The Size of France

  • Paul Murdin
The groundwork to lay down the Paris Meridian was initiated during the reign of King Louis XIV (Debarth 1984). Louis XIV, the Sun King, came to the throne of France as a boy within a few days of his fifth birthday but took charge in his more mature years (18 years later in 1661). He established a brilliant court and was a patron of writers, artists, and intellectuals. In addition, he appointed Jean-Baptiste Colbert as a minister with wide authority to enhance the status of the King and to develop France thus restoring its fortunes after a weakening series of wars with Spain.

People Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619–1683)

Colbert was born into a merchant family of Reims, and as a result of family connections he was appointed at a very young age to the war office as an inspector of troops, working his way up to become the personal secretary of the Secretary of War. At the age of 30 he became a minister of state and starting at 45 he became, in rapid succession, the superintendent of buildings,...


Paris Observatory Meridian Line Star Position Stone Pillar Potential Landmark 
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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Murdin

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