19 April 2023

What is the Treaty of Utrecht? – Learn the characteristics of the Peace of Utrecht

By Donald

The Treaty of Utrecht was presented as a pact that sought a balance between the relations of the European kingdoms, but to a large extent it disadvantaged Spain. In this article, we explain what the treaty that was signed in the Dutch city of Utrecht during the succession war. Similarly, we list the historical consequences for the countries of Europe and their impact on the fate of Gibraltar.

What is established in the Treaty of Utrecht?

Several of the wars in the history of humanity did not come to an end through the conquest or defeat of one of the peoples. On the contrary, sometimes it is possible to achieve a peace agreement where solutions and surrenders are sought. As happened with the Treaty of Versailles during the First World War or with the Treaty of Utrecht a few centuries before. With which, the monarchy of Spain reached agreements with its rivals to end the armed conflicts.

The Treaty of Utrecht is made up of a set of documents signed between 1713 and 1715. With these agreements, the Kingdom of Spain specified the famous peace of Utrecht that put an end to the War of succession for the Spanish crown. It is also called the Utrecht-Rastatt Treaty because the documents were signed in the Dutch city of Utrecht and the German city of Rastatt. These pacts put an end to the armed conflicts that took place in Western Europe and it was where Spain lost Gibraltar.

What was achieved with the Treaty of Utrecht was to seat Felipe V de Borbón in the spanish throne. However, the former Duke of Anju had to renounce the throne of France to himself or any of his descendants. While, Carlos the archduke ascended to Emperor of the Austrian Empire for the death of his relatives. In the same way, this pact supposed an exchange or distribution of territories between the countries involved.

What does the Treaty of Utrecht say about Gibraltar?

The first approaches to reach a peace began in 1710, but neither side could agree. Well, in principle, Louis XIV wanted his grandson to renounce the throne of Spain and then take the French one. In addition, they could trade for the Italian kingdoms, including Naples. Nevertheless, Felipe V did not accept and they opted to establish the Bourbon dynasty in Spain.

In order to secure the Spanish crown for his grandson, King Louis XIV initiated secret negotiations with the UK, where Great Britain becomes a kind of ally. However, the aim was not to continue the war, but rather to reach peace, in addition, with the pact the United Kingdom assured to win a large amount of land, in addition to economic concessions.

In this sense, in the Treaty of Utrecht it was agreed that the United Kingdom and Great Britain would keep the Gibraltar Territory. It is a peninsula that belonged to Spain, but during the succession war it received the British occupation.

What was the purpose of the Treaty of Utrecht?

The purpose of the Treaty of Utrecht was end the war of the spanish succession, It was a conflict in which many countries participated. In the same way, another of the goals was to distribute certain territories among the Empires and kingdoms of Europe while preserving peace. Well, the Spanish territory was a large portion that both the French and the Austrians wanted to control.

In this sense, we must go back to the year 1700, when the French ambassador notified King Louis XIV about the state of health of the Spanish king. The monarch of Spain, Carlos II, belonging to the lineage of the Autrias, was in his last days and had no descendants. Among the candidates to ascend to the throne were the grandson of Louis XIVPhilip V of Bourbon, Duke of Anjou. While, the Austrian Habsburg dynasty considered Archduke Carlos III as the legitimate successor.

However, King Carlos II left Felipe de Borbón as his successor in his will and the war broke out there. On one side was France and the kingdoms of Castile, while on the other was the Holy Roman Empire. which was integrated Portugal, Austria, Russia, Aragon, Prussia, Holland and Savoy (Italy). At stake were the Spanish territory and the Indies (America).

What are the consequences of the Treaty of Utrecht?

The Treaty of Utrecht produced a lot of territorial changes and new trade routes as a consequence. In this sense, to achieve peace, some countries had to concede certain regions in favor of other kingdoms such as Great Britain. The first major consequence was that the Bourbon line was established in Spain, although the pact ensured that the French and Spanish were not united in a single kingdom.

  • Portugal obtained the return of the Colonia del Sacramento from Spanish hands.
  • The Savoy house of Italy also recovers land, as France returns savoy and niceFor its part, Spain delivers Sicily. Likewise, they obtain the title of kings of Sicily.
  • To the Netherlands, back then United Provincesthey were assigned the land of the Flemish border and Venlo.
  • The Kingdom of Great Britain was one of the countries that obtained the most benefits, Menorca being the first prize. Similarly, they kept Gibraltar after its occupation, as well as land in America. These include places in Canada like La Hudson Bay, Nova Scotia and the Island of Newfoundland. The United Kingdom also took the island of San Cristóbal, as well as a naval permit with which they could search for cargoes of 500 tons and slaves from the Spanish colonies.
  • Brandenburg became Prussia and obtained the lands of Venray, Horst aan de Maas, Geldern, and Viersen.
  • The Archduchy of Austria withdraws its claim to the Spanish crown, as Charles of Austria becomes emperor. Similarly, Spain cedes the kingdom of Naples, Sardinia, Flanders, Milanese and the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland).
  • The Kingdom of France stops supporting the Stuart house of Scotland and recognizes Protestants in England. Acquires the Valley of Barcelonnete and the Principality of Orange, but loses the fortresses in Dunkirk. However, peace with the United Kingdom did not last long, as the 7-year war broke out afterwards.

The Spanish empire ceded a large part of its vast territory in Europe, but freed itself from the Austrian line. Felipe V took the Spanish throne and acquired the recognition of his rivals, in addition annul your claims for the French crown.

It was dictated that the king of Spain and that of France cannot be the same individual. Added to this, Spain achieves a balance in the succession with the Bourbon lineage. Spain managed to keep the Principality of CataloniaHowever, the internal war continues in this territory in search of its independence.

What is the importance of the Treaty of Utrecht?

The importance of the Treaty of Utrecht lies in the fact that a war ended in which thousands of people died and that could last much longer. Similarly, for the United Kingdom it was a gain in global relevance, since he acted as an arbitrator in search of balance, but obtained land and naval permits. As for Spain, despite getting a king and changing the line of succession, this treaty caused the Spanish Empire to lose the great hegemony it had gained and many of its lands.