The "Barrier Treaties" were the names of three agreements signed and ratified during or immediately after the War of Spanish Succession. The so-called "barrier" referred to several fortresses within the territory of Spanish (later Austrian) Netherlands, that were in effect garrisons manned with Dutch troops acting as forward bases buffering the Dutch Republic from the Kingdom of France.
The first Barrier Treaty (also known as the Treaty of Den Haag or the Treaty of The Hague) was signed on 29 October 1709 between Great Britain and the states-general of the United Provinces. By the terms of the treaty, the United Provinces engaged to guarantee the Protestant succession in England in favour of the House of Hanover, while Great Britain undertook to procure for the Dutch an adequate barrier on the side of the Netherlands, consisting Dutch garrison stationed in the towns of Veurne, Nieuwpoort, Ypres, Menen, Lille, Tournai, Condé, Valenciennes, Maubeuge, Charleroi, Namur, Halle, Damme, Dendermonde and Ghent. The treaty was based on the same principle of securing Holland against French aggression that had inspired that of Treaty of Ryswick in 1698, by the terms of which the chief frontier fortresses of the Netherlands were to be garrisoned by Dutch troops.
The second Barrier Treaty was signed between Great Britain and the United Provinces on 29 January 1713, by which the strong places designed for the barrier were reduced to Veurne, Fort Knokke (also called fort de la Kenoque, or Le Henoque), Ypres, Menen, Tournai, Mons, Charleroi, Namur, Ghent (the Citadel and certain other fortresses) and Bruges. Great Britain undertook to obtain the right for the Dutch to garrison them from the future sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands. Its terms were included in the Treaty of Rastatt, between the emperor and France, signed on 7 March 1714.
The third Barrier Treaty (also known as the Treaty of Antwerp) was signed on 15 November 1715. Based on the terms of the accord the Dutch would have garrisons in Veurne, Ypres, Warneton, Menen, Tournai and Namur. Also, Frederick William I of Prussia ceded to the United Provinces several cities in the upper regions of Guelders.
End of the arrangement
The result of the Barrier Treaty was that the Holy Roman emperor Charles VI did not have a lot to say about "his" Austrian Netherlands. This caused quite a lot of frustration with the Austrians, especially because the Dutch troops they had to allow were paid with money raised by the Austrian Netherlands themselves. This would last until empress Maria Theresa refused to pay for those troops any longer.
The war of 1740-1748 showed that the fortifications manned with Dutch troops were not highly maintained, so that the French troops were able to overrun a number of them easily. When Austria and France entered into an alliance in 1756, there was virtually no use for the barrier treaty anymore. In 1781 Emperor Joseph II of Austria unilaterally abolished the treaty.
- "By the first barrier treaty of The Hague of October 29, 1709, Great Britain promised to cede to the States General the upper portion of Guelder with the right of garrison in the forts of Liége and Huy and the city of Bonn (Myers 1917, p. 799).
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Barrier Treaty". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 436. This cites:
- Jean Dumont, Corps universel diplomatique, &c. (1726–1731), vol. viii.
- "By Article XVIII of the third barrier treaty of Antwerp of November 15, 1715, the Emperor ceded to the States General in full sovereignty and ownership several cities in the upper portion of Guelder, this not seeming to affect the previous treaty engagements except in point of neighbors and political influence" (Myers 1917, p. 799).
- Low, Sir John; Pulling, F. S. (1910). "Barrier Treaty 1715". The Dictionary of English History. Cassell. p. 134. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- Myers, Denys P. (1917). "Violation of Treaties: Bad Faith, Nonexecution and Disregard". The American Journal of International Law. 11. pp. 794–819.