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Louis XIV

bijgenaamd: de Zonnekoning (Fr.: le Roi Soleil) (St-Germain-en-Laye 5 sept. 1638 – Versailles 1 sept. 1715), koning van 1643 tot 1715, uit het Huis Bourbon, was een zoon van Lodewijk XIII, die hij opvolgde onder regentschap van zijn moeder, Anna van Oostenrijk, wier handen echter gebonden waren door een regentschapsraad. In 1651 wisten zij en kardinaal Mazarin, die haar geheel overheerste, zich van deze raad te ontdoen door de 13-jarige koning meerderjarig te verklaren; sindsdien heerste Mazarin vrijwel onbeperkt. Het door hem in 1659 bewerkte en in 1660 voltrokken huwelijk van Lodewijk met de infante Maria Theresia (zijn nicht in dubbele zin: als dochter van zijn vaders zuster en van zijn moeders broer) moest aanspraak legitimeren op de onmetelijke Spaanse kroonlanden. Dit perspectief heeft Lodewijk XIV een halve eeuw lang voor ogen gestaan en is de sleutel tot zijn Europese politiek. Na Mazarins overlijden op 9 maart 1661 benoemde Lodewijk geen opvolger. Dank zij gelukkig gekozen medewerkers is hij er tot op aanzienlijke hoogte in geslaagd de door Richelieu en Mazarin voorbereide centralisatie onder een absoluut gezag te verwezenlijken. Zelf was hij niet boven de middelmaat begaafd en maar oppervlakkig ontwikkeld, vooral weinig belezen. Hij bezat echter de uiterlijke majesteit, het savoir-faire en de acteursgaven een rol te spelen, alsmede toewijding, taaie werkkracht en geloof in een goddelijke roeping. Hij slaagde erin heel Frankrijk dienstbaar te maken aan een cultus die de vergoddelijking nabij kwam. Zijn hofhouding in het door zijn vader gestichte, maar door hem groots herschapen en tot residentie verheven kasteel te Versailles was sterk door de Spaanse beïnvloed; zijn stijl en zijn ceremoniën werden het model voor alle andere vorstenhoven. Veel had hij te danken aan zijn medewerkers, onder wie Lionne (minister van Buitenlandse Zaken), Colbert (Financiën, Economische Zaken, Cultuur, Koloniën) en Louvois (Oorlog). Sinds de dood van Colbert in 1684 verslapte Lodewijks greep op de zaken van oorlog en vrede en de dood van Louvois (1691) verhaastte dit proces. Dit werd mede bevorderd door het overlijden van zijn grote generaals: Turenne (1675), Condé (1686) en Luxembourg (1695).
Colbert schiep een eigen koopvaardijvloot, wat de koloniale expansie in Noord- en Midden-Amerika aanzienlijk bevorderde. Verder stimuleerde hij de vestiging van belangrijke industrieën. Ook stichtte hij scholen en academies voor o.a. bouw-, beeldhouw- en schilderkunst; in 1666 bracht hij de Académie des Sciences tot stand, die, dankzij figuren als Christiaan Huygens en diens assistent Denis Papin, de studie van de exacte wetenschappen en hun toepassing internationaal bevorderd heeft. Lionne heeft Frankrijks diplomatieke en politieke prestige in de wereld verhoogd. Hij was o.a. de ontdekker van het zgn. devolutierecht en van de juridische finesses van de Chambres de Réunion. Louvois was de minister van Oorlog die zonder scrupules de politiek van de verschroeide aarde toepaste om het leger te doen zegevieren. Door de samenwerking van zoveel begaafde personen rees Frankrijks ster sinds 1660 snel en het is geen wonder dat de andere Europese mogendheden zich aaneensloten in verzet tegen Lodewijks continentaal imperialisme. In dit verband moeten de Lisola en stadhouder-koning Willem III worden genoemd.
Achtereenvolgens poogde Lodewijk XIV het Europese evenwicht te verstoren door de Devolutieoorlog van 1667/1668, een eerste poging om zich meester te maken van een deel van de Spaanse kroonlanden. De tweede onderneming was de in 1672 begonnen oorlog tegen de Republiek der Verenigde Nederlanden, Guerre de Hollande, een oorlog met een sterk economische inslag in de geest van Colbert.
