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War of the Austrian Succession (Humble Old Ironsides)

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Previous:

War of the Polish Succession

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Seven Years' War

War of the Austrian Succession
Beginning:

1740

End:

1748

Place:

Europe, Americas, India

Outcome:

Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle

Major battles:

Battles of Hohenfriedberg and Dettingen

Combatants

Great Britain

Habsburg Monarchy

United Netherlands

Hanover

Sweden

Kingdom of Sardinia

France

Prussia

Spain

Saxony

Kingdom of Naples and Sicily

Russia

Commanders

Richard Temple

Maria Theresa

Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor

William IV, Prince of Orange

Georg August of Hanover

Charles XII of Sweden

Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia

Louis XV of France

Maurice de Saxe

Philip V of Spain

Charles V of Naples and Sicily

Elizabeth of Russia

Strength

600,000

700,000

Casualties and Losses

90,000

124,000

The War of the Austrian Succession was a conflict between two opposing alliances of European nations on opposite ends of the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713. The Pragmatic Sanction was written by Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor in 1713 with the possibility in mind that he would not have a male heir to give his crowns to. Every major European nation endorsed the Pragmatic Sanction prior to the war, but upon Charles' death the crowns of Prussia, France, Spain, and Naples and Sicily repudiated the Pragmatic Sanction as a causa belli to declare war on the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria. Following this declaration of war, the United Republic of Britain, the Dutch Republic, Sweden, Electorate of Bavaria, Hanover, and Kingdom of Sardinia entered the war on the side of Austria while Russia later joined the war on the side of France and Prussia to fight Sweden. The conflict also spilled over to European overseas holdings in North America and the Indian subcontinent, making it one of the first world war. The war in North America was known as War of Jenkins' Ear and the war in India was called the First Carnatic War. The war lasted for almost eight years before it was ended in 1748 with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, signed in the Holy Roman Empire.

Prelude

In 1713 after it became apparent that Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor was unlikely to have a male heir, he issued the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 in which he endorsed his daughter Maria Theresa as his successor in the Habsburg lands in Austria and Charles Albert of Bavaria as his successor to the throne of Holy Roman Emperor as compensation for Joseph Ferdinand being denied the office of King of Spain in the War of the Spanish Succession. When Charles died in October 1740, Maria Theresa became the immediate successor to the titles of Queen of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia, as well as Archduchess of Austria and Duchess of Parma. Charles was soon elected to succeed Charles VI as Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor, but these claims were soon followed by external troubles.

Andreas Moeller - Erzherzogin Maria Theresia - Kunsthistorisches Museum

Maria Theresa in 1729, prior to the death of her father and her ascendancy of the Austrian throne.

Frederick II of Prussia, who had previously endorsed the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, soon began an invasion of Silesia, which he claimed was owed to his family by a previous deal with the House of Hohenzollern in the 16th century. Frederick perceived Maria Theresa as a weak monarch and Charles as unlikely to be able to rally the Holy Roman states to defend her. Prussia's declaration of war was soon followed up on by France, Spain and the Bourbon monarchy in both Sicily and Naples who sought to expose the weakness of the Austrian monarchy to seize upon what remained of the Austrian Netherlands, which they saw as the weak point to enter the United Netherlands, expanded by the Treaty of Utrecht. Meanwhile the Spanish Bourbons saw the Austrian's focus on affairs in Silesia and Bohemia as a distraction that would allow them to establish a hegemony over the Italian peninsula. Thus the war opened up all across the continent of Europe, which was soon seized upon by the Russian Empire to attack the Swedish Empire again and by both Britain and France to fight out colonial wars in North America and India, making this one of the first world wars.

