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Villars, Claude Louis Hector, duc de

Claude Louis Hector Villars, duc de (klōd lwē ĕktôr´ dük də vēlär´), 1653–1734, marshal of France, the last of the great generals of Louis XIV. He fought in the Dutch War (1672–78) and in 1687 went to Bavaria, where he helped strengthen the new French alliance with the elector of Bavaria; he fought with the elector against the Ottomans at Mohács. After serving (1698–1701) as ambassador at Vienna he was given a command in the War of the Spanish Succession and made his reputation by his victories at Friedlingen (1702) in Baden and Höchstädt (1703) in Bavaria. In 1704 he quelled the revolt of the Camisards. Defeated (1709) by the duke of Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy at Malplaquet, he successfully defended the French frontier during the succeeding years; in 1712 he defeated Eugene at Denain and in 1713–14 negotiated the Treaty of Rastatt. He was a member of the regency council (1715–23) and of the succeeding administrations and was in supreme command in the War of the Polish Succession at the time of his death. Villars left important memoirs.

See C. C. Sturgill, Marshall Villars and the War of the Spanish Succession (1965).

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