The War of The Spanish Succession
- Despite the best efforts of the major powers to come together and solve this
questions peacefully the result was one of the greatest wars the world had ever
- The First Partition treaty was sent back to the drawing board with the death of
- The Second Partition treaty was destroyed by the Charles II announcing Philip of
Anjou as his successor.
- Despite the fact that the Spanish wrecked the second partition treaty through a
possible union with the French, it is conceivable that even with the succession of a
Bourbon candidate to the throne of Spain war was not inevitable.
- French troops stormed into the Spanish Netherlands and expelled the Dutch
Garrisons from their border fortresses. This was a major mistake on the part of the
new Franco-Spanish Empire especially Louis XIV.
- The second terrible error was Philip of Spain’s shipping concessions to the French.
- Furthermore, Louis XIV broke the promise under the terms of the Partition treaty.
He refused to renounce Philip and Philip’s descendant’s rights to the French throne.
- It was unclear as to why Louis XIV did this, though it does seem as it was because
of his philosophies of Royal Divine Right of Kings
- However, it was never French intention to join with Spanish power to dominate
Europe…thought it didn’t seem clear to the other European powers.
- Also, Louis XIV (under the treaty of Reiswick) promised to recognise the
Protestant Settlement in England through the reign of William III. However, there
was a long-standing French policy to give refuge to the Catholic monarchs of
- On the 16 September 1701, Louis XIV recognised James III as the royal monarch
of England…this shocked Europe due to his formal promise to recognise William
- Louis XIV failed to realise that by recognising James III he threatened the entire
ruling power within England (i.e. Parliament for them it wasn’t just a matter of
religion, but also their legal possessions [property and lands]).
- 7 September 1701, Britain, the Dutch Republic, and Austria signed a grand
alliance to fight (if necessary) Louis XIV and Philip of Spain. They were prepared
to leave Philip in charge of Spain, but they wanted a “just and reasonable
satisfaction in Italy, the Spanish Mediterranean Islands, and the Spanish
Netherlands” for the Archduke Charles. Furthermore, they wanted Louis XIV and
Philip to promise to never unify France and Spain.
- However, this would not be possible because Spain was offered to Philip of Anjou
in an all or nothing clause.
- 19 March 1702, William III died as a result of a riding accident.
- Louis XIV assumed that with William III gone there would be political changes in
both his countries (England and the Dutch Republic) which would prevent the
attack on France and Spa