Kort na de Vrede van Nijmegen (1678) begon Lodewijk XIV met een quasi vreedzame herenigingspolitiek; de parlementen van Noordoost-Frankrijk en een speciaal opgerichte Kamer te Metz kregen tot taak na te gaan welke territoria op grond van historische gegevens aan Frankrijk toekwamen. Langs deze weg eigende Lodewijk zich het recht toe in sept. 1681 Straatsburg en kort daarna een tiental andere steden in de Elzas te bezetten. In 1684 bezetten zijn troepen bovendien Luxemburg en Trier. De Negenjarige Oorlog leidde tot een voor Lodewijk XIV nog betrekkelijk gunstige vrede (Rijswijk, sept. 1697), waarbij hij de bezette delen van de Elzas inclusief Straatsburg behield. Toch waren uitputtingsverschijnselen bij de Franse monarchie reeds onmiskenbaar. Zij traden nog duidelijker aan het licht in de Spaanse Successieoorlog (1702–1715), die de nekslag toebracht aan Frankrijks maritieme en koloniale ambities en zijn continentaal imperialisme en die de Franse hegemonie in Europa verving door de Britse. Op de dag dat deze laatste oorlog met het Barrièretraktaat (zie barrièretraktaten) van 1 sept. 1715 beëindigd werd, overleed ‘de Zonnekoning’, door het volk, dat hem eens verafgood had, nauwelijks meer betreurd. Lodewijks machtsdroom de hele Spaanse monarchie, de Nederlanden en Duitsland links van de Rijn onder zijn scepter te verenigen, was een hersenschim gebleken. Zijn binnenlandse politiek heeft echter gunstige gevolgen gehad, terwijl Frankrijk onder Lodewijk XIV voor lange tijd cultureel de toon aangaf.
Van Lodewijks autoritair centralisme maakte zijn godsdienstig-kerkelijke politiek een natuurlijk onderdeel uit. De vérgaande onafhankelijkheid van de Franse kerk ten opzichte van Rome, mogelijk geworden door de beslissende invloed op de benoeming van de bisschoppen, werd belichaamd in de door Bossuet geformuleerde ‘Gallicaanse artikelen’ van 1682. De opheffing van het Edict van Nantes met zijn nasleep van gewetenloze vervolging van de hugenoten is even kenmerkend voor Lodewijks totalitair denken als zijn onverbiddelijke afwijzing van het jansenisme. Laatstbedoelde houding werd mede bepaald door de invloed die Madame de Maintenon op de koning uitoefende. Van jongs af gaf Lodewijk blijk van ongebreidelde zinnelijkheid; maîtresses en titre waren o.a. Louise de Lavallière, die de koning vier kinderen schonk, en Françoise de Montespan, bij wie Lodewijk zeven kinderen verwekte, o.a. Marie-Françoise de Blois, die trouwde met de latere regent Filips van Orléans, en daardoor stammoeder werd van het huis Orléans. De opvoedster van deze kinderen, Françoise d’Aubigné, in 1674 tot markiezin de Maintenon verheven, bekeerde de koning ca. 1680–1683 tot een meer geregeld leven en werd na het overlijden van koningin Maria Theresia in 1683 zijn vrouw.
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Zijn regeringsperiode was het hoogtepunt van het  absolutisme in Frankrijk. Lodewijk XIV  kreeg het voor elkaar zijn hof tot middelpunt van het land en van heel Europa te maken. Hij liet het koninklijke paleis in  Versailles bouwen en trok talrijke kunstenaars, architecten zoals Louis Le Vau en Jules Hardouin-Mansart, schilders zoals Charles Le Brun en André Le Nôtre, musici zoals Jean-Baptiste Lully en schrijvers zoals  Molière, Jean Racine en Jean La Fontaine aan, om aan zijn hof te komen, die zijn regering het luisterrijke en feestelijke cachet gaven dat in heel Europa werd geïmiteerd. De barok beleefde zijn bloeitijd.
Lodewijk XIV was nog minderjarig, toen hij in 1643 de  Franse troon besteeg. Tot zijn eerste kenmerkende  ervaringen hoorde de opstand van het  parlement en de adel (Fronde). Dit vond plaats tussen 1749 en 1753, tijdens het regentschap van zijn moeder Anna van Oostenrijk.
