War of the Spanish Succession


January 23, 2022

The War of the Spanish Succession (1701 –1713/1715) was an international war that, in addition to affecting the whole of Europe, included the War of Queen Anne in North America, as well as actions of pirates and corsairs off the coast of Spanish America. In this confrontation, in addition to the succession to the Spanish crown, the question of the balance of power between the different European powers was also addressed, and it is considered one of the first global conflicts. The Duke of Villars, the Duke of Berwick, the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy stood out as generals. In 1700, Charles II of Castile and Aragon died recognizing as universal heir Philip of Bourbon, Duke of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV of France, who thus became Philip V of Castile and IV of Aragon. The war began because Emperor Leopold I claimed the rights of his lineage to the Hispanic crowns; in addition, as Louis XIV became increasingly imperialist and aggressive, other European powers, such as mainly England, Portugal, and the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands allied with the Empire to to oppose French expansionism, as well as, in the English case, to secure the succession to his throne of Protestant princes; in fact, the War of the Spanish Succession is part of what some English historians call the Second Hundred Years' War, a concept that designates the constant Anglo-French rivalry that existed in all European conflicts between 1689 and 1815. The war ended with the signing in 1713 of the Treaty of Utrecht and in 1714 of the Treaty of Rastatt, under which Philip V was recognized as King of Spain, but on the condition that he relinquish his rights to the French throne. thus avoiding the union of the two crowns; the empire annexed much of the former Spanish dominions to Italy and the Netherlands. However, although Louis XIV succeeded in placing his grandson on the Spanish throne, the Treaty of Utrecht marked the end of French hegemony in Europe and ushered in a period of balance of power that would last until end of the First World War (1914-1918). According to the historian Joaquim Albareda, the real winner was England, which managed to snatch commercial prebends from America from Spain and managed to get France to make others and, in addition, to be exhausted. Also according to him, the War marked the entry of Spain into decline and marked the end of Spanish supremacy in the world order. Within the Hispanic kingdoms, the Crown of Castile supported Philip of Bourbon while , after 1705, the states of the Crown of Aragon aligned with the pretender Charles of Austria, who offered to maintain traditional freedoms. For this reason, the triumph of Philip of Bourbon, heir to French centralism, meant the end of the rights and privileges of the kingdoms of the Crown of Aragon, which were standardized according to the laws of Castile; in the Iberian Peninsula, the war lasted until 1715, with the capitulation of Mallorca to the forces of Philip V. Between 1702 and 1715 more than 1,200,000 combatants died.

Historical background

Due to his unhealthy constitution and the serious mental and physical deficiencies he suffered throughout his life, it was entirely foreseeable that Charles II would die childless. Therefore, the question of the inheritance of the dominions of the Hispanic Monarchy (Castile, the Crown of Aragon, the colonies of America, the Italian possessions and the dominions of the Netherlands) began to be discussed in all the European courts. ). Based on his kinship with Charles II, two lineages claimed the Hispanic heritage: the House of Bourbon and the House of Austria. As the son of the Castilian princess Anna of Austria, Louis XIV was Charles' cousin

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