At the beginning of the 18th century there was a war that could have changed the balance of power forever. This was the War of Spanish Succession, which lasted from 1701 to 1714. The conflict began when Charles II of Spain died childless. With no heir to the throne several nations arose with their own candidates. Louis XIV of France had a candidate as well as Leopold I, who was the Holy Roman Emperor.
At this point in history France was amassing an immense amount of land and power. So much so that there was concern that if they controlled Spain as well there would be a shift in the balance of power. After a mangled mess of politics concerning the matter, France and Spain were pitted in a war against countless nations, which included England, Austria, Holland, and the Holy Roman Empire.
The Climax of the war was reached at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. France for the first time under the rule of Louis XIV suffered its first loss in battle. Not only was it a loss, but also it was a dreadful one. France was in fact invaded in 1708 and at this point Louis was ready to make peace. However, the Dutch and the Holy Roman Empire had him right where they wanted him and refused any treaty as of that time. Yet, in 1714 peace was declared and the lands of Spain were divided amongst the victors.