History of Germany

Wars with Louis XIV
Siege of Namur (1695) ©Jan van Huchtenburg
1688 Sep 27 - 1697 Sep 20

Wars with Louis XIV

Alsace, France

Louis XIV of France waged a series of successful wars in order to extend the French territory. He occupied Lorraine (1670) and annexed the remainder of Alsace (1678–1681) that included the free imperial city of Straßburg. At the start of the Nine Years' War, he also invaded the Electorate of the Palatinate (1688–1697). Louis established a number of courts whose sole function was to reinterpret historic decrees and treaties, the Treaties of Nijmegen (1678) and the Peace of Westphalia (1648) in particular in favor of his policies of conquest. He considered the conclusions of these courts, the Chambres de réunion as sufficient justification for his boundless annexations. Louis' forces operated inside the Holy Roman Empire largely unopposed, because all available imperial contingents fought in Austria in the Great Turkish War. The Grand Alliance of 1689 took up arms against France and countered any further military advances of Louis. The conflict ended in 1697 as both parties agreed to peace talks after either side had realized, that a total victory was financially unattainable. The Treaty of Ryswick provided for the return of the Lorraine and Luxembourg to the empire and the abandoning of French claims to the Palatinate.


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