Part of the CRASSH Fellows Work in Progress Seminar Series. All welcome but please email Michelle Maciejewska to book your place and to request readings. A sandwich lunch and refreshments are provided.
The so-called time of the politique des réunions is considered a momentous period in the long reign of Louis XIV. It marked the apparently unstoppable rise of France to European hegemony, but also its fall into hubris. The story is well known. In 1679 the Peace of Nijmegen had put an end to the Franco-Dutch War, but Louis XIV did not feel satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations. Thus after the signing of the treaty he took advantage of his superior power to proceed to the annexation (réunion) of certain territories on the northern and eastern borders of his kingdom. In order to give an appearance of legitimacy to what basically were acts of arbitrary aggression in peacetime, he established a number of special courts (chambres de réunion) with the only purpose of fabricating legal justifications for the occupations. This display of force ended up alienating most European powers. The result was the complete diplomatic isolation of France. The Nine Years War, also known as the War of the League of Augsburg (1688-1697), made the Sun King return to a more prudent foreign policy. In this sense, the politique des réunions marked the peak of his power but also his limit.
The politique des réunions has puzzled historians for a long time. It is generally acknowledged that it was a milestone in the increasingly assertive foreign policy of Louis XIV since the beginning of his personal rule in 1660. However, contrary to the remarkable achievements of the French armies on the battlefield, the réunions could hardly be a motive for celebration.
Dr. Fernando Chavarría-Múgica is the CRASSH/Clare Hall/Eurias Fellow 2015-16
Dr. Fernando Chavarría-Múgica is a historian of the Early Modern Spanish empire, currently affiliated to the Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences at the University Nova of Lisbon, Portugal. Before arriving to CRASSH he has been CNRS/Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow at the EHESS in Paris, France, and Juan de la Cierva Researcher at the University of Alcalá, Spain. He was awarded his PhD in History and Civilization from the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. His current research interests are: borders and borderlands, civil-military relations, political culture, factionalism, and the History of Emotions.