Anders dan zijn voorganger Lodewijk XIII, bezat Lodewijk XIV een uitgesproken drang naar macht en heerschappij en bepaalde na de dood van  Jules Mazarin, in 1661, de richtlijnen van de Franse politiek zelf. Systematisch werkte hij aan een versteviging van een absolutistische machtsstaat in het binnenland. Hij nam de adel zijn politieke betekenis af, maar versterkte echter in tegenstelling zijn sociale prestige en trok dit naar zijn nauwste omgeving, het hof.
De gecentraliseerde regering en het bestuur legde hij in de hand van ministers en medewerkers zoals  Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Sébastien Vauban en Francois Michel Louvois. Door de  intendanten (quasi de voor het centrale bestuur verantwoordelijke en de door haar teruggeroepen functionaris) werd de koninklijke macht in heel Frankelijk voelbaar. Door zijn aanspraken op meer macht en het ideaal van de uniformering en centralisering, greep Lodewijk XIV ook in het bereik van de kerk en het geloof in. Zijn kerkpolitiek richtte zich op de oprichting van een Gallicaanse staatskerkdom, dit leidde tot hevige uiteenzettingen met Innocentius XI. Naar het motto "Een koning, een wet, een geloof" (un roi, une loi, une fois) verbood hij het Jansenisme en liet de  Hugenoten met uiterst harde hand vervolgen. In 1685 hief hij het Edikt van Nantes op, met de bewering: er zijn in Frankrijk geen  Hugenoten meer. Hierdoor verloren de hugonoten voor meer dan honderd jaar alle rechten en geraakten in de illegaliteit. Velen van hen emigreerden, ofschoon dit op straffe verboden was.
Ook met betrekking tot de buitenlandse politiek bedreef Lodewijk XIV een machts- en  expansiepolitiek, die uiteindelijk half Europa tegen hem verbond. Beginnend met de  Devolutieoorlog greep hij, indien mogelijk onder rechtelijk mom zoals  aanspraak op de erfenis (bijvoorbeeld Paltse successieoorlog) of vermoedelijke leenrechtelijke betrekkingen met Frankrijk (annexaties) op naburige gebieden en probeerde dit in te lijven tot Frans staatsgebied. Hierbij stootte de Franse expansiepolitiek in  Palts en Spaanse successieoorlog op hun grenzen.
Lodewijk XIV liet Lodewijk XIV een uitgeput en door bankroet bedreigd land achter, alsmede de herinnering aan een glansrijke periode. Door het einde van zijn heerschappij begon ook de ondergang van de Franse hegemonie in Europa.

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 Louis XIV, byname LOUIS THE GREAT, LOUIS THE GRAND MONARCH, or THE SUN KING, French LOUIS LE GRAND, LOUIS LE GRAND MONARQUE, or LE ROI SOLEIL (b. Sept. 5, 1638, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Fr.--d. Sept. 1, 1715, Versailles), king of France (1643-1715) who ruled his country, principally from his great palace at Versailles, during one of its most brilliant periods and who remains the symbol of absolute monarchy of the classical age. Internationally, in a series of wars between 1667 and 1697, he extended France's eastern borders at the expense of the Habsburgs and then, in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), engaged a hostile European coalition in order to secure the Spanish throne for his grandson.
Early life and marriage.
Louis was the son of Louis XIII and his Spanish queen, Anne of Austria. He succeeded his father on May 14, 1643. At the age of four years and eight months, he was, according to the laws of the kingdom, not only the master but the owner of the bodies and property of 19 million subjects. Although he was saluted as "a visible divinity," he was, nonetheless, a neglected child given over to the care of servants. He once narrowly escaped drowning in a pond because no one was watching him. Anne of Austria, who was to blame for this negligence, inspired him with a lasting fear of "crimes committed against God."
Louis was nine years old when the nobles and the Paris Parlement (a powerful law court), driven by hatred of the prime minister Cardinal Jules Mazarin, rose against the crown in 1648. This marked the beginning of the long civil war known as  the Fronde, in the course of which Louis suffered poverty, misfortune, fear, humiliation, cold, and hunger. These trials shaped the future character, behaviour, and mode of thought of the young king. He would never forgive either Paris, the nobles, or the common people.
