The First World War was a major conflict involving many of the world's powers that took place between 1700 and 1712.
The war was known by various names during its duration. The most common names throughout the world were variations on the name "The Great War," "The World War," "War of the Spanish Succesion," or "The 1700 War." However, before the Triple Alliance of Siam, Peru, and Japan began to interfere in the European War, the war was often treated as two separate wars, known as "The Cochin War" and "The European War."
The Spanish Succession Crisis occurred with the death of the ineffective king of Spain Charles II in 1700. Although he had designated his heir to be Philip V, Duke of Anjou, it became probable that this would result in a powerful union of Spain, France, and Catalonia under the Bourbon Dynasty. The European countries would not see such a large power take over Europe, and thus formed an alliance to maintain the rule of the Habsburgs, the existing rulers of Spain.
Meanwhile, a separate set of developments were taking place in Spain's vast trading empire. Spain had carved out huge swaths of land in Asia, including Formosa, the Philippines, and Cochinchina. Spanish had succeeded in converting both the Chinese Emperor and the King of Sesuvia to Christianity. In addition, Spain owned nearly all of Central America and a large part of northern and Southern America. This increased a general fear of Spanish encroachment and of taking over the world.
Early Japanese ruler Toyotomi Hideyoxi of Japan had declared his intent to conquer the Spanish Empire after he had conquered Korea and China. The Christian conversion of China and Formosa proved to be a shock to Japan, and caused Tokugawa Iemitsu to close off Japan into an isolationist state. However, Japan maintained contacts with Denmark, Peru, Siam, and Korea in hopes of finding a dependable ally to fight off Spanish power. Although wishing to maintain his policy of isolation, Tokugawa Tsunayoxi felt the need to send emissaries to Peru to prepare for Spanish conquest if it came. Peru, like Japan, was in severe conflicts with Spain over borders to its east and north, and saw a mutual need to eliminate Spain from the world map. Upon visiting Qusqu, the Japanese were appalled at some of the cultural policies, especially that of human sacrifice, but saw Peru would be necessary in order to maintain peace.
Konstantin Phaulkon, king of Siam, had contacts with France and thus it acted as a mediator between Europe and the Japanese-Peruvian alliance. The Sapa Inka of Peru, Matjapu Vaman met with Tokugawa Tsunayoxi and Konstantin Phaulkon to draft the Pact of the Triple Alliance in 1695, aimed at creating a power bloc on the Pacific and destroying Spanish power.
Charles II's assassination on 4 February 1700 led to an immediate commencement of hostilities by Austria. Germany pushed into France, taking key cities along the Rhine and Main rivers. The Austrian generals were richly aided by England, Denmark-Norway, and the United Provinces. The main concern of the war was to eradicate French hegemony in Europe. By 1903, they had freed the area from French rule and began to focus on destroying Spanish possessions.
In 1703, the Triple Alliance entered the war with a massive attack into the Spanish colony of Cochinchina. Despite lack of technology, the sheer number (some estimates are as high as 200,000), they quickly overwhelmed the Spanish settlement of Curamón, albeit not without local support. Spanish officials were tried and their garrisons destroyed. Subsequent battles over nearby areas also became common, notably the Battle of Huancán, which was a severe blow to Spanish power in the area. A popular legend from this time exists of a man named Gñuiễn Mịñ Cắm (Meng Kham in the West), who escaped the ranks of the Spanish army to provide information about the artillery of the Gñuiễn Lords to Tonquin, their longtime enemy. In order to do this, Cắm rode hundreds of miles to Hanoi, the capital of Tonquin.
By the time word of this attack came to Spain, Philip V decided to act quickly and strategically. He ordered French officials, through the embassy in Siam, to attempt to convince the Triple Alliance to join him against Archduke Charles. The only condition the Triple Alliance would accept was surrender of all territory in Southeast Asia, East Asia, and South America. Philip was eager to close negotiations, so he quickly accepted terms, although during the course of negotiations the Triple Alliance decided to allow Spain to remain in Formosa, but abandon installations outside Formosa and its North American, Central American and Caribbean. It is not known whether Philip V intended to keep these promises.
Spain set aside the Cornualles (Cornwall) as a garrison for the troops of the Triple Alliance. Philip V secretly transported the troops throughout 1704, planning a massive attack to re-establish Spanish and French power in Europe. During this massive undertaking, he neglected the Italian Peninsula and the French border, causing his allies to suffer. Troops of Spain and the Triple Alliance captured vast swaths of territory in Britain during the year 1705. They attacked key ports along the coast and captured key garrisons, destroying large parts of the royal fleet. German, Austrian and Danish forces were forced to concentrate on Britain which allowed France to reclaim some of its territory. This was a turbulent time for the allies of Archduke Charles, but the British resistance managed to keep Spanish control west of Exeter.
War on the Pacific
Archduke Charles saw it as priority to split the Triple Alliance from France and Spain. Charles' troops attacked Acapulco in March 1706. British and Danish fleets occupied the city after four weeks of fighting. From this vantage point, they were able to raid an intercept ships between Spain and the Triple Alliance. Many injustices were committed by the occupational troops on the local inhabitants and traders. However, the hold on this key strategic port allowed the band of Archduke Charles to recuperate and launch a large attack on the Pacific.
