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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

And direct indications to that effect occurred in 1701


Causes of the War of the Spanish Succession.]

With the exception of Austria, whose candidate for the Spanish throne, the Archduke Charles, was unwilling to recognize the validity of the document which had chosen the grandson of Louis XIV, the European nations were disposed to view the accession of Philip V (1700-1746) with favor, especially since the French monarch consented to the conditions imposed in the will of Charles II that the crowns of France and Spain should be independent and never be united in a single person. This seemed to insure a maintenance of the equilibrium in Europe almost more certainly than the crowning of the Archduke Charles would have done, wherefore most of the powers recognized Philip V. It was at this time that the autocratic Louis XIV, whose many victorious wars had given him an undue confidence, made one of the serious mistakes of his life. In certain formal letters he recognized in Philip V such rights of succession to the French throne as he would ordinarily have had but for the terms of his acquisition of Spain, and caused these documents to be recorded before the Parlement of Paris. Other events also tended to show that Louis XIV meant to dispose of Spain as if that country belonged to him. When he presented the Spanish ambassador at Versailles to Philip V the Castilian envoy exclaimed: "God be praised! The Pyrenees have disappeared! Now we are all one!" This remark was indicative of the opinions which by that

time had become current. This new element in the situation, together with certain other impolitic acts of the French king against the interests of England and the Protestant Netherlands, caused the countries just named to join with Austria and the Holy Roman Empire in 1701 in an alliance for a war against Louis XIV and Philip V. Austria wished to acquire the crown of Spain for the archduke, while the English and the Dutch were primarily desirous of avoiding a Franco-Spanish union, wherefore they insisted on the dethronement of Philip V, accepting the pretensions of Charles. England was particularly inspired by a fear that her commerce and expansion in the new world would be prejudiced, or even crushed, by the joint power of France and Spain. Furthermore, the profits of contraband trade with the Spanish colonies were likely to be cut off under the energetic rule of the king of France, then the most powerful monarch in Europe, and direct indications to that effect occurred in 1701, when the _asiento_ (contract), or right to introduce negro slaves into America, was granted to a French company and several South American ports were occupied by French ships.

[Sidenote: The war in Spain.]

[Sidenote: The Catalan espousal of the archduke's cause.]

[Sidenote: The capture of Gibraltar by the English.]

[Sidenote: Events leading to peace.]

The War of the Spanish Succession, as the great conflict beginning actively in 1702 has been called, had Spain as one of its principal battle-grounds, since both Philip V and the archduke were there. The struggle was one of great vicissitudes, as evidenced by the number of times Madrid itself changed hands. Most of the people in the peninsula

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