The Treaty of The Hague (also known as the Treaty of Den Haag) was signed on 17 February 1720. The treaty ended the War of the Quadruple Alliance, a conflict that arose between King Philip V of Spain and an alliance of Great Britain, France, Austria and the Dutch Republic.
In 1700, the will of the childless King Charles II of Spain left Spain and the entire Spanish empire to the grandson of King Louis XIV of France, Philip d'Anjou, who was proclaimed King Philip V of Spain. As a result, England, The Dutch Republic, and Austria declared war on France and Spain in 1702 to replace the Bourbon Philip with a Habsburg candidate, the Archduke Charles. When Charles' elder brother, Emperor Joseph I, died in 1711, Charles succeeded him as Charles VI, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
This War of the Spanish Succession ended in 1713–14 with the series of agreements known as the Peace of Utrecht. This treaty divided the Spanish inheritance between Austria and Spain to create a balance of power in Europe, but both Austria and Spain objected to some of the terms. As a result, Spain attempted to seize some of the former Spanish territories that the Utrecht agreement had allotted to Austria. In 1716, France and Britain had already formed an alliance, and in light of Spanish ambitions in 1718, the Quadruple Alliance was formed with Britain, France, the Dutch Republic, and Austria. They were allied in order to prevent Spain’s attempt to deny the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, which had been signed by those who had participated in the War of Spanish Succession.
Philip the V was married to Queen Elizabeth Farnese of Parma. Farnese's chief advisor, Cardinal Giulio Alberoni, pressured Philip V to seize Sicily and Sardinia, territories that had been assigned to Savoy and Austria, respectively, by the Treaty of Utrecht.
In the Treaty of The Hague, Philip agreed to abandon his Italian claims, but won the assurance from Austria that the Duchy of Parma would be ceded to his son, Charles, upon the extinction of the Farnese line. This came to pass in the Treaty of Vienna, but Philip broke the treaty during the War of the Polish Succession when Spanish forces invaded Sicily.
The British fleet, as part of the Quadruple Alliance, traveled with Austrian troops to Sicily while French forces were occupying Spain. Charles VI got Sicily from Savoy in exchange for his Sardinian holdings. The Treaty of The Hague solved these conflicts by forcing Philip to give back his holdings in both Sicily and Sardinia.
In another provision of the Treaty of The Hague, Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy agreed to exchange Sicily with Austria, for the island of Sardinia, after which he was known as the King of Sardinia.
- Spain under the Bourbon Dynasty: 1714–1759
- Encyclopædia Britannica – Quadruple Alliance
- Wikipedia – Holy Roman Empire
- Wikipedia – Treaty of Utrecht
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