To devote much space to colonies and trans-oceanic conflict in any work on eighteenth-century Europe might be held to reveal a western European bias, as the eastern European states did not have a trans-oceanic presence of note. It was the case, however, that expansion outside Europe was of significance, politically, economically and culturally, not only for the maritime powers, or for those countries, including in particular, Russia, that were to some extent frontier states. The diplomatic inter-relationship of states also ensured that conflict or peace outside Europe could affect other European powers. Peter the Great’s campaigns against Persia in the early 1720s helped to keep the peace in the Baltic; the Spanish expeditionary force of 1732 attacked Oran in North Africa and not, as had been feared, the island of Sardinia or Austrian Italy. The outbreak of Anglo-French hostilities in North America in 1754 helped to precipitate the Diplomatic Revolution by leading the British to step up diplomatic efforts to prevent an attack on Hanover. The financial strain caused by intervening in the War of American Independence was partly responsible for France’s weak position in European diplomacy in 1787–9.
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