In 1653 Mazarin was victorious over the rebels and then proceeded to construct an extraordinary administrative apparatus with Louis as his pupil. The young king also acquired Mazarin's partiality for the arts, elegance, and display. Although he had been proclaimed of age, the King did not dream of disputing the Cardinal's absolute power.
The war begun in 1635 between France and Spain was then entering its last phase. The outcome of the war would transfer European hegemony from the Habsburgs to the Bourbons. A French king had to be a soldier, and so Louis served his apprenticeship on the battlefield. (see also Index: Franco-Spanish War,  Habsburg, House of)
In 1658 Louis faced the great conflict between love and duty, a familiar one for princes of that period. He struggled with himself for two years over his love for Mazarin's niece, Marie Mancini. He finally submitted to the exigencies of politics and in 1660 married Marie-Thérèse of Austria, daughter of the King of Spain, in order to ratify peace between their two countries.
The childhood of Louis XIV was at an end, but no one believed him capable of seizing the reins of power. No one suspected his thoughts. He wrote in his Mémoires:
In my heart I prefer fame above all else, even life itself . . . Love of glory has the same subtleties as the most tender passions . . . In exercising a totally divine function here on earth, we must appear incapable of turmoils which could debase it.
The young king.
Mazarin died on March 9, 1661. The dramatic blow came on March 10. The King informed his astonished ministers that he intended to assume all responsibility for ruling the kingdom. This had not occurred since the reign of Henry IV. It cannot be overemphasized that Louis XIV's action was not in accordance with tradition; his concept of a dictatorship by divine right was his own. In genuine faith, Louis viewed himself as God's representative on earth and considered all disobedience and rebellion to be sinful. From this conviction he gained not only a dangerous feeling of infallibility but also considerable serenity and moderation.
He was backed up first by the great ministers Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the Marquis de Louvois, and  Hugues de Lionne, among whom he fostered dissension, and later by men of lesser capacity. For 54 years Louis devoted himself to his task eight hours a day; not the smallest detail escaped his attention. He wanted to control everything from court etiquette to troop movements, from road building to theological disputes. He succeeded because he faithfully reflected the mood of a France overflowing with youth and vigour and enamoured of grandeur.
Despite the use of pensions and punishments, the monarchy had been unable to subdue the nobles, who had started 11 civil wars in 40 years. Louis lured them to his court, corrupted them with gambling, exhausted them with dissipation, and made their destinies dependent on their capacity to please him. Etiquette became a means of governing. From that time, the nobility ceased to be an important factor in French politics, which in some respects weakened the nation.
Patronage of the arts.
Louis's great fortune was in having among his subjects an extraordinary group of men in every area of activity. He knew well how to make use of them. He was the protector of writers, notably Molière and Jean Racine, whom he ordered to sing his praises, and he imposed his own visions of beauty and nature on artists. France's appearance and way of life were changed; the great towns underwent a metamorphosis, the landscape was altered, and monuments arose everywhere. The King energetically devoted himself to building new residences. Little remains of his splendid palaces at Saint-Germain and Marly, but Versailles--cursed as extravagant even as it was under construction and accused of having ruined the nation--still stands. (see also Index:  Versailles, Palace of)
Versailles was approximately the price of a modern airport; it was an object of universal admiration and enhanced French prestige. All the power of the government was brought to bear in the construction of Versailles. Louis XIV was not wrong, as some have claimed, to remove himself from unhealthful and tumultuous Paris, but he erred in breaking with the wandering tradition of his ancestors. The monarchy became increasingly isolated from the people and thereby assumed a decidedly mythical quality.
While Louis watched his buildings going up, Colbert, who supervised the construction, obtained from him the means to carry out an economic revolution aimed at making France economically self-sufficient while maximizing exports. Manufacturers, the navy and merchant marine, a modern police organization, roads, ports, and canals all emerged at about the same time. Louis attended to every detail, while at the same time giving dazzling entertainment and carrying on a tumultuous love affair with Louise de La Vallière.
