews of the state,” 17th-century France remained “a collection of local economies and local societies dominated by local elites,” and Richelieu's power to tax was severely limited. His foreign policy was more successful. He restored French influence in Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany and established it in Sweden. His work laid the foundation for the power of Louis XIV and became the traditional basis of French foreign policy. (See France)  5
Cultural Developments
The literature of the French Renaissance bore the stamp of Italy. François Rabelais (1494–1553), a former friar, satirized the foibles of his society in Pantagruel (1532) and Gargantua (1534). His books also bear testimony to the importance the Renaissance placed on humanistic education. The poets Pierre de Ronsard (1524–85) and Joachim du Bellay (1522–60) were the leaders of La Pléiade, a group of young poets who urged the use of the French language in literature, at the same time reverting to a classical style. Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533–92) introduced a question-and-answer technique in his Essais (1580–88); his influence on the philosophy, style, and form of later writers such as Rousseau and the essayist Charles Lamb was marked.  6
In the 16th century several of the chateaux in the Loire Valley were built. The sculptors Michel Colombe (1430–1512), Jean Goujon (1515–60), and Germain Pillon (1535–90) were active; and François Clouet (1516–72) painted royal portraits.  7
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.