Jules Mazarin

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Mazarin, Jules

(zhül mäzärăN`), 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 AustriaAnne of Austria,
1601–66, queen of France, daughter of King Philip III of Spain. Married to the French king Louis XIII (1615), she was neglected by her husband and sought the society of the court intriguer, Mme de Chevreuse.
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. 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 FrondeFronde
, 1648–53, series of outbreaks during the minority of King Louis XIV, caused by the efforts of the Parlement of Paris (the chief judiciary body) to limit the growing authority of the crown; by the personal ambitions of discontented nobles; and by the grievances of
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 (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 PyreneesPyrenees, Peace of the,
1659, treaty ending the warfare between France and Spain that, continuing after the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War, had been complicated by French intervention in the revolt of the Catalans (1640–52) and by Spanish
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 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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mazarin, Jules


Born July 14, 1602, in Pescina; died Mar. 9, 1661, in Vincennes. French statesman. Son of a member of the Sicilian gentry.

Mazarin served in the papal troops, and from 1630 he was in the pope’s diplomatic service. At the conclusion of the Treaty of Cherasco in 1631 and in his daily work as papal nuncio in Paris (1634-36), Mazarin distinguished himself by his extraordinary diplomatic abilities; he attracted the attention of Cardinal Richelieu and became his trusted agent. In 1640, Mazarin transferred to the French diplomatic service and became a cardinal in 1641. Before Cardinal Richelieu’s death he proposed that Mazarin be given the position of prime minister as his successor. Appointed to the post in 1643 by Anne of Austria (with whom he later entered into a secret marriage), Mazarin continued the policy of strengthening French absolutism under difficult circumstances.

In 1643 he crushed a conspiracy of the French aristocracy (the “cabale des Importants”); he harshly suppressed numberless popular uprisings, which were caused by increasing tax oppression. Beginning in 1648, Mazarin led the struggle against the Fronde. One of the demands of the latter was the removal of Mazarin from office, and there were numerous “Mazarinades” (publicistic works and pamphlets) directed against him; the Paris Parliament proclaimed Mazarin to be an enemy of the state. On two occasions (in 1651 and 1652) Mazarin left France; he returned in 1653 after the Fronde had been crushed, and he remained in power until the end of his life. In his foreign policy, thanks to his artful diplomacy, Mazarin achieved great successes (the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, peace and commercial treaties with England in 1655, a military alliance with England in 1657, and the Peace of the Pyrenees in 1659), all of which consolidated France’s political hegemony in Europe.


Lettres…, vols. 1-9. Paris, 1872-1906.


Chéruel, A. Histoire de France sous le ministére de Mazarin, vols. 1-3. Paris, 1882.
Bailly, A. Mazarin. Paris, 1935.
Mazarin. Edited by G. Mongrédien. Paris, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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