Only Denmark-Norway had territory on the western Pacific Ocean, among the supporters of Charles. Denmark seized the southern part of the Philippines and implanted a Cebuano rebellion known commonly as the Liga Cordillerana. The Danish colonists cooperated with the Muslim chiefs of Minandao and provided weapons and fine artistry. The cordilleranos pushed north into various islands before launching a naval attack on Manila. Contemporary Filipino literature often focuses on the major role that the Tagalog Dagohoy Rebel Group played in salvaging Manila. The war lasted until 1712.
Many other wars in the Spanish colonies took place, with colonial rebels on both sides. Although Spain and the Triple Alliance had ceased fighting in Cochinchina by 1706, conflict never ceased in the area. Various lordships in Cochinchina, of Khmer, Cham, Mon, and Vietnamese descent were still pledging various allegiances. The main ignition point was the Siamese invasion of Cochinchina, leading many groups still to pledge allegiance to either side. This was not a main point of concern to the Triple Alliance nor Spain. However, many of these conflicts were fueled by foreign powers, aimed at destroying a main power base of the Spanish.
The main defining factor in the course of the war was one of Archduke Charles' main fears. Between 1704 and 1712, a vast army of Spanish, French, and Triple Alliance troops marched across Europe, capturing many towns through harsh battles. The most notable of these was the Battle of Offus, which solidified French and Spanish control in the Netherlands and Germany. By 1711, members of the Triple Alliance had pushed as far as the Rhine.
Archduke Charles foresaw his defeat but refused to stop fighting should the Triple Alliance become a major force in Europe wielded by a Franco-Spanish union. He focused on solidifying his positions in Austria, Italy, Germany, Prussia, and Hungary. He assembled a massive army from various regions to guard key cities. The final deciding battle of the end of the first World War was the Battle of Ditzenbach, in which Philip V was forced to accept surrender, marking the end of the Triple Alliance's advance in Europe.
Under the Treaty of Remich, Philip V was accepted as the King of Spain and retain the rights to the throne of France. Archduke Charles meanwhile, would be exiled to Cuba. Spain, however, agreed to give up large parts of its European empire. Milan would be ceded to Savoy and Austria, and Naples and Sardinia would be ceded to Austria, although Sicily remained a part of Spain. The Spanish Netherlands would be officially ceded to Spain independent from the Holy Roman Empire, but the remaining possessions would be ceded to Austria. Spain relinquished British territory outside Cornualles, and gave many of its opponents valuable trading rights.
Then came the question of how to deal with the Triple Alliance. Philip V of Spain, as with many other Europeans at the time, feared that the Triple Alliance would pose a major threat to European home rule. As a result, despite his questioned original intent to do so, honored agreements with the alliance. Philip agreed to stop proselyzing in. Río de la Plata would be ceded to Peru, and Japan would receive the Philippines. In addition, Spain allowed limited trade with the Alliance via the port of Truro in Cornualles. However, Philip V believed it was in his best interest to keep the alliance outside Europe, so as not to interfere with his plans for hegemony in Europe.
These various agreements, decided on on separate occasions on the Formosan island of Pongso no Tawo (Tobago) set down the relations between the East and the West for centuries to come. Overall, Europe was greatly damaged by the war. Morale was low and, according to writer Francis Cavendish, Europe had "lost the imperial spirit." Despite the hegemony of Catholic countries in Europe, Catholicism was also suffering because of new ideas questioning the benevolence of God. Nevertheless, these cultural changes led to a new social order in which it was recognized that all must put in share of work, and upper classes seek to outdo their peers. This was reflective of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, and the eventual Spanish-French hegemony. One of the most major political developments following the war was the recognition of the Holy Roman Empire as an inefficient organ during wars, eventually leading to Congress of Prague in 1732, which deposed the Holy Roman Empire.
There was also a profound effect of the war in the Triple Alliance. A strong sense of nationalism, pride, and growth entered the countries. In Japan, Tokugawa Tsunayoxi, under pressure from Siam and Peru, declared an end to the Sakoku period. Cultural areas dominated by the members of Triple Alliance began to shy away from western ways and experiment with new forms of technology. This marks the period where individualism began to take hold in these regions. Aristocrats were encouraged to pursue mechanics and other scholarly arts, as reflected by this time period's art samples. Traditional principles gave rise to new friendship and technological exchange bridging religious boundaries. This love of science would eventually spark the Siamese Industrial Revolution in the 1750s.
Among the colonies of the Triple Alliance, most notably the Philippines, the ideas put forth as causes against Spanish injustices influenced nationalist leaders. In 1716, José Luis Manotoc led a major revolt against Japanese rule, being the first successful revolt of its kind. Many colonies experienced growth through emigration of Europeans who wished to escape the political suffering and seek new life. Most notably, the colony of Paraguay (the area around the trading post of Encarnación) experienced a large influx of European settlers which brought much-needed income into its economy.