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antislavery and abolition

Peace between England and the Netherlands in 1688 meant that the two countries entered the Nine Years’ War as allies, but the conflict—waged in Europe and overseas between France, Spain and the Anglo-Dutch alliance—left the English a stronger colonial power than the Dutch, who were forced to devote a larger proportion of their military budget on the costly land war in Europe.[59] The 18th century saw England (after 1707, Britain) rise to be the world’s dominant colonial power, and France becoming its main rival on the imperial stage.[60]

The death of Charles II of Spain in 1700 and his bequeathal of Spain and its colonial empire to Philippe of Anjou, a grandson of the King of France, raised the prospect of the unification of France, Spain and their respective colonies, an unacceptable state of affairs for England and the other powers of Europe.[61] In 1701, England, Portugal and the Netherlands sided with the Holy Roman Empire against Spain and France in the War of the Spanish Succession, which lasted until 1714.

At the concluding Treaty of Utrecht, Philip renounced his and his descendants’ right to the French throne and Spain lost its empire in Europe.[61] The British Empire was territorially enlarged: from France, Britain gained Newfoundland and Acadia, and from Spain, Gibraltar and Menorca. Gibraltar became a critical naval base and allowed Britain to control the Atlantic entry and exit point to the Mediterranean. Spain also ceded the rights to the lucrative asiento (permission to sell slaves in Spanish America) to Britain.[62]