chapter  1
4 Pages

Introduction

The period from the early 1680s to about 1713 acts, in more than a merely chronological sense, as a bridge between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It has a distinct character of its own; but if a choice must be made, it belongs rather to the former than to the latter. In international relations it begins with the rise to its highest pitch of the influence of Louis XIV and the failure of the Turkish attack on Vienna in 1683; while its end is marked even more clearly by the Treaties of Utrecht and Rastadt in 1713-14 and by Louis's death in 1715. In this sphere it is dominated in Western Europe by the threat of French hegemony and in the east by the beginnings of the rise of Russia. The rise of Russia to the status of a great European power was by contrast largely unnoticed in its earlier stages.