Austrian Succession, War of the: Following the death of Emperor Karl VI in 1740, some of the signatories to the Pragmatic Sanction no longer adhered to its terms and disputed the succession of Maria Theresia. In December 1740, the Prussian King Friedrich II invaded Silesia, which triggered the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1741, Bavaria, France and Spain signed the Alliance of Nymphenburg, which was joined by Prussia, Saxony, Sweden, the province of Naples and by the Wittelsbach Counts of the Palatinate and of Cologne. Maria Theresia was supported by the English and the Dutch. Bavarian and French troops pushed forward to Lower Austria and occupied Bohemia, which strongly supported the Bavarian Count Palatinate Karl Albert, who was crowned Holy Roman Emperor Karl VII in 1742. With the help of the Hungarian army, Maria Theresia managed to drive the invaders from her lands and conquer Bavaria, while the Spanish were defeated in Italy. When England supported Austria with a "pragmatic army", Sardinia and Saxony joined Austria in its struggle as well, and peace was concluded with Bavaria in the Treaty of Füssen (1745). The struggle with Prussia was less successful. Following the two Silesian Wars, peace was made in the Treaty of Dresden, but Austria had to give up most of Silesia. The third part of the war was dominated by the English-French conflict. The War of the Austrian Succession found its end in 1748 in the Peace of Aachen (Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle). Apart from Silesia, Maria Theresia also lost the Northern Italian duchies of Parma, Piacenza und Guastalla, which went to the Spanish Bourbons, but managed to sustain Austria´s position as a great power. Another result of the war were far-reaching administrative reforms.
Literature: R. Browning, The War of the Austrian Succession, 1994.