In 1667 he invaded the Spanish Netherlands, which he regarded as his wife's inheritance, thus beginning a series of wars that lasted for a good part of his reign. Louis himself on his deathbed said, "I have loved war too much," but his subjects, who often complained of his prudence and moderation, would not have understood had he not used force to strengthen the frontiers of France. After a brilliant campaign, the King had to retreat (1668) in the face of English and especially Dutch pressure. He never forgave the Dutch and swore to destroy their Protestant mercantile republic. To this end he allied himself with his cousin Charles II of England and invaded the Netherlands in 1672. The long war that ensued ended in 1678, in the first treaty of Nijmegen with Louis triumphant. (see also Index: Devolution, War of,  Netherlands, The)
Zenith and decline.
The Sun King was at his zenith. Almost alone he had defeated a formidable coalition (Spain and the Holy Roman emperor had joined the Dutch against him) and dictated terms to the enemy. He had extended the frontier of France in the north by annexing part of Flanders and in the east by seizing Lorraine and the Franche-Comté. His fleet equaled those of England and Holland. Paris called him "the Great." In his court he was an object of adoration, and as he approached the age of 40 he could view himself as far surpassing all other men.
At the same time, great changes were occurring in his private life. In 1680 the Marquise de Montespan, who had replaced Mme de La Vallière as Louis's mistress in 1667, was implicated in the  Affair of the Poisons, a scandal in which a number of prominent people were accused of sorcery and murder. Fearful for his reputation, the King dismissed Mme de Montespan and imposed piety on his entourage. The ostentation, gambling, and entertainments did not disappear, but the court, subjected to an outward display of propriety, became suffused with boredom. Hypocrisy became the rule.
The King had openly renounced pleasure, but the sacrifice was made easier for him by his new favourite, the very pious Mme  de Maintenon. She was the widow of the satirist Paul Scarron and the former governess of the King's illegitimate children.
In 1682 the seat of government was transferred to Versailles. The following year marked a turning point in the life and reign of Louis XIV. The Queen died, and the King secretly married Mme de Maintenon, who imperceptibly gained in political influence. He remained devoted to her; even at the age of 70 she was being exhorted by her confessor to continue to fulfill her conjugal duties, according to letters still extant.
Colbert also died, leaving the way free for the bellicose Louvois. The repulse of a Turkish invasion of his Austrian domains left the Emperor free to oppose France in the West. In 1688-89 the fall of the Stuarts and William of Orange's accession to the throne of England further reversed the situation to the detriment of France.
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
To his traditional enemies Louis now added the entire Protestant world. His mother had inculcated in him a narrow and simplistic religion, and he understood nothing of the Reformation. He viewed French Protestants as potential rebels. After having tried to convert them by force, he revoked the  Edict of Nantes, which had guaranteed their freedom of worship, in 1685. The revocation, which was accompanied by a pitiless persecution, drove many artisans from France and caused endless misfortune.
Thus began the decline.
England, the Dutch, and the Emperor united in the Grand Alliance to resist Louis's expansionism. The resulting war lasted from 1688 to 1697. Despite many victories, Louis gave up part of his territorial acquisitions when he signed the Treaty of Rijswijk, for which the public judged him harshly. He reconciled himself to another painful sacrifice when he recognized William of Orange as William III of England, in violation of his belief in the divine right of the Stuart king James II to William's throne. (see also Index:  Augsburg, League of)
Three years later, in 1700, Charles II, the last Habsburg king of  Spain, died, bequeathing his kingdoms to Louis's grandson, Philip of Anjou (Philip V). Louis, who desired nothing more than peace, hesitated but finally accepted the inheritance. He has been strongly criticized for his decision, but he had no alternative. With England against him, he had to try to prevent Spain from falling into the hands of the equally hostile Holy Roman emperor Leopold I, who disputed Philip's claim.
Final years.
In the War of the  Spanish Succession the anti-French alliance was reactivated by William of Orange before his death. The disasters of the war were so great that, in 1709, France came close to losing all the advantages gained over the preceding century. Private griefs were added to Louis's public calamities. Almost simultaneously he lost his son, the Grand Dauphin, two of his grandsons, the ducs de Bourgogne and Berry, his great grandson, the Duc de Bretagne, and the Duchesse de Bourgogne, who had been the consolation of his declining years.
