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Lecture 7

HIS103Y Lecture 7 October 5th The Making of the European Balance of Power: The War of the Spanish Succession, 1702-1712/3

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University of Toronto St. George
Vasilis Dimitriadis

HIS103Y Lecture 7 October 5th The Making of the European Balance of Power: The War of the Spanish Succession, 1702-1712/3 • The Nine Years War and the Grand Alliance showed that England, the Dutch Republic, and Austria with others’ help was powerful enough to offset the strength of France. • However France was still the main power within Europe and was only able to be contained with the combined strength of the other European nations • Louvois and Louis realized that their military strength was not as efficient as it could be. They still could field a huge army though. • As the war dragged on, France got weaker and Louvois died • He was succeeded by Barbeziuex, his son, but his power was limited by Louis, but he did overhaul the French military machine to its maximum strength by 1693 • This military rejuvenation was largely due to Louvois though o He raised a nation wide militia to help free up more trained soldiers to help the war effort o He was also a military inventor who inspired Vauban to invent socket bayonet to replace the pike men o Made the French artillery much lighter allowing them to move around much quicker o Louvois’ mistake was in not accepting the better flintlock musket • August 3 1692 Battle of Steenkerk – France won • However the French infantry threw away the matchlocks and picked up their enemies Flintlock muskets – thus led to the eventual change to flintlock (after Louvois died) o Also adopted the Hussars (light Calvary) • June 1692 captured Namur • July 1693 captured Neerwinden • These three victories had France once again poised to dominate the rest of the continent • However the French ran into trouble, because in the winter of 1693-1694 bad weather caused a bad harvest • Louis’ letter to his ambassador in England tells that he was exhausted by the Nine Years War. o “Nothing is more important than preserving peace.” o Spanish Succession should work with diplomacy, not force. • Which meant the French agricultural economy could not produce enough food or money to subsidize the war effort • By 1695 t
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