In 1700, Spain's King Charles II died without an heir to the throne. He was the last of the Hapsburg Dynasty to rule Spain's vast empire. His will named Philip, Duke of Anjou, grandson of King Louis XIV of France, as his successor. Philip, of the Bourbon Dynasty, was also in line for the French throne, and his accession could have united the empires of France and Spain, upsetting the balance of power in Europe. Consequently, rival powers supported Archduke Charles of Austria, of the Hapsburg Dynasty. The result of the conflicting claims was a world war pitting France and Spain against an alliance led by the British, Dutch, and the Holy Roman Empire. There were battles in Spain, Italy, France, Spanish Netherlands (modern day Belgium), and Bavaria as well as the Spanish, English and French colonies of North and South America and the Caribbean. There were significant victories on both sides but those of the Grand Alliance had a long-lasting effect. In northwest Spain, the British and Dutch fleets captured or destroyed the French and Spanish treasure fleets. This opened the way to British naval superiority. England's Duke of Marlboro and Austria's Prince Eugene of Savoy, combined forces to defeat the French advance on Vienna at the Battle of Blenheim in Bavaria. This forced Bavaria out of the war. Marlborough's victory at the Battle of Ramillies drove the French out of Spanish Netherlands. Prince Eugene defeated the French at the Siege of Turin ending French power in Italy. In the Western Hemisphere the war was known as Queen Anne's War, after the English monarch. The Caribbean fleets raided and plundered unprotected towns. Privateers pursued Spanish and Portuguese treasure fleets off the coast of South America and Mexico. English and Spanish soldiers and their Indian allies traded attacks on St. Augustine, Florida, and Charles Town, Carolina. The territory between Acadia (present day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) in French Canada and the English Massachusetts Bay Colony was fought over by colonists and their Indian allies. Small towns were sacked in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and captives taken. Port Royal in Acadia was repeatedly attacked without success until a naval expedition sent by Queen Anne succeeded. The fleet sent to conquer Quebec was a disastrous failure. Further battles caused destruction in Newfoundland. King Louis XIV made repeated attempts to negotiate. In 1711, Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor, died. He would be succeeded by his brother, Archduke Charles. The possibility of Archduke Charles combining the Hapsburg and Spanish Empires would also upset the balance of power. Realizing this, the English agreed to negotiate with the French. The resulting 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, changed the maps of Europe and North America. The Duke of Anjou became King Philip V of Spain upon renouncing any claim to the throne of France. The Spanish European possessions were ceded to the Holy Roman Empire, Savoy and Britain. France gave up claims to Hudson Bay and ceded Acadia, Newfoundland, and the French half of St. Kitts to Britain. Although France retained Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec, it was the beginning of the decline of French power in North America.

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