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Jules Mazarin

Mazarin, Jules (zhül mäzärăNˈ) [key], 1602–61, French statesman, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, b. Italy. His original name was Giulio Mazarini. After serving in the papal army and diplomatic service and as nuncio at the French court (1634–36), he entered the service of France and made himself valuable to King Louis XIII's chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu, who brought him into the council of state. Although he had received only minor orders and had never been ordained a priest, he was raised to cardinal upon the recommendation of Louis XIII (1641). After the deaths of Richelieu (1642) and Louis XIII (1643), Mazarin was the principal minister of the regent Anne of Austria. The theory that Mazarin was secretly married to the widowed queen has been widely credited. He won favorable terms for France in the Peace of Westphalia (1648), but his attempts to raise money through taxation and his centralizing policy provoked the troubles of the Fronde (1648–53), during which he was several times forced to leave France. After the defeat of the Fronde, Mazarin was securely in control of France. By clever diplomacy he strengthened the crown and negotiated the favorable Peace of the Pyrenees at the end of the war with Spain (1659).

See J. B. Perkins, France under Mazarin (1886); A. Hassall, Mazarin (1903, repr. 1970); W. F. Church, The Impact of Absolutism in France (1969).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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