The Ancien Regime in France was a system of governance in which a plethora of local nobility enjoyed considerable power, but in an uneven and confusing way. Louis XV had been king of France since 1715 (although had ruled through a regent until 1743, at the outset of the War of Polish Succession). He got France into the Adriatic War against Greece the next year, and mismanaged many aspects of both wars, creating a lot of frustration among his nobles. Sven the Great of Sweden, ever an unscrupulous politician, acquired a dense and effective network of subversives within the French nobility through bribery and propaganda, exacerbating Louis’s political troubles and paving the way for the Eastern Coalition victory in Poland by 1748.
Sven had also managed to secure alliance with a number of states in northern Germany (most notably, Mecklenburg), and, in 1749, he swept through northern Germany in just a year, having only had to fight a handful of quick, decisive battles against West Prussian and Saxon forces. He united the area into a single administrative unit (which he called "Holstein-Prussia") under Swedish hegemony, but many of the former states remained independent in practice, and the official size of Holstein-Prussia would steadily shrink over time. Eventually, this administrative structure was deemed ineffective, and Holstein-Prussia was divided into three units: Holstein, Mecklenburg and Pomerania.
A number of nobles in eastern France and northwestern Germany also supported Sweden during this time, and a sufficient band of them had accumulated by 1749 to declare themselves separate from the French court. Sven placed his second son, Björn, as the leader of this new nation, and dubbed him “Duke of Burgundy” (a title that rightfully belonged to the King of France).
The Kingdoms of France and Spain collapse through a convoluted series of wars into a number of smaller states and kingdoms. While both France and Spain survive the conflict, both are much smaller and less powerful than they were before. Spain is commonly referred to as "Andalusia," and later kings of Spain would adopt the name "Andalusia" as the official name of the kingdom (though the King usually retains the royal style, "King of Spain"). Other states that emerge during this time include Leon, Basque-Navarre, Normandy, Burgundy and Catalonia.
This period of conflict has numerous ramifications for Europe and the Americas. Large tracts of territory in North America are ceded to Britain and Sweden by both France and Spain. Andalusia retains many of the former Spanish territories in North and Central America, including Florida and Mexico, and increases its utilization of these lands after the Partitioning of Gaul and Iberia. This has dramatic impacts on the direction of political development in North America.
- 1749 – Björn Svensson Lindberg named Duke of Burgundy. Burgundy (a chunk of contiguous territory in eastern France) secedes from France.
- Britain and Sweden invade France. Britain invades Brittany, and Sweden aids Burgundy in securing its claimed borders.
- The Austrian-controlled Duchy of Milan is wrested from Austrian control, and Dalmatia is awarded the right to select the next duke, a Lombard-speaking man named Lianarda, who promptly changes the Duchy’s name to Lombardy.
- 1750 – A few small west German states are subsumed by Burgundy, and the Duchy is renamed the Duchy of Rhein-Burgundy (though "Burgundy" remains the common moniker).
- The Duchy of Luxembourg is carved out of the Austrian Netherlands, and the rest of the Austrian Netherlands are ceded to the United Netherlands.
- 1751 – Burgundy, Sweden and Britain win several battles in northern and eastern France. Louis XV sues for peace, and negotiations begin.
- 1752 – During negotiations, Louis XV is assassinated. A handful of different factions take the credit, and civil war erupts in France.
- The states of Normandy, Picardy and Flanders (the latter being heavily colonized by refugees from the Austrian Netherlands) secede from France.
- As a succession crisis looms in France, Sweden withdraws its troops. Britain also withdraws its troops, and attempts to aid in a smooth succession (in order to allow negotiations for territorial acquisitions from France in North America), but ultimately fails.
- 1753 – Basque nationals begin a self-governance movement
- Picardy and Flanders go to war, and the Netherlands intercedes on behalf of Flanders, annexing it. Picardy unites with Normandy against the Netherlands.
- 1754 – The Kingdom of Andorra is formed from the Principality of Andorra and several Catalan-speaking regions surrounding it. A Catalonian nationalistic movement is begun in Spain.
- Spain, hoping to avoid being dragged into the conflict, agrees to give Basque nationals a small slice of territory in Navarra. The independent state of Basque-Navarre is formed peacefully.
- Normandy-Picardy briefly takes control of Flanders, but is beaten back again by the Dutch.
- 1755 – Cerdanya secedes from Spain and unites with Andorra to become the Kingdom of Catalonia, initiating a brief period of conflict between Spain and Catalonia.
- Picardy is conquered by the Dutch. Normandy and the Netherlands sign a treaty, in which Picardy is returned to Normandy, and Flanders remains with the Netherlands.
