Geostrategy, International Politics, and the Burden of War, 1688–1714

Guy Rowlands

in The Financial Decline of a Great Power

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199585076
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744600 | DOI:
Geostrategy, International Politics, and the Burden of War, 1688–1714

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This chapter links the financial and strategic histories of the War of the Spanish Succession. The French acceptance of Carlos II's will, leaving the entire Spanish monarchy to the duke of Anjou, forced Louis XIV to defend the strung-out Spanish territories across Europe militarily against the revived Grand Alliance of the British, the Dutch Republic, the Holy Roman Empire and Emperor, Savoy, and Portugal. The geostrategic situation of the Spanish territories meant French forces could only live off enemy land to a very limited extent after 1700. Huge financial and other resources therefore had to be exported from France to its armies and allies, often at high exchange rates and paid for by ruinous expedients. The logistical problems and costs of mounting military operations abroad were compounded by the costs of major defeats that gradually pushed Louis’ armies back into France and Iberia, draining French provinces in turn.

Keywords: War of the Spanish Succession; geostrategy; geopolitics; logistical problems

Chapter.  6150 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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