War in Silesia and the Holy Roman Empire

Before beginning the campaign into Silesia, Frederick offered Maria Theresa an ultimatum on the ownership of Silesia, claiming it was owed to the Hohenzollern rulers of Prussia, this in November 1740. If the ultimatum was not met, then the Prussians would follow it up with an invasion, but Maria Theresa refused to allow the Prussians to simply walk into Silesia and ordered a raising of Austrian soldiers to defend the territory in the event of a Prussian invasion with fortresses to back them up. Rather than wait for the Austrians to answer, Frederick began to mobilize his soldiers and march them into Silesia to the cheers of the Protestant population. With Prussia's forced mobilized throughout the Winter and Spring of 1740 and 1741, Frederick II personally began to lead his soldiers into Silesia and in April of 1741 Frederick and the Prussians engaged the Austrians at Mollwitz. By this time the Prussian Army was among the most talented and best-trained in continental Europe and when they engaged the poorly-prepared Austrian army from the front and inflicted serious casualties on the Austrians and thus opened up the rest of Silesia to Prussian soldiers. With this single action the population of Prussia was almost doubled over the course of just a few months.

Mollwitz

The Battle of Mollwitz, 1741.

Throughout the remainder of 1741, Frederick and his soldiers engaged the Austrians in minor battles throughout Silesia, and soon started to make serious incursions into Bohemia, hoping to deny the resources of the area to Austria, knowing that the Catholic population would not be open to Prussian occupation like the Silesians. The Prussians also wished to destroy the Austrian Army that had been ordered up by Maria Theresa, opening the rest of their territory to Prussian devastation. Frederick and his soldiers had marched far into Bohemian territory by the spring of 1742, and in May they arrived outside the city of Chotusitz, hoping to defeat the Austrians before they could be further reinforced by the raising of the Bavarian Army under Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor. Bavaria had been fighting a minor war in Central Germany to fight the Electorate of Hanover under Georg August of Hanover, but the Bavarians had managed to force the Hanoverians into a retreat after the Winter of 1741-2. Then in May of 1742 the two sides engaged at Chotusitz and although Frederick's forces were outnumbered slightly by the Austrians, he managed to outmaneuver them and turn an unfavorable frontal assault into a double envelopment which won his men the battle and thus the region of Bohemia.

Meanwhile the French under Duc de Broglie had rallied an army to reinforce the Prussians, and defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Sahay in May 1742 while the Battle of Chotusitz was going on, further breaking up the Austrians under the pressure of two armies invading their territory. The French and the Prussians took the regional center of Prague in early June of 1742, and soon afterwards the Austrians surrounded the city and were further reinforced by the forces of Bavarians and also the smaller states of the Holy Roman Empire that were rallying to Maria Theresa and Charles' cause. The forces under Frederick and the Duc de Broglie were in large numbers, almost 50,000 altogether, but the surrounding army was 75,000 and they would need some serious turn of events in order to break out. The Siege of Prague lasted for four months of uninterrupted siege until in October when de Broglie's ask for relief led to a force of 30,000 French soldiers marching, not into Austrian territory but rather into Bavarian territory to the South, which required the Bavarians to leave their Austrians allies and rally the other Imperial soldiers to defend the Bavarian countryside. The in November de Broglie and Frederick broke out from the Austrian siege, and allowed the Austrians to retake the city while the French marched South to join the invasion of Bavaria and the Prussians marched North to recuperate for the continued Bohemian campaign.

With the Prussians still reeking havoc in Bohemia, the Allies turned their attention to Bavaria to stop the French invasion of the region, which Frederick refused to commit his soldiers to. The French under the Duc de Noailles marched on the outer border of Bavaria and subsumed numerous local states before reaching the Bavarian town of Dettingen with a force of 45,000 soldiers. The British and their Austrians allies engaged at the battle with the leadership of Georg August of Hanover and John Dalrymple, the British commander, leading 40,000 Allied soldiers into battle and delivered the French one of their first major defeats of the war. The French were thus deterred from invading Bavaria and Charles VII's court was saved from the advance of enemy soldiers, freeing up his soldiers to again assist the Austrians to the North. This was followed a period of relative inactivity in the German campaign of the war as the British and Dutch focused on engaging the French in the Netherlands, the Swedes sought to focus on ending their war with the Russians, and Austrians reeled from their serious losses in Bohemia and Silesia.
Hohenfriedberg

The Battle of Hohenfriedberg, June 1745.

