A.k.a. Jean Arouet (1694-1778), who wasted no time becoming the Grand Old Man of the French Enlightenment, and the bête noire of conservative reaction. Famous for his Lettres philosophiques, Candide, Traité sur la tolérance, works of historiography, and yet other things. Not a thinker of the first rank, perhaps (that is, not a particularly original thinker), but definitely a writer of the first rank.
Voltaire’s Age of Louis XIV (1751) was one of the works in which he inaugurated a new kind of historiography, one more interested in portraying a total civilization that in detailing kings and their wars.