The Treaty of Utrecht, 1713

The British and their allies achieved the major aims expressed at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession. The French were driven from the Spanish Netherlands, which went to the Emperor. They lost their foothold in Italy, and accepted - as did the Spanish - that the crowns of the two countries would never be united.

The treaty expanded the British empire in the following ways:

  • Britain acquired Gibraltar and Minorca,
  • valuable trading concessions in Spanish America, and
  • the island of St. Kitt's in the West Indies.

In North America, France

  • recognised the British claim to the Hudson Bay territory, and
  • ceded mainland Acadia (modern Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) to Britain, but not Cape Breton.

In addition, by article 13 of the treaty, France recognised that the island of Newfoundland was a British possession, though retaining the right to fish on a part of the coast which became known as the “French Shore.” France surrendered the fort at Plaisance, and the French settlers moved to Cape Breton, renamed Île Royale.

Article 13. The Island called Newfoundland, with the adjacent islands, shall, from this time forward, belong of right wholly to Great Britain; and to that end the town and fortress of Placentia, and whatever other places in the said island, are in the possession of the French, shall be yielded and given up .... Moreover it shall not be lawful for the subjects of France to fortify any place in the said Island of Newfoundland, or to erect any buildings there, besides stages made of boards, and huts necessary and usual for fishing and drying of fish; or to resort to the said island beyond the time necessary for fishing and drying of fish. But it shall be allowed to the subjects of France, to catch fish, and to dry them on land, in that part only, and in no other besides that, of the said Island of Newfoundland, which stretches from the place called Cape Bonavista, to the northern point of the said island, and from thence running down the western side, reaches as far as the place called Point Riche. But the island called Cape Breton, as also all others, both in the mouth of the river St. Lawrence and in the Gulf of the same name, shall hereafter belong of right to the French ....

©1998, J.K. Hiller

Date in the title added November, 2009


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