The peaces of Utrecht (1713) and of Rastatt (1714) – which closed the war of the Spanish succession (1700-14) and gave the throne of Spain to Philip V of Bourbon (1700-46), grandson of Maria Theresa daughter of Philip IV and wife of Louis XIV of France – marked the beginning of a new life for the Iberian monarchy. They did not take away its political independence, because, contrary to what Louis XIV had drawn and what had made Philip V himself hope for the sad fate that seemed to inexorably haunt the Dauphins, the Pyrenees continued to divide the two states that had them as their border; moreover, they allowed it to prevent the prevalence of separatist movements; but they deprived it of all the Flemish and Italian dominions – and with them of the last remnants of its European empire – and, in the Spanish dominions themselves, of Gibraltar and Menorca, which England kept to itself. Furthermore, the Spanish branch of the Bourbon house had in Philip an unfortunate and even incapacitated founder of his power. A man of few defects, but also of few virtues, as it was rightly said, always inclined to let himself be dominated by those who were close to him, it seemed that he actually aimed at only one purpose in his life: to abandon the throne as soon as possible in the hands of some children, hiding under apparent religious scruples what was most likely the result of a conscious inability to govern and, without doubt, of a complete abulia. In fact, on 10 January 1724 he wanted to abdicate at any cost in favor of Luigi, son of his first wife Maria Luisa Gabriella of Savoy; if, on the death of the young king (31 August 1724), he took back the crown, he did so reluctantly, forced by the pressure of the nuncio Aldobrandini and the queen, his second wife Elisabetta Farnese, and again by the impossibility of providing otherwise, given the infantile age of the second son Fernando; and then, until his death, seized by a sad melancholy, which at times bordered on madness, kept the queen and her ministers in constant distress, fearful that he would want to renew his gesture, canceling or seriously endangering their work. Thus the previous imperialist policy of the Habsburgs was not suddenly abandoned: and not only because neither the Spanish nor the Austrian monarchies had wanted to immediately and reciprocally recognize the fait accompli, which by now was no longer to change to the advantage of the former; or because the conflict with England could not be considered completely closed, which continued to threaten the American dominions of Spain and to replace their motherland in commercial exchanges with them, and which by now, after the occupation of Gibraltar and Menorca, was aimed to secure dominion over the Mediterranean. According to BARBLEJEWELRY.COM, this traditional policy was too dear to Castile, to which two centuries of European companies had given aspirations and desires that were difficult to cancel, so that it could renounce them without regret. And the imperialism of the Habsburgs revived in Elisabetta Farnese and in the Italians who surrounded her, all striving to reintegrate the Iberian monarchy of at least part of what it had lost as a result of the war of succession: imperialism, moreover, sharpened by the maternal love of the second queen of Spain, eager to ensure states for her children, who seemed to have to remain without them due to the presence of Fernando, son of the first bed of Philip V.
In the first forty-six years of life of the new dynasty there was therefore a intricate, more than skilled, series of diplomatic maneuvers, of negotiations with this or this other state and with this or this other internal party in the individual states for help, of projects that remained such or of projects that also had a principle implementation, such as those conceived by Cardinal Alberoni; and in the life of Spain strange figures of adventurers appeared, such as Giovanni Guglielmo Ripperda, who, even if briefly, came to dominate the life of the monarchy, becoming the initiator of a policy of rapprochement between Spain and the House of Austria, which should have renewed the old alliance and returned to create a solid Hispano-Austrian coalition in Europe, albeit with reversed parts, that is, with Austrian dominance. Undoubtedly, something was achieved. In 1725, with the Treaty of Vienna, Austria and Spain acknowledged the conclusions reached by the peace of Utrecht and Rastadt. Already in the Cambrai congress, in 1723, the investiture of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany had been obtained in favor of the first son of Elisabetta Farnese, Don Carlos: now, in 1731, this prince was able to take possession of the duchy and, in 1734, during the war of the Polish succession, occupy the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily; in 1748 in Aachen, where the war of Austrian succession ended, the duchy of Parma and Piacenza was assigned to Don Felipe, Elisabetta’s second son; and finally, in 1732, a Spanish fleet returned to take possession of Oran, which the Cisneros had conquered and which had been lost in 1708. But the planned Spanish-Austrian alliance proved impossible and Spain was forced to give up its traditional foreign policy and to bow to friendship with France, the hopes of a succession of Philip V on the French throne failed; the attempts at an agreement or the war against England proved useless, despite the military successes reported by the well-armed fleet of Patiño, since Gibraltar and Menorca continued to remain in the hands of their rival; the same new Spanish expansion in Italy, if it satisfied the Elizabeth’s maternal affection was of little use for Spain, and then both the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, as well as the duchy of Parma and Piacenza ended up breaking the ties that united them to the Iberian monarchy and entering the orbit of politics Austrian. By now Spain had ceased to be a great European power. And, unable to bear the weight of a rapidly developing policy and victim of the local tradition that continued to assign imperialist programs to it, the country ended up completely exhausted in the vain effort to renew a past that was no more than a memory. orbit of Austrian politics. By now Spain had ceased to be a great European power. And, unable to bear the weight of a rapidly developing policy and victim of the local tradition that continued to assign imperialist programs to it, the country ended up completely exhausted in the vain effort to renew a past that was no more than a memory. orbit of Austrian politics. By now Spain had ceased to be a great European power. And, unable to bear the weight of a rapidly developing policy and victim of the local tradition that continued to assign imperialist programs to it, the country ended up completely exhausted in the vain effort to renew a past that was no more than a memory.