Treaty of the Pyrenees
The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed in
1659to end the war between Franceand Spainthat had begun in 1635 during the Thirty Years' War. It was signed on Pheasant Island, a river island on the border between the two countries. The kings Louis XIV of Franceand Philip IV of Spainwere represented by their prime ministers, Cardinal Mazarinand Don Luis de Haro, respectively.
France entered the Thirty Years' War after the Spanish victories in the
Dutch Revoltin the 1620s and at the Battle of Nördlingen against Swedenin 1634. By 1640 France began to interfere in Spanish politics, aiding the revolt in Catalonia, while Spain in response aided the Fronderevolt in France in 1648. During the negotiations for the Peace of Westphaliain 1648, France gained Alsaceand Lorraine and cut off Spanish access to the Netherlandsfrom Austria, leading to open warfare between the French and Spanish.
After over ten years of war, an Anglo-French alliance was victorious at the Battle of the Dunes in 1658 and peace was settled by means of this treaty in 1659.
Roussillon, Artois, parts of Luxembourgand Flanders, and a new border with Spain was fixed at the Pyrenees. However, the treaty only stipulated that all villages north of the Pyrenees should become part of France. For that reason there is an exclave of Spain in this part of France, the town of Llívia- considered a town and not a village - which remains Spanish control and is part of the " comarca" of Baixa Cerdanya, Spanish province of Girona. This border was not properly settled until the Treaty of Bayonnewas signed in 1856.
In exchange for the Spanish territorial losses, the French king pledged to quit his support for
Portugaland renounced to his claim to the county of Barcelona, which the French crown was claiming ever since the Reapers' War.
The treaty also arranged for a marriage between
Louis XIV of Franceand Maria Theresa of Spain, the daughter of Philip IV of Spain. Maria Theresa was forced to renounce her claim to the Spanish throne, in return for a monetary settlement as part of her dowry. This settlement was never paid, a factor that eventually led to the War of Devolutionin 1668.
The treaty of the Pyrenees is the last major diplomatic achievement by Cardinal Mazarin. Combined with the
Peace of Westphalia, it allowed Louis XIV remarkable stability and diplomatic advantage by means of a weakened Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condéand a weakened Spanish Crown, along the agreed dowry, which was an important element in the French king's strategy:
All in all, in 1660, when the Swedish occupation of Poland finished , the entire European continent was at peace, and the Bourbons prevailed for the first time over the
Consequences for Catalonia
In the context of the territorial changes involved by the Treaty of the Pyrenees, the pays of
Roussillon, Conflent, Vallespir, Capcirand French Cerdagne, known nowadays in Catalonia as " Northern Catalonia" were transferred to France. Every year on 7 November, some Catalanists remember this event and demonstrate in Perpignan.
The treaty included several points about conserving Catalonian institutions, but Louis XIV did not respect them and so Catalan institutions were abolished just a year after the treaty was signed, and a royal French decree forbade
Catalan languageusage in any kind of official act.
Language policy in France
List of treaties
*PDFlink| [http://www.smae.diplomatie.gouv.fr/choiseul/ressource/pdf/D16590001.pdf Full Text of Treaty] |16.8 MiB , France National Archives Transcription fr icon
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