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[[quoteright:350:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/battle_of_ramilies.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:''The Battle of Ramillies, 23 May 1706. The 16th Foot charging French infantry'', Richard Simkin, 1900]]


It is easy to look back on the War of the Spanish Succession as the absurd egotistical squabbling of a couple of inbred European royal families which led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. To a certain extent and from a certain point of view, that is absolutely correct. However, it was also the point at which national interests were really starting to take precedence over personal ones. The centuries-long process of Europe's transformation from a continent dominated by ''families'' to one dominated by ''nations'' was still ongoing, and the War of the Spanish Succession was an important milestone on the road to a transformation that arguably would not be complete until after the First World War. That Louis ''le Grand Dauphin'' had a right to inherit the throne of Spain was something nobody denied. Nevertheless, even from the earliest days of the conflict, it was judged that, "Because of the great danger which threatened the liberty and safety of all Europe, from the too-close conjunction of the kingdoms of Spain and France, the same person should never become King of both kingdoms." While this was a principle that Louis XIV did not necessarily accept, even he did not dare to flout it too blatantly. It was an important marker on the road to the development of the nation state, as well as the principle of collective security.

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It is easy to look back on the War of the Spanish Succession as the absurd egotistical squabbling of a couple of inbred European royal families which led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. To a certain extent and from a certain point of view, extent, that is absolutely correct. However, it was also the point at which national interests were really starting to take precedence over personal ones. The centuries-long process of Europe's transformation from a continent dominated by ''families'' to one dominated by ''nations'' was still ongoing, and the War of the Spanish Succession was an important milestone on the road to a transformation that arguably would not be complete until after the First World War. That Louis ''le Grand Dauphin'' had a right to inherit the throne of Spain was something nobody denied. Nevertheless, even from the earliest days of the conflict, it was judged that, "Because of the great danger which threatened the liberty and safety of all Europe, from the too-close conjunction of the kingdoms of Spain and France, the same person should never become King of both kingdoms." While this was a principle that Louis XIV did not necessarily accept, even he did not dare to flout it too blatantly. It was an important marker on the road to the development of the nation state, as well as the principle of collective security.


Emperor Charles VI would soon have a daughter, Maria Theresa, and he would spend the rest of his life working to ensure that his daughter would be accepted by the other European powers as ruler of the Habsburg realms (even to the detriment and neglect of everything else). She would go on to become ''the'' [[UsefulNotes/MariaTheresa Maria Theresa of Austria]], one of the most extraordinary Habsburg monarchs in history. It would turn out to be a mighty struggle for her though, because all those monarchs who promised her father they would recognize her [[ILied immediately turned on her]]. Maria Theresa herself would go on to have another famous daughter, [[UsefulNotes/MarieAntoinette Marie Antoinette]], though famous for quite a different reason.

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Emperor Charles VI would soon have a daughter, Maria Theresa, and he would spend the rest of his life working to ensure that his daughter would be accepted by the other European powers as ruler of the Habsburg realms (even to the detriment and neglect of everything else). She would go on to become ''the'' [[UsefulNotes/MariaTheresa Maria Theresa of Austria]], one of the most extraordinary Habsburg monarchs in history. It would turn out to be a mighty struggle for her though, her, because all those monarchs who promised her father they would recognize her [[ILied immediately turned on her]]. Maria Theresa herself would go on to have another famous daughter, [[UsefulNotes/MarieAntoinette Marie Antoinette]], though famous for quite a different reason.


The causes of the war were the result of rather convoluted intermarriages between the Spanish, French, and Austrian royal families, and this being Early Modern European nobility, names tend to repeat, so for the purposes of clarity, regnal numbers and royal titles will be included as much as possible. Even so it can get confusing, so try to keep up.

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The causes of the war were the result of rather convoluted intermarriages between the Spanish, French, and Austrian royal families, and this families. This being Early Modern European nobility, names tend to repeat, so for the purposes of clarity, clarity regnal numbers and royal titles will be included as much as possible. Even so so, it can get confusing, so try to keep up.