Then in 1744, Princes Charles Alexander of Lorraine rallied together a new army of 62,000 with the assistance of a number of lesser German states, the resulting army was larger than before but more fragile than the more cohesive Austrian army that engaged the Prussians earlier in the war. The two sides didn't engage for much of 1744, but then in 1745 three large battles were able to define the war in Silesia that largely settled the issue of Silesian ownership. The first of such battles took place at Hohenfriedberg in June 1745 when the Prussians under Frederick II and defeated them handily, destroying a third of the Austrian Army this was followed up by the Battle of Hennersdorf in November of 1745. At Hennersdorf another third of the Imperial Army was destroyed by the Prussians under Frederick II and thus with his army shattered, Charles of Lorraine tried to rally what remained of the Austrian Army to engage the Prussians later in December. The last battle of this year was at Kesselsdorf between the Prussians and an Austro-Bavarian Army under Charles that was handily defeated by Prince Leopold of Prussia, even more humiliating because of the inferior numbers of the Prussians and the lack of Frederick's presence at the battle. This battle largely settled the Silesia issue and in 1746 the Austrians sued the Prussians for peace and agreed to let them keep Silesia in order to keep the Prussians out of Bohemia.

Italian Campaign

With the opening of hostilities further North in Silesia and the Netherlands, the Italian front of the war was one of the latter ones to open, only doing so in 1742 when the French and Spanish launched an invasion of the Kingdom of Sardinia, whose forces were backed by the Austrians. This was in later followed by an attack by the forces of the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily to back them up in 1743. The Franco-Spanish Army invaded the Savoy region of the Kingdom of Sardinia first, engaging the meager Sardinian Army, hoping to stymie them off and prevent them from reaching the capital of Turin. The Franco-Spanish Army was a relatively meager force of 18,000 soldiers, engaging a Sardinian Army of 4,500 soldiers under the Count Aspremont. The Franco-Spanish soldiers were obviously overwhelming for the Sardinian soldiers, but the delay that they provided, for two weeks, allowed them to hold off the French and Spanish in time for 20,000 Austrians to reinforce the city of Turin. Thus throughout much of 1742, the Franco-Spanish and the Austro-Sardinians engaged around Turin in several battles, before the remaining 12,000 Franco-Spanish soldiers reached the city and tried to besiege it. Soon afterwards, however, 4,000 Austrian soldiers came to reinforce the city and the Bourbon forces retreated. They would soon be reinforced by the Italian Bourbons.

The Papal States refused to allow the Bourbon Italian forces to march through their territory to surprise attack the Austrian holdings in Central Italy, and so they were forced to take a route by sea. However, the Bourbon forces were unprepared for such a journey, especially for 12,000 soldiers, and thus when they arrived 500 soldiers had left when the fleet docked in Sardinia, but the remainder made it to Genoa to disembark. After this the Sardinian fleet retreated back to Genoa, but was soon engaged by the British fleet off the western coast of Sardinia and destroyed by the British fleet. This meant that the Bourbon Italians would have to wait at least a year before a proper fleet could provide more reinforcements, but soon a 25,000-strong Bourbon force was now in Savoy and Piedmont territory again. The British, meanwhile, landed in Nice soon afterwards with 18,000 soldiers under Thomas Matthews and the two sides soon afterwards engaged each other at Villafranca in April 1744, but the full force of the Allied army had yet to meet up and so only 8,000 soldiers engaged what was now 30,000 Franco-Spanish soldiers. The Bourbon army defeated them and soon afterwards they were only able to engage the full Allied army but with the momentum necessary keep the campaign going. This was followed by the Allied armies engaging them in July 1744 at Casteldelfino, where they Allies managed to engage them in a stalemate operation in which both sides lost 3,000 soldiers, which strategically worked for the Bourbons.

