James FitzJames duke of Berwick

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Berwick, James FitzJames, 1st duke of (1670–1734). Berwick spent almost all his life abroad in foreign military service. He was a natural son of James, duke of York, by Arabella Churchill, sister of the future duke of Marlborough. Born and educated in France, Berwick volunteered to join the emperor's forces besieging the Turkish redoubt of Buda in 1686. His father's succession as James II suggested a great career in Britain. He was created duke in 1687, made governor of Portsmouth (a post of responsibility in troubled times), and awarded the Garter. But James's flight in 1688 condemned Berwick to a life of distinguished exile. He fought for his father in Ireland and then settled down in France, being naturalized in 1702 and created a marshal of France in 1706. Sent to Spain to restore the flagging fortunes of Philip V, he won a great victory at Almanza in 1707. He was given French and Spanish dukedoms, which still survive in the family. In 1734, at the age of 64, still fighting for his adopted country in the War of the Polish Succession, he was killed outside Philipburg by a stray cannon-ball. His reputation was as a brave soldier and a sensible adviser. Montesquieu wrote of him that ‘he was brought up to support a sinking cause’.

J. A. Cannon

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James FitzJames Berwick, duke of (bĕr´Ĭk), 1670–1734, marshal of France; illegitimate son of King James II of England and Arabella Churchill, sister of the duke of Marlborough. Born and educated in France, he fought in Hungary against the Ottoman Turks. In 1687, his father, who had ascended the English throne in 1685, created him duke of Berwick. When his father was dethroned (1688), Berwick took part in the invasion of Ireland (1689) against James's successor William III; the effort was supported by King Louis XIV of France, James's ally. After the defeat in Ireland, Berwick fought for France in the War of the Grand Alliance and became (1703) a naturalized Frenchman. He subsequently helped suppress the Protestant Camisards. In the War of the Spanish Succession (see Spanish Succession, War of the), he won the decisive victory of Almansa (1707) for King Philip V of Spain, Louis XIV's grandson. In 1709 he campaigned against Prince Eugene of Savoy in defense of the southeastern frontier of France, and his capture of Barcelona (1714) was the closing event of the war. During the War of the Polish Succession, he commanded (1733) the French army of the Rhine; he was killed at Philippsburg.