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The Origins of The War of The Spanish Succession.doc

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Denis Smyth

The Origins of The War of The Spanish Succession - The speed with which the major warring powers demobilized proved that they were now committed to peace in the long term at the end of the Nine Years War - However, it still left France with a rather impressive military establishment: 100 000 infantry and 30 000 cavalry men. - It is clear though, that Louis XIV was committed to Peace - 16 June 1698 Louis XIIV said, “Peace can only be upset apparently by the eventuality of the King of Spain’s Death.”  The only apparent source for immediate international instability according to the Sun King - The reason for this was because the Charles II the Spanish King was heirless…the succession of Spain wouldn’t have been so important if it wasn’t for the fact that there was no state in which Spain owned a piece of. Thus, the succession of Spain would have determined the balance of power in all of Europe. - For example, whoever ruled the Spanish Netherlands controlled the fate of the Dutch Republic; which is why the Dutch and British fought so hard to keep it from the French. - England and the Dutch Republic had a vested and economic interest in the future of the Spanish territories (i.e. colonies in the Americas were important commercial and shipping locations for the maritime powers – their commercial monopoly was unwanted in the Spaniard’s [and most of Europe’s eyes]; however, as the Spanish courts were weak they couldn’t do much about it). - Archduke Charles of Austria also wanted Milan, Naples, Sicily and Sardinia. - The initial signs were optimistic; the various states were willing to work together diplomatically. - July 1698 Louis XIV wrote in a letter to the Compte of Tallard, “…One never knows how it will turn out. Nothing is more sure than the misfortunes that war will bring with it; the sufferings of people. And having sacrificed such great advantages to restore repose [i.e. peace, tranquility, stability] to my subjects, no interest appears more pressing to me than that of preserving for them [his people] the tranquility [their peace] which they enjoy at present…” - Louis XIV found that William III was also disillusioned with war as a way of dealing with the French challenge in Europe. - The ruling elite of the Dutch Republic and the House of Commons in England were not prepared to sanction a war with France over the Spanish Succession. The Anglo-Dutch war machine was in no position to return to war any time soon as a result of this, which is why he was so willing to deal peacefully with Louis XIV. - It
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