Unlike other European royal families, inheritance in the Spanish Crown was permitted through the female line. Charles II of Spain would die childless, so this left potential heirs in the marriages of his two sisters. His eldest half-sister, Maria Theresa, had married Louis XIV, the King of France, also known as the Sun King. Her son, also named Louis, was ''le Grand Dauphin'' - heir to the French throne and nephew of King Charles II.

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Unlike other European royal families, inheritance in of the Spanish Crown was permitted through the female line. Charles II of Spain would die childless, so this left potential heirs in the marriages of his two sisters. His eldest half-sister, Maria Theresa, had married Louis XIV, the King of France, also known as the Sun King. Her son, also named Louis, was ''le Grand Dauphin'' - heir to the French throne and nephew of King Charles II.


It is tempting to try to see the War of the Spanish Succession as either the beginning or end of something, when really it was anything but. Europe had just gotten off the Nine Years' War (16881697) and the Thirty Years' War before that (1618-1648). The War of the Spanish Succession was Louis XIV the Sun King's last great war, but the 76-year-old had been fighting for his entire life. The Great Northern War (17001721), fought between Sweden and Russia, was concurrent with the War of the Spanish Succession. The United Kingdom almost immediately fought the Jacobite rising in 1715. A two-year war between Spain and an anti-Spanish coalition would soon follow (17181720), followed by the War of the ''Polish'' Succession (17331735) and the War of the ''Austrian'' Succession (1740-1748). The United Kingdom would fight ''another'' Jacobite rising in 1745 against Catholic pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie, shortly followed by the Seven Years' War (17561763) between Britain and France. Then the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), then over two decades of constant war caused by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Though by no means inconsequential, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about the War of the Spanish Succession. For Europe, it was just another day at the office.

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It is tempting to try to see the War of the Spanish Succession as either the beginning or end of something, when but really it was anything but.nothing of the kind. Europe had just gotten off the Nine Years' War (16881697) and the Thirty Years' War before that (1618-1648). The War of the Spanish Succession was Louis XIV the Sun King's last great war, but the 76-year-old had been fighting for his entire life. The Great Northern War (17001721), fought between Sweden and Russia, was concurrent with the War of the Spanish Succession. The United Kingdom almost immediately fought the Jacobite rising in 1715. A two-year war between Spain and an anti-Spanish coalition would soon follow (17181720), followed by the War of the ''Polish'' Succession (17331735) and the War of the ''Austrian'' Succession (1740-1748). The United Kingdom would fight ''another'' Jacobite rising in 1745 against Catholic pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie, shortly followed by the Seven Years' War (17561763) between Britain and France. Then the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), then over two decades of constant war caused by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Though by no means inconsequential, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about the War of the Spanish Succession. For Europe, it was just another day at the office.


Austria did well out of the war, and by the Treaty of Rastatt secured its core interests by acquiring all of Spain's Italian territories, in particular the territory around Milan, and while Austria did not particularly care for them, the acquisition of the Spanish Netherlands also provided some additional revenue. Nevertheless the Archduke Charles (now Emperor Charles VI) considered the war a failure, as he had hoped to acquire the entirety of Charles II's realm and re-create the empire of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V from over a century previous, with an Austrian-Spanish-Italian-Dutch realm all united under a single Habsburg, and he continued to insist he was the rightful heir to the throne of Spain. Nobody else liked this idea though and ignored him, so he had to be content with the bulk of the Spanish Empire going to the Bourbons.

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Austria did well out of the war, and by the Treaty of Rastatt secured its core interests by acquiring all of Spain's Italian territories, in particular the territory around Milan, and while Austria did not particularly care for them, the acquisition of the Spanish Netherlands also provided some additional revenue. Nevertheless the Archduke Charles (now Emperor Charles VI) considered the war a failure, as he had hoped to acquire the entirety of Charles II's realm and re-create the empire of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V from over a century previous, with an Austrian-Spanish-Italian-Dutch realm all united under a single Habsburg, and he Habsburg. He continued to insist he was the rightful heir to the throne of Spain. Nobody else liked this idea though though, and ignored him, so he had to be content with the bulk of the Spanish Empire going to the Bourbons.


