The Treaty of Utrecht, agreed in the spring of 1713, brought an end to the tired War of the Spanish Succession which had raged through much of the western world for the previous 11 years. The antagonists in this wide conflict – France and the French party in Spain on the one hand, and the Grand Alliance formed by Great Britain, Holland and Imperial Austria on the other – had fought each other to exhaustion. Only with a Treaty such as this, for all its imperfections, could peace of a kind be achieved. This talk considers the war and causes for war, the main events and personalities, the covert and overt negotiations for peace, and the Treaty terms themselves. It also looks at the associated agreements reached at Rastadt and Baden. The talk then reviews whether Utrecht was, overall, a ‘good thing’ or not in re-establishing a balance of power in Europe for the 18th century.
James Falkner is an ex-regular Army officer, and the author of six books on the 1st Duke of Marlborough and the War of the Spanish Succession. He contributes articles to publications such as British Army Review and Military History (USA). He travels frequently to the battlefields of Western Europe as an expert guide and he lectures to learned societies.