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CHY4U – The West & The World Unit 2 – Lesson #01 The Sun Has Set: Europe in the Wake

of Louis XIV Background • Louis XIV was the longest reigning monarch in European History. • He became king in 1643 at the age of 5 and reigned 72 years until his death in 1715. • During his reign, France became the richest, most powerful and most highly cultured and educated state in Europe. • He was referred to by his admirers as Le Grande Monarque and Le Roi Solei. Franco-Habsburg Rivalry • The rivalry between France and the Habsburgs, both the Spanish and Austrian branches, existed for centuries. • Austrian Habsburgs were weakened by the Reformation and 30 Yeas War and were distracted by the Ottoman threat. • France and Spain, however, remained at war between 1648 and 1659. Spain, Threat or Opportunity? • In 1661, when Louis assumed personal control of his government the Spanish Habsburg territory surrounded France. • The weakening of the Spanish empire by the Wars of Religion however, made the Spanish territories more of a temptation for expansion than a menace to French security. Louis’ Ambition • Louis dreamed of an expanded France stretching out to its “Natural Frontiers” of the Pyrenees, the Alps and the Rhine river. • In the Northeast, the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium & Luxembourg) and the United Provinces were the territories Louis hoped to conquer on the Rhine. • In the Southeast, the territory of Franche-Comte stood between Louis and his frontier on the Alps. Louis’ Wars • Louis XIV fought a series of wars in an attempt to realize his ambitions for territorial expansion. • 1667 – the War of Devolution • 1672 to 1678 – the Dutch War • 1688 to 1697 – War of the League of Augsburg. • 1702 to 1713 – War of the Spanish Succession War of Devolution • Started in 1667, Louis XIV invaded and overran the Spanish Netherlands. • The Dutch saw the Spanish Netherlands as a buffer between their newly independent state and France, they entered the war to resist French expansion. • They allied with the English, who they were initially at war with, and Sweden forming the

triple alliance. Faced with a coalition of 3 states, Louis backed down and withdrew from the Spanish Netherlands.

Dutch War • Unsatisfied with the outcome of the War of Devolution, Louis again invaded the Spanish Netherlands in 1672. • He attacked the Netherlands with an army five times the size of his 1667 army. • He quickly overran the Spanish Netherlands and occupied 3 of the 7 Dutch provinces. • The Dutch again turned to allies Denmark& Brandenburg along with traditional enemies the Spanish & Austrian Habsburgs. • Louis fought off the 5 enemies for 6 years and made peace in 1678. • The peace treaty gave Louis the Franche-Comte. The League of Augsburg • In 1686 the Catholic and Protestant enemies of France joined together in an alliance called the League of Augsburg. • The League included the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, the Kings of Spain & Sweden, Bavaria, Saxony, the Palatinate, and the Dutch republic. • In 1689, William of Orange, Stadholder of the Netherlands, became King of England and brought his new kingdom into the League. War of the League of Augsburg • Broke out in 1688 and saw the huge French army win victory after victory. • Despite the success on the battlefield the French could not defeat so many enemies. • Each victory led only to a new battle to fight against a fresh army. • In addition, the naval war went badly as the French navy was unable to overpower the combined fleets of the English and Dutch. Relative Strengths • France’s population was 19 million, its enemies combined population was 25 million. • France’s land army was 400,000 strong, its enemies combined had an army of 225,000. • France had a navy of 120 ships of the line, its enemies had 230 ships of the line in total. • In any single comparison between France and one of its enemies, France was vastly superior to any of its European rivals. France’s Problem • Despite its superiority, France never fought a 1 on 1 war. • Its enemies were constantly able to build an alliance group to match or exceed French forces. • France also was at a geopolitical disadvantage, centrally located, French forces were spread thin to defend against enemies along all of its frontiers.