In 1711, the English reopened secret negotiations with the French, leading to the signing of preliminary articles, the main takeaway of which was the agreement in principle that the monarchies of Spain and France would remain separate. Then, ''once again'', a series of deaths threatened to throw everything back into chaos. In 1711, three days before Joseph I of Austria's own death, Louis ''le Grand Dauphin'' died of smallpox, putting his first son Louis, Duke of Burgundy (grandson of Louis XIV) in line for the French throne. The next year in 1712, Louis, Duke of Burgundy ''also'' died (of measles). Both ''his'' sons ''also'' became infected, ''both'' of whom were also named Louis (we know). His eldest son, the five-year-old Louis, Duke of Brittany, died a few weeks after his father, leaving the two-year-old Louis, Duke of Anjou, the ''great''-grandson of Louis XIV, as heir to the French throne, but he was not expected to survive. This meant the potential scenario that originally freaked everyone out so much was now within arm's reach: Philip of Anjou, former prince of France, now ruler of the Kingdom of Spain, was separated from becoming the direct heir to the Kingdom of France by a single toddler on the verge of death. This made his prompt abdication from the French line of succession a matter of immediate urgency.

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In 1711, the English reopened secret negotiations with the French, leading to the signing of preliminary articles, the main takeaway of which was the agreement in principle that the monarchies of Spain and France would remain separate. Then, ''once again'', a series of deaths threatened to throw everything back into chaos. In 1711, three days before Joseph I of Austria's own death, Louis ''le Grand Dauphin'' died of smallpox, putting his first son Louis, Duke of Burgundy (grandson of Louis XIV) in line for the French throne. The next year in 1712, Louis, Duke of Burgundy ''also'' died (of measles). Both ''his'' sons ''also'' became infected, ''both'' of whom were also named Louis (we (yes, we know). His eldest son, the five-year-old Louis, Duke of Brittany, died a few weeks after his father, leaving the two-year-old Louis, Duke of Anjou, the ''great''-grandson of Louis XIV, as heir to the French throne, but he was not expected to survive. This meant the potential scenario that originally freaked everyone out so much was now within arm's reach: Philip of Anjou, former prince of France, now ruler of the Kingdom of Spain, was separated from becoming the direct heir to the Kingdom of France by a single toddler on the verge of death. This made his prompt abdication from the French line of succession a matter of immediate urgency.


Also: Louis, Duke of Anjou, the great-grandson of Louis XIV, managed to survive his measles (almost certainly being saved when his governess called a halt to his blood-letting, a "medical" procedure that undoubtedly contributed to the death of his older brother). He would become King Louis XV at five years old when his great-grandfather Louis XIV, called the Sun King, finally passed on in 1715, having survived every other monarch who originally started the conflict, as well as his own son and grandson.

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Also: Louis, Duke of Anjou, the great-grandson of Louis XIV, managed to survive his measles (almost certainly being saved when his governess called a halt to his blood-letting, a "medical" procedure that undoubtedly contributed to the death of his older brother). He would become King Louis XV at five years old when his great-grandfather Louis XIV, called the Sun King, finally passed on in 1715, having survived every other monarch who originally started the conflict, as well as his own son and grandson.


The first attempt to prevent war was a negotiation between Louis XIV of France and William III of England (i.e. William of Orange, a Dutchman who became King of England after the overthrow of the last Catholic King of England, James II). Louis XIV initially proposed the simplest solution by supporting the candidacy of his son and direct heir, Louis ''le Grand Dauphin'', but this was rejected outright. Therefore the parties compromised and both agreed to support the candidacy of Joseph Ferdinand of Austria. He would inherit the bulk of the Spanish Empire, including the Spanish Netherlands, but Spain's Italian territories would be partitioned. Naples and Sicily would go to France, while Milan would go to Austria. This was the Treaty of The Hague.

