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The Wars of Louis XIV From the 1660's onwards, Louis XIV


The Wars of Louis XIV From the 1660's onwards, Louis XIV aimed at expanding French territory by force of arms. He thought in this way to acquire gloire (glory). – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Wars of Louis XIV From the 1660's onwards, Louis XIV

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • From the 1660's onwards, Louis XIV aimed at
    expanding French territory by force of arms. He
    thought in this way to acquire gloire (glory).
  • Another war aim was giving France a defensible
    frontier - especially "the line of the Rhine" in
    the East. Louis XIV did not doubt his right to
    "reunite" with France the territory once held by
  • Michel Le Tellier, Marquis of Louvois and Henri
    de la Tour d'Auvergne, Viscount Turenne had
    created a large and efficient army that became
    Louis's main instrument in overawing neighboring

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • Louvois imposed a high level of discipline of the
    troops - his drill master was Jean Martinet  -
    so strict an officer that to this day the word
    martinet is used to mean a rigid disciplinarian.
  • Louvois also organized a commissariat department
    to supply the French army.
  • Until his system of magazines and supply dumps
    was introduced, armies had to forage (often to
    loot) the surrounding area for food and supplies.
  • Efficient supply enabled the French army to
    concentrate on military operations.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • Motivation and the world picture in Europe -
    1660 1760
  • This is about the struggle bet. Absolutism and
  • As Louis, after the Fronde journeys further and
    further toward Absolutism, the English are
    moving, ostensibly, toward Constitutionalism,
  • Further, there are the considerations of Spain,
    and Catholic nation, and their incursion into the
    Netherlands, which, by 1648 had been declared a
    free and independent, Calvinist state.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • BY 1688, what major shifts have taken place in
  • England, with the invasion of William III has
    eradicated the tide of Catholicism under the
    rules of Charles II and James II
  • Louis XIV had established a close relationship
    with both of these rulers, and could not simply
    abandon his desire at empire, and his loyalty to
    James II particularly
  • Hence, we see a continuation of the conflict in
    Europe bet. The protestants and the Catholics,
    which means that the Thirty years. war is not
    exactly over.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • The treaty of the Pyrenees brought the hostility
    bet. France and Spain, two catholic nations who
    stood tot gain more by being allies than enemies.
  • Louis arranges a marriage bet, himself and Maria
    Theresa, daughter of the Hapsburg King of Spain,
    Phillip IV
  • Once Phillip dies, Louis, by virtue off his
    marriage to Maria, become the rightful heir to
    the Spanish controlled sections of the
    Netherlands, and invades in 1667

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • We know of the Protestant Stronghold that the
    Netherlands was, and the interest that the
    English have had there.
  • But, under the reigns of Charles II and James II,
    and their friendly relationship with Louis XIVlt
    these areas were essentially under siege.
  • That is where William of Orange, an Stadholder,
    will make his name for the Protest and cause
  • Treaty of Aix-la Chapelle in 1668 concludes the
    first round of fighting, and by the Peace of
    Nijmegen in 1678-79, Holland had gained back all
    of its lost territory.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • What was Louis agenda?
  • He sought territory in the East, that had been
    French Domain since the times of Charlemagne.
    This would have to come at the expense of their
    traditional rival, the Habsburgs
  • The Rhine River was to be his natural boundary
  • France would be involved, in the next sixty year
    in a series of conflicts bet. The protestant
    forces of England, the Dutch, and Prussia.
  • This was also part and parcel of the growing
    necessity of a balance of power in Europe, which
    Louis sought to overturn.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • Key events that we will be covering
  • The Nine years war 1688 1697
  • The conflict saw the Battle bet. France and the
    United Forces of Britain, The Netherlands, and
    forces within the holy Roman Empire
  • This ends with the treaty of Ryswick in 1697
  • Then, we will examine the War of the Spanish
    Succession 1702 1714, which will seek to
    determine the succession of the Habsburg Throne.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • With the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, we see
    the conclusion of the wars of Spanish succession,
    and the growing hegemony of Great Britain as the
    new World become a greater source of conflict
  • Remember the growth of mercantile empires in the
    new World, and the gradual diminishing of Spanish
    Power in the Caribbean, and central and South
  • Hence these European rivalries will be played out
    in the colonies as well.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • The Impact of the Utrecht signing would place
    Great Britain in an extremely advantageous
    position on the Western Hemisphere
  • Specifically, their virtual monopoly on the Slave
    trade, the asciento gained from the Spanish,
    places Great Britain in the drivers seat as it
    were, and is often referred to as the basis of
    the economic capital that will help to find the
    Industrial economy decades later.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • He introduced the flintlock rifle, that fired far
    more efficiently than previous ones tat had a
    cord burn to ignite the gunpowder
  • The Bayonet was also introduced, and this one
    could be left on the rifle as it was fired
  • Louis XIV saw England as weak, and believed he
    could easily control its monarchs by bribes.
  • The Dutch he regarded as trading rivals,
    seditious republicans, and heretics. Nonetheless,
    his first military expedition was in the Spanish

