The Second Hundred Years War
The Commonwealth was about to entire a period which historians refer to as the second Hundred Years War, a contest for global supremacy with the French. Much like the first war, the English had an ally in the Low countries, in the form of the Republic of Holland. England, secure with its hegemony in the West Indies, it was more inclined to accommodate its protestant neighbor across the channel. The Treaty of Westerminster confirmed an alliance of the Triple Powers, that is, Sweden, Holland, and Britain.
France was no longer the civil war wracked nation of the Wars of Religion. It is the giant of Louis XIV, who goes to war with the Spanish in 1667 over their failure to pay the proper dowry. He manages to overrun, within a year, most of the Spanish Netherlands and the Franc-Comte. He is forced to exchange, at the Peace Treaty, Franc-Comte for much of the Spanish Netherlands.
This leaves the Dutch understandably nervous, and it does the same thing to the English. The War of the Low Countries, as it is so called, begins in 1672 when an army 100,000 strong invades the Netherlands.
Conde, Louis XIV, and Turenne  march into the Southern Netherlands, and they succeed in taking Utrecht. But several thousand French soldiers are tied up at the siege of Dunkirk, where the English fort is resupplied by sea.
The Dutch are in a mess, as in OTL. Historically they appointed William II, their captain-general, and they do so. The English threaten to drop out of the war unless they are ceded several territories, notably Manhattan, Antigua, and Ceylon. Faced with the choice of a conquest by the French, they give in.
The colonial aspects of the war shall be discussed later, but for now let us simply say that the British take time to deploy to the Continent.William manages to halt the French army, but it is John Lambert who recommends flooding the Low Countries by breaking the dykes, devastating the French army .
It takes several more years to drive the French out of the Low Countries into Calais. The battles of Ypres and Ghent are charnel houses, killing thousands.
Charles II makes an appearance in Scotland, rallying the Highland Clans to his standard. He is promptly defeated outside of Edinburgh by General Sexby, but that’s life.
OTL, the French and English were able to hold their own against the Dutch, and then triumph. This was largely the result of England. The Dutch and English navies have a merry time attacking French shipping, including in the Mediterranean.
But it is Quebec where the battle in the new world is decided. An armada of twenty warships travels to Montreal, then a small city, and manages to take it .
The Treaty of Rouen confirms the possession of the Spanish Netherlands in the hands of the Commonwealth, Luxembourg in Spanish hands, and several border adjustments in favor of France. It also gives Quebec, known as New Strathclyde, to the Commonwealth.
War and Peace. And Some more War.
There are other events abroad, of course. The French are not going to take this sitting down, and in 1680 , the War of the Grand Alliance begins.
The war of the Grand Alliance is a combination of several wars. The Empire and France
Fought a war in the 1680’s, which ends with Prussia gaining East Friesia but losing part of Pomerania, in Northern Germany.
The League of Ausburg, consisting of Bavaria, Austria, the Commonwealth, Sweden, Spain, Saxony, and the Palatinate oppose Louis. The outbreak of the war occurs when the Elector of the Palatinate dies. Louis claims a part of it on the basis that his sister in law was the Elector’s sister. He also presses for the Archbishop of Strassburg to become the Elector of Cologne instead of the Prince of Bavaria.
The war breaks out in 1789. Savoy is overrun in 1690, along with Piemonte. But the English win at Dunkirk, and the song “The Push of the Pike” becomes part of the English culture. The exact wording is something like this:
Captains in open fields, on their foes rushing,
Gentlemen second them with their pikes pushing.
Engineers in the trench, earth, earth uprearing,
Gunpowder in the mines, Frenchmen upblowing.
The French fleet is defeated at sea by the Commonwealth, but the French win the battle of Steinkirk.The Duke of Savoy is defeated in 1693, and the allies are growing exhausted.
The war drags on for several more years until 1697. The treaty of Bordeaux confirms the Commonwealth, the separate peace with Savoy, the Britannic capture of Pondicherry, cedes Strassbourg to France, and brings a general peace of exhaustion.
This is followed up by the war of Spanish succession . Charles, King of Spain, has no heirs. There are three candidates: Louis XIV, on behalf of his eldest son. Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria, grandson of Phillip, and Archduke Charles of Austria. The specifics can be found in my timeline on the House of Hapsburg-Savoy.
Needless to say, the Commonwealth isn’t thrilled with the idea of a Franco-Spanish union, nor an Austro-Spanish one. They favor Joseph, and so does the King. The treaties of Partition fail, and war breaks out.
The French invade the Low Countries, but are defeated by the Duke of Sussex. The French gain the advantage in Italy, as they have the Duke of Savoy on their side. The Austrians manage to repulse a Bavarian invasion of Tyrol in 1702, and everyone blithely ignores the Northern War.
Eugene and the Duke of Sussex team up to defeat the Franco-Bavarian force in the Rhineland, and in 1702 the Commonwealth captures Gibraltar. While the Hapsburgs manage to occupy Madrid temporarily, it ultimately ends in failure.The Austrian victory at Turin, however, secures all of Lombardy for the Austrians.
It is also important to note that the dynamics in the Commonwealth Parliament are different. The Sugar bloc is still there, but it’s not as important. In this timeline, they do not want to keep the price of sugar up by avoiding to conquer islands. They want the key producers of sugar in British hands. Now, preferably. Cuba joins Santo Domingo and Jamaica in 1708.
When the Emperor Joseph dies, and Charles VI becomes Emperor,the entire war halts. Charles would mean that the Empires of Spain and Austria would be under one throne, which no one is willing to allow.
The Commonwealth leaves the war, along with Savoy, at the Treaty of Antwerp. The Treaty guarantees the possession of Cuba and Acadia for the Commonwealth, and cedes Sicily to Savoy.Prussia and Portugal gain minor territorial adjustments too, of course.