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Treaty of Utrecht (1713)

The Peace of Utrecht and the change of dynasty in Spain

The Treaty of Utrecht is a set of international agreements signed between 1713 and 1715 in the cities of Utrecht (the Netherlands) and Rastatt (Germany) that ended the War of the Spanish Succession.

The death without an heir of Charles II, the last Spanish Habsburg, in 1700, and the appointment of Philip of Anjou, his nephew and grandson of the king of France, led to confrontation with Austria, England and the Netherlands, who supported Archduke Charles, the emperor's son. In 1702 the three countries declared war on France and Spain. It was an international conflict for European hegemony and colonial trade.

Pulse para ampliar Philip V, king of Spain, Jean Ranc, 1723, Prado Museum
Pulse para ampliar Archduke Charles of Austria, atr. Andreu Vaccaro, 1706-1707, Palau Mercader Museum

The Treaty established a new European order: Austria, the Netherlands and England accepted the Bourbon monarchy in Spain in exchange for total separation with France and territorial and commercial advantages that ended the Spanish empire, which had dominated the previous two centuries. Spain lost the Netherlands, Naples, Sardinia, Milan, Sicily, Menorca and Gibraltar, as well as control of American trade. The old regime ended and the foundations of French absolutism and the British empire were laid.

The situation in Catalonia

Support for the Habsburgs was dominant in the Crown of Aragon, where the uprising broke out in 1705. That same year Archduke Charles was proclaimed king of Spain under the name of Charles III. Catalonia was where the conflict lasted the longest. In 1712, and after being abandoned by the English, the Austrians secretly agreed to the departure of their troops. The treaties contemplated an amnesty for the supporters of the Austrians in the Principality, but its administrative system was not allowed to continue. The immediate consequences of peace in Spain were the military defeat and the implementation of a standard, centralized political-administrative system (the Decreto de Nueva Planta).

Pulse para ampliar Amnesty for Catalan supporters of the Austrians
Pulse para ampliar Request for the survival of the Principality

The documents of the ACA

The archive keeps a document which was directly related to the treaty negotiations: a draft of the appointment of the Marquis of Montnegre, Francesc de Berardo i d'Espuny, as ambassador of Catalonia's Three Commons - the Military Estate, Barcelona's Consell de Cent, and the Diputación del General - before the Emperor of Austria and the negotiating powers, with instructions to request the survival of the Principality.

The document is accompanied by several articles on the pact for the evacuation of Austrian troops from Catalonia. The archive also keeps many other documents that testify to the consequences of the Austrian defeat: retaliated, confiscated and exiled people.

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