War of Spanish Succession

Map Showing Modern Day Casale Monferrato, Besieged by Duke of Savoy during the War of Spanish Succession, from Tindal's "Continuation of Rapin's History of England"



Map Showing Modern Day Casale Monferrato, Besieged by Duke of Savoy during the War of Spanish Succession, from Tindal's Continuation of Rapin's History of England

 

A print entitled "A view of Casal, a very strong city and castle in Italy, taken by the Duke of Savoy in Decemr. 1706 / for Mr. Tindal's Continuation of Mr. Rapin's History of England." After the original engraving by Isaac Basire (1704-1768), and published in The Continuation of Mr. Rapin de Thoyras's History of England: from the Revolution to the Accession of King George II, ca. 1750. The title appears in block lettering in the bottom margin. Printed on two pieces of paper joined verso, with a nice deep plate mark. In very good condition. Minor chipped edges, closed tears, scattered foxing throughout, and some superficial marks located in the upper left corner. Light ghost impressions of text found verso. 20" x 15.75".

 

The panoramic aerial view shows the city of Casal, or modern day Casale Monferrato, in northwestern Italy. The early eighteenth-century city was heavily fortified, and guarded by a hexagonal garrison as shown at center right. Other landmarks seen on the map include the Po River, the neighboring city of Frassinello Monferrato to the north, and a Capuchin convent in the pastoral landscape.

 

The map alludes to events that took place during the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714), an international conflict precipitated by the death of the childless Spanish monarch Charles II. Various European countries and nation-states advanced competing claims to the Spanish throne, eventually pitting France against Great Britain, Austria, Netherlands, Hapsburg Spain, and others. Savoy, led by Duke Victor Amadeus II (1666-1732) between 1675-1730, allied first with France, but then switched sides to join the Grand Alliance. The duchy of Savoy had been reduced to the status of a regional French satellite by the late seventeenth century, and the Duke was eager to acquire new lands as well as a measure of autonomy.

 

The War of the Spanish Succession was fought throughout western Europe. French coalition forces had besieged Turin, the Duke of Savoy's capital, between June-September 1706. The Savoyards and their Austrian and Prussian allies repulsed the attackers. Perhaps emboldened by his riposte at Turin, the Duke of Savoy sallied forth to Casal, located halfway between Turin and Milan, in mid-November.

 

The Duke of Savoy besieged Casal between November 16 and December 6, 1706. When the city surrendered, over 1,800 of its active garrison troops became prisoners of war. Casal also yielded a huge arsenal of weapons, as reported in The Life and Reign of her Late excellent Majesty Queen Anne (London: 1738), p. 285. "His Royal Highness [the Duke of Savoy] found [in Casal] 76 Pieces of Cannon, 70,000 Weight of Powder, 28,000 Grenadoes, and a great Quantity of other Ammunition and Provisions." Tindal's Continuation briefly mentions the Siege of Casal--not in any detail, but only as further evidence of the extent of French losses that fall; "France lost at the conclusion of the campaign a vast country, the invading and keeping of which had cost prodigious sums of money…" (Vol. IV, part 1, p. 761).

 

French historian Paul de Rapin de Thoyras (1661-1725) wrote a 10-volume survey history of England, dating from the Ancient Roman conquest to the Glorious Revolution, in the 1720s. British clergyman and amateur historian Nicolas Tindal (1687-1774) continued the narration through the first monarchs of the Hanoverian dynasty.

 


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