Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Anglo-Spanish War (1727–1729)

Anglo-Spanish War (1727–1729)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Principally Britain and France
vs. Spain and Austria

PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Gibraltar, West Indies, Isthmus of
Panama, Spanish Main

DECLARATION: Spain declared war on England in
February 1727.

MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Spain wanted to force
Britain to cede Gibraltar and Minorca.

OUTCOME: Spain recognized British control of Gibraltar
and made trade concessions to Britain and France; in
exchange Britain and France agreed to the succession of
Charles (son of the Spanish king Philip V) to the duchies
of Parma, Piacenza, and Tuscany in Italy.

Gibraltar, 3,000 British defended against 18,000 Spanish.

CASUALTIES: At Gibraltar, Britain lost 107 killed, 208
wounded; Spain lost 700 killed, 825 wounded; 4,000
British seamen succumbed to disease in the West Indies.

TREATIES: Treaty of Vienna, April 30, 1725: basis of
Spanish-Austrian (Holy Roman Empire) alliance; Treaty
of Hanover, September 3, 1725: basis of British, French,
Dutch alliance (to which was later added Sweden,
Denmark, and certain German states); armistice, May
1727; Treaty of Seville, November 9, 1729: formally
ended the war; Treaty of Vienna, July 22, 1731: Holy
Roman Empire agreed to peace terms

The 1725 Treaty of Vienna created an alliance between
Spain’s King Philip V (1683–1746) and Charles VI (1685–
1740), the Holy Roman Emperor. Backed by this alliance,
Charles agreed to pressure Britain into ceding Gibraltar and
Minorca to Spain. Instead of yielding to this pressure, however,
Britain concluded the Treaty of Hanover (September 3,
1725), creating an alliance with France and Holland. (Subsequently,
Sweden, Denmark, and certain German states
joined the alliance as well.) The alliance was aimed at
mutual defense and specifically targeted the destruction of
the Ostend Company, a trading cartel operating from the
Austrian Netherlands that competed with both the British
East India Company and the Dutch East India Company.
The conflict with Spain was further aggravated by the Spanish
king’s demand that his son, Charles (1716–88) rule the
duchies of Parma, Piacenza, and Tuscany, to which the
Spanish asserted the right of succession by virtue of Philip’s
marriage to Queen Elizabeth Farnese (1692–1766), niece of
Antonio Farnese, duke of Parma. England and France
opposed the succession.
Amid mounting tensions Spain declared war on Britain
in February 1727 and laid siege to Gibraltar. To the
Spaniards’ chagrin, however, Austria chose to remain neutral
for fear of being dragged into a war with the entire
Hanover Treaty alliance. For their part, the British retaliated
against Spain by attacking Spanish treasure fleets in the
West Indies and by blockading Porto Bello in present-day
Panama. Royal Navy vessels also cruised the coast of the
Spanish Main harassing Spanish shipping there. The
object was to prevent the transfer of Spanish treasure to
Austria as inducement for its entry into the war.
Before the conflict could erupt into a full-scale war, an
armistice was instigated by France and concluded in May
1727. A technical state of war continued, however, as
Spain stubbornly refused to yield in negotiations with
France and England. In 1729, however, Spain’s Queen
Elizabeth Farnese belatedly responded to Austria’s refusal
to honor the 1725 Treaty of Vienna and abruptly severed
the Austro-Spanish alliance. This left Spain with little
choice but to conclude a definitive peace treaty with the
members of the Hanover Treaty alliance. Accordingly, by
the Treaty of Seville (November 9, 1729) Spain recognized
British control over Gibraltar and made liberal trade concessions
to France and England. In return the Hanover
alliance agreed to permit Charles’s succession to the Italian
duchies. A second Treaty of Vienna, July 22, 1731,
secured the approval of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI
to the terms of the 1729 Treaty of Seville.


Further reading: John Lynch, Bourbon Spain, 1700–
1808 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989); A. R. Pagden, Lords
of All the World: The Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain,
and France, c. 1500–c. 1800 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University
Press, 1995).

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