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The British Foreign Policy Regarding Continental Europe

The British foreign policy from the 17th century until the end of World War II in 1945 CE was to prevent any nation from unifying the continent of Europe.

When the United could destroy the British Isles due to being unable to stand against Europe as a United political entity, this foreign policy is nothing new to Europeans since the 16th century.

With different kingdoms, the fighting wars to prevent any kingdoms from unifying or destroying the balance of power in continental Europe.

The first two great nations who battled it out over control of Europe were Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, king of United Spain, Duke of Burgundy, which incorporated the Netherlands, and ruler of southern Italy, including Sicily, who rained from 1516 to 1556.

His opponent was Francis I of France, who ruled from 1515 CE to 1547 CE.

They thought the Italian Wars, also known as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a series of conflicts fought between 1494 and 1559, mainly in the Italian peninsula, but later expanding into Flanders, the Rhineland, and the Mediterranean Sea.

This would be a trend in Europe unbroken until the end of the Napolean Wars, 1799 CE to 1815 CE. For the British, since the Battle of the Solent in 1545 CE, the French number 30,000 attempted to invade Tudor England.

The last time the English crown was until 1688 CE when they pursued an aggressive policy against one of the stronger nations of Europe.

The event, the Glorious Revolution of 1688 CE to 1689 CE, is significant for two reasons. The first was that it led to banking reform, with The Bank of England being founded as a private bank in 1694 to act as a banker to the Government.

And the brief union with the Dutch Republic with the invasion of William of Orange, who became William III of England and became co-monarch with Mary II of England.

This event galvanised the British nation and placed that country on the path of empire and war in Europe, mainly with France. From 1688 CE, Britain would fight the Nine Years’ War 1688 CE to 1697 CE, the War of the Spanish Succession 1701 CE to 1714 CE, and the Seven Years’ War 1756 CE to 1763 CE was a global conflict that involved most of the European and American Revolutionary War 1775 CE to 1783 CE.

The English were determined to fight France to prevent the French from dominating the European continent, and fighting the French was seen as Britain’s national destiny, likened to the motivation of the First Hundred Years War.

Britain’s first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, who was in office for 20 years and 315 days from 3 April 1721 until 11 February 1742, lost position due to his unwillingness to fight a war against France and lost the support of the House of Commons.

France, throughout the 18th century, spent 45 years out of 100 fighting wars in Europe and around the globe, with the British being a big funder of the enemies of France.

The British Foreign Policy Regarding Continental Europe
Habsburg–Valois Wars

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