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Family Compact

Family Compact, several alliances between France and Spain in the form of agreements between the French and Spanish branches of the Bourbon family. The first of the three compacts, the Treaty of the Escorial (1733), was continued and extended by the second agreement (1743). The third, and most important, of the treaties was that of 1761. Both England and France sought Spanish support in the Seven Years War, but England's attack on Spanish colonies and shipping alienated Charles III of Spain and the king rejected the English offer in favor of the proposal made by the French minister, the duc de Choiseul. The pact, which dealt with political and commercial relations and with the entry of Spain into the war, also included the Bourbon ruler of the Two Sicilies and the Infante Philip, duke of Parma. Spain entered the war (1762) but was of small use to France; the economic and political provisions of the pact proved more enduring than the military ones.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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