** Franco-Spanish War

War and Social Upheaval: The Franco-Spanish War (1635-59)

Figure 1.--The Battle of Rocroi was a major engagement of the Thirty Years/Franco-Sopanish War. Only 5e days earlier, Louis XIV ascended to the throne of France. At Rocroi the myth of invincibility of the Spanish Tercios was shattered. These terrifying infantry units had dominated European battlefields for overr a cebtury. The battle essentially marked the end of Spanish military power and began French hegemony in Europe. After Rocroi, the Spanish abandoned their Tercio system and adopted the Line infantry doctrine like the French and other European armies. The artist was Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau.

The mid-17th century in many ways marked a turning point in European history. Newly unified Spain with its expanding empire and annual shioments of bullionm from the Americas, dominated the 16th century. But France was an inherently stronger power with a larger population and more productive agricultural potential. Agriculture was still the primazry producer if wealth. The Thirty Years War dominated European history suring the mid-16th century. The War was primarily fought in Germany. Most European powers became invplved in some aspect of the struggle, not only because Germany was located in the heart of Europe, but because the future of Germany affected all European countries. And the wide-spread holdings of the Hapsburgs who were deeply involved in the Thirty Years war was another factor. The Franco-Spanish War was associated with the larger Thirty Years War. Hapsburg famility ties and Catholic religion meant as well as the on going war with the Protestant Dutch meant that Spain supported the Emperor in the struggle with the Protestant princes. France while Catholic stayed out of the Thirty Years War for some time. A factor here was the Hugenoughts. Spanish forces supporting the Emperor gained some notable victories. They captured Breda from the Dutch (1626). They defeated the Swedes and Weimarians at Nördlingen (1634). This would be the last great victory of Spanish arms. Finally, fearing the Emperor's victory, France intervened in the Thirty Years War. King Louis advised by Richleau decided he had to prevent a German victory. A unified Germany under a Hapsburg Emperor threatened France. France declared war on Hapsburg Spain (May 1635). Spanish forces advanced on Paris (August 1836). Richelieu advised evacuating the city. King Louis XIII in an uncommon decisive intervention, decided to fight for the capital. Louis managed to rally his forces and repulsed the Spanish. As the War continued Louis' Catholicism caused him to reconsider, but Richelieu managed to convince him to persist. The Spanish war effort was impaired by the separatist rebellions of Catalonia and of Portugal. Portugal became independent under John IV (1640). The Battle of Rocroi (1643), was a major engagement of the Thirty Years' War. It was fought between a French army led by the 21-year-old Duke of Enghien and Spanish forces under General Francisco de Melo only five days after the accession of Louis XIV to the throne of France following his father's death. Fought only says after the 4-year old Louis XIV becamne king bRocroi is regarded as the graveyard of the myth of invincibility of the Spanish Tercios, t The Treaty of Westphalia ended the Thiry Years War (1648). It did not, however, end the Franco-Spanish War which continued another 11 years. By the end of the War, the House of Bourbon and began its rise as the leading monarchy and country of Europe.


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Created: 12:16 AM 1/10/2021
Last updated: 12:16 AM 1/10/2021