How Successful Were Colbert's Reforms in the Years 1661-1683?

982 words 4 pages
How Successful Were Colbert's Reforms in Strengthening the French Economy in the years 1661-1683

Jean-Baptise Colbert was a Royal advisor to the king. He was later made the Minister of Finance in France in 1665. While he was one of the King's royal advisors he made several reforms to try and strengthen the French economy. The result of these reforms were mixed.

Before 1661 the French economy was in ruins. The economy had been greatly damaged by the 30 years war and there was also great corruption among the nobility.
Colbert knew to get the French economy moving again he had to create and protect french industries, restrict imports and encourage exports. He did this by endlessly regulating and supervising what came in and what went
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An example of an extremely unsuccessful reform by Colbert is his tariffs of foreign goods. The idea was to make foreign goods more expensive so that the people of France would not be able to afford any products that were produced overseas. This in theory should boost internal industry whilst providing extra money for the King however in response to this, the dutch imposed 50% duties on all French luxury items such as wine and a 20% duties in french salt. This was extremely unsuccessful because it resulted in war breaking out between the French and the Dutch in 1672. This obviously did not strengthen the economy as war is a very expensive thing to go into especially when you are against a country that is as powerful as the Dutch were in that time.

The Arguably most significant reform from Colbert was the reform of the Navy. It was clear that France need to build up it's naval power to compete with the other powerful countries in Europe such as the Dutch. The French navy grew from 6 or 8 old galleys and between 20 to 30 sailing vessels to 199 ships. This reform was a success in strengthening the economy as it provided employment for the French people which meant more money was given to the government. Also for the ships to set sail new ports were needed to be built this again created more employment for people.

In 1683 we find

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