In 1697, the Huis ter Nieuburch (1) in Rijswijk (2) was the scene of the negotiations which led to so-called “Peace of Ryswick” (3). These negotiations sought to end the Nine-Years War between France on one side and the Grand Alliance of Spain, England, The Dutch Republic and The Holy Roman Empire. The Peace Treaty of Rijswijk was not a single document but consisted of a number of treaties which were signed during the months of September and October 1697. The treaties have been scanned in order to familiarize researchers with our historical collection.

Treaties and Articles

20 September 1697 – Treaty of Peace between France and Spain

20 September 1697 – Treaty of Peace between France and England

20 September 1697 – Articles for the Suspension of Armed Conflict in Germany between France and the Holy Roman Empire

21 September 1697 – Treaty of Peace and a Treaty of Commerce between France and the Dutch Republic

09 October 1697 – Separate Article for the Dutch Republic

30 October 1697 – Treaty of Peace between France and the Holy Roman Empire

Treaty Differences

Of note here are the differences between the Peace Treaties of the 20th and 21st of September and the Articles for the Suspension of Armed Conflict in Germany on the 20th. The governments of England and the Dutch Republic, bound together by their leader William III (4), and the government of Spain wished for peace with France. The French government under Louis XIV (5) wished the same.

However, the government of the Holy Roman Empire under Leopold I (6) wished to strengthen its position regarding the question of the Spanish Succession (the succession of Charles II (7) of Spain) and did not sign a peace treaty on the 20th or the 21st but only a cease fire. This resulted in a problem for the members of the Grand Alliance; 3 of the 4 partners had signed (but not yet ratified) peace treaties but the Holy Roman Empire did not and could thus continue the war, which would drag the other 3 signatories of the peace treaties back into the conflict.

To force the hand of the Holy Roman Empire, the Dutch Republic negotiated a special agreement with France, the Article of the 9th of October 1697; if the Holy Roman Empire did not agree to a Peace Treaty before the beginning of November then the Peace Treaty between France and the Dutch Republic would go into immediate effect on that date; the Dutch Republic would leave the Grand Alliance. Since England and the Dutch Republic shared their head of state, England would certainly follow the Dutch Republic and leave the alliance as well. Spain, the weakest of the 4 partners would not be able to continue the war without the support of England and the Dutch Republic and would likewise end its involvement. The Holy Roman Empire would be isolated in the conflict with France.

Negotiations dragged on but the government of the Holy Roman Empire was basically out of options; there was a war with the Ottoman Empire in the east and to continue the war with France in the west would be too risky. The Peace Treaty on the 30th can be seen in this light; the time limit was dragged out to its maximum but its conclusion was inevitable.

Outcome and further developments

The final Treaty of Peace was signed in October 1697, ratifications followed and Europe settled for a period of peace. Which lasted till the death of Charles II of Spain in 1700, when all assurances of good will, friendship and peace were found to be worth less than the paper they were written on. In 1702, the War of the Spanish Succession broke out.

The Huis ter Nieuburch was demolished in 1790 but to commemorate the treaties, an obelisk was erected at the site; the Needle of Rijswijk (8)

Documents

The treaties have been scanned in order to familiarize researchers with our historical collection.

French

Dutch

Literature research on older materials

The Peace Palace Library, besides having a collection of more recent materials, also has a large collection of old publications, documents and manuscripts. Most have not been added to the catalogue, but we have an old paper card catalogue available for these publications. If you wish to do research on these older publications, please contact the Library at info@peacepalacelibrary.nl


Notes
(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huis_ter_Nieuwburg
(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rijswijk
(3) Multiple spellings are known; Ryswyck/Ryswick/Rijsvvick/Rysvvick/Rijswyk/Rijswijck.
(4) (1650-1702) King William III of England, Stadtholder William III of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic
(5) (1638-1715) King Louis XIV of France
(6) (1640-1705) Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia and King of Serbia
(7) (1661-1700) Charles II of Spain, the Habsburg ruler of Spain and the Spanish possessions in the Spanish Netherlands, Italy and the Spanish Colonial Empire.
(8) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Needle_of_Rijswijk

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