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European History: 1600s-1800s
The War of Spanish Succession



The War of Spanish Succession
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.55

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    contender, renunciation, supremacy, successor, dynasty, compromise, assistance, dowry, valid, region, throne, spelled, lasted, conflict, power, among
     content words:    Vigo Bay, Spanish Succession, Holy Roman Empire, Roman Empire, Charles II, King Louis XIV, Maria Theresa, Since Spain, Austrian Hapsburg, King Charles


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The War of Spanish Succession
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Caption: Battle of Vigo Bay (Spain), the English and Dutch destroyed a Spanish treasure fleet, October 23, 1702
 
2     The War of Spanish Succession was a conflict that involved many of the countries of Europe. On the one side were France and Spain. On the other side were the Holy Roman Empire and its supporters including England, Portugal, and other countries. France was hoping to expand its territory by allying itself with Spain. The Holy Roman Empire hoped to protect the claims of its ruling family in Spain. The war began in 1701 and lasted for eleven years until 1714.
 
3     One interesting way to study this war is to look at its causes and its effects.
 
4     The general cause of the war was the conflict over who should succeed Charles II as king of Spain. There were many more specific causes - each one of them a member of a royal family with some claim to the Spanish throne.
 
5     One contender was Louis, the son of King Louis XIV of France. He was strongly opposed by those countries that did not want to see France expand its empire.
 
6     Another contender was Maria Theresa. Maria Theresa had been in line to succeed to the Spanish throne but had renounced her rights to rule Spain when she married. Her supporters, however, felt that she was still in line for the throne. Since Spain had never paid her dowry, they felt that her renunciation of the throne was not valid either.
 
7     A third contender for the throne was Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire. Leopold was a member of the Austrian Hapsburg dynasty and was also cousin to King Charles of Spain. If Leopold took the throne, it would have united Spain with the Holy Roman Empire.
 
8     Fourth, there was Prince Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria. Prince Joseph was only a child, but he became the preferred candidate. Although he was the grandson of Leopold, he was not a member of the Hapsburg dynasty and so was more acceptable to both sides. Leopold might have become the next king of Spain, but he died unexpectedly in 1699.
 
9     Another compromise candidate was Phillip duc d'Anjou. Phillip was the son of Louis and the grandson of King Louis XIV. With Prince Joseph out of the picture, King Charles chose Phillip as his successor. Phillip became King Phillip V of Spain.

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