- Finally, a King of France is chosen, but he is unable to achieve solidarity over his shrinking dominion. Burgundy, Normandy and Catalonia had devoured bits and pieces over time, leaving only about one third of the former territory of France for the King.
- Britain and Sweden negotiate a treaty with the new King of France, in which all French possessions in North America are ceded to Britain, except for the territories between the Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Great Lakes, which go to Sweden. All of Frances possessions in the Caribbean go to Britain, except Grenada, which goes to Sweden.
- 1756 – After only a few minor conflicts, Spain agrees to recognize Catalonian autonomy, although Catalonia is a tributary state under Spain. The Spanish nobility are not pleased with this move, and there is talk of deposing Ferdinand.
- 1757 – France, Normandy and Burgundy agree to a peace treaty. Normandy has secured control of Paris.
- Talks in the Spanish court degenerate into conflict, and a band of nobles in the north attempt to raise an army against Ferdinand.
- 1758 – Madrid is the site of several bloody conflicts led by opposing teams of nobles. Ferdinand, under advisement, moves his court to Sevilla and dedicates a lot of time to securing friendly relations with Portugal, Catalonia and other nations. During this time, Catalonia's tributary status disappears.
- 1759 – Normandy and Burgundy briefly go to war, and France attempts to reclaim territories lost to Catalonia. As a result, Spain declares war on France, causing further political divides among the Spanish nobility.
- Albert is declared King of Spain in Madrid by separatists. Immediately, infighting among the separatists creates factions centered in Leon and Madrid.
- 1760 – Norman-Burgundian War ends with a stalemate, and the two kingdoms unite against France.
- Normandy annexes Brittany, and France sues for peace. Fighting between France and Burgundy will continue for another year.
- A French invasion of Andorra is thwarted by Catalonian troops.
- Madrid switches hands between Ferdinand and the separatists three times, winding up in Albert’s hands by the end of the year
- 1761 – Basque-Navarre takes some territories from the Spanish separatists, invoking the ire of all Spanish parties. However, Ferdinand negotiates with Basque-Navarre, granting them possession of their new conquests in exchange for an alliance against the separatists.
- Spanish and Catalonian troops decisively defeat invading French troops at Perpignan.
- The two separatist factions begin fighting, with the groups being referred to as the “Leon separatists” and the “Madrid separatists.” The Madrid separatists call themselves “Spain” or “Albert’s Spain.”
- 1762 – Burgundy invades Sardinian holdings in Savoy and Nice. Sardinia is already at war with Lombardy, and Burgundy and Lombardy quickly sign an alliance.
- Leon and Madrid factions of separatists attempt to reconcile their positions, but fail, and the Leon faction begins seeking alliances with Basque-Navarre, Portugal and Ferdinand’s Spain.
- 1763 – Ferdinand matches on Madrid. The outnumbered Madrid separatists burn the city to prevent its capture, but Ferdinand’s troops are able to save much of the city.
- Leon and Ferdinand reach an accord, which involves Ferdinand acknowledging Leon’s independence, and the two factions allying against the Madrid separatists. Even so, the unpopularity of Spain’s multiple wars fuels Albert’s cause, and Albert’s Madrid faction grows.
- Sardinia requests French aid against Burgundy, and Björn preemptively declares war on France.
- 1764 – After a series of Spanish and Catalonian victories in southern France, France sues for peace.
- Burgundian troops conquer Marseilles, leaving Montpelier as France’s only Mediterranean port. France admits defeat and signs a treaty, leaving Sardinia alone again.
- 1765 – Albert retakes Madrid as his political faction grows.
- Ferdinand’s Kingdom of Spain is widely referred to colloquially as Andalusia, Sevilla Spain or Ferdinand’s Spain.
- 1766 – Portugal joins the cause of Andalusia, Basque-Navarre and Leon.
- Sardinia signs the unfavorable Treaty of Marseilles, in which all of its continental possessions are divided between Burgundy and Lombardy.
- Ferdinand sells a large portion of the northern Louisiana territory to Britain to help fund its war efforts. A competing bid from Sweden is rejected, contributing to the growing Anglo-Swedish animosity
- 1767 – Leon, Portugal and Andalusia converge on Madrid, ending Albert’s reign and finally ending the civil wars in Western Europe.
- 1769 – Concerned with growing unrest in the British colonies in North America and with the deterioration of Spanish authority in the Spanish colonies, Ferdinand sends over several new colonial voyages to solidify his control and update his administrative organization in North America.
- 1770 – Portugal hosts the Lisbon Conference. Portugal, Andalusia (Spain), Leon, Basque-Navarre, Catalonia, France, Normandy, Burgundy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Lombardy meet to finalize territories and set up a framework of treaties and guarantees to prevent further turmoil in the region.