In August of 1744 the two sides engaged at Velletri, now the result of an Austrian invasion of the Kingdom of Naples, as they used their sway in Rome to convince the Papal States to allow them to march into Neapolitan territory. However, the Austrians could only manage 10,000 spare soldiers for the invasion and the Bavarians only 4,000 to back them up. The Neapolitans fought back with 12,000 soldiers personally led by Charles VII and managed to defeat the inexperience Austrian army, which humiliated the Austrian Army and allowed Charles to boast to his family of having defeated a Habsburg Army. Then in September up North the two sides engaged again, now at Madonna dell'Olmo and here the Allied army managed to defeat the Bourbon army and force them into a minor retreat back toward Savoy. This was soon followed by a reversal of fortunes for the Allies, where they eventually raised 30,000 soldiers to engage the Bourbons, whose numbers were slowly waning and soon the Bourbons were forced to retreat back to France. The French were unable to bring their focus to Italy, so the Spanish were asked to provide the brunt of the force to continue the Italian campaign, which eventually mounted to a combined force of 70,000 soldiers, including some Neapolitan forces.

In 1745, while the war was peaking in Silesia, the Austrians were forced to divert the majority of their forces to that front, while the British provided an additional 5,000 soldiers to assist the weakening Sardinian Army. In September of 1745, the two sides approached the each other at Bassignano with Charles Emmanuel III staking his throne on a great victory, leading 55,000 soldiers to combat the Bourbons, most of them Savoyard after Charles Emmanuel managed to rally his country to provide more soldiers for the coming Bourbon threat. Charles Emmanuel divided his soldiers up into three columns and engaged the Bourbon soldiers from their flanks and rear while presenting them with a weak center to attack. This encouraged the Bourbons to engage Sardinians hastily, and soon the Sardinians were assaulting them from the flanks and with a surprise from the rear, allowing Charles to lead a charge that broke the Bourbon cavalry. The Bourbons were soon forced into a retreat, and Charles' gamble had worked, forcing the humiliated Bourbons into retreat. Luckily for the Bourbons, they hadn't witnessed high casualties thanks to the commanders unwillingness to allow his forces to take high casualties to keep this front from collapsing like the French invasion of Bavaria two years earlier. The Bourbons countered by attacking to the East into Parma, which was direct Habsburg territory, not aware that the Austrians had ended their war with the Prussians and were now able to move the brunt of their forces in Italy.

Prince Josef Wenzel now marched 45,000 soldiers, fresh from the Silesian front, and engaged 40,000 Bourbon soldiers in June 1746 at Piacenza, which soon turned the Bourbons out of Parma and forced them into retreat. This was followed by an Allied assault on the port of Genoa, as they had assisted the Italian Bourbons under Charles VII and with the Sardinian and Austrians surrounding the city by land and the British by sea, the city soon fell in August 1746. The Bourbons then led their soldiers to retake the city by land, while the British managed to cut their navy off by sea. The Bourbons retook Genoa near the end of 1746, and the Sardinians managed to engage them in a series of minor battles throughout Piedmont, each one building up Charles Emmanuel's sense of invincibility. When the war ended in 1748, the French only held minor territory in Parma, which they promptly turned over to the Austrians.

War of Jenkins' Ear

The War of Jenkins' Ear, the American theater of the War of the Austrian Succession, had begun the year before the rest of the war in 1739. James Ogelthorpe, the founder of the Colony of Georgia had raised a force of 1,800 soldiers to invade the Spanish colony of Florida. The two sides engaged at Fort Mose in 1740, but it wasn't until they tried to besiege the Spanish city of St. Augustine in June and July of 1740 that the first major battle of the theater began. Despite the inferior numbers of the Spanish forces, they managed to fight off the British forces and Ogelthorpe was forced to retreat to keep the Colony of Georgia defended. Lord Protector Temple ordered a British fleet to be sent to the New World to cut the Spanish off at New Granada at Cartagena de Indias, where they were again soundly defeated by the Spanish as they attempted to cut the city off by sea. Edward Vernon, who led the British fleet and marines, planning to invade the Viceroyalty of New Granada, had poorly managed the British marines, and despite having a quarter of the British fleet and fewer guns, the Spanish managed to turn them away. Temple was greatly angered by the joint failure of British forces to defeat the Spanish in the New World and so he ordered an overall commander to be placed in charge of colonial forces in the Americas: Thomas Wentworth.

