Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Treaty of Utrecht 1713

Last week, on April 11th, it was 298 years ago that the Treaty of Utrecht was signed, marking the official end of the War of Spanish Succession. The treaty provided in the division of the Spanish empire between the Habsburg and Bourbon contestants, England gained some new possessions like Gibraltar and Newfoundland, and the United Provinces were happy enough with the right to garrison several towns in the Austrian Netherlands (formerly Spanish), the so-called barrier towns.

The war between France and the Holy Roman Empire would continue for an extra year, however. This war was ended by signing of the treaty of Rastatt and the treaty of Baden.

Apparently, this event will be given a lot of attention in Utrecht in 2013: Vrede van Utrecht in 2013. Looking at that website it looks more like a cultural event and somehow the organiser came up with the "Utrecht principles".

It is hard to find a reference to the War of the Spanish Succession, and it is a pity that the organisers did not put more effort in the historical context. Now it is presented as if the Treaty of Utrecht

brought an end to a series of devastating wars that had claimed many millions of lives over a period of almost two centuries. This was the first time that peace had been achieved through diplomacy and dialogue.

(quoted from the website)

In my opinion the historical knowledge of the organisers is insufficient, certainly given the very immodest and pretentious presentation on the events in 2013. Possibly it is simply another excuse to organise a festival, and are they using some hollow sounding, but easily accepted, phrases to attract a large audience and give it some self-importance and self-justification.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should invade en masse and turn it into a proper historical celebration....