History of Europe

The War of Succession

The war of succession it was a conflict that lasted 12 years from 1701 to 1713 with the Treaty of Utrecht. The testament of Carlos II did not provoke at first any opposition; All the sovereigns —with the exception of the Emperor— recognized the Duke of Anjou as King of Spain and, in April 1701, Felipe V made his entry into Madrid; but the clumsiness of Luis XIV made change the situation. In February 1701 he hinted that his grandson might, under certain circumstances, retain his claim to the crown of France; with this he retracted the guarantees given that France and Spain would never be reunited under the authority of a single king. At the same time, acting on behalf of Philip V, Louis XIV occupied the Netherlands. These statements and these actions appeared as so many provocations.


The United Provinces and England then approached the Emperor and agreed to grant the succession of Spain to his second son, Archduke Charles of Austria. In September 1701 a coalition was formed which, in June 1702, declared war on France and Spain. Portugal joined her in May 1703 . The dynastic conflict over the succession of Spain thus led to an international war and, inside the Peninsula, to a civil war between the supporters of each of the claimants.
In the Peninsula, the allies began reaping successes. The English seized Gibraltar (1704) and Barcelona (1705) . Catalonia, Valencia and Aragon allied themselves to the archduke. The counter-offensive was organized that allowed the Franco-Spaniards to defeat their opponents at Almansa, not far from Valencia, in April 1707. In reality, the game was played in Flanders and on the Rhine. After some initial successes, the French backed off. on all fronts. In 1708 they lost Lille and saw the territory of France invaded. Louis XIV was about to give up the fight, but his opponents placed unacceptable conditions on him:they demanded that he cede Alsace, Strasbourg and Lille, and that the French army expel Philip V from Spain .

End Of The War And The Treaty Of Utrecht

Hostilities resumed. From the military point of view, Philip V won the game. England and Holland resigned themselves to recognizing Philip V as King of Spain. The Treaty of Utrecht was signed in April 1713. England kept Gibraltar and the island of Menorca, occupied during the war, and obtained particularly advantageous clauses in the economic sphere:the monopoly of the slave trade in America and the right to send to the Indies every year a merchant ship of five hundred tons. This ship, called permit, opened a breach in the commercial monopoly of colonial Spain. By a later agreement, signed in 1714, Spain ceded the Netherlands, Naples, the Milanese and Sardinia to the Empire.

Loss of the charters of the kingdoms of Spain

The foreign invasion was what triggered the civil war inside Spain. In the Crown of Aragon, the majority of the population took sides against the Bourbons . To explain this rejection, it is tempting to evoke the fear of those territories of losing a status of autonomy to which they were very attached. Charles of Austria, who was a Habsburg, seemed to offer guarantees. At no time was the will to take advantage of the circumstances to separate from Castile manifested itself. Aragonese, Catalans and Valencians fought for the future regime of all of Spain, not for the fate of their respective homelands. The defense of the fueros only appeared later, after the battle of Almansa (1707), when Felipe V declared the abolition of the statute of autonomy of the kingdom of Valencia. This precedent disturbed the other members of the Crown of Aragon and strengthened their attitude, but it did not create opposition to the Bourbons; it already existed. The abolition of the statute of autonomy of Valencia, and later that of the other territories of the Crown of Aragon, should be interpreted as a sanction against the rebellious subjects rather than the application of a doctrinal centralism. The city of Barcelona prolonged its resistance to the Bourbons after the peace of Utrecht. The final assault took place on September 11, 1714. Barcelona capitulated on the 15th. The following year, Aragon and Catalonia lost their charters.

Previous Post
Next Post