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The first An attempt to prevent war was a negotiation series of negotiations between Louis XIV of France and William III of England (i.e. William of Orange, a Dutchman who became King of England after the overthrow of the last Catholic King of England, James II). Louis XIV initially proposed the simplest solution by supporting the candidacy of his son and direct heir, Louis ''le Grand Dauphin'', but this was rejected outright. Therefore the parties compromised and both agreed to support the candidacy of Joseph Ferdinand of Austria. He would inherit the bulk of the Spanish Empire, including the Spanish Netherlands, but Spain's Italian territories would be partitioned. Naples and Sicily would go to France, while Milan would go to Austria. This was the Treaty of The Hague.


The causes of the war were the result of a rather convoluted intermarriage between the Spanish, French, and Austrian royal families, and this being Early Modern European nobility, names tend to repeat, so for the purposes of clarity, regnal numbers and royal titles will be included as much as possible. Even so it can get confusing, so try to keep up.

to:

The causes of the war were the result of a rather convoluted intermarriage intermarriages between the Spanish, French, and Austrian royal families, and this being Early Modern European nobility, names tend to repeat, so for the purposes of clarity, regnal numbers and royal titles will be included as much as possible. Even so it can get confusing, so try to keep up.


It is tempting to try to see the War of the Spanish Succession as either the beginning or end of something, but really it was far from anything of the kind. Europe had just gotten off the Nine Years' War (16881697) and the Thirty Years' War before that (1618-1648). The War of the Spanish Succession was Louis XIV the Sun King's last great war, but the 76-year-old had been fighting for his entire life. The Great Northern War (17001721), fought between Sweden and Russia, was concurrent with the War of the Spanish Succession. The United Kingdom almost immediately fought the Jacobite rising in 1715. A two-year war between Spain and an anti-Spanish coalition would soon follow (17181720), followed by the War of the ''Polish'' Succession (17331735) and the War of the ''Austrian'' Succession (1740-1748). The United Kingdom would fight ''another'' Jacobite rising in 1745 against Catholic pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie, shortly followed by the Seven Years' War (17561763) between Britain and France. Then the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), then over two decades of constant war caused by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Though by no means inconsequential, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about the War of the Spanish Succession. For Europe, it was just another day at the office.

to:

It is tempting to try to see the War of the Spanish Succession as either the beginning or end of something, but when really it was far from anything of the kind.but. Europe had just gotten off the Nine Years' War (16881697) and the Thirty Years' War before that (1618-1648). The War of the Spanish Succession was Louis XIV the Sun King's last great war, but the 76-year-old had been fighting for his entire life. The Great Northern War (17001721), fought between Sweden and Russia, was concurrent with the War of the Spanish Succession. The United Kingdom almost immediately fought the Jacobite rising in 1715. A two-year war between Spain and an anti-Spanish coalition would soon follow (17181720), followed by the War of the ''Polish'' Succession (17331735) and the War of the ''Austrian'' Succession (1740-1748). The United Kingdom would fight ''another'' Jacobite rising in 1745 against Catholic pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie, shortly followed by the Seven Years' War (17561763) between Britain and France. Then the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), then over two decades of constant war caused by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Though by no means inconsequential, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about the War of the Spanish Succession. For Europe, it was just another day at the office.


It is tempting to try to see the War of the Spanish Succession as either the beginning or end of something, but really it was far from anything of the kind. Europe had just gotten off the Nine Years' War (16881697) and the Thirty Years' War before that (1618-1648). The War of the Spanish Succession was Louis XIV the Sun King's last great war, but the 76-year-old had been fighting for his entire life. The Great Northern War (17001721), fought between Sweden and Russia, was concurrent with the War of the Spanish Succession. The United Kingdom almost immediately fought the Jacobite rising in 1715. A two-year war between Spain and an anti-Spanish coalition would soon follow (17181720), followed by the War of the ''Polish'' Succession (17331735) and the War of the ''Austrian'' Succession (1740-1748). The United Kingdom would fight ''another'' Jacobite rising in 1745 against Catholic pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie, shortly followed by the Seven Years' War (17561763) between Britain and France. Then the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), then 23 years of constant war caused by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. War, war, and endless war. Though by no means inconsequential, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about the War of the Spanish Succession. For Europe, it was just another day at the office.

