Treaty of Utrecht | Wikipedia audio article
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Treaty of Utrecht | Wikipedia audio article

November 17, 2019


The Peace of Utrecht is 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.
Before Charles II of Spain died childless in 1700, he had named his grandnephew Philip
as his successor. However, Philip was grandson of Louis XIV of France and also in line for
the French throne, and the other major powers in Europe were not willing to tolerate the
potential union of two such powerful states. Essentially, the treaties allowed Philip to
take 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.
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 Anne of Great Britain, Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia, John V of Portugal and the United
Provinces of the Netherlands on the other. They marked the end of French ambitions of
hegemony in Europe expressed in the wars of Louis XIV, and preserved the European system
based on the balance of power. British historian G. M. Trevelyan argues: 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.==Negotiations==The War of the Spanish Succession was occasioned
by the failure of the Habsburg king, Charles II of Spain, to produce an heir. Dispute followed
the death of Charles II in 1700, and fourteen years of war were the result.
France and Great Britain had come to terms in October 1711, when the preliminaries of
peace had been signed in London. The preliminaries were based on a tacit acceptance of the partition
of Spain’s European possessions. Following this, the Congress of Utrecht opened on 29
January 1712, with the British representatives being John Robinson, Bishop of Bristol, and
Thomas Wentworth, Lord Strafford. Reluctantly the United Provinces accepted the preliminaries
and sent representatives, but Emperor Charles VI refused to do so until he was assured that
the preliminaries were not binding. This assurance was given, and so in February the Imperial
representatives made their appearance. As Philip was not yet recognized as its king,
Spain did not at first send plenipotentiaries, but the Duke of Savoy sent one, and the Kingdom
of Portugal was represented by Luís da Cunha. One of the first questions discussed was the
nature of the guarantees to be given by France and Spain that their crowns would be kept
separate, and little progress was made until 10 July 1712, when Philip signed a renunciation.With
Great Britain, France and Spain having agreed to a “suspension of arms” (armistice) covering
Spain on 19 August in Paris, the pace of negotiation quickened. The first treaty signed at Utrecht
was the truce between France and Portugal on 7 November, followed by the truce between
France and Savoy on 14 March 1714. That same day, Spain, Great Britain, France and the
Empire agreed to the evacuation of Catalonia and an armistice in Italy. The main treaties
of peace followed on 11 April 1713. These were five separate treaties between France
and Great Britain, the Netherlands, Savoy, Prussia and Portugal. Spain under Philip V
signed separate peace treaties with Savoy and Great Britain at Utrecht on 13 July. Negotiations
at Utrecht dragged on into the next year, for the peace treaty between Spain and the
Netherlands was only signed on 26 June 1714 and that between Spain and Portugal on 6 February
1715.Several other treaties came out of the congress of Utrecht. France signed treaties
of commerce and navigation with Great Britain and the Netherlands (11 April 1713). Great
Britain signed a like treaty with Spain (9 December 1713).==Principal provisions==The treaty recognised Louis XIV’s grandson
Philip, Duke of Anjou, as King of Spain (as Philip V), thus confirming the succession
stipulated in the will of the Charles II of Spain who died in 1700. However, Philip was
compelled to renounce for himself and his descendants any right to the French throne.
In similar fashion various French princelings, including most notably the Duke of Berry (Louis
XIV’s youngest grandson) and the Duke of Orléans (Louis’s nephew), renounced for themselves
and their descendants any claim to the Spanish throne. Utrecht marked the rise of Great Britain
under Anne and later the House of Hanover; her exploits martial were due to Marlborough.
The lucrative trading opportunities afforded to the British were gained at the expense
of her allies with the Dutch forgoing a share in the Asiento and the Holy Roman Empire ceding
Spain to Philip V and being forced to reinstate the Elector of Bavaria.
The Spanish territories in Europe were apportioned: Savoy received Sicily and parts of the Duchy
of Milan, while Charles VI (the Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria) received
the Spanish Netherlands, the Kingdom of Naples, Sardinia, and the bulk of the Duchy of Milan.
Portugal had its sovereignty recognised over the lands between the Amazon and Oyapock rivers,
in Brazil. In 1715, the Portuguese also recovered Colónia do Sacramento, previously taken by
Spain in Uruguay. In addition, under Article X of the treaty
Spain ceded Gibraltar and Menorca to Great Britain and agreed to give to the British
the Asiento, a monopoly on the oceanic slave trade to the Spanish colonies in America.
Great Britain imposed to Spain, under Article XIII, the preservation of the historical rights
