Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rumblings in the former Spanish Netherlands

Over the past several months, large numbers of immigrants have poured into portions of what was once known as the Spanish Netherlands. Now, however, with the division of spoils by the powers of Europe, those who have reason to venture elsewhere are finding a home in one of the several newly established nations in the region.

The French are known to be preparing a punitive expedition to the new world, to bring to heel the upstart English colonists who had the audacity to reject certain provisions of the Treaty of Paris. How this rebellion will turn out is anyone's guess, but our contacts in the halls of numerous monarchs give little chance to the colonials.

The Scots are still heavily involved in a ghastly civil war. A large number of the more prominent members of aristocratic families are either fleeing their homeland or retrenching on their less exposed lands.

The intermittent war between the Swedes on one side and the Russians and her allies on the other is currently stalemated. Rumors of a large battle having been fought have not yet been confirmed and it is unknown which side is victorious.

The Irish are happily thronging to pay homage to their King, James III. How the fortunes of the mighty have changed in less than two years. It must be noted that the English still fume over the circumstances which conspired against them.

Both Austria and Prussia are consolidating their recent gains, but neither is exceedingly happy at how things turned out for them.

Indeed, Europe in great debt to Providence for having successfully avoided another general war. Even more surprising is how much of this peace is due to the late and somewhat lamented Louis XIV. We certainly could not have predicted his sudden policy shift away from war as a matter of state policy. It is only through the whim of fate that his sudden death prevented him from seeing a new and peaceful order established in what was once the most fought over lands in Europe.

Even so, the various peoples of the former Spanish Netherlands are grossly unhappy with their being divided so by their larger and more powerful neighbors. Of course, the alternatives left to them were even worse.

Only time will tell how long this peace will last.