War of The Spanish Succession - Middle Phase: 1704–1709 - England Becomes Great Britain

England Becomes Great Britain

In 1707, England was united with the Kingdom of Scotland to form Great Britain, negotiations having started the previous year. Great Britain therefore replaced England as a party to the war. Also in 1707, the War briefly intersected with the Great Northern War, which was being fought simultaneously in Northern Europe. A Swedish army under Charles XII arrived in Saxony, where he had just finished chastising the Elector Augustus II and forced him to renounce his claims to the Polish throne. Both the French and the Allies sent envoys to Charles's camp, and the French hoped to encourage him to turn his troops against the Emperor Joseph I, who Charles felt had slighted him by his support for Augustus. However, Charles, who liked to see himself as a champion of Protestant Europe, greatly disliked Louis XIV for his treatment of the Huguenots, and was generally uninterested in the western war. He turned his attention instead to Russia, ending the possibility of Swedish intervention.

Later in 1707, Prince Eugene led an allied invasion of southern France from Italy, but was stalled by the French army. Marlborough, in the meantime, remained in the Low Countries, where he was caught up in capturing an endless succession of fortresses. In 1708, Marlborough's army clashed with the French, who were beset by leadership problems: their commanders, the Duke of Burgundy (Louis XIV's grandson) and the duc de Vendôme were frequently at variance, the former often making unwise military decisions. Burgundy's insistence that the French army not attack led Marlborough once again to unite his army with Eugene's, allowing the allied army to crush the French at the Battle of Oudenarde, and then proceeded to capture Lille. In Italy, Austria sacked cities such as Forlì (1708).

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