Charles II, the king of Spain was considered to be half-witted and invalid, and had no children to inherit the Spanish domains. Therefore, when Charles neared death in 1700, the disposition of Spain became an issue of great interest to the European nations. There was no doubt that France's Louis XIV had designs on the lands to the south of the Pyrenees, which made up the nation of Spain, and on the lands lying between France's northern border and the Rhine River, known as the Spanish Netherlands. But Holland, with England as its ally, would once again confront any French attempt to take control over either Spain or the Spanish Netherlands.
Although they did not think it necessary to involve the Spanish people in the decision, England, Holland and France enterred into a partition treaty shortly after the War of the Grand Alliance was concluded with the Treaty of Ryswick. The partition treaty was essentially a decision on how the Spanish territories should be partitioned and apportioned upon the death of Charles II. The treaty called for Spain, the West Indies and the Spanish Netherlands to go to the Electoral Prince of Bavaria, who had claims on the Spanish lands through his mother, the Archduchess of Austria. The Austrian Archduke Charles, son of Emperor Leopold, would receive the duchies of Milan and Luxemburg. The Dauphin would receive the duchies of Naples, Sicily and portion of Tuscany. The untimely death of the Electoral Prince of Bavaria upset the whole scheme.
At the time that France, England and Holland were devising their partition treaty, the French and Austrian courtiers of Charles II were making their own suggestions to the ailing Spanish king. Their counsel was that the entire territorial inheritance should go to either the Archduke Charles or to the Bourbon Duke of Anjou, Louis XIV's grandson. In the end, Charles decided that his inheritance would be bequeathed to Philip, the Duke of Anjou.
Louis XIV now was faced with the dilemma of supporting the decision of the dying King Charles II, a decision that would prove beneficial to France in that it would essentially lead to a union of the Spanish and French territories into a single nation, or of standing by the partition treaty scheme he had devised with William III. If he were to support the decision for the inheritance to go to his grandson, he knew that another war with England and Holland would be the result. Despite the risk of another war, Louis sided with his grandson.
On 01 November 1700, the Spanish king died and the Duke of Anjou was crowned as King Philip V.
On 07 September 1701, England, the Netherlands and Austria signed a treaty of alliance against France in the event that Philip V should become a political puppet of Louis XIV.
William of Orange (England's William III) was riding his horse at Hampton Court on 08 March 1702, when he took a fall and died from his wounds. William was succeeded on the English throne by his sister-in-law, Anne, the last of the Stuart line of monarchs. Anne followed William's, and her sister, Mary's, policies as monarch.
On 04 May 1702, the Grand Alliance, of England, the Netherlands and Austria, declared war on France.
The war would have its counterpart in the New World under the name of Queen Anne's War, and would follow the course of the previous conflict, King William's War with many of the same actors. The French once again enlisted the aid of the Abenaki Indians to raid English settlements along the New England and Canada border.
Taking advantage of the situation of a war with Spain, the Carolina legislature sent a force of militia under the command of Governor James Moore to attempt the capture of the fort at St. Augustine in Spanish held Florida. In September 1702 the Carolina militia destroyed the settlement of St. Augustine, but was unable to capture the fort.
Governor Moore, in 1704, led his Carolina militia into the Appalachian Mountains and leveled thirteen of the fourteen Spanish missions that had been established there.
In June 1703, a treaty of peace was concluded between the Abenaki Indians and Massachusetts-Bay Governor Joseph Dudley. The treaty was a very hollow one; the Indians broke it and began raiding towns on the frontier within two months.
Through August of 1703, Abenaki raids leveled towns on the Maine frontier. On 28 and 29 February 1704, the town of Deerfield in the colony of Massachusetts-Bay was destroyed. Fifty settlers in the town of Deerfield were massacred and a hundred were taken prisoner. Between 18 and 29 August 1704 the French and Indians besieged and destroyed the settlement of Bonavista in Newfoundland. Winter Harbor, Maine was attacked on 21 September 1707.
Benjamin Church led a force of five hundred colonial militia during the month of July 1704 against the French towns of Beaubassin and Minas in Acadia. Destroying the settlements was only a minor consideration of the expedition. The primary goal that was achieved was the destruction of the supply lines to from the French to the Abenaki.
Spanish soldiers from St. Augustine and Havana joined with a French force to attack the Carolina settlement of Charlestown on 24 August 1706. The English settlers repulsed the attack.
On 29 August 1708, a party of French and Indians massacred all of the English settlers at the town of Haverhill in the Massachusetts-Bay colony.
A party of French and Indians captured the English settlement of St. John's at Newfoundland on 21 December 1708.
Although the English refused to participate in a combined English/colonist campaign against Quebec and Montreal. But on 16 October 1710 the English joined with the colonial militia to successfully besiege the French fortress at Port Royal, Nova Scotia.
In June 1711, Colonel Francis Nicholson called together the governors of the various New England colonies to discuss plans for a major expedition against Quebec. The conference was held at New London, Connecticut. The plan they came up with called for an attack on Quebec from the St. Lawrence River and an attack on Montreal from the Lake Champlain. The expedition failed, partly due to mismanagement and partly to misfortune. Nine ships set sail from Boston on 30 July under the command of Admiral Sir Hovenden Walker. Because of the fog, the flotilla became lost off Egg Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. High winds drove eight of the ships against the rocks. Between one thousand and sixteen hundred lives were lost in the disaster, including thirty five women and a number of young boys (to serve as drummers) who had accompanied the expedition.
The Treaty of Utrecht was signed on 11 April 1713 ending the War of the Spanish Succession on European soil. A treaty between the Abenaki Indians and Massachusetts-Bay governor, Joseph Dudley was signed on 11 July 1713. The Queen Anne's War came to an end.