chapter  11
16 Pages

Spain, Italy and the Mediterranean

The Peace of Utrecht, which in 1713 ended the War of the Spanish Succession, made great changes in the balance of power in the western Mediterranean. It deprived Spain of much territory; established Britain important factor in the politics of the area; and set up the Habsburgs, at least for the time being, as the dominant power in Italy. The Barbary States in North Africa were even more on the periphery of European politics. Algiers, which had enjoyed a golden age as a centre of piracy and privateering in the first half of the seventeenth century, was now quite unable to resist the pressure of great naval powers such as Britain and France. The danger of Spanish control of the peninsula seemed for a time very real. In 1742 only a British threat to bombard Naples forced Charles IV of the Two Sicilies to abandon his plans to attack the Austrians in north Italy in conjunction with the Spaniards.