Peace of Utrecht

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Europe in 1713 after the peace treaties of Rastatt and Utrecht with the essential territorial changes: Habsburg profits (Spanish Netherlands, Duchy of Milan, kingdoms of Naples and Sardinia) profits of Savoy-Piedmont (Kingdom of Sicily, exchanged for Sardinia in 1720) British profits (Menorca, Gibraltar) Prussian profits (parts of Obergeldern)

The Peace of Utrecht includes several peace treaties concluded at the end of the War of Spanish Succession in Utrecht , the Netherlands , the final act was signed on April 11, 1713 and ended the war between the kingdoms of Great Britain and France .


It was completely surprising that the Roman-German Emperor Joseph I died on April 17, 1711 without a male heir. Because as a result, his brother, nominated pretender for the Spanish crown, as Charles VI. became the new emperor, the sea powers feared again that the House of Habsburg might become too powerful through the union with Spain. Great Britain therefore began negotiations for a separate peace with King Louis XIV of France. On October 8, 1711, the preliminaries in London were initiated and, despite all counter efforts by the emperor, a peace congress was opened in Utrecht on January 29, 1712. The representatives of Great Britain were Bishop John Robinson of Bristol and Lord Strafford . During the negotiations the legal scholar Johann Jacob Vitriarius was the authoritative recorder. With the signing of the Final Act of the Peace of Utrecht on April 11, 1713, Great Britain's participation in the War of the Spanish Succession was officially ended.

Charles VI initially did not recognize the agreement because of further claims. After a brief resumption of the war by France in 1714 he had to essentially confirm the agreements with the Peace of Rastatt and the Peace of Baden for the House of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire . The Holy Roman Empire and Portugal concluded peace treaties with Spain only later.

First printed editions of the Treaty of Utrecht: Spanish copy (1713) and a Latin-English version (1714).


Philip V of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV of France, whose enthronement as Spanish king from the House of Bourbon had triggered the war because there was a risk of an overpowering connection between France and Spain, has now been recognized. In return, Spain and France pledged that the two countries would never be united in a Bourbon personal union. King Philip renounced any claim to the crown of France for himself and his descendants, Louis XIV did the same for the French Bourbons against Spain. What remained precarious about this regulation, however, was that the Salic inheritance law of the French kings did not permit any contractual or legal exclusion from the succession to the throne.

The way to this regulation had become clear that Philip's opponent Karl von Habsburg had meanwhile become ruler of the Austrian hereditary lands and Roman-German emperor himself through the surprising childless death of his brother, so that the other European powers Philip now as the clearly lesser evil looked at. In addition, France now recognized the succession to the throne in Great Britain.

The Spanish possessions were divided. The main land and the colonies remained with Philip. Most of the so-called secondary countries went to Austria. This affected the Spanish Netherlands , the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of Sardinia , and the Duchy of Milan . The Kingdom of Sicily went to Savoy . Great Britain received Gibraltar and Menorca , as well as the monopoly for the slave trade with the Spanish colonies in America ( Asiento de negros ). The Netherlands was only able to secure a number of fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands ( Barrière fortresses ) to protect themselves against further French attacks . They also received trading rights in the Spanish colonies. Finally, the so-called Upper Quarters of the Duchy of Geldern , which had remained loyal to Spain and therefore split off, came to Prussia . A small part of Geldern remained part of the Austrian Netherlands as Austrian Geldern .

In New France, France had to cede the island of Newfoundland , Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and an area around Hudson Bay to Great Britain, New Brunswick remained under French administration. In addition, France received the small county of Barcelonnette of Savoy and the Principality of Orange from the House of Orange-Nassau . The fact that France only had to make these minor concessions was due not only to a change of government in Great Britain, but also to its persistence in the final years of the war and its skillful diplomacy during the peace negotiations.


Fireworks in Leeuwarden on the occasion of the Peace of Utrecht, June 24th 1713

The continual decline of Spain, which began with the breakaway of the northern Netherlands and the annihilation of the Great Armada , first from the position of the dominant sea power, then with the Peace of the Pyrenees also from the ranks of the great European powers, reached its temporary low and conclusion with this further loss of peace .

France's aggressive expansion was halted, Louis XIV's hegemony efforts in Europe were put to an end; the French king could nevertheless be satisfied with the provisions. The Spanish crown remained in Bourbon possession, which finally eliminated the danger of the Habsburg embrace of France.

The House of Austria increased its property, but it remained widely distributed. Nevertheless, after the peace treaties of Rijswijk and Utrecht , the Habsburg Empire had risen to become a major power in the European ensemble.

Great Britain benefited most from the Peace of Utrecht. It had brought the new idea of ​​equilibrium into play for the first time and it gained strategically important naval bases in the Mediterranean. It was thus able to expand its position as a great power at sea. The expansion of his holdings in North America laid the foundation for British North America . This formed the basis for the subsequent success in the Peace of Paris . For the victory celebrations in London, George Frideric Handel composed his Utrecht Te Deum , which was premiered on July 13, 1713 in St Paul's Cathedral in London.

The Peace of Utrecht is generally seen as the first starting point for the later balance of power , as a result of which a pentarchy should gradually develop by the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century .

Web links

Commons : Peace of Utrecht  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. VITRIARIUS, JOHANNES JACOBUS. XIII , "Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis (ING)"
  2. John A. Lynn: The Wars of Louis XIV 1667-1714 . Longman, London 1999. pp. 350f
  3. AMJA Berkvens: "In wesen sal het Tractaet van Venlo onderhalden." Het Tractaat van Venlo as fundamentele wet van Spaans en Oostenrijks Gelre 1580–1794 . In: Frank Keverling Buisman (ed.): Verdrag en Tractaat van Venlo. Herdenkingsbundel, 1543-1993 . Lost Hilversum 1993, ISBN 90-6550-371-4 , pp. 153-170.
  4. ^ Heinz Duchhardt : Balance of Power, Convenance, European Concert, Peace Congresses and Peace Treaties from the Peace of Westphalia to the Congress of Vienna , 1976