Fillipp 5

Fillipp 5

Spanish king, grandson of King Louis XIV of France
Date of Birth: 19.12.1683
Country: Spain

Biography of Philip V of Spain

Philip V of Spain, the grandson of King Louis XIV of France, was born as the Duke of Anjou. He was the son of the Dauphin Louis and Marie Anne of Bavaria. In 1700, upon the death of childless King Charles II of Spain, Philip was bequeathed all his possessions, under pressure from France. This led to the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), where the Grand Alliance (England, Austria, and the Netherlands) aimed to prevent the union of France and Spain under the powerful Bourbon dynasty. As a result of the war, Philip was recognized as the king of Spain on the condition that he and his heirs renounce any rights to the French throne.

The transfer of Spanish inheritance to the 16-year-old French Bourbon, as described by the Duke of Saint-Simon, appeared to be a peaceful and lawful transition. However, it posed a serious problem to the European state system and the components of the Spanish monarchy. Europe, with its fragile peace, did not approve of having a French king in Spain. This led to a "world war" that engulfed Europe and its overseas territories, eventually turning into a civil war in Spain. The conflict, which posed the greatest threat to Philip's rule, was settled through the Utrecht and Rastatt peace conferences in 1713-1714. The armed confrontation had been brewing since 1701 when it became evident that the weak Charles II would not leave any heirs, leading to competing claims for the Spanish throne.

Spain, with its extensive territories, including the metropolis, Spanish Netherlands, upper Italy with the Duchy of Milan, Naples, Sardinia, Sicily, and overseas possessions, still held political power despite being undermined by the end of the 17th century. For maritime powers like England and the Netherlands, maintaining the balance of power in Europe required preventing any of the main contenders from inheriting the entire Spanish legacy. Instead, they aimed to divide the inheritance into several parts and install a Spanish king from a neutral third party, someone who had a right to the inheritance, to satisfy the other claimants.

These considerations formed the basis of the first partition treaty between England, France, and the Netherlands on October 11, 1698. The treaty designated Bavarian Prince Joseph Ferdinand, the great-grandson of Philip IV, as the main beneficiary but disregarded Spanish interests in the preservation of the unity of the state. King Charles approved Joseph Ferdinand as the universal heir in November 1698, but this plan lost significance after the death of the Bavarian prince in February 1699. In the second partition treaty on June 11, 1699, England and France agreed that Louis XIV would consent to transferring Spain, its colonies, and the Netherlands to Archduke Charles, the second son of the emperor, in exchange for Spanish possessions in Italy, with the condition that he would exchange Milan with Duke Leopold of Lorraine. Although the Dutch also joined this partition treaty, the emperor did not agree with it as he could not accept the loss of Milan. He hoped that the unrest caused by the division of the Spanish crown in Madrid would lead to Charles III, the Archduke, being disinherited.

However, this wish did not come true. The French party emerged victorious from the diplomatic struggle that marked the last months of King Charles' life. On October 3, 1700, the terminally ill Charles signed a will in favor of Philip of Anjou, declaring him the sole heir and explicitly stating that Spain should never unite with the French monarchy. In the event of the will being rejected, the Austrian Habsburgs were to inherit the undivided possessions. Despite these guarantees, the succession that ensued after the king's death on November 1 of the same year showed that Charles' last will would inevitably lead to a European crisis that could hardly be resolved peacefully. The dilemma faced by Louis XIV was succinctly described by Klaus Malettke: accepting the will would violate the second partition treaty and be unfair to the maritime powers, while rejecting it would make the emperor's heir the successor, which was incompatible with French interests. Ultimately, in consideration of all the chances and dangers, Louis XIV decided to accept the will for his grandson, making him the first Bourbon on the Spanish throne.

Source: Kings of Spain, edited by Berneker V.L.; "Phoenix," Rostov-on-Don, 1998.