HIS103Y Lecture 5 September 28 th
From the Dutch War to the Nine Years War, 1680-88
• Spain and the Dutch are no more threat to Louis XIV, the arbiter of Europe.
o It is now German states and the Holy Roman Empire.
• Vauban – to secure France against attack, build a set of fortresses to make France
o Built the fortress line along the northern border
• On the East, however, the situation was less secure
• Alsace and Lorraine were two provinces which held the key to France’s Eastern
o Lorraine was held by duke, but didn’t accept the terms.
o Alsace’s legal rights were also fought over
• The border towns and the bridge towns in Alsace held the key to the strategic
balance of Europe (i.e. Strasbourg, Philippsburg, Breisach)
• France only controlled Breisach.
• Even though Louvois advised Louis to use army for national security, Louis used
for more territorial gain.
• France used, legal trickery, bribing and limited shows of military force to secure
the Rhine frontier
• Legal courts named Chambres de Renion were supposed to describe the
legitimacy of France’s claim to territory. The courts were fixed (e.g. August 1680
Breisach – declared the entire province French sovereignty. It also awarded
Montbeliard to France – This allowed Alsace to be joined up with French Comte
allowing Vauban to fortify that entire strip of land
• The other European powers accepted these Chambres de Renion in a Spanish
diplomats words “Spanish reason are never worth anything compared with these
of French supported by 100, 000 infantry men and 25, 000 cavalry
• France could intimidate other to accept whatever it wanted
• Financial means – Louis brought Casale, a Spanish fortified town, in September
1681. This joined up with Pinerolo, already a French territory
• This allowed Louis to control Northern Italy as a Satellite
• Furthermore Savoy was thus pressured into accepting French rule
• On the same day, 30 September 1681, the French took Strasbourg by military
o Strasbourg became French
o All the gains of France were to close or control the gates into France.
• Europe, however, could not do anything because Leopold I was under siege by
the Ottoman Turks, who were bribed by France
o Turks besieged the capit