The pretext for these wars was whether Maria Theresa should inherit the lands of her father, Emperor Charles VI, or whether Salic law precluded royal such an inheritance by a woman.
France and Prussia, supportedby Bavaria, used this opportunity to challenge the power of the Habsburgs. On her side Maria Theresa had Britain, the Dutch Republic, Sardinia and Saxony.
This was no singularity of a war, it managed to embroil most of the European powers and a number of their colonies. For instance Habsburg Spain became active in Italy during this war. Spain and the Neapolitans battled with the Milanese, the Piedmont-Sardinians and the Austrians.
This series of wars was ostensibly concluded by the 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, when Maria Theresa was formally confirmed as Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary, though Prussia retained control of Silesia.
However, this resolved very little and would lead to the Seven Years’ War, with the main protagonists being Britain and Prussia against France and Austria.
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