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The Financial Decline of a Great PowerWar, Influence, and Money in Louis XIV's France$
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Guy Rowlands

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199585076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585076.001.0001

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Geostrategy, International Politics, and the Burden of War, 1688–1714

Geostrategy, International Politics, and the Burden of War, 1688–1714

(p.20) 1 Geostrategy, International Politics, and the Burden of War, 1688–1714
The Financial Decline of a Great Power

Guy Rowlands

Oxford University Press

This chapter links the financial and strategic histories of the War of the Spanish Succession. The French acceptance of Carlos II's will, leaving the entire Spanish monarchy to the duke of Anjou, forced Louis XIV to defend the strung-out Spanish territories across Europe militarily against the revived Grand Alliance of the British, the Dutch Republic, the Holy Roman Empire and Emperor, Savoy, and Portugal. The geostrategic situation of the Spanish territories meant French forces could only live off enemy land to a very limited extent after 1700. Huge financial and other resources therefore had to be exported from France to its armies and allies, often at high exchange rates and paid for by ruinous expedients. The logistical problems and costs of mounting military operations abroad were compounded by the costs of major defeats that gradually pushed Louis’ armies back into France and Iberia, draining French provinces in turn.

Keywords:   War of the Spanish Succession, geostrategy, geopolitics, logistical problems

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