Vernon's failure at New Granada, was soon followed up by another failure at invading Cuba at Havana in 1742, which was again beaten off by superior Spanish forces, in training, not size. Wentworth tasked Ogelthorpe with defending Georgia from a Spanish invasion in July 1742, despite instructions to not trust Ogelthorpe, but the decision proved useful. Ogelthorpe had the trust of the Georgian militia and despite only having 1,000 soldiers to fend off 2,000 Spanish soldiers, he managed to defeat the Spanish invasion at St. Simon's Island, saving the colony. The two sides then engaged at minor fights throughout Cuba and Florida for the remainder of the war, finally leading to the Battle of Havana in 1748. The British fleet, stationed in Georgia, was ordered South to destroy a Spanish treasure fleet, sent to bring valuable gold and silver back to Spain for the payment of war debts. Wentworth wanted the fleet destroyed to put the Spanish treasury into dire straits, and the fleet under Charles Knowles engaged the Spanish off of Havana harbor, where they soundly defeated the Spanish ships tasked with escorting the treasure fleet to Spain and sank the treasure fleet itself. Knowles had hoped to enrich his men with some of the treasure, but they failed to engage close enough in order to force them to surrender.

While Wentworth went about letting the war in the South go as it did, he focused more on engaging the French in Canada, where he hoped to make more serious gains against the French than they had in the previous war. This only came upon Wentworth's appointment in 1743, with the actual theater opening in 1744 with a series of raids on Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. A pair of minor land battles at Annapolis Royal and Port Toulouse delivered the French early defeats and in May 1745, the British Navy took one of the only French ships-of-the-line in the New World, the Vigilant. Then in May 1745, the British besieged the French city of Louisbourg with 4,200 soldiers to the meager French force of 1,200, and the force surrendered in June 1745. The French followed this by launching minor raids into Massachusetts and New York, but the British had raised superior forces in the intervening years since the War of the Spanish Succession, allowing them to defeat the French. The French then tried to invade Maine and New England several times throughout the remaining three years of the war, the first two times were victories for the French before the British finally managed to defeat them in 1747, with the war there ending in 1748 like the rest of the war.

First Carnatic War

The war reached India in 1746 with the fighting left to the private militaries of the French and British East India Companies. The two sides engaged inconclusively in July 1746 at sea in the Action of 6 July 1746, as a French fleet from Europe tried to reach the French coastal colonies on the Indian subcontinent. The inconclusive nature of the battle allowed the French to land their fleet anyway, and they provided assistance to the French soldiers in Madras, on the southeast coast of India. The French and British Navies engaged off the southeast coast of India several time over the next year, with the British winning five of the seven battles in the course of the war. The British then defeated them at Adyar in November of 1746, and then at Fort St. David later in December. The land war then became relatively stagnant until a final battle at the end of the campaign at Pondicherry in which 1,000 British soldiers defeated 800 French soldiers, forcing the French to retreat by sea. In the end, the French were going to try and sail North and attack the British again, but the monsoon season set in and they were forced to retreat back to French territory. The war ended with the rest of the war in 1748 with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle with no exchange of territory in the end.

