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Jules Mazarin

1602-61. French statesman. Born at Piscina, Abruzzi, he was educated by Jesuits in Rome and spent three years at Alcalá University in Spain. Returning to Rome, he graduated as doctor of laws and became captain in the army of Colonna. Turning to diplomacy, he averted war between France and Spain at Casal. He entered the church and was vice-legate at Avignon and papal nuncio in Paris. He became a naturalized Frenchman (1639) and was created cardinal (1641). He succeeded Richelieu as prime minister (1642) and rapidly became all- powerful through the favor of Anne of Austria, who perhaps married him secretly. At the Peace of Westphalia (1648) he increased France's possessions, but could not control the deteriorating financial situation which led to the civil wars of the Fronde (1648-53). He was banished (1651-52), but returned to be as powerful as ever, using the young Louis XIV to break any opposition. He raised France to the first rank in Europe, maintained its influence in the Baltic, concluded a trade treaty with Cromwell, and fought Spain successfully, eventually securing Louis's marriage to Maria Theresa after the treaty of the Pyrenees (1659). Toward the Hugenots he pursued a policy of reconciliation. He held the see of Metz and numerous abbeys, enriching himself from their revenues, out of which he founded the Collège Mazarin.

See A. Hassall, Mazarin (1903), and K. Federn, Mazarin (1922).