Dutch Republic, 1672-1702 French Foreign Policy, 1661-1715 Brandenburg, 1640-1701 Austria 1648-1740
Spanish Netherlands, 1600-1713 England, 1688-1702 Savoy-Piemont, 1660-1730 Savoy-Piemont, 1660-1730

War of the Grand Alliance, 1689-1697

A.) Prehistory of the Conflict

France's army may not have defeated her opponents in the Dutch War of Louis XIV., Frances diplomats, however, triumphed in its aftermath. With the Dutch Republic showing signs of war fatigue, they managed to break Brandenburg out of her alliance with Austria and sign a defensive alliance with France instead (and cash in French subsidies). They supported the Hungarian rebels against Habsburg rule and stitted the Ottoman Empire into attacking Vienna (1683), thus distracting the Emperor from the Rhineland. England required no distraction, as public attention was focussed on the question of succession - Charles II. died in 1685 and was succeeded by his brother, Catholic James II., whose ruling style alienated ,any and irritated more.
With no force willing to risk a confrontation with France over the Rhineland, the latter lay open and practically undefended to French aggression, which came in form of the dubious 'Reunions' and in form of open aggression. The city of Strassburg in the Elsass (Alsace) surrendered to France in 1681.
With the European balance of powers in disarray, Louis XIV. felt so unchallenged that he even cancelled domestic peace by revoking the Edict of Nantes, causing tenthousands of French protestants to flee the country.
The Glorious Revolution of 1688 restabilized England and created a Personal Union of England-Scotland and the Dutch Republic. Meanwhile, the Emperor's armies had pushed the Ottoman Army far back into Hungary, and the creation of the Grand Alliance, also known as the League of Augsburg, was possible; a line could be drawn.

B) The War

The Count Palatine had died, and Louis XIV. claimed the inheritance for his daughter-in-law, married to a French prince; a lame excuse as there were heirs the claims of which were more valid than the one Louis XIV. pressed (against the wish of his daughter-in-law). The war is known as the WAR OF PALATINE SUCCESSION, the WAR OF THE LEAGUE OF AUGSBURG, the NINE YEARS WAR or the WAR OF THE GRAND ALLIANCE.
The League of Augsburg declared war. The French supported the Irish rebellion (James II.) which was defeated in the BATTLE OF THE BOYNE in 1690. The war at sea was marked by two encounters, the BATTLE OF BEACHY HEAD (1690, French victory) and the BATTLE OF LA HOGUE 1692, an English victory.
The Spanish Netherlands provided the main battleground, Spain incapable of defending her territory. The French were victorious in engagements at Fleurus (1690), Steenkerke (1692), Neerwinden (1693) and took Namur (1692).
The German Rhineland, of course, was theatre of operation; the Palatine capital of Heidelberg was sacked in 1693.
Savoy was occupied in 1690, her army defeatet in the Battle of Marsaglia (1693) and in 1696 signed a separate peace treaty.
The French invaded Catalonia in 1694, taking Gerona. Oversees, a Fench fleet took Cartagena and Barcelona in New Granada (Colombia) in 1697.
In Italy, Savoy-Piemont had joined the alliance. French invasions in 1690 and 1693 were repelled, in 1695 the allies expelled the French garrison from Casale (in the Principality of Monferrato). In 1696 Savoy signed a separate peace with France, for which it was rewarded by France ceding Pinerolo to Savoy-Piemont.
In 1697 the TREATY OF RIJSWIJK was signed, according to which France returned much territory previously annexed during the dubious reunions. However, France was permitted to hold on to many of her conquests in Flanders. The Palatinate, devastated as it was, was returned to the legitimate heir.

C.) Legacy

The Grand Alliance had not defeated France militarily, but had succeeded in her investing in the war far beyond her means; France had been brought to the negotiation table by war fatigue. Louis XIV., however, had not yet learnt the lesson; in 1701 he again would bid for European hegemony in the WAR OF SPANISH SUCCESSION.
For the Catholic population of Ireland, the Glorious Revolution meant an intensification in the suppression of Catholicism.

War of the Grand Alliance, from Columbia Encyclopedia, from Wikipedia, from EB 1911
War of the Grand Alliance, from Orange Pages (Orangist)
War of the Augsburg League, from Land Forces of Britain, the Commonwealth and Empire, as of June 1st 2003 an empty shell
Battle of the Boyne, from Irelandseye, from BBC
War of the League of Augsburg, 1689-1697, from Lafete, on the war in Acadia
King William's War, from USA History
League of Augsburg, from Wikipedia
Der Neunjährige Krieg (The Nine Years War, 1683-1699), from Kriege der Neuzeit, in German
Pfalziske Arvefølgekrig 1688-1697 (Palatine War of Succession), from Historiske Slag, in Danish
War of the Grand Alliance, 1689-1697, from Simonides
DOCUMENTS Jetons 16, click Louis XIV 1689-1699
Slides Bombardement Brussels 1695, from De Grote Markt van Brussel, Flemish-language site
REFERENCE Geoffrey Symcox, The political world of the absolutist state in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, pp.104-122 in : John A. Marino (ed.), Early Modern Italy (Short Oxford History of Italy), Oxford : UP 2002

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 1st 2003, last revised on November 18th 2004

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