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the battle a city a king a general
the cause introduction the Sun King the Duke of Marlborough
11 July 1708 the scale-model Vauban the French
the landscape of the battle beautiful people in the 18th century the allies

the first duke of Marlborough



The name of the first Duke of Marlborough, born as John Churchill in 1650, will always be linked to the military operations and the English victories on the European continent during the War of the Spanish Succession.

The duke was a brilliant strategist, who also managed to endear himself to his troops.  The armies that were raised at the beginning of the 18th century consisted of all sorts and conditions of people: from adventurers or people trying to escape unemployment to criminals or prisoners who could convert their jail sentence into military service.  It was quite a task to keep such a motley crew in close order.  But Marlborough’s inspiring leadership, his gift to enhance the self-esteem of his troops by his many victories and his care for the individual welfare of his soldiers through meticulous planning and administration made him an exceptional general.

He also could count on a number of excellent commanders, among them William Cadogan, who played a decisive role in the development of the fighting.  His friendship with prince Eugène de Savoye was legendary.  He was a mighty ally and together they devised brilliant strategies that would lead to military successes in Blindheim, Malplaquet and also in Oudenaarde.

Even before the end of the War of the Spanish Succession he would fall into disfavour with the queen of England and he went into exile.  He was later restored to honour, but suffered from ill health until his death in 1722.