Anglo-French Alliance

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This article is about the Anglo-French Alliance between 1716 and 1731. For the 1657 alliance, see Treaty of Paris (1657). For the alliance that has existed since 1904, see Entente Cordiale.
Foreign alliances of France
Frankish-Abbasid alliance 8th–9th c.
Franco-Scottish alliance 1295–1560
Franco-Polish alliance 1524–1526
Franco-Hungarian alliance 1528–1552
Franco-Ottoman alliance 16–19th c.
Anglo-French alliance 1657-1660
American Indians 17–18th c.
Anglo-French Alliance 1716–1731
Franco-Spanish alliance 1733–1792
Franco-Prussian alliance 1741–1756
Franco-Austrian alliance 1756–1792
Franco-Indian alliances 18th c.
Franco-Vietnamese alliance 1777–1820
Franco-American alliance 1778–1794
Franco-Persian alliance 1807–1809
Franco-Russian alliance 1892–1917
Entente cordiale 1904–present
Franco-Polish alliance 1921–1940
Franco-Soviet Treaty 1936-1939
NATO 1949–present
WEU (1948) 1954–2011
Regional relations
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The Anglo-French Alliance is the name for the alliance between Great Britain and France between 1716 and 1731. It formed part of the stately quadrille in which the Great Powers of Europe repeatedly switched partners to try to build a superior alliance.


Following the end of the War of the Spanish Succession by the Treaty of Utrecht, British and French interests converged as they wished to stop the expansion of Spanish and Russian power. France faced an uncertain succession as their King Louis XV was currently young and childless. Britain was wary of alienating the much larger France. The two states co-operated together during the War of the Quadruple Alliance to stop a Spanish attempt to conquer parts of Italy. Shortly afterwards they managed to check the Russian advance across the Baltic.

End of the Alliance[edit]

The birth of a Dauphin in 1725[citation needed] began to dissolve the French interest in the alliance, as their future was increasingly secure. In Britain a group of Austrophiles suggested that Austria would in fact make a better potential partner for Britain. The actions of the French Chief Minister Cardinal Fleury were increasingly hostile towards Britain. The French failure to support the British during the Anglo-Spanish War (1727–29) convinced many that they were no longer a reliable ally, but were instead returning to the traditional position of a rival. The end of the alliance was never formally declared, but by early 1731 it was widely considered to be over.

In 1731 Britain, sensing the direction Cardinal Fleury was taking France, concluded an alliance with Austria. By 1742 Britain and France were on opposite sides during the War of the Austrian Succession and their colonial rivalry in North America continued. Some have suggested that between 1688 and 1815 Britain and France were 'natural enemies' and the period has become known as the Second Hundred Years' War, but the seventeen years spent as allies has been used to challenge this theory that the two states were implacable enemies.


Following the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Britain helped restore the French kings to the throne. Thereafter the two states became informal allies, never again fighting a war as of 2014 despite crises such as Fashoda (1898) and Mers-el-Kébir (1940). In 1904 the two states concluded the Entente Cordiale, an alliance directed at checking the expanding powers of Russia and Germany.

See also[edit]


  • Browning, Reed. The Duke of Newcastle. Yale University Press, 1975.
  • McLynn, Frank. 1759: The Year Britain Became Master of the World. Pimlico, 2005.
  • Murphy, Orvile T. Charles Gravier: Comete de Vergennes: French Diplomacy in the Age of Revolution. New York Press, 1982.
  • Simms, Brendan. Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire. Penguin Books, 2008.
  • Whiteley, Peter. Lord North: The Prime Minister who lost America. The Hambledon Press, 1996.