Decline under the Later Habsburgs, 1648-1700 Spain 1714-1759

Spain in the War of Spanish Succession, 1700-1714

In 1700 Spanish King Charles II., the last of the Habsburg Dynasty's Spanish line, died. He had chosen his sister's grandson Philip Duke of Anjou, a Bourbon, to succeed him. Philip of Anjou, born in 1683, entered Madrid in February 1701 and was given an enthusiastic reception. The young and inexperienced king turned to King Louis XIV. for political advice, and to the Princess of Ursins, an elderly French lady at his court. Philip V., in Spanish Felipe V., was sensitive enough to appoint mainly Spaniards as members to the Council of State. While Madrid and Castile thus were favourably inclined to the new king, Aragon-Catalonia was a different matter.
Philip met his bride, Princess Marie-Louise of Savoy, in Barcelona and married her in Figueras. It seemed that the sympathies of the Aragonese and Catalonians had been won.
Meanwhile, Archduke Charles of Austria (second in line when it came to inheriting his father, Emperor Leopold I.) claimed the inheritance of the crown of Spain and, long before reaching Spanish soil, had himself proclaimed King Charles III. (Carlos III.). An anti-French coalition, consisting of the British, Dutch and Austrians, agreed on supporting him, later to be joined by Brandenburg, Savoy, and, temporarily, by Denmark; the War of Spanish Succession ensued.

The military events of the war are not to be emphasized here; both candidates established themselves in Spain and stubbornly held on to their claim. the military balance on the Iberian peninsula tipped several times, Madrid changing hands 4 times.
Charles III. gained the support of Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia; Philip V. and Castile regarded this support for Charles III. as an act of rebellion (Catalonian Revolt). However, in the brief periods when Charles III. was in control of Madrid, he was given a cool reception.
The war was decided by the death of Emperor Joseph I. (1711); Archduke Charles (= Charles III. of Spain) succeeded him; the prospect of Spain and Austria being reunited in Dynastic Union frightened Austria's allies and they began peace negotiations. Barcelona, Charles III. base in Spain, was laid siege to in 1713. Philip V. prevailed, Charles III. withdrew, only reluctantly giving up his claim to the Spanish throne. Spain lost her possessions in Italy and the Low Countries. Barcelona surrendered only on Sept. 11th 1714; her privileges, those of Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia were cancelled in retribution.

Article Barcelona, from Wikipedia
History of Barcelona, from See Barcelona, from Don Quijote
History of Madrid, from About Madrid
DOCUMENTS Data on Spanish State Revenue, 1520-1807, posted by ESFDB
REFERENCE Peter Pierson, The History of Spain, Greenwood, 1999, 248 pp.; KMLA Lib.Sign. 946 P624t

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 9th 2004

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