queen anne's war

Can anyone explain to me why Charles II of Spain picked the Duke of Anjou to succed him? War against france had ended in 1697, so I don’t understand why Charles would pick a relative of Louis XIV to sit on the Spanish Throne.

My first thought was perhaps there was an outside chance at French-Spanish unification with Spain coming out ahead. I then read Charles’ last Will and Testament, and it stated that if the D. of A. came to sit on the french throne, he would have to relenquish the spanish title.

Seeing that this event launched Europe into war for a decade, I’m sure somebody’s figured out the reason for the decision. Can someone enlighten me?

  1. England and the Dutch Republic had invested considerable effort in coming up with a suitable division of the Spanish dominions between Anjou and the Archduke Charles so that no one got a serious political advantage. Carlos II didn’t like being dictated to (any more than the rest of us to), so he essentially said, “Screw Realpolitik, I’m leaving it all to Anjou!”

  2. Anjou was Carlos’ half-greatnephew (as well as other relations, but I just don’t feel like untangling the genealogy of the Spanish Habsburgs just now).

Charles II died without heirs, and apparently thought Phillip V trhe only person who could maintain his empire. Louis XIV and Britain’s William III had already divvied up his land beteen the Bourbons and the Hapsburgs so as to maintain the balance of power in Europe, and were just waiting for him to croak. I suppose he just didn’t want to see his throne go the way of the dodo.

I understand the relation issue. However, I think the fact that Phillip was Louis’ grandson would be an issue of much bigger concern. Spain had just been at war with France. I can’t see how any king with common sense could not forsee the red flags that such a decision would send up.

Akatsukami, when I read British and Dutch, is there any reason not to substitute William III?

William III was not the absolute ruler of either England (and Scotland and Ireland, but frankly, they didn’t carry much weight in the scheme of things) or of the Republic. He was very much opposed to Louis XIV’s pretensions to European domination (not without cause). That the leading political lights in both England and the Republic were also opposed to Louis made it easier to present a united front in that respect.

But go ahead and substitute William III if you like. He won’t care :smiley:

WRT to war between France and Spain: that cuts both ways. The anti-French Grand Alliance recognized the Archduke Charles as king of Spain, but France managed to hold them off for fifteen years, and Philip’s descendants are monarchs of Spain to this day (granted, after Charles succeeded his brother as Holy Roman Emperor, enthusiasm for his candidacy notably waned). If Carlos had openly dissed Louis, he might have ended his days on Saint-Dominique or somewhere.

It should be noted, BTW, that Charles did end up with all of Spain’s European possessions outside of the Iberian peninsula itself. The naval powers weren’t that willing to hand the whole kit and kaboodle over to Philip, even after Charles became emperor.