of Catalonia (given the Catalan support to the Habsburg cause, as well as to British
and Dutch military), which, however, were abolished one year later (when Barcelona was
finally occupied by the Franco-Spanish troops) pursuant to the Nueva Planta decrees issued
by the Spanish Bourbon king. In North America, France ceded to Great Britain
its claims to Newfoundland and to the Hudson’s Bay Company territories in Rupert’s Land.
They also ceded the Acadian colony of Nova Scotia. The formerly partitioned island of
Saint Kitts was also ceded in its entirety to Britain. France was required to recognise
British suzerainty over the Iroquois and commerce with the Far Indians was to be open to traders
of all nations. France retained its other pre-war North American possessions, including
Île-Saint-Jean (now Prince Edward Island), Saint Pierre and Miquelon, as well as Île
Royale (now Cape Breton Island), on which it erected the Fortress of Louisbourg.
After the signing of the Utrecht treaties, the French continued to be at war with Emperor
Charles VI and with the Holy Roman Empire itself until 1714, when hostilities, ongoing
in the Rhineland, were ended with the treaties of Rastatt and Baden. Peace between Spain
and Emperor Charles VI, unsuccessful claimant to the Spanish crown, came only in 1720 with
the signing of the Treaty of The Hague.==Responses to the treaties==The treaty’s territorial provisions did not
go as far as the Whigs in Britain would have liked, considering that the French had made
overtures for peace in 1706 and again in 1709. The Whigs considered themselves the heirs
of the staunch anti-French policies of William III and the Duke of Marlborough. However,
in the Parliament of 1710 the Tories had gained control of the House of Commons, and they
wished for an end to Great Britain’s participation in a European war. Queen Anne and her advisors
had also come to agree. The party in the administration of Robert
Harley (created Earl of Oxford and Mortimer on 23 May 1711) and the Viscount Bolingbroke
proved more flexible at the bargaining table and were characterised by the Whigs as “pro-French”;
Oxford and Bolingbroke persuaded the Queen to create twelve new “Tory peers” to ensure
ratification of the treaty in the House of Lords. The opponents of the treaty tried to
rally support under the slogan of No Peace Without Spain.
Although the fate of the Spanish Netherlands in particular was of interest to the United
Provinces, Dutch influence on the outcome of the negotiations was fairly insignificant,
even though the talks were held on their territory. The French negotiator Melchior de Polignac
taunted the Dutch with the scathing remark de vous, chez vous, sans vous, meaning that
negotiations would be held “about you, around you, without you.” The fact that Bolingbroke
had secretly ordered the British commander, the Duke of Ormonde, to withdraw from the
Allied forces before the Battle of Denain (informing the French but not the Allies),
and the fact that they secretly arrived at separate peace with France was a fait accompli,
made the objections of the Allies pointless. In any case, the Dutch achieved their condominium
in the Austrian Netherlands with the Austro-Dutch Barrier Treaty of 1715.==Balance of power==The European concept of the balance of power,
first mentioned in 1701 by Charles Davenant in Essays on the Balance of Power, became
a common topic of debate during the war and the conferences that led to signing of the
treaties. Boosted by 19 April 1709 issue of Daniel Defoe’s A Review of the Affairs of
France, a periodical that supported the Harley Ministry, the concept was a key factor in
British negotiations, and was reflected in the final treaties. This theme would continue
to be a significant factor in European politics until the time of the French Revolution (and
was to resurface in the 19th century).==See also==
Disputed status of Gibraltar French Shore
Herman Moll==References====Bibliography==
Bruin, Renger and Cornelis Haven, eds. Performances of Peace: Utrecht 1713 (2015).
Churchill, Winston (2002). Marlborough: His Life and Times, Bk. 2, vols. iii & iv. University
of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-10635-7 online abridged edition
Gregory, Desmond: Minorca, the Illusory Prize: A History of the British Occupations of Minorca
Between 1708 and 1802 (Associated University Press, 1990)
Lesaffer, Randall. “The peace of Utrecht and the balance of power”, Oxford Historical Treaties
10 Nov 1914 online Lynn, John A (1999). The Wars of Louis XIV,
1667–1714. Longman. ISBN 0-582-05629-2 Mowat, Robert Balmain. History of European
diplomacy, 1451–1789 (1928) pp 141–54; online pp 165–82.
Sichel, Walter. Bolingbroke And His Times, 2 vols. (1901–02) Vol. 1 The Reign of Queen
Anne Stanhope, Philip: History of England, Comprising
the Reign of Queen Anne until the Peace of Utrecht (London: 1870)
Trevelyan, G. M (1930–34). England Under Queen Anne. 3 volumes. Longmans, Green and
co.==External links==
“The Treaties of Utrecht (1713)” Brief discussion and extracts of the various treaties on François
Velde’s Heraldica website, with particular focus on the renunciations and their later
reconfirmations. Interpretation of parts of the treaty relating
to Gibraltar by the Gibraltar Action Group

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