When King Charles II of Spain died on 1 November 1700, he left no heir. Two claimants to the Spanish throne emerged: Philip of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV of France, and Archduke Charles, the second son of the Austrian emperor, Leopold I. Although Charles II named Philip of Anjou as his successor in his will, England and Holland were determined to prevent the French royal family from taking control of Spain and its colonies. Neither the English nor Dutch wanted to see France's power in Europe strengthened. The English declared war on France on 15 May 1702.

In North America, both the English and French colonies were recovering from the ravages of eight years of warfare. The new governor of New France, Canadian Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, negotiated an unofficial truce with the Governor of New York. Because English ships were blockading French merchant vessels, Governor Vaudreuil arranged to have French furs shipped to New York for sale on the English market.

The Iroquois remained neutral. The war of 1690-1697 had reduced the Iroquois population by 50 per cent, and they were not prepared to engage in another war with the French and their allies. In 1704, however, fighting broke out along the Acadia-New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) border. For example, a force of militia and Abenaki slaughtered the population of Deerfield, Massachusetts. The English colonists responded with an unsuccessful attack on Port Royal. Benjamin Church led a force into Acadia, but failed to take Port Royal. Elsewhere, the French-English frontier remained quiet. In 1710, an English expedition of Royal Navy warships and British troops attacked Port Royal. For the fourth time, the English occupied Port Royal (1613, 1627,1690, and 1710).

In Europe, England and her allies defeated France, and, on 11 April 1713, the conflict formally ended with the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht. France paid the price for the defeat in its North American colonies. England regained possession of Newfoundland and all of the trading forts on Hudson Bay. Port Royal also remained in English hands.

 

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