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<i>This article contains spoilers</i>
<i>Versailles</i> Season 1 follows the French king Louis XIV, the so-called Sun King, during the early years of his reign when he commissioned the construction of the palace of Versailles, a former hunting lodge. Construction of the palace began in 1661 and lasted, on and off, until 1715. Despite the objection of much of the nobility and even his court, Louis was determined to make the palace the greatest in the world and solidify his rule. Although later Louis was known as a strong and respected ruler in Europe, the early years of his reign were fraught with problems with the nobility, wars with the low countries, conspiracies, and ongoing conflict between Catholics and Protestants. It is this background that sets up the story in the first season.
==History and Key Events==
The story begins with Louis having a vision to build a great and grand palace at Versailles. The palace is depicted as a symbol for France and in the first season Louis attempts to instill in his nobility that the palace is to represent all of France and his role in building it is essentially to unify the country (Figure 1). Although the palace is known today for its grand opulence such as the Hall of Mirrors and other structures, the intent was to make this building project help centralize the state itself. Rebellion by nobles during the reign of his father was a major problem in France, weakening the country. The series rightly indicates that the construction of the palace was used as a way to control the government and put it more in the hands of the king by moving resources to Versailles. Paris had been rife with plots against the royal family, likely prompting Louis to move the court at a distance that allowed him to have better control of the government while not being trapped by the demands of the ever rebellious nobles. One major plot development is Louis asks his nobles to produce papers to prove their nobility. Louis XIV is known to have instigated a major program that verified the lineage of the nobility.<ref>For more on Louis' early part of his reign and vision to build Versailles, see: Berger, Robert W. 1985. <i>Versailles: The Chateau of Louis XIV.</i> Monographs on the Fine Arts 40. University Park: Published for the College Art Association of America by the Pennsylvania State University Press.</ref>