Louis XV was the great grandson of Louis XIV whom he succeeded at the age of five. In the last years of his reign, Louis participated with his chancellor in an effort to reform the country's unjustified and impractical system of taxation. In 1771, the parlements, or sovereign courts, which had opposed change, were regrouped and stripped of their powers to obstruct royal decrees. Measures were then forced to tax the formerly exempt nobility and clergy, but these were amended after the king's death. When Louis died he left the country in an even bigger debt from all of the wars France participated in during his reign.
France was involved in three wars during Louis XV's reign. As a result of the first, the War of the Polish Succession, France gained the province of Lorraine. The second, the War of the Austrian Succession, which marked the beginning of a colonial struggle with Great Britain, was unresolved. In the last, the Seven Years' War, France, crippled by corruption and mismanagement, lost most of its overseas possessions to the British.