The Burning Torch for Protestantism.

The War of the Grand Alliance


1688–97, war between France and a coalition of European powers, known as the League of Augsburg (and, after 1689, as the Grand Alliance). Louis XIV of France took advantage of the absence of Emperor Leopold I on a campaign against the Turks and of the promised support of James II of England to invade the empire and devastate (1689) the Palatinate. The revolution in England overthrew James, and William, prince of Orange, became William III of England (1688–89). In an attempt to keep William from leading troops to the Continent, Louis supported a counter revolution in Ireland but was frustrated at the battle of the Boyne (1690). The naval war, of which the first major battle was the French victory at Beachy Head (1690), was practically ended by the English victory of La Hogue (1692). On land, however, Louis and Vauban took Namur (1692); Marshal Luxembourg was victorious at Fleurus (1690) over the Dutch and at Steenkerke (1692) and Neerwinden (1693) over William III; and the duke of Savoy was defeated at Marsaglia by Catinat (1693), while another French army entered Catalonia. The exhaustion of the belligerents and the defection of Savoy from the Grand Alliance (1696) finally led to the Treaty of Ryswick. This war was known on the American continent as King William’s War.

1697, the pact that ended the War of the Grand Alliance. Its signers were France on one side and England, Spain, and the Netherlands on the other. It was a setback for Louis XIV, who kept Strasbourg but lost most other conquests made after 1679. Commercial concessions were granted the Dutch, the independence of Savoy was recognized, and William III was acknowledged king of England.

King William's War

The European phase of the war broke out first when WIlliam III joined the League of Augsburg and the Netherlands (Grand Alliance, 12 May 1689) to resist Louis XIV's invasion of the Rhenish Palatinate (25 Sept. 1688). In America hostilities broke out between the English and French on Hudson Bay and between the Iroquois and the French in the area from the Mohawk to the St. Lawrence. The French under Frontenac (returned as governor, Oct. 1689) struck with their Native American allies along the northern frontier, with raids on Schenectady (9 Feb. 1690), Salmon Falls, N.H. (27 Mar.), and Falmouth (Portland, Me., 31 July), followed by Abenaki raids on Wells, Me. (21 June 1692), Durham N.H. (23 June 1694), and Haverhill, Mass. (15 Mar. 1697). On the western frontier Frontenac attacked the Iroquois (1693-1696). On the part of the English the only successful colonial operation was the seizure of Port Royal (11 May 1690) by an expedition of Massachusetts troops under Sir William Phips (1651-1695), recaptured a year later by the French. The 3-pronged attack on the St. Lawrence projected at the Albany Conference ousted the English from their Hudson Bay posts at the mouths of the Severn (1690) and the Hayes (1694), but the English recaptured the James Bay area (1693). The inconclusive Treaty of Ryswick (30 Sept. 1697) restored the status quo ante in the colonies and turned the Hudson Bay dispute over to commissioners, who reached no agreement (1699).

King William's War (1689-1697) was the first of what came to be known in America as the French and Indian wars. In fact, the French and Indian Wars were a series of colonial wars between Great Britain and France that lasted three-quarters of a century. Hostilities in King William's War begain in 1690, when in the course of a few months Schenectady, N.Y., was burned by the French and Indians, and colonial English forces launched attacks on Port Royal (now Annapolis Royal), Nova Scotia, and on Quebec. Despite further raids by the French and Indians, the war ended in a stalemate. The Treaty of Ryswick, by which were ended the war and its European counterpart, the War of the Grand Alliance restored all colonial possessions to their prewar status.

French and Indian forces from Montreal attacked and burned Schenectady, N.Y.

The city of Quebec was attacked by English forces in the first major military operation of King William's War. They were repulsed by the French under Louis de Baude, comte de Palluau et de Frontenac

King William's War was ended by the Treaty of Ryswick. From the standpoint of the American colonies, the war was completely pointless. Both French and English forces won a number of engagements and managed to occupy part of each other's territory. However, the treaty restored all possessions to their prewar status.


Three treaties were signed at Ryswick, September 20, 1697, securing peace between Louis XIV of France on the one side, and on the other William III of Orange (acting for Great Britain), the United Provinces of the Low Countries, and Charles II of Spain. The following select articles are taken from the first of these treaties.



That there be an universal and perpetual peace and a true and sincere friendship, between the Most Serene and Mighty Prince William III King of Great Britain, and the Most Serene and Mighty Prince Louis XIV the Most Christian King, their heirs and successors, and between the Kingdoms, states and subjects of both; and that the same be so sincerely and inviolably observed and kept, that the one shall promote the interest, honour and advantage of the other; and that on both sides a faithful neighbourhood, and true observation of peace and friendship, may daily flourish and increase.

And since the Most Christian King was never more desirous of any thing than that the peace be firm and inviolable, the said King promises and agrees for himself and his successors, that he will on no account whatsoever disturb the said King of Great Britain, in the free possession of the Kingdoms, countries, lands or dominions which he now enjoys; and therefore engages his honour, upon the faith and word of a king, that he will not give or afford any assistance, directly or indirectly, to any enemy or enemies of the said King of Great Britain; and that he will in no manner whatsoever favour the conspiracies of plots which any Rebels, or ill-disposed persons, may in any place excite or contrive against the said King: and for that end promises and engages, that he will not assist with arms, ammunition, ships, provisions or money, or in any other way, by sea or land, any person or persons who shall hereafter, under any pretence whatsoever, disturb or molest the said King of Great Britain, in the free and full possession of his Kingdoms, countries, lands and dominions. The King and successors, Kings of Great Britain, that he will inviolably do and perform the same towards the said Most Christian King, his Kingdoms, countries, lands and dominions.


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