France and the United Provinces 1672–97

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Map Code: Ax01489

Having gained little from the War of Devolution (1677–78), in 1672 Louis XIV launched a campaign against the United Provinces. This Franco-Dutch war raged until the Treaties of Nijmegen (1678–79) restored all Dutch territories, and France gained Franche-Comté and land in Flanders. This prompted more French expansionist aggression and in the 1680s Louis acquired areas in Alsace-Lorraine. In 1689, the Grand Alliance was formed by England, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the United Provinces to curb the French threat. Led by William II of Orange, they fought France on its northern and eastern borders, in Flanders, on the Rhine and, later, to the southwest in Catalonia and on the northern Italian border. During this Nine Years’ War (1688–97) there were no conclusive gains, but France showed her resilience. Peace was restored in 1697 when towns and districts seized since 1679 were restored, France surrendered some territories to the Holy Roman Empire and Louis XIV finally recognized William III, rather than James II, as king of England.

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