Nine Years’ War

Event
Monday, 27 September, 1688 - Friday, 20 September, 1697

The Nine Years' War was a war between France and those European states united in a coalition known as the ‘Grand Alliance’.

Hostilities stretched west from Europe to North American and east to India and Asia; it was perhaps the first global conflict. Europe’s most powerful state France had decided to impose its territorial and other claims when King Louis XIV’s army crossed the River Rhine in 1688. Louis’ ambitions were opposed by the other great European power, and largest of the Grand Alliance, the Holy Roman Empire. This ancient conglomerate of states and principalities was led by the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I of the Austrian House of Habsburg.

Following the overthrow of King James II by William and Mary, Louis supported King James II’s Jacobite force in Ireland with a French army. William sought to conclude this distraction as soon as possible and departed Ireland in late 1690, leaving General Ginkel in command of the campaign to pursue a conclusion to the war. Hence the somewhat generous military articles of the Treaty of Limerick that permitted General Patrick Sarsfield to leave Ireland with his 14,000-strong Jacobite Army and be transported to France where it would come under command of the deposed King James and not Louis XIV in order to satisfy the military articles agreed by William. The conclusion of the costly Williamite War in Ireland, in both blood and treasure, allowed William to pull his army and generals, like Marlborough, out of Ireland and concentrate on pursuing the war against the French where it mattered - on mainland Europe.

The Nine Years’ War was concluded by a peace agreement achieved through a series of treaties signed at Ryswick in 1697. One outcome was that William and Mary were recognised as the rightful sovereigns of England, Scotland and Ireland.