Queen Anne’s War Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

The death of Charles II brought about the War of the Spanish Succession, a struggle for power between the major nations of Europe, which inevitably spread to their colonial territories. In the portion of the war fought in the Americas, known separately as Queen Anne’s War, Great Britain gained territory and commercial concessions and consolidated its status as the world’s most powerful empire.

Summary of Event

By the seventeenth century, colonial Colonization;global conflicts rivalries had involved European powers in global conflicts. The first, the Nine Years’ War (1689-1697), primarily a British-French conflict, was known as King William’s War (1689-1697)[King Williams War] King William’s War in North America, where all captured territory was restored by the Ryswick, Treaty of (1697) Treaty of Ryswick in 1697. Warfare was renewed in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), whose North American phase was known as Queen Anne’s War. [kw]Queen Anne’s War (May 15, 1702-Apr. 11, 1713) [kw]War, Queen Anne’s (May 15, 1702-Apr. 11, 1713) [kw]Anne’s War, Queen (May 15, 1702-Apr. 11, 1713) North America;battle for hegemony Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713)[Queen Annes War] Spanish Succession, War of the (1701-1714) [g]Europe;May 15, 1702-Apr. 11, 1713: Queen Anne’s War[0120] [g]American colonies;May 15, 1702-Apr. 11, 1713: Queen Anne’s War[0120] [g]England;May 15, 1702-Apr. 11, 1713: Queen Anne’s War[0120] [g]Spain;May 15, 1702-Apr. 11, 1713: Queen Anne’s War[0120] [c]Wars, uprisings, and civil unrest;May 15, 1702-Apr. 11, 1713: Queen Anne’s War[0120] [c]Expansion and land acquisition;May 15, 1702-Apr. 11, 1713: Queen Anne’s War[0120] Anne, Queen Walker, Hovenden Hill, John Marlborough, first duke of Dudley, Joseph Moore, James (1640-1706) Nicholson, Francis Bolingbroke, first Viscount Vetch, Samuel

The origins of Queen Anne’s War involved the question of who would succeed the sickly, childless Charles II as ruler of the vast French-British relations[French British relations] Spanish-British relations[Spanish British relations] Spanish Empire. Spanish Empire;control over Attempts to partition the empire between Louis XIV’s son and Emperor Leopold I’s son came to naught when Louis XIV accepted Charles II’s will, which left the Spanish Empire to Philip of Anjou, Louis XIV’s grandson. Provocative actions by Louis XIV and the new Spanish king, Philip V, coupled with the fear that one person might eventually rule France and Spain, led William III, ruler of England and the Netherlands, to organize the Grand Alliance Grand Alliance of England, the Netherlands, and the emperor. The object of the alliance was to prevent the union of France and Spain and to gain commercial and territorial benefits. On May 15, 1702, the Grand Alliance formally declared war against France and Spain. English and allied troops under the command of John Churchill, first duke of Marlborough, won significant victories on the Continent, while the English navy captured Gibraltar Gibraltar, Siege of (1704) in 1704 and established a presence in the Mediterranean.

In North America, fighting between English colonists and their Native American allies on one side, and the French, the Spanish, and their Native American allies on the other, occurred in Canada, New England, the southern border of Carolina, Florida, and the Caribbean, where privateers operated. New York escaped attack by the French because the latter feared disturbing the neutrality of the Iroquois.

The English fleet seized the French West Indian island of St. Christopher (St. Kitts) in July, 1702, but an attack on Guadeloupe was unsuccessful in 1703. James Moore, governor of Carolina, led a raid of five hundred militia and three hundred Yamasees Yamasees on St. Augustine, Florida[Saint Augustine, Florida] St. Augustine, Florida, in October, 1702. Although they sacked the town, they were unsuccessful in capturing the fort. The following year, Moore led fifty militia and one thousand Native Americans in an attack on Spanish missions west of St. Augustine, destroying thirteen missions and carrying off thirteen hundred Native Americans to be used as slaves. Actions such as these led to a joint French-Spanish retaliatory attack on Charleston, South Carolina Charleston in August, 1706. This assault failed, and the following year, the South Carolina;French-Spanish attack[French Spanish] Carolinians raided Pensacola, Florida. Repeated requests by the Carolinians to the English government for military assistance and the construction of forts went unanswered.

In New England, members of the Abenaki tribe, urged on and sometimes led by the French, attacked isolated settlements. The worst of these episodes was the February, 1704, attack on Deerfield, Massachusetts, Deerfield, Massachusetts, attack (1704) which resulted in the death of fifty and the capture of more than one hundred residents. Some of the captured residents were later killed, others were ransomed, and the remainder settled in Canada. Massachusetts’s governor, Joseph Dudley, made a secret peace overture to the French governor of Quebec, Vaudreuil, marquis de Philippe de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil. This attempt failed, as the French insisted that New York and the other northern colonies be brought into the plan and that the English relinquish their right to fish off the coast of Newfoundland Newfoundland, an area that the French and English regarded as valuable for training sailors.

One colonial objective was to eject the French from North America, and colonists expected English assistance to accomplish that end. One target of colonial aggression was Port Royal in Acadia Acadia (Nova Scotia). Several raids against the town had failed. After 1709, the English increased their military involvement in North America. Samuel Vetch, a merchant and soldier, had devised a plan to attack Quebec Quebec. Supported by the governors of New York and Massachusetts, Vetch journeyed to England and received cabinet support for a joint British-colonial attack on Canada in 1709. New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire provided fifteen hundred men, who were to march on Montreal from Albany. One thousand others were to join English forces for an assault on Quebec and Port Royal by sea.