War in the Netherlands and North

After the war in the Holy Roman Empire started to turn against the French as they tried to invade Bavaria at Dettingen in 1743, the French mobilized to fight the British, who had landed a force of 40,000 soldiers in the Netherlands to assist the Dutch in a defense of their homeland. The Dutch had spent the past thirty years building a series of fortresses around the former Spanish Netherlands to fend off the French in the case of another French invasion, which had happened several times since Dutch independence. Louis XV appointed Maurice de Saxe, who had served with distinction in the War of the Spanish Succession, as a Marshal to lead an army of 80,000 French soldiers in the southern Netherlands to march through Austrian Luxembourg and Liege, and thus to avoid the brunt of the Dutch fortifications. The Dutch had prepared for the French to attack through Luxembourg and Liege, but not for the size and mobility with which de Saxe marched his forces into the southern Netherlands. The French, meanwhile, also launched a diversion manuever around Dunkirk, where they were actually rallying soldiers to back a Royalist invasion of Scotland, under the command of Charles Edward Stuart, the son of James Francis Edward Stuart and grandson of James, Duke of York.

The French marched into Luxembourg in November 1743, and soon afterwards they began to push into the southern Netherlands, where they engaged at Bastogne. The French and Anglo-Dutch soldiers fought for three days, but the Allies were outmaneuvered by the large French army, and thus they were forced to retreat. The French now moved in on the Netherlands with a force of 90,000, including a separate force attacking from the southeast in Europe, specifically toward the towns of Ypres and Menin. The French now outnumbered the Allies by a four to three ratio, and soon launched an army of 40,000 soldiers in a separate force into the Rhineland to conquer various Austrian clients. The French engaged in the southern Netherlands from two salients while their army in the Rhineland was being fought by the Austrians and Hanoverians, who were only able to field 30,000 soldiers to fend off the French due to this being the peak of the war in Bohemia against the Prussians. Meanwhile in the southern Netherlands, the British provided the Dutch with reinforcements numbering at 24,000, unaware of the Royalist forces gathering at Dunkirk for an invasion. Augustus led the British forces in the Netherlands, and under his leadership the Allied soldiers managed to hold off the French forces from the West at Veurne, handing the French a major defeat.

When 1745 came, the French were bringing the full brunt of their artillery forces to the Dutch fortresses along their southern border, which would allow them to bring in further reinforcements if they were taken. In 1745, the Austrians began to pull forces out from Bohemia as the war with Prussia was coming to the end and so they began to provide more forces to the French in the Rhineland, but beyond their minor victory at Pfaffenhofen in April 1745, which kept the French out of Bavaria once more, but they were unable to fend

Fontenoy

The Battle of Fontenoy, 1745.

the French off from the Rhineland once more. Meanwhile, in the Netherlands the French engaged the Allies at Fontenoy as they tried to take apart the Dutch forts, where Maurice de Saxe defeated Augustus and the Allied army and was able to dismantle one of the major Dutch fortresses, which proved unfortunate for the British. However, thanks to Augustus' commanding, the British were able to maneuver away from the battle and their forces were maintained in retreat. This was compounded in August of 1745 when the Royalist forces landed in eastern Scotland, and to combat them William Augustus was recalled to Britain to defeat the Royalist and some of the Scottish clans joining them. In September of 1745, the Jacobite forces under Charles defeated the British under John Cope, humiliating the British forces.

Augustus spent much of 1745 and 1746 rallying Scottish forces and militias into fighting the Jacobite while he gathered a proper British army to fight off the Jacobites. Leading in to April 1746, the war in Scotland had not been going well, due to some modest Scottish support across the Highlands the Jacobite forces had been gathering steam until the two sides met at Culloden. Augustus had been merciless to the Scottish clans who had chosen to join the French and Jacobite invaders, killing hundreds of Scottish clansmen for their support for the invaders. At the Battle of Culloden in April 1746, Augustus led some 8,000 soldiers and a regiment of artillery to devestate the Jacobite army and with his forces defeated Charles was forced to retreat back to the ships that had brought him to Scotland in the first place and thus back to France and the security of the French court of Paris. With his handling of the Scottish campaign, Augustus became a controversial figure in the British Parliament, but popular enough to deliver him back to the command of the British in the Netherlands. When Augustus got back to the Netherlands, the French and the Austrians had fought each other to a standstill in the Rhineland, but the French had delivered the Allies a couple defeats in that region.