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • The War of Devolution (1667-68)
  • When Louis XIV married Maria Theresa, daughter of
    Philip IV, she formally renounced her claims to
    succeed as ruler of any Spanish territory.
  • Louis insisted that this renunciation was
    conditional on prompt payment by Spain of Maria
    Theresa's dowry (500,000 gold écus) - an
    undertaking Spain failed to fulfill.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • In 1665, Philip IV died, and was succeeded by his
    son by his second marriage (to Mariana of
    Austria), the four-year-old Charles (Carlos) II.
  • (Remember that Maria Theresa was the product of
    Phillips first marriage!)
  • Louis XIV announced that because the dowry had
    not been paid, and because the local laws of
    Brabant gave the children of a first marriage
    priority in inheritance over those of a second,
    Maria Theresa was the true ruler of much of the
    Spanish Netherlands.
  • By proxy, these lands were now Louis!

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • The ease and rapidity of Louis XIV's invasion so
    alarmed the English and the Dutch that they ended
    the trading war in which they were involved.
  • In May 1668, they joined with Sweden to form the
    Triple Alliance against France. Equally alarmed
    by French aggression, Spain made peace with
  • Recognizing the growing forces against him, Louis
    made a secret treaty with the Holy Roman Emperor,
    Leopold I, in which Leopold agreed to French
    expansion into the Spanish Netherlands after the
    death of Charles II of Spain. (This death was
    expected to be soon, as Charles was such a sickly

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • Armed with this secret treaty, Louis made the
    "generous" peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (May 1668) by
    which he kept many of his conquests in Flanders
    but withdrew from Franche-Comté.
  • The towns that Louis retained in the Spanish
    Netherlands - especially Lille - were expertly
    fortified by Vauban. These fortresses served both
    as defensive strong-points and as spring-boards
    for future invasion.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • The Dutch war 1672-78
  • Louis did not reduce his troop strength after the
    Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, but increased it. By
    1672, the French army numbered almost 120,000 men
    - 8,000 household troops, 86,000 infantry and
    25,000 cavalry.
  • Louis XIV's foreign minister, Arnauld de
    Pomponne, worked diplomatically to isolate the
  • The French arranged alliances or benevolent
    neutrality with Charles II of England (the Treaty
    of Dover), the Swedes, and various German princes
    (including Bavaria, Münster, Cologne and
  • Louis saw the Dutch both as obstacles to French
    expansion into the Spanish Netherlands and as
    trading rivals.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • The French army was initially extremely
    successful and soon overran the whole Province of
    Utrecht. The frightened Dutch Pensionary, John de
    Witt sued for peace, but Louis made such
    exorbitant demands that he provoked a violent
  • The Dutch opened the sluices and flooded large
    portions of the Netherlands to hold up the French
  • The Dutch then removed De Witt from power (he was
    murdered soon afterwards) and placed the young
    William of Orange in power.
  • French success created new allies for the Dutch.
    Turenne had to detach troops to send against
    Frederick William of Brandenburg-Prussia, who was
    soon forced to make peace (June 1673).

