Triple Alliance (1717)

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For other uses of this term, see Triple Alliance (disambiguation).

The Triple Alliance was a treaty between the Dutch Republic, France and Great Britain, against Spain, attempting to maintain the agreement of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. The three states were concerned about Spain becoming a superpower in Europe. As a result of this, militarisation took place, causing great havoc to civilians. This enraged Spain and other states, leading to brinkmanship. It became the Quadruple Alliance the next year with the accession of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI.

Background to the Alliance[edit]

After the deaths of Louis XIV and Queen Anne, relations between France and Great Britain improved. George I and the new French regent, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans were cousins and each faced threats to their regime. Orléans was concerned that his domestic enemies, in particular Louis Auguste de Bourbon, Duc de Maine, would combine with Spain to overthrow him, while George I wished to persuade the French to withhold support for any further Jacobite risings. According to Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, who opposed the Alliance, the British Ambassador to Paris, John Dalrymple, 2nd Earl of Stair, argued that the short-term advantage to both regimes of an alliance outweighed their traditional differences. Orléans agreed, as did his secretary Guillaume Dubois, the future Cardinal, who (together with James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope, the English Secretary of State), is generally regarded as the principal author of the Triple Alliance. Saint-Simon, who loathed Dubois, argued that the Bourbon Kingdoms of France and Spain should be perpetual allies, but this took no account of present realities. The Cellamare Conspiracy fully justified Orléans' concerns about Spanish intentions, and the successful conclusion to the War of Quadruple Alliance vindicated the decision to ally with Great Britain and the Dutch Republic.


  • Earl Russell (1826). History of the principal states of Europe from the peace of Utrecht, Volume 2. John Murray. p. 102. 

See also[edit]