Early Foreign Policy

These cards are about the early wars and reunion policies under Louis XIV.


Causes of the War of Devolution (1667-1668)

  • To press/defend the legal claims of his wife Maria Theresa to territories in Spanish Netherlands- "theory of Devolution" meant children from 1st marriage inherit in prefenence to sons from 2nd marriage. Maria Theresa should inherit instead of Carlos II
  • It was a short term reason which only came to matter after death of Philip IV in 1665
  • To test his newly reformed army- because he wanted to prove himslef on the battlefield. As a new king, this was essential to establish his reputation & gloire
  • The importance of the Spanish Netherlands- important for his security/ defence- Paris was vulnerable/ it was a way into France during 30 yrs war
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Successes of the War of Devolution (1667-1668)

  • Short war- French finance would cope with it
  • Gained important territorie on France's NE border, eg. 12 fortress towns + Lille at the treaty of Aix-le-Chapelle
  • Established his reputation- the army was magnificent- eg. its speed of victory, v. competent military officers like Turenne
  • Partition Treaty of 1668 with Emperor Leopold showed L. had a legitimate claim to Spanish Throne
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Weaknesses of the War of Devolution (1667-1668)

  • Triple Alliance between Sweden, Holland & England
  • This led to Louis' fury and the acquisition of Franche Comde, but it was a key motive for the Dutch War
  • It breaks an old alliance between France & Holland
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Causes of the Dutch War (1672-1679)

  • Triple Alliance- Louis wanted revenge on the ungrateful Dutch- Louis had helped Dutch gain independence from Spain
  • To continue to prove his army against a tougher opponent. To establish his reputation & gloire
  • Colbert reluctantly agreeing that a short war would help to compete with the Dutch for trade
  • Defense reasons- if Dutch are defeated, then won't be able to prevent acquiring lands in the Spanish Netherlands
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Successes of the Dutch War (1672-1679)

  • Gained lands in N.East + Franche Comde at the Treaty of Nijmegen. THis helped Louis' defense/security
  • Able to dominate peace treaties eg. forced Brandenburg to return land to Sweden
  • Army was impressive, even though it faced numerous enemies eg. Emperor + only ally left war early (Eng.)
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Weknesses of the Dutch War (1672-1679)


  • Louis wasn't impressed, lead to sacking of Pomponne
  • Colbert had to undo financial reforms eg. sell crown lands etc. - war debt of 18 million livres
  • Created new enemies eg. William of Orange who would lead future armies against Louis
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