The War of the Spanish Succession

The War of the Spanish Succession (1701 – 1714) began because the Spanish emperor, Charles II, had no heir to the throne. When Charles died, Louis XIV of France suggested that his own grandson, Philip of Anjou (later Philip V), should be the next Spanish king. He reinforced his argument by stating that Charles had accepted this proposal in his will. On the other hand, Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire brought forth his own candidate for the Spanish throne. The two sides (Holy Roman Empire and France) then became rivals, both wanting an alliance with Spain.

Another factor leading to this war was a general concern that if France joined with Spain, it would become too powerful—both economically and militarily. Lastly, in order to avoid this war, there was a proposal to break up the Spanish lands: the Netherlands, Italian lands, and Spain. England and Louis XIV agreed to this, but Leopold did not. And when Louis sent his grandson to Spain to secure the throne, war broke out. It was France, Spain and their allies fighting against England, the Holy Roman Empire and their allies.

Europe Before the War of the Spanish Succession
Europe Before the War of the Spanish Succession
Europe After the War of the Spanish Succession
Europe After the War of the Spanish Succession

Slowly however, France began to lose allies, such as Portugal. They became weak, losing several battles. Louis was forced to tax his people to an extent that a tax was put upon marriages and baptisms.

Finally, in 1713 and 1714, treaties for the partitioning of the Spanish lands were accepted. France retained the Spanish succession and Philip V ascended the throne. Austria and the Holy Roman Empire gained the Spanish Netherlands and the Italian lands. England was the one who probably gained the most from the war. They gained great power, many lands, and several rights to the New World.

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