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Google Earth Plug-in: War of the Spanish Succession (map overlays)

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The War of the Spanish Succession (17011714) was a major European armed conflict that arose in 1701 after the death of the last Spanish Habsburg king, Charles II. Charles had bequeathed all of his possessions to Philip, duc d'Anjou (Philip V), a grandson of the French King Louis XIV. The war began slowly, as the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I fought to protect his own dynasty's claim to the Spanish inheritance. As Louis XIV began to expand his territories more aggressively, however, other European nations (chiefly England and the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands) entered on the Holy Roman Empire's side to check French expansion (and, in the English case, to safeguard the Protestant succession). Other states joined the coalition opposing France and Spain in an attempt to acquire new territories, or to protect existing dominions. The war was fought not only in Europe, but also in North America, where the conflict became known to the English colonists as Queen Anne's War.

The war proceeded for over a decade, and was marked by the military leadership of notable generals such as the Duc de Villars and the Duke of Berwick for France, the Duke of Marlborough for England, and Prince Eugene of Savoy for the Austrians. The war was concluded by the treaties of Utrecht (1713) and Rastatt (1714). As a result, Philip V remained King of Spain but was removed from the French line of succession, thereby averting a union of France and Spain. The Austrians gained most of the Spanish territories in Italy and the Netherlands. As a result, France's hegemony over continental Europe was ended, and the idea of a balance of power became a part of the international order due to its mention in the Treaty of Utrecht.

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