The French had occupied Ghent in July 1745 and even Brussels was occupied by the French in February 1746 before Augustus returned to the Netherlands. Augustus soon rallied the Allied forces to retake Brussels, despite not being able to move much farther after that. Then in October of 1746 Augustus defeated the French at Rocoux and defeated a massive army under Maurice de Saxe, now numbering at almost 120,000 soldiers. By now de Saxe's army had become so large as to be unwieldy and the two sides approached a large battle at Lauffield. Augustus had garnered a force of 80,000 soldiers to fight the French at Lauffield as the French moved toward Maastricht, which threatened the rest of the Netherlands in a way that they hadn't been for quite some time. Augustus landed a decisive victory by dividing his army into four parts and then crushing de Saxe's artillery before forcing his soldiers into a retreat. This battle saw massive French casualties in the retreat and thus paralyzed de Saxe's army and made Augustus a national hero back in Britain. Then in the Summer de Saxe tried to regain the advantage by attacking Bergen op Zoom and was again soundly defeated. de Saxe finally reached Maastricht in April of 1748, even as treaty negotiations were beginning, and thus laid siege to the city, which Augustus broke off in May. The war was now ended and thanks to Augustus on favorable terms in the Netherlands with the Dutch defensive line saved.

Meanwhile, in the North the Russians under Elizabeth of Russia was entreated by Louis XV to declare war on Sweden to keep the Swedes out of the war in the West. While Sweden was making the gradual transition to a constitutional monarchy, they had begun to neglect the state of their army, and this provided the Russians under a commander named Peter Lacy to open a war with the Swedes in Finland. The Russians made some major advances on the various peninsulas along the Russo-Swedish border in Finland, with the Russians advancing with 16,000 soldiers before the Swedes managed to stave off their Russian foes. The war in the North continued for some time in a stalemate, with the Swedes being unable to fully defeat the Russians. The war in the North did keep the Swedes out of the main part of the war, but it did provide them the initiative to reinvigorate their army as they raised 30,000 soldiers in 1743 to fend off the Russians. This managed to turn the tide of the war, but the Russians countered and when the Treaty of Abo was signed in 1745, a separate peace from that in Aix-la-Chapelle, it had allowed for the Russians to keep some minor territorial gains, which was slightly humiliating to the Swedes as it threatened their territorial integrity.

Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle

Negotiations to sign a treaty to end the War of the Austrian Succession met in April 1748 in the Free Imperial City of Aachen, called Aix-la-Chapelle in French, and then in English. The treaty was worked out between the British Republic, the Dutch Republic, the Swedish Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy, the Electorate of Hanover, and the Kingdom of Sardinia on one side, and the French, Prussians, Spanish, Italian Boubrons, Saxons, and Russians on the other. The treaty came to include other smaller states in the Italian peninsula as well as the Holy Roman Empire and the main provisions were as follows:

  • Austria and the Holy Roman Empire would recognize the Prussians ownership of Silesia
  • All signatories would recognize Maria Theresa as the inheritor of Charles VI's holdings, and Charles VII as the Holy Roman Emperor
  • France will withdraw from the southern Netherlands, and have its territorial holdings returned in India
  • Any territory in the Holy Roman Empire and the Italian peninsula would be left to their current holders otherwise

Again the British had allowed their forces in the New World to win a series of land victories, but unable to hold on to those territorial acquisitions and thus making their contributions appear valueless. The Austrians had proved themselves unable to truly defeating either the French or Prussia, with the latter emerging from the war as a new major land power. This would soon influence British foreign policy after the war, and would establish the Bourbon Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily and the Savoyard Kingdom of Sardinia as the two major powers on the Italian peninsula. However, there was a series of majors powers on both sides who did not like the idea of a united Italy, and so kept the peninsula divided as it had been prior to the war to balance power between the French and the Austrians. France and Spain had been slightly defeated by proved themselves a match for the British on land, although not at sea. The results would set the stage for the Diplomatic Revolution in 1756 and then the Seven Years' War to follow.

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