War of the Austrian Succession

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The War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748) involved most of the countries in Europe. It was about 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 Second Silesian Wars.

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

Spain had been at war with Britain over colonies and trade since 1739. It joined the war to re-establish its influence in northern Italy. The Austrians had taken control of northern Italy, as a consequence of Spain's war of succession earlier in the 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, when Austria's desire to recapture Silesia and the political upheaval in Europe, ended with the Seven Years' War (1756–1763).