War of the Spanish Succession

Wed, 09/07/1701 - Tue, 06/26/1714
© Crown copyright. IWM (A 35242)
The 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Rangers garrison The Rock, 1969. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Between 1701 - 1714, a war was fought between various European powers over the disputed succession to the Spanish throne and sovereignty over Spanish dependencies. An alliance against France was formed by Britain, the Dutch Republic, and the Holy Roman Empire on 7 September 1701. The subsequent conflict became known as 'The War of the Spanish Succession' and, following the death of William III, Queen Anne's army fought on the side of the Grand Alliance seeking to prevent French King Louis XIV declaring his Bourbon grandson as Philip V of Spain. This also threatened Europe with the prospect of the French and Spanish Empires united under a single House of Bourbon crown.

The war was concluded by the treaties negotiated at Utrecht from 11 April 1713 to 26 June 1714. In the treaty of 11 April with Great Britain, France recognized Queen Anne as the British sovereign, ceased to support James Edward, the son of the deposed King James II, and ceded Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, the Hudson Bay territory, and the island of St. Kitts to Britain. Spain under Article X and XI of the treaty also ceded Gibraltar and Menorca to Great Britain and, of all these territories, the strongest link remains with Gibraltar.

Article X

The Catholic King does hereby, for himself, his heirs and successors, yield to the Crown of Great Britain the full and entire propriety of the town and castle of Gibraltar, together with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging; and he gives up the said propriety to be held and enjoyed absolutely with all manner of right for ever, without any exception or impediment whatsoever. ...