Timeline of the War of the Spanish Succession

European conflict or world war?

The war of the Spanish Succession has been called the first true World War. It put together on one side the alliance consisting off: England, the United Provinces, the Habsburg Empire and more or less luke-warm most of the German states. On the other side were France and the Spanish Empire, also referred to as 'the two crowns'. Fighting indeed spilled over to the Americas with the massive but failed invasion of Quebec. Had this invasion succeeded none would have doubted the worldwide character of the conflict. However, actual conquest overseas remained limited and so does recognition of the worldwide character of this conflict.

Conflict between absolutism and modernity

On one side of the conflict were the United Kingdom and the United Provinces as leaders of an Alliance. These sea-powers, had in their governments a significant representation of their populations and popular interests. Their goals centered on advancing their economic interest while retaining some balance in international affairs. On the other side were two of the most absolutist monarchies in the world, led by 'L'etat c'est moi' Louis XIV of France. Here dynastical interest and raw power politics were still the norm. As such the conflict was also one between absolutism and modernity.

In this Timeline we will year by year describe the events that led up to the war, the main events on the political and diplomatic scene and the main events of each campaign. Because at the time political events happened primarily in winter and military events from spring to fall, the description of a year often starts in the winter of the previous year. As such it gives the background against which battles were fought and politics were formed.

Here is a year by year overview with highlights: