War of Spanish Succession

Map Showing Battle of Oudenaard during the War of Spanish Succession, from Tindal's "Continuation of Rapin's History of England"



Map Showing Battle of Oudenaard during the War of Spanish Succession, from Tindal's Continuation of Rapin's History of England

 

A print entitled "Plan of the Battle of Oudenard fought July 11th. 1708 / 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 to near fine condition. Minor chipped edges including a few closed tears. Overall toning and isolated foxing. Light ghost impressions of text found verso. 20" x 15.75".

 

The map gives a bird's eye view of the area surrounding Oudenarde (also known as Oudenaard), in modern day Belgium. The map shows topographical features of the area, as well as local landmarks such as villages, roads, bridges, chateaux, churches, and windmills. It also shows the military movements of both combatants over the course of the July 11, 1708 Battle of Oudenaard.

 

The Battle of Oudenaard was part of the larger 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. The Bourbon Alliance, headed by Louis XIV's France, waged war against the Grand Alliance, comprised of Great Britain, Netherlands, and elements of the Holy Roman Empire. In the map legend located at lower right, members of the Grand Alliance are referred to as the "ye Allies" and members of the Bourbon Alliance are referred to as the "Enemy."

 

In 1708, Oudenaard was part of the Spanish Netherlands, and thus protected by the Grand Alliance. In early July of that year, the French had aggressively entered the region and captured nearby Bruges and Ghent. The British-controlled garrison at Oudenaard (captured by John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough in 1706) was the last Grand Alliance stronghold in the area, and thereby of great tactical importance.  The Battle of Oudenaard is described in detail in Tindal's Continuation, Vol. IV, part 1, between pages 72-79. (Two unnumbered pages inset between pages 74-75 appear to be versions of this very map, as it originally appeared within the volume.)

 

Combatants were almost evenly matched; French forces numbered 85,000 while Alliance forces mustered 80,000. Casualty rates were markedly imbalanced, however, with French forces losing twice as many soldiers in wounded and killed (6-7,000), and an additional twice as many soldiers captured as prisoners of war (7-8,000). The Battle of Oudenaard was a devastating loss to French coalition forces. After the day's horrific losses, they retreated under cover of darkness to Ghent, located about 15 miles to the northeast of Oudenaard.

 

The outcome of the Battle of Oudenaard was determined in part by its landscape. A large part of French forces, including its cavalry, was kept in reserve during the battle, in part because of uncertainty about the low-lying and marshy terrain surrounding Oudenaard. One of the focal points of the battlefield was the Scheldt River, listed on the map as the "Escaut R." The French had to cross the river not only to capture the British fortress at Oudenaard, but also to affect its own retreat north to Ghent. Accurate maps were thus of critical importance.

 

The map provides the modern viewer with a highly entertaining exercise, that of matching up phonetically spelled eighteenth-century French place names with modern Flemish Belgian ones. More than 12 villages in East Flanders are identified on the map, including "Beveren" (Bevere); "Eaname" (Ename); "Weldene" (Welden); "Gavere" (Gavere); "Wannagem" (Wannegem); "Lede" (Lede); "Oycke" (Ooike); "Moereghem" (Moregem); "Cruyshautem" (Kruishoutem); "Singen" (Zingen); and "Heurne" (Heurne). During the Battle of Oudenaard, British forces congregated around "Eyne" (Eine), while reserve French troops loitered near "Huyse" (Huise).

 

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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Item: 65317

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War of Spanish Succession
War of Spanish Succession
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