War of the Austrian Succession

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The War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748) involved most countries in Europe. It was fought over Archduchess Maria Theresa's succession to the Habsburg Monarchy. The war included other events such as King George's War in British America, the War of Jenkins' Ear (which formally began on 23 October 1739), the First Carnatic War in India, the Jacobite rising of 1745 in Scotland and the First and the Second Silesian Wars.

Maria Theresa was not allowed to succeed to the various crowns of her father, Charles VI, because Salic law would not let a woman inherit them. That gave an opportunity for France and Prussia, joined by Bavaria, to challenge the Habsburgs' power. Maria Theresa was supported by Great Britain, the Dutch Republic, Sardinia, and Saxony.

Spain had been at war with Britain over colonies and trade since 1739 to re-establish its influence in northern Italy, which Austria had taken control during the War of the Spanish Succession, in the early 18th century.

The war ended with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. Maria Theresa was confirmed as Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary, but Prussia kept control of Silesia. The peace did not last, however, because of Austria's desire to recapture Silesia and the political upheaval in Europe. Soon came the Seven Years' War (1756–1763).