The Bourbon dynasty of Louis XIII is in a life-or-death struggle.
Surrounding France on all sides is an iron circle controlled by their enemies, the Hapsburgs.
A hostile Spain to the South, Italy and Austria to the East, and the United Provinces and Germany to the north.
For centuries, French kings had tried to break the suffocating noose, to no avail.
Entering the fray as the king's Secretary of State for War is one Armand Jean du Plessis...
Known to posterity as Cardinal Richelieu.
Unlike many of the king's ministers...
He didn't dally with fine food, art or mistresses.
Instead, Richelieu bent his iron will to one single goal:
To end Hapsburg dominance over France.
Three obstacles lay in his way.
First, the Hugeunots....
The Protestant thorn in the side of the Catholic government.
Who, from their citadel on the coast at La Rochelle, could let in as many of the King's enemies as they pleased.
So Richelieu sent his forces to block the land route.
Then, his enemies cut off, he built a fleet to blockade them from the sea.
La Rochelle began to starve, and his first obstacle submitted to his will.
His second obstacle?
The rebellious nobles, who controlled the army regiments from their estates.
Richelieu first bans the nobles from turning their houses into fortresses...
And then demolishes all forts not on the French border.
With no castles to resist him, the nobles soon bow to his will.
His final obstacle?
The petty parliament, which he quickly disbands.
Then, with all French power concentrated in his hands....
He builds up the French military, uses French money to support German princes rebelling against the Hapsburgs...
And sends his armies to capture key Hapsburg supply routes.
The result? Subscribe below to find out.