to:

It is tempting to try to see the War of the Spanish Succession as either the beginning or end of something, but really it was far from anything of the kind. Europe had just gotten off the Nine Years' War (16881697) and the Thirty Years' War before that (1618-1648). The War of the Spanish Succession was Louis XIV the Sun King's last great war, but the 76-year-old had been fighting for his entire life. The Great Northern War (17001721), fought between Sweden and Russia, was concurrent with the War of the Spanish Succession. The United Kingdom almost immediately fought the Jacobite rising in 1715. A two-year war between Spain and an anti-Spanish coalition would soon follow (17181720), followed by the War of the ''Polish'' Succession (17331735) and the War of the ''Austrian'' Succession (1740-1748). The United Kingdom would fight ''another'' Jacobite rising in 1745 against Catholic pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie, shortly followed by the Seven Years' War (17561763) between Britain and France. Then the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), then 23 years over two decades of constant war caused by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. War, war, and endless war.Wars. Though by no means inconsequential, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about the War of the Spanish Succession. For Europe, it was just another day at the office.


You will also notice how, this whole time, we have referred to the Kingdom of ''England''. This is because it was only during the War of the Spanish Succession that the parliaments of England and Scotland, until that time separate states ruled by the same monarch, officially united to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Prior to this it was by far England which was the senior partner in the relationship, and which made all the serious decisions.

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You will also notice how, notice, this whole time, we have referred to it has been the Kingdom of ''England''. This is because it was only during the War of the Spanish Succession that the parliaments of England and Scotland, until that time separate states ruled by the same monarch, officially united to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Prior to this it was by far England which was the senior partner in the relationship, and which made all the serious decisions.


It is tempting to try to see the War of the Spanish Succession as either the start or end of something, but really it was far from anything of the kind. Europe had just gotten off the Nine Years' War (16881697) and the Thirty Years' War before that (1618-1648). The War of the Spanish Succession was Louis XIV the Sun King's last great war, but the 76-year-old had been fighting for his entire life. The Great Northern War (17001721), fought between Sweden and Russia, was concurrent with the War of the Spanish Succession. The United Kingdom almost immediately fought the Jacobite rising in 1715. A two-year war between Spain and an anti-Spanish coalition would soon follow (17181720), followed by the War of the ''Polish'' Succession (17331735) and the War of the ''Austrian'' Succession (1740-1748). The United Kingdom would fight ''another'' Jacobite rising in 1745 against Catholic pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie, shortly followed by the Seven Years' War (17561763) between Britain and France. Then the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), then 23 years of constant war caused by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. War, war, and endless war. In truth, though by no means inconsequential, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about the War of the Spanish Succession. For Europe, it was just another day at the office.

to:

It is tempting to try to see the War of the Spanish Succession as either the start beginning or end of something, but really it was far from anything of the kind. Europe had just gotten off the Nine Years' War (16881697) and the Thirty Years' War before that (1618-1648). The War of the Spanish Succession was Louis XIV the Sun King's last great war, but the 76-year-old had been fighting for his entire life. The Great Northern War (17001721), fought between Sweden and Russia, was concurrent with the War of the Spanish Succession. The United Kingdom almost immediately fought the Jacobite rising in 1715. A two-year war between Spain and an anti-Spanish coalition would soon follow (17181720), followed by the War of the ''Polish'' Succession (17331735) and the War of the ''Austrian'' Succession (1740-1748). The United Kingdom would fight ''another'' Jacobite rising in 1745 against Catholic pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie, shortly followed by the Seven Years' War (17561763) between Britain and France. Then the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), then 23 years of constant war caused by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. War, war, and endless war. In truth, though Though by no means inconsequential, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about the War of the Spanish Succession. For Europe, it was just another day at the office.

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