Treaty of Brussels (1656)

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The Treaty of Brussels was an agreement between representatives of Philip IV of Spain and Charles II, the leader of the exiled Royalists of England, Ireland and Scotland.

In Brussels, in the Spanish Netherlands, on 2 April 1656, the treaty was signed on Charles's behalf by the Earl of Rochester and the Duke of Ormonde. Alonso de Cárdenas, a former Spanish ambassador to London, signed on behalf of Philip.[1]


The exiled Royalists had been close to the French court, but the 1655 alliance between the Commonwealth of England and the Kingdom of France drove them into the arms of France's enemy, Spain.


In exchange for future Spanish military support for a potential restoration, Charles agreed to raise forces to fight for Spain in the Franco-Spanish War. He also pledged to stop English colonisation in the Americas and to return any territory that would be taken by the Commonwealth from Spain. He also agreed to help Spain fight against Portugal's attempt to regain independence.


In 1657, the Commonwealth signed the Treaty of Paris with France, which formalised the developing Anglo-French alliance. Charles's alliance with the nation's traditional enemy, Spain, further undermined his support with the English public.[2]

Nonetheless, Royalist supporters joined the Spanish army in large numbers, led by his younger brother James, Duke of York.[3] Large numbers of Irish troops deserted the French army to serve under York in the hope that they could invade England. However, their hopes were largely dashed by the Spanish defeat to Anglo-French forces at the 1658 Battle of the Dunes and the surrender of Dunkirk.

Spain then made peace with France at the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, and even the death of Oliver Cromwell did not lead to the immediate collapse of the Commonwealth.

In 1660, Charles was restored to the crown with the assistance of English troops of the New Model Army, under George Monck. The failure of Spain, however, to assist Charles' return to London meant that he did not feel bound by the treaty and so he annulled it.

Under Charles, English settlement in the Americas continued to grow. In 1662, he made a dynastic marriage with the Portuguese Catharine of Braganza and supported Portugal's successful campaign for independence.[4] The territory that was taken by England from Spain before 1660 was either kept or sold. Jamaica was turned into an English colony, and Charles sold Dunkirk to his cousin Louis XIV.


  1. ^ Aubrey p.108
  2. ^ Seel p. 92
  3. ^ Childs p. 2
  4. ^ Davenport pp. 57-59


  • Aubrey, Philip (1990). Mr Secretary Thurloe: Cromwell's Secretary of State, 1652-1660. Athlone Press. ISBN 9780485113471.
  • Childs, John (1976). The Army of Charles II. University Of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0415846110.
  • Davenport, Frances Gardiner; Paullin, Charles Oscar, eds. (2004). European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies: Issue 254. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN 9781584774228.
  • Seel, Graham E (2005). The English Wars and Republic, 1637–1660. Routledge. ISBN 9781134638574.