War of the Spanish Succession

War of the Spanish Succession (Queen Anne's War), 1702-13, was a general European war that also involved the colonies of the major powers. The war was caused by conflicting claims to the Spanish throne after the death of the childless King Charles II. The accession of the grandson of King Louis XIV of France to the Spanish throne as Philip V antagonized England and Holland, which were in growing competition with France, and Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, who had claimed the succession on behalf of his son.

European war broke out in 1702, with Holland, England and most of the German states aligned against France, Spain, Bavaria, Portugal and Savoy. The conflict spilled over into the N American colonies of France and England, as Acadia and New England exchanged bloody local raids. French forces destroyed the English settlement at Bonavista, Nfld, in 1704 and captured St John's in 1708. The English gained control of Port-Royal and with it Acadia in 1710, but the following year a British fleet was wrecked in the St Lawrence in an abortive attempt to sail on Québec.

The Treaty of Utrecht (1713) settled a number of succession disputes between England and France and granted considerable territory to England; France retained Ile St-Jean [PEI] and Ile Royale [Cape Breton], but ceded Acadia and Newfoundland to the English and restored to them the Hudson Bay drainage basin. The treaty is acknowledged as the end of French expansion and the rise of the British Empire.