An excess of flattery from within and an excess of malediction from without had created an artificial image of the King. He was viewed as an idol who would collapse under the blows of ill fortune, but the opposite occurred. Having first been the embodiment of a triumphant nation, Louis surpassed himself by bearing his own suffering and that of his people with unceasing resolution.
Finally, a palace revolution in London, bringing the pacific Tories to power, and a French victory over the imperial forces at the Battle of Denain combined to end the war. The treaties of Utrecht,  Rastatt, and Baden, signed in 1713-14, cost France its hegemony but left its territory intact. It retained its recent conquests in Flanders and on the Rhine, which were so much in the order of things that neither later defeats nor revolutions would cause it to lose them.
Louis XIV died in 1715, at the age of 77. His body was borne, amid the jeers of the populace, to the Saint-Denis basilica.
His heir, the last son of the Duc de Bourgogne, was a five-year-old child who was not expected to live. Louis had distrusted his nephew, the Duc d'Orléans, and wanted to leave actual power in the hands of the Duc du Maine, his son by Mme de Montespan. In attempting to accomplish this, he had drawn up a will that was to help destroy the monarchy. The  Parlement of Paris, convened to nullify the will after his death, rediscovered a political power that it used to prevent all reforms during the ensuing reigns, thus making the Revolution inevitable.
Assessment.
During his lifetime, Louis was flattered ceaselessly by his subjects, while foreign journals compared him to a bloodthirsty tiger. Voltaire portrayed his grandeur in his Age of Louis XIV. The Duc  de Saint-Simon, a member of his court whose Mémoires show equal proportions of literary genius and insincerity, dealt with him quite harshly, without denying his admiration for him. Later judgments of Louis varied according to the author's political views.
Louis XIV was the foremost example of the monarchy that brought France to its pinnacle. He has been accused of having dug the grave of that monarchy, particularly through his religious policy, his last will, and his isolation of the court from the people. These mistakes could have been corrected. His irremediable error was to have concentrated all the machinery of the state in his own person, thus making of the monarchy a burden beyond human strength.
His reign, compared by Voltaire to that of the Roman emperor Augustus, had both its strong and its weak points. Despite his victories and conquests, France lost her primacy under him. Yet the brilliance of his reign made up for his military policies. The aristocracy of Europe adopted the language and customs of the France where the Sun King had shone, although resentments lingered for a long time.
The King identified with his office to such an extent that it is difficult to find the individual. His harshness and courage, despotism and stoicism, prodigious pride and passion for order, megalomania and religion, intolerance and love of beauty can be understood only as a function of the exigencies of governing. He wanted France to be powerful, prosperous, and magnificent but was not overly concerned with the well-being of the French people. His armies committed atrocities, but the horrors of today have eclipsed them, and under his reign one did not see whole nations reduced to slavery, mass deportations, and genocide. When an Italian chemist offered him the first bacteriological weapon, he gave him a pension on condition that he never divulge his invention. (see also Index:  biological warfare)
Louis was sometimes a tyrant, but in the words of Voltaire: "His name can never be pronounced without respect and without summoning the image of an eternally memorable age." (P.Er.)

BIBLIOGRAPHY.
Louis XIV, Mémoires (Eng. trans., Memoirs of Lewis the Fourteenth, Written by Himself and Addressed to His Son, 2 vol., 1806), is very important for an understanding of the psychology of Louis XIV. There are many French editions of this work. Contemporary accounts include: the Duchess d'Orléans (Madame Palatine), Correspondance complète, 2 vol. (1857); Mémoires of the Duc de Saint-Simon; the Journal of Dangeau; and Ezechiel Spanheim, Relation de la cour de France en 1690 (1704; Account of the Court of France, 1900). Voltaire, Le Siècle de Louis XIV, 2 vol. (1751; The Age of Louis XIV), an admirably written and well-documented study, remains an important source. Jacques Roujon, Louis XIV (1943), is a very objective and complete work. Two of the best books written on this period in the past century are Philippe Erlanger, Louis XIV (1965; Eng. trans. 1970); and John B. Wolf, Louis XIV (1968). Pierre Goubert, Louis XIV and Twenty Million Frenchmen (1970), is a popularized but well-researched treatment of Le Grand Siècle.

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