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • In August 1673 the French and English fleets
    fought another battle against the Dutch at Texel.
  • The French ships never properly engaged and the
    English fleet bore the brunt of De Ruyter's
    fierce attack.
  • The Dutch ships were eventually forced to
    withdraw because they had exhausted their
    supplies of ammunition.
  • The English fleet limped home and Charles II
    concluded a separate peace in the Treaty of
    Westminster (February 1674).

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • The Holy Roman Empire and Spain also allied with
    the Dutch in the Grand Alliance of The Hague
  • The cost of war was producing discontent - high
    taxation led to revolts in Normandy and Brittany.
    Louis XIV made the Peace of Nijmegen (Nymegen)  -
    in 1678 he was confirmed by Spain in possession
    of Franche-Comté, but surrendered Maastricht to
    the Dutch.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • In 1679, the Holy Roman Empire also made peace.
    France continued to occupy Lorraine, but the
    Danes and Prussians were obliged to return
    Stettin and their Baltic conquests to Sweden.
  • The Dutch War left France with a deficit of 16
    million livres, but Colbert died in 1683, and
    Louvois believed that continued war was the route
    to French greatness!
  • The acquisition of Alsace and Franche-Comté had
    whetted Louis XIV's appetite for expansion.
  • He embarked on the policy of réunions - French
    lawyers were commissioned to discover towns that
    were "dependencies" of his new acquisitions, and
    had arguably at some point in the past strictly
    been French. Louis then annexed them to France
    however spurious or antiquated the claim.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • The Peace of Nijmegen had split the grand
    alliance formed against Louis, and he used the
    threat of French military might to bully each of
    his opponents singly. While the Empire was
    preoccupied with the threat from Ottoman Turkey,
    Louis invaded the Spanish Netherlands (1683) and
    laid siege to Luxembourg (April 1684).
  • In the Truce of Ratisbon (August 1684) Spain was
    forced to recognize French possession of
    Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Oudenarde.
  • Genoa had allied itself with Spain, so Louis
    bombarded the city into submission and demanded
    that its Doge come to Versailles and apologize.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • 1684 saw Louis XIV at the height of his power.
    Many resented French intimidation, but the threat
    from the Turks in the East and disunity in the
    West gave Louis the upper hand.
  • Between 1685 and 1688 matters changed.
  • The successes of the Holy Alliance ended the
    danger of Ottoman invasion.
  • The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes deeply
    alienated Protestant powers.
  • The Glorious Revolution placed William of Orange
    (Louis's most determined enemy) on the throne of
    England in place of James II (Louis's compliant

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • In July 1686, the League of Augsburg was formed
    by the Holy Roman Empire, Bavaria, Saxony, the
    Palatinate, Sweden and Spain to oppose French
  • The Imperial army defeated the Turks at the
    Battle of Mohács (August 1687). Louis invaded the
    Palatinate in October 1688 before the Emperor's
    armies had redeployed from the East.
  • The French army devastated the area in one of the
    few real war crimes of this period's warfare.
  • The Glorious Revolution surprised Louis XIV as
    did the Grand Alliance of Spain, the Empire,
    Savoy and many German states that William of
    Orange was able to forge.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • Louis XIV struck back at William of Orange by
    supplying James II with 6,000 troops in an
    attempt to regain his throne. James went to
    Ireland where the Catholic, anti-English
    population rallied to his support. However,
    William II, helped by the Protestant Ulstermen
    defeated James' army in The Battle of the
    Boyne.The anniversary of this victory is
    celebrated each year by Protestant Orangemen
    marches deeply resented by Ulster's Catholic

