November 1, 1700. Spanish History is rich with the death of Charles II. With his death came a new era in Spanish History. With the succession of Charles II with Philip V came the War of Spanish Succession. Historians mark this war as the Origin of National Debt. Spain borrowed money against the citizens of the country in an attempt to gain sovereignty against the Roman Catholic Church, and the rule of Great Britain in Spain.
Great Britain's fears that Philip would be a better leader and more difficult to control became fact when he was finally approved by France to travel across the Caribbean to the shores of Spain, to take control of the nation. Many in France were even hesitant to allow the new appointment for Philip V because of his necessity in France, and the facts that if he were to travel to Spain and take his appointed place as heir to the throne there would be the potential that Spain would then choose to succeed from the ties that were in existence with Britain. After Philip V made his way to Spain and was able to get beyond the disdain of the Spanish citizens, he did just what was feared, he ventured into a new realm of independence for Spain. He felt that their controlling territories in America and Italy would help to secure them with ports for merchant travel, and expansive control over more of the European countries. Philip, being a citizen of France before his move to Spain, was able to use his ties with certain countries to wage a war against Austria and Britain.
The War of Spanish Succession is sometimes considered the very first world war, having been a war between different countries in the known lands of Europe; Austria, France, Britain, and Spain. The conflict came as the question of who would succeed Charles II to the throne, as he had no heirs. Not only were territorial issues and large debts being brought to light in the war, but also political influence and power. Much like all wars, the aristocracy in Europe in the early 18th century was very interested in keeping their popularity within their regions, as well as within different areas of Europe. After all, there were so many different countries that could be conquered without bloodshed if the royalty were able to marry their son off to a daughter in order to secure dowry of properties in the daughter's family's country.
Technological advances were expensive, and because Britain fought hard and long through land, and sea, the costs of this venture was a taxing cost to the citizens and banks of several countries. During this time, infantry, cavalry, and navy were becoming used more and more in all battles that occurred in Europe. Paying for the ships, the crews, the soldiers, their food, and the horses was taking a toll on all the different members involved in the war.
Although the war was about the ability of Spain to become a separate nation of its own, the biggest historic impact of this war was the lessons learned, primarily by Great Britain, on how to settle and resolve a national debt crisis that was born out of war. The arrogant British contended that Spain was just being a belligerent child nation, and was not about to let a great part of its territory fall to the hands of outsiders who wished to bring themselves freedoms of the taxes that were pulled to pay for the King of England and his interests.
The British economy was extremely efficient because of their previous methods of handling money in their banks. Not only were there primary savings and lending facilities, but there were secondary markets, called securities in London, which paved the way for reasonable recovery from great amounts of debt. Of course there were still problems with debt by all the nations involved in this war as well as an overlapping war that was brewing and being conducted between Russia and Sweden.
Philip V, who was heir to the throne in France, was specified as the successor to the throne in Charles' will. He had stipulations that Philip would sever all ties with the throne of France. Philip was getting quite a great deal. He was getting control of all the properties controlled by Spain in America and northern Italy. Because of his ties to France, being a son of France, and his new power in Spain, and control of territories in the New World, and Europe, Austria and England began to get nervous.
England's primary fear was that Spain, under control of a Frenchman, would cause disruption in their trade merchanting with America and other ports. Austria was more concerned with national security, having only a tentative safety along the Italian port from the Turks who they had just defeated in battles.
England was able to secure locations, by battle, in the northern regions of Italy, where France had been recently successful in laying presence. They also succeeded quite well in the coastal cities of Spain, having made Portugal a friendly neighbor during their merchant marine trading. The Caribbean was being won by the British Navy.
Thanks to funding from Spanish territories in southern America and Mexico, the French army was able to help secure their place when fighting on the side of Spain. With almost all of the country of Spain in support of their sovereignty, France was confident that their numbers would be increased or at least supplemented, by those people from Spain. The only region that was not in support of this measure was Catalonia. However, being a very small region, it did not assuage the determination of France in helping Spain.
After eleven long and hard fought years, Spain won its independence from France, but with great financial debt. Even with the trade imports of silver and other precious materials, there was still a deficit that took ages to recover from. This was the beginning of separations within Europe that are still in existence today. The 18th century was indeed a bloody time. From the beginning, 1701, when King Philip V called for independence through 1776 when America did the same, there have been many battles fought on the side of succession or independence.