War of the Spanish Succession (The Dutch War) - European History
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

War of the Spanish Succession

Philip V
Philip V of Spain

The War of the Spanish Succession was a war between Austria and France over which of them would rule Spain and all of Spain's colonies in North and South America. When Charles II of Spain died in 1700 AD, he left no sons, and people disagreed about who should be the next king of Spain. Charles had named his grand-nephew, Philip, but Philip was Louis XIV's 16-year-old grandson, born at Versailles, and Austria and England were worried that Louis XIV, the king of France, would tell Philip what to do, and control both France and Spain, and all of Spain's colonies in the New World.

Elizabeth Farnese
Elizabeth Farnese with her husband Philip V (1743)

So Austria and England supported a different person, Charles' cousin Charles III, instead. Charles III was a 15-year-old from the Hapsburg family, growing up in Austria. France fought England and Austria not only in Europe but also in North America and India. By 1714, though, Charles' older brother had died, so he inherited power in Austria, and didn't care so much about ruling Spain anymore. Louis XIV got Austria and England to recognize Philip V as the King of Spain. But Louis had to agree that Philip wouldn't inherit France when Louis died, so France and Spain would be two separate countries and not joined into one giant empire. And Spain gave up the Straits of Gibraltar to England, and the Netherlands and southern Italy to Austria.

Philip ruled Spain for a long time. Even though Philip insisted on a new rule that prevented women from inheriting the Spanish throne equally with men, in fact his wife Elizabeth Farnese had a lot of power during his reign (like Maria Theresa in Austria at the same time). They began rebuilding Spain's economy after the silver problems of the Hapsburg kings, and worked to reclaim Elizabeth's family's power in southern Italy. But Spain still depended on that South American silver. And on the oceans Spain's navy had less and less power - Spain couldn't even trade with India or the American colonies anymore at all - while England's navy had more and more.

Spain in the age of revolution

Bibliography and further reading about Spanish history:

Louis XIV
Restoration England
Ottoman Empire
Modern Europe
Quatr.us home


LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR TEACHERS: Using this article with your class? Show us your class page where you're using this article, and we'll send you a free subscription so all your students can use Quatr.us Study Guides with no distractions! (Not a teacher? Paid subscriptions are also available for just $16/year!)
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more?
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 29 April, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT