The Origins of The War of The Spanish
- 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
- 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
- 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.