Preparations were made in England and North America, but favorable developments in European peace negotiations led the English to assign their forces to occupy Spain in anticipation of a peace treaty. When Louis XIV did not consent to the peace terms, the English determined that additional pressure on France in Europe was required and canceled their plans for Canada. Upon learning of the change in English plans, the colonial governors decided to postpone the assault until the following year.

Vetch and Colonel Francis Nicholson, a former colonial governor, commanded a successful raid on Port Royal (renamed Annapolis Royal) in September and October, 1710, which involved colonial forces and five hundred English troops. Buoyed by success, Nicholson and four Mohawks met with the new Tory ministry in London to plan an attack on Canada. The ministers saw French Canada as a threat to English colonies and trade, and were eager to offset Marlborough’s popularity with an American victory. The first Viscount Bolingbroke, one of the secretaries of state, was the strongest proponent of action. He took the lead in planning the Walker expedition (1711) Walker expedition (1711), the first significant action against Canada launched from England.

An army commanded by Nicholson was to march from Albany to Montreal, and Admiral Sir Hovenden Walker’s sixty ships were to land General John Hill’s five thousand troops to attack Quebec. Because of navigational errors, the fleet foundered on rocks in the St. Lawrence River, losing about nine hundred men. The remnant of the fleet returned to England. News of the expedition’s failure reached London in October, 1711, after secret preliminary peace articles had been signed by England and France. Nicholson was ordered to halt his overland march.

This expedition had been launched despite the fact that the English ministry had initiated secret peace negotiations with France in late 1710 and by October, 1711, had established a general framework for peace. In December, 1711, Marlborough was dismissed, and the Congress of Utrecht (1712, 1713) convened to force England’s allies to accept the British-French terms and put them into the formal treaty. In May and June, 1712, the English and French agreed to a suspension of arms in Europe, which was extended to North America in September, 1712.


The war was ended by the Treaty of Utrecht, Treaty of (1713) Utrecht, signed on April 11, 1713. Among its major provisions were the recognition of Philip V as Spanish king. Philip in turn renounced any claim to the French throne. England won significant advantages through the grant of the asiento de negros Asiento de negros (slave trade license) Slave trade;licensing of , a contract to supply Spanish colonies with slaves, and by its acquisition of Gibraltar from Spain. However, England’s greatest acquisitions came in North America, where France relinquished Hudson Bay, Acadia, and Newfoundland. France retained Cape Breton Island and the right to catch and dry fish on Newfoundland’s coast. St. Christopher in the Caribbean was acquired by the English. These advantages secured for England commercial and territorial benefits that weakened the American colonial empires of France and Spain.

Casualties among the American colonists were about four hundred. The English lost approximately nine hundred in the Walker expedition and hundreds more in the failed raid on Guadeloupe. Native American losses were high, and the peace settlement recognized the Iroquois as English subjects and allowed English merchants to trade with western Native Americans. Intercolonial cooperation had improved, but cooperation between the colonists and England was not good. British-French and British-Spanish rivalries resumed in subsequent conflicts for control of North America.

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Arnade, Charles W. The Siege of St. Augustine in 1702. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1959. This short monograph provides background information and an account of the colonial attack.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Crane, Werner W. The Southern Frontier, 1670-1732. Reprint. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1956. Provides a detailed narrative of action along the southern border of the English colonies in the era of the war.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Eccles, William J. France in America. New York: Harper & Row, 1972. Discusses the war from the French colonial perspective.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Graham, Gerald S., ed. The Walker Expedition to Quebec, 1711. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1953. Reprint. New York: Greenwood Press, 1969. The introduction examines the expedition and analyzes the relevant primary sources.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Hattendorf, John B. England in the War of the Spanish Succession: A Study of the English View and Conduct of Grand Strategy, 1702-1712. New York: Garland, 1987. The only major work to date to examine the formation and implementation of English strategy in the war. Analyzes the place of the Walker expedition in the conduct of the war.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Lenman, Bruce. Britain’s Colonial Wars, 1688-1783. New York: Longman, 2001. A history of British imperialism and expansion in the eighteenth century; discusses the connection of these policies to Britain’s colonial wars.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Parkman, Francis. A Half-Century of Conflict. 1892. Reprint. New York: Collier Books, 1962. This classic account needs to be read in conjunction with other sources to correct a strong colonial bias.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Schama, Simon. The Wars of the British, 1603-1776. Vol. 2 in A History of Britain. New York: Hyperion, 2001. This volume, a companion to a BBC television program, recounts the wars Britain engaged in during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, conflicts that Schama claims were “eminently predictable, improbable, and avoidable.”

War of the Spanish Succession

Battle of Blenheim

Defeat of the “Old Pretender”

Battle of Malplaquet

Tuscarora War

Treaty of Utrecht

Treaties of Rastatt and Baden

Fox Wars

Jacobite Rising in Scotland

Related Articles in <i>Great Lives from History: The Eighteenth Century</i>

Queen Anne; First Viscount Bolingbroke; First Duke of Marlborough. North America;battle for hegemony Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713)[Queen Annes War] Spanish Succession, War of the (1701-1714)

Categories: History