After the death of King Charles II of Spain, the battle for the succession between Philip of Bourbon, grandson of King Louis XIV of France, and Charles of Habsburg, son of Emperor Leopold I of Austria, is based on official and secret relationship, and on the intertwining of military solutions, diplomatic strategies and legal claims. In the provinces belonging to the two century-old Spanish Empire, the ruling élites are forced to take sides and to choose which contender to support. In the Kingdom of Naples begins to spread the independence mirage, proposed by the possible succession of Charles of Habsburg, who promises to the Neapolitans a radical mutation of status, with the liberation from the two century-old subjection to Spain and the creation of a “national king” to Naples, a “king of their own”. In Naples was already running an “aristocratic party”, aspiring to a res publica aristocratica, that, with the beginning of the conflict between the Habsburgs and the Bourbons, is transformed into “Habsburg party” and is dedicated to plan a pro-Habsburg conspiracy. In September 1701, it is concocted the so-called “conspiracy of Macchia”, accompanied by a revolt that intends to subvert the new Bourbon regime and encourage the conquest of the kingdom by Charles of Habsburg. Many important Neapolitans nobles take part - directly or indirectly - in the conspiracy and, after its failure, they are condemned and forced to flee to Vienna. Among these noble men, there is the Prince of Caserta Gaetano Francesco Caetani, who during the uprising brings together about a thousand armed men willing to offer help to the Imperial troops that are going to invade the Kingdom of Naples. The research is based on unpublished sources, preserved in Italian and Austrian archives.
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