France : Foreign Policy, 1661-1715 Spain 1648-1700 Spanish Netherlands, 1600-1713

The War of Devolution, 1667-1668

A.) The Diplomatic Pre-History of the Invasion

After the 30 Years War (1618-1648) and the Franco-Spanish War (1635-1659), Spain was exhausted, while France, under Louis XIV.'s able Superintendent of Finances, Colbert, became prosperous and established a standing army.
On June 9th 1660, French King Louis XIV. married Marie Therese, daughter of King Philip IV. of Spain. Philip IV. died in 1665; in 1667 France claimed that Louis XIV., in the name of his wife, would have inherited certain Spanish territories in Flanders, a claim Spain denied.

B.) The Military Course of Events

France declared war; French forces under the command of Turenne occupied Flanders, while another French force under Conde took Franche Comte (1668).
The inability of Spain to defend herself against the French invasion caused the governments of England, the Dutch Republic and Sweden to act; they formed the Triple Alliance (Jan. 1668). Peace was concluded in the Treaty of Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) 1668; France gained territory in Flanders, while most of the Spanish Netherlands, as well as Franche Comte, were returned to Spain.

C.) Legacy

The Treaty of Aachen 1668 did not solve the problem, as Spain did not regain her ability to defend the Spanish Netherlands and the Franche Comte, and as France maintained a superior military power, again and again attempted to enter into bids for more territory and hegemony over continental Europe.
The Triple Alliance was not stable; only 4 years later did the Dutch Republic face an alliance composed of France and England (Dutch War of Louis XIV., Third Anglo-Dutch War).

Articles Turenne, War of Devolution, from Columbia Encyclopedia
DOCUMENTS Medal : Capture of Tournai and Courtrai, 1667, from Medal Web, Collection Benjamin Weiss
REFERENCE H.P.H. Jansen, Kalendarium. Geschiedenis van de Lage Landen in Jaartallen. (Calendarium. History of the Low Countries by Years), Utrecht 1979

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 10th 2003, last revised on November 18th 2004

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