War of the Spanish Succession • Last of Louis XIV’s wars. • Fought over the inheritance of the Spanish crown after the death of Charles II, who was impotent, mentally disabled and sickly, the product of Habsburg inbreeding. • Louis XIV and Emperor Leopold I, both married to sisters of Charles II, had claims to the throne. • Both hoped to place younger members of their families on the Spanish throne. Negotiated Succession • In the decade before Charles’ death several treaties were made dividing the Spanish inheritance. • By dividing the Spanish Empire, it was hoped that a balance of power could be maintained. • When Charles II died in 1700, he left a will that contained conditions for the inheritance of his Empire. Charles’ Conditions • The contents of Charles’ secret will shocked and stunned the royal courts throughout Western Europe. • His will stipulated that the Spanish possessions must remain intact and that all would go to a grandson of Louis XIV. • If Louis XIV did not accept, it would all go to the son of Emperor Leopold. • Louis accepted. The Bourbon Threat • Louis XIV’s acceptance created the single greatest threat to the political balance in Europe for 2 centuries. • The Bourbons would control all of Western Europe from Belgium to Gibraltar, Italian territories including Milan, Naples & Sicily. • In addition to expanded European territory, the Bourbons would also control all of Spain’s new world possessions in Central America and the Philippines. Another Anti-French Alliance • William of Orange again assembled an anti-French alliance consisting of England, Holland, the Holy Roman Emperor, Brandenburg, Portugal and Savoy. • Louis XIV was supported only by Spain and Bavaria. • The allies won several key battles and Louis XIV asked for peace, but would not agree to give up the Spanish crown. Peace of Utrecht • Signed in 1713 & partitioned the Spanish world. • British got Gibraltar, the island of Minorca, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. • Savoy was given the island of Sardinia. • Milan, Naples and Sicily were given to the Austrian Habsburgs. • Spanish Netherlands were given to Austria with a small territory to Brandenburg.

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Philip IV, a grandson of Louis XIV kept Spain and its new world colonies. The treaty included a provision whereby the crowns of Spain and France could not be inherited by the same person.

Consequences of Louis’s Wars • Over 30 years of fighting multiple enemies in several wars with little or no territorial gains drained French resources. • The death of Colbert in 1683 removed the one person capable of financing Louis XIV’s extravagance & ambitions. • The anti-French rivals realized that cooperation, albeit temporary, was the only way to resist the dominance of French Power. Louis Dies • Louis XIV died on September 1, 1715, outliving all of his sons and grandsons, leaving his throne to his 5 year old great grandson, Louis XV. • The French throne, in the hands of a child and under the direction of a Regent combined with the recent defeats made France a much more “quiet” power in Europe. Europe in 1715 • Resistance to Louis XIV in the west and several developments in the east combined to alter the geopolitical realities in Europe. • England emerged as a great power, having successfully resisted French ambition, established naval dominance and achieved union with Scotland. • Spain, once a feared global power was reduced to a second rate kingdom, stripped of much of its more valuable territories. Changes in the East • Successful resistance to the Ottoman Empire enlarged the Spanish Habsburg empire in Hungary. • The emergence of Swedish power weakened Poland and allowed for the formation of an independent Prussian state under the leadership of Brandenburg. • Russia, westernized its government and expanded westward at the expense of Finland, Sweden and the Ottoman Empire. Balance of Power • The original threat to European plurality was the universal monarchy of Charles V, one man with many crowns. • Initially, Louis XIV was perceived as a similar threat. • The reality of his situation, however redefined the idea of balance of power. Balance of Power Redefined • European monarchs did not fear Louis personally, they feared the French state he ruled. • Increasingly, the idea of Balance of Power shifted to resisting the most powerful state in Europe, not the strongest king.

Conclusions • Louis XIV’s ambitions had a profound influence on European geopolitics. • Resistance to his attempts to expand France led to successive anti-French coalitions that often partnered states, like England and the Netherlands, who were otherwise rivals. • The partition of Spain and the emergence of Prussia, Russia and Austria as powers in East/Central Europe would shift the focus of European geopolitical conflicts. • The 18th century would experience a much wider theatre of conflicts including several states that were not players during the previous centuries.