The Wars of Louis XIV

King Louis XIV lead several armed conflicts during his reign between 1661 and 1715.

First there was the War of Devolu- tion in 1667/1668 in which France was fighting against Spain for the Spanish posessions in the Spanish Netherlands.

Second there was the Dutch War (1672-1678), a French attempt to conquer the United Provinces of the Netherlands, which turned into a major European War in 1674.

Louis XIV had emerged from the war as the most powerful monarch in Europe; but the 'Sun King' remained unsatisfied. His decision to cross the Rhine was intended to pre-empt a strike against France by Emperor Leopold I and to force the Holy Roman Empire into accepting his territorial and dynastic claims.

The War of the Grand Alliance (1688-1697) involved almost all great European states. When the Emperor resolved to resist, and when William III brought the Dutch and the English into the war against France, Louis XIV at last faced a powerful coalition aimed at curtailing his ambitions. A general exhaustion of the warring nation led to peace negotions in which Louis agreed to accept William III as King of England.

The last conflict was the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). In this war, France and Austria both fought to get the bigger part of the Spanish empire.