Treaty of London (1604)

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Treaty of London
Signed August 28, 1604 (1604-08-28)
Location London, England
Languages English, Spanish

The Treaty of London, signed on 18 August O.S. (28 August N.S.) 1604,[1][2][3] concluded the nineteen-year Anglo-Spanish War. The negotiations took place at Somerset House in London and are sometimes known as the Somerset House Conference.


After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, her successor, James I, quickly sought to end the long and draining conflict. James was an idealistic practitioner of Christian peace and unity, and also the son and successor to Mary, Queen of Scots, whose execution had been a proximate cause of the conflict. Philip III of Spain, who also had inherited the war from his predecessor, Philip II, and whose treasuries had also been drained, warmly welcomed the offer and ordered the commencement of the difficult negotiations that followed.

The Anglo-Spanish War had been a complex and fluctuating conflict which also had connections with the Dutch Revolt, the French Wars of Religion, and the Nine Years' War in Ireland. The treaty restored the status quo ante bellum.[4][5] This amounted to an acknowledgement by Spain that its hopes of restoring Roman Catholicism in England were at an end. Spain was compelled to recognise the Protestant monarchy in England. In return, England ended its financial and military support for the Dutch rebellion, ongoing since the Treaty of Nonsuch (1585).[6] According to historian Kenneth R. Andrews, while the treaty secured the maritime lanes for the Spanish treasure fleet, English privateering had already devastated the Spanish private merchant marine.[4]

Following the signing of the treaty, England and Spain remained at peace until 1625.


  • Spain renounces intentions to restore Catholicism in England
  • An end to English wartime disruption to Spanish trans-atlantic shipping and colonial expansion (article 6)[7][8]
  • The English Channel opened to Spanish shipping
  • An end to English intervention in the Dutch Revolt (articles 4,5,7); England withdraws military and financial support to the Dutch rebels
  • Ships of both countries, merchants or warships, could use the mainland sea ports of the other party for refit, shelter or buy provisions (article 10). Fleets of less than eight ships did not even have to ask for permission. This provided an extensive network of naval bases for the Spaniards in England to help their war against the Dutch.

English delegation[edit]

Spanish delegations[edit]

The English negotiated with two delegations, one representing the King of Spain, the other the Archdukes Albert and Isabella, rulers of the Spanish Netherlands.

Spanish delegation

Delegation of the Spanish Netherlands

External links[edit]


  1. ^ see Old Style and New Style dates: the date is brackets the Gregorian Calendar used in Spain but not Britain at that time
  2. ^ Ratified by the King of Spain on and ratified on 5/15 June 1605 and by King James I on 19/29 August 1604
  3. ^ Davenport, pp. 246257
  4. ^ a b Hiram Morgan, ‘Teaching the Armada: An Introduction to the Anglo-Spanish War, 1585-1604’, History Ireland, Vol. 14, No. 5 (Sep. - Oct., 2006), p. 43.
  5. ^ Paul Allen, Philip III and the Pax Hispanica, 1598-1621 (New Haven, 2000).
  6. ^ "The terms, ironically, were similar to those that Philip II had sought prior to the Spanish Armada in 1588, namely the cessation of English intervention on the Continent and a renunciation of high seas buccaneering—which, in any case, had been delivering at best diminishing returns following the Spanish navy’s refitting in 1589. Spain had achieved many of its war aims but, like England, had nearly emptied its treasury in the process." Ulm, Wes: The Defeat of the English Armada and the 16th-Century Spanish Naval Resurgence. Harvard University, 2004
  7. ^ "The first item of James' agenda was to bring to a close the long standing war with Spain. This was done by the Treaty of London in August 1604. Its terms were flagantry generous to the Spanish, the first black mark against the new king. Moreover James, unlike Elizabeth, had every intention of honoring them." Burgess, Douglas: The Pirates' Pact: The Secret Alliances Between History's Most Notorious Buccaneers and Colonial America. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008, page 29. ISBN 0-07-147476-5
  8. ^ Channing, Edward: A history of the United States. Octagon Books, 1977, v. 1, page 158. ISBN 0-374-91414-1


See also[edit]