Cardinal Richelieu
1585 - 1642
French Cardinal
French statesman and first minister of France (1624-42), born in Richelieu, France. A protégé of the queen mother, Marie de Medici, he became minister of state in 1624.

Cardinal Richelieu was one of the ablest of French statesmen. For over 18 years, he was the actual ruler of France. He enforced the absolute power of the king against recalcitrant groups in French society. He crushed the Protestant Hugenots, severly punished nobles who plotted against the king, and replaced his enemies in the government.

In foreign policy he attempted to secure French leadership in Europe. His principal achievement was to check Habsburg power, by sending armies into the Spanish Netherlands, Alsace, and Lorraine. He founded the French Academy in 1634.

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