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The States System of Europe, 1640–1990Peacemaking and the Conditions of International Stability$
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Andreas Osiander

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198278870

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198278870.001.0001

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The Peace of Utrecht

The Peace of Utrecht

3 The Peace of Utrecht
The States System of Europe, 1640–1990

Andreas Osiander

Oxford University Press

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, two wars shook up the European states system — the Great Northern War (1700–1721) and the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). Despite the dazzling presence of the Swedish king Charles XII as the focus of the northern war, people tended to attribute greater significance to the Spanish one. Documents relating to the settlement that ended it talk of the pacification de l'Europe as if the northern quarrel were taking place on some other continent. The northern war was certainly significant: it destroyed the Swedish hegemony in north Europe and heralded the rise of Russia. But the Spanish war involved France, which, being more centrally located and far stronger, was seen to pose a more fundamental threat to the political organisation of Europe. It is necessary to look at the situation in some detail to understand this.

Keywords:   Europe, Great Northern War, War of the Spanish Succession, Charles XII, Russia, France, Spain

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