Time of wigs and revolutions

After the golden age came the epoch of wigs and revolutions. This was the eighteenth century. At the end of the 17th century we were conquered by the French. The French King Louis XIV ruled from his magnificent palace in Versaille over a wide area. Netherlands was also part of this area. In the 18th century, still believed that the King had received his power from God. This ensured that the King was an example for many men in this epoch. They wore the same clothes as Louis XIV. They also wore a wig, just like the King. Louis XIV was wearing his wig probably because he was bald. He also powdered his face white. That was when fashion. Rich people should not turn brown.

After Louis XIV Louis XV became King of France. Louis XV was the great-grandson of Louis XIV. He was the worst King that France has ever had. In the year 1715, he was crowned King. He was only 5 years old. He could not handle money and wanted to be pampered and continuous surroundings with luxury.

Louis XV received a lot of criticism of famous and influential philosophers. Rousseau was one of the philosophers who did not agree with the way how he ruled the country.  He was an important philosopher in history. He said that Louis XV had gotten his power at all of God. He got his power from the people and had to so good for the people. Voltaire was a colleague of Rousseau. He said that someone who did his job properly, should be fired. The King did his job properly and should therefore be dismissed.

At the end of the 18th century, the King of France also indeed fired. Louis XV was now succeeded by Louis XVI. He had to do with a huge national debt and some crop failures and did not know how the situation in his Kingdom could put right again. The people rebelled. The King was removed from the throne and rightly so. This was done by means of a new invention. Thanks to the guillotine they could decapitate people very quickly.

Most of the 18th century Netherlands was dropped off for a bit. In the 17th century they had quite a lot of money earned by the spice trade. But they also had lost everything by the wars with England and France. After they were invented they scare obtained a new way to make money. This time they took men and women from West Africa and carried them by boat to the Dutch colonies in South America. The Africans had to work as slaves on the sugar and cotton plantations. The living conditions of the slaves were very bad. They were treated like dirt. Therefore there were more and more people who were protesting against the slave trade. The slave trade is a black page in Dutch history.

But Netherlands became rich thanks to the slave trade. Just like in the golden age, they built huge houses and they extended their cities. Many wealthy merchants and nobles had two homes. They had one in the city and one in the countryside. The houses in the countryside were often huge. Also they had huge gardens. These houses are called country houses. There were entire neighborhoods full of this kind of houses.


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