Peace of Utrecht

1713–15 peace treaties ending the War of the Spanish Succession / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Peace of Utrecht was a series of peace treaties signed by the belligerents in the War of the Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht between April 1713 and February 1715. The war involved three contenders for the vacant throne of Spain, and involved much of Europe for over a decade. The main action saw France as the defender of Spain against a multinational coalition. The war was very expensive and bloody and finally stalemated. Essentially, the treaties allowed Philip V (grandson of King Louis XIV of France) to keep the Spanish throne in return for permanently renouncing his claim to the French throne, along with other necessary guarantees that would ensure that France and Spain should not merge, thus preserving the balance of power in Europe.[1]

Quick facts: Context, Signed, Location, Signatories, Langu...
Peace (Treaty) of Utrecht
First edition of the Anglo-Spanish treaty
First edition of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht between Great Britain and Spain in Spanish (left) and a later edition in Latin and English.
LocationUtrecht, Dutch Republic
Full text at Wikisource-logo.svg Wikisource

The treaties between several European states, including Spain, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Savoy and the Dutch Republic, helped end the war. The treaties were concluded between the representatives of Louis XIV of France and of his grandson Philip on one hand, and representatives of Queen Anne of Great Britain, King Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia, King John V of Portugal and the United Provinces of the Netherlands on the other. Though the king of France ensured the Spanish crown for his dynasty, the treaties marked the end of French ambitions of hegemony in Europe expressed in the continuous wars of Louis XIV, and paved the way to the European system based on the balance of power.[2] British historian G. M. Trevelyan argued that:

That Treaty, which ushered in the stable and characteristic period of Eighteenth-Century civilization, marked the end of danger to Europe from the old French monarchy, and it marked a change of no less significance to the world at large, – the maritime, commercial and financial supremacy of Great Britain.[3]

Another enduring result was the creation of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty, which still reigns over Spain up to the present day whilst the French branch of the House of Bourbon has long since been dethroned.