neverfail wrote: ↑
Tue Aug 31, 2021 8:24 pm
cassowary wrote: ↑
Tue Aug 31, 2021 7:05 pm
Thanks, but I need to make a correction. France agreed to pay the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus 1 million livres per year to fight in the Thirty Years War in 1631.
The war had already been transforming into a non-religious war but 1631 is an useful cut off date to mark the end of the religious war and it became purely a dynastic and national war.
So a Catholic France with a cardinal to boot as its chief minister decided to support the Protestants. The reason is that France felt threatened by being encircled by the Hapsburg. Since the war spanned the period, 1618 to 1648, there was still 13 years and not one that was a religious war as I earlier misremembered.
When I read your insert that "France agreed to pay the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus 1 million livres per year"
the econimic historian within got the better of me. So I did a rough calculation:
One ounce of gold was worth 93 livres....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_li ... %20deniers
.......so it means that the Swedish king was being paid the equivalent of 10,753 ounces of gold per year to wage war on behalf of France.
Had it been Spain it would have been understandable as Spain had its tributary colonies in the Americas shipping enormous amounts of gold and silver specie to the seat of empire each year. But France had neither gold deposits nor silver orebodies within its home territory and unlike the rising merchantile powers of the 17th century, The Netherlands and England, it was not so prominant as a trading power either.
This leaves me with the vexing question: how did France obtain so much gold that it could afford to subsidise an ally so lavishly?
At today's price of $1,800 per oz of gold, 10,753 ozs works out to be 10,753 x US$1,800 = $19.4 million today. That does not sound like much today. Yet it could buy pay for an army in those days. Wait. Maybe I can find something about the French budget in the year 1631.
According to Wiki, most of the taxes were paid by the peasants who were farmers. Taxes reached 21 million livres in 1589, the closest year I could find to 1631, the year France started funding the Swedish King to fight in Germany. Biut it also mentioned that France had a national debt of 200 million livres in 1596.
Given the huge debt, I would guess that one million livres in 1631 was a huge burden on the French treasury.
is about France's state finances during the time of the 30 years' war. Let me sum up.
France was broke. Cardinal Richelieau, the Chief Minister, did whatever he could to please his master, the King Louis XIII. So if he needed money, he squeezed it out of the peasants - the poorest members of society. He dared not offend the nobility by taxing them. France was largely agricultural. So most of the revenue came from taxing the peasants instead of trade like the Netherlands, England and Spain who had colonies.
This led to many peasants' revolt which were brutally put down.