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • Louis XIV planned an invasion of England, but the
    French admiral, Anne-Hilarion de Cotentin, Count
    of Tourville was defeated in May 1692 by the
    Admiral Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford.
  • The English intercepted the French fleet off
    Barfleur, pursued it for five days, and when it
    sought shelter in the bay of La Hogue (La Hougue)
    burnt at least 12 (possibly 15) of its ships at
  • Both sides were running out of their taxpayers'
    resources and so concluded the Peace of Ryswick
  • France had to restore much of its ill-gotten
    gains (including Trier, Breisach, Lorraine,
    Luxemburg and Catalonia) to recognize William III
    as King of England, and to accept a pension for
    Elisabeth Charlotte in lieu of her claims to the

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • The War of the Spanish Succession, 1702-13
  • The death of Charles II of Spain had long been
    anticipated in view of his poor health. Charles
    had no children and all Europe was concerned as
    to who would succeed him.
  • Louis XIV's wife, Maria Theresa (sister of
    Charles II and daughter of Philip IV) died in
    1683, but left a son.
  • She had formally renounced her claims to the
    throne on marriage. The rest of Europe was
    horrified at the idea of France (already too
    powerful) controlling Spain and its dominions.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • In 1700, Charles II bequeathed the entire
    inheritance to Philip, Duke of Anjou - younger
    grandson of Louis XIV the will stated that if
    France did not accept this, the entire
    inheritance should go to Austria.
  • Louis XIV accepted this arrangement to prevent
    encirclement by Hapsburg powers, and (the
    extremely odd) Philip acceded to the throne.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • Louis XIV had an army of almost a quarter of a
    million men, and he maneuvered it as though about
    to start a new offensive war.
  • In June 1700, the normally fractious English
    House of Commons voted support for William II
    against the French. In December 1700, Leopold I
    began to raise an army on the Rhine.
  • April 1713 - the Peace of Utrecht was agreed.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • Philip V retained Spain and its American
    colonies, but the Spanish Netherlands, Milan and
    the Kingdom of Naples became Austrian Hapsburg
  • The Dutch were allowed to retain fortresses in
    the Spanish Netherlands to discourage French
  • France ceded Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, the
    Hudson Bay territory, and the island of St. Kitts
    (in the Caribbean) to Britain, recognized Queen
    Anne (i.e. stopped supporting James Edward), and
    made certain trading concessions. The Duke of
    Savoy became King of Sicily.
  • France did retain much of the territory it had
    seized in Flanders and along the Rhine (although
    Alsace and Lorraine remained a bone of contention
    between France and Germany long after).

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • Louis XIV was king for 72 years - the longest
    reigning monarch in European history - in an age
    of absolutism.
  • Theorists such as Jacques Bossuet and Jean Domat
    argued that the king was God's agent on earth and
    to be obeyed faithfully.
  • The reign of Louis XIV has excited strong
    reactions amongst historians - some seeing it as
    disastrous, others as glorious.
  • Voltaire, one of the great figures of the
    Enlightenment, recognized the suffering caused by
    Louis' warmongering and religious persecution and
    admired him nonetheless.

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • "The superior ability of his early ministers and
    his early generals soon wearied him. He liked
    nobody to be in any way superior to him.
  • Thus he chose his ministers, not for their
    knowledge, but for their ignorance not for their
    capacity, but for their want of it. He liked to
    form them, as he said liked to teach them even
    the most trifling things.
  • It was the same with his generals. He took credit
    to himself for instructing them wished it to be
    thought that from his cabinet he commanded and
    directed all his armies.
  • Naturally fond of trifles, he unceasingly
    occupied himself with the most petty details of
    his troops, his household, his mansions. This
    vanity, this unmeasured and unreasonable love of
    admiration, was his ruin."
  • Duke de Saint-Simon on Louis XIV

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