European States System

By: Summer Maccubbin

Sovereign European States

The Thirty Years' War and the Peace Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 laid the foundations for a system of independent competing states. Between 1668 and 1713 the Sun King, also known as Louis XIV, sought to expand borders into east Germany and to absorb Spain Spanish Netherlands into his kingdom. This prompted England, the United Provinces, and Austria to mount a coalition against Louis XIV.

Balance of Power

No ruler wanted to see another state dominate all the others. Therefore when any particular state became stronger, others formed alliances against it. Frequent wars and balance-of-power diplomacy drained the resources of individual states but strengthened European society as a whole. European states competed vigorously and sought to develop expert military leadership and the newest technologies for their armies. In China, India, and Islamic lands, imperial states had little to intensive to exceed their military's technology. However, in Europe, there was a constant need to have the latest technologies or face the fear of loosing on the battle grounds.