Charles VI: 1711-1740 (3 minutes)
The War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714) began under the reign of Leopold I but continued through the reign of Joseph I (1705-1711) and into the reign of Charles VI (1711-1740). When
the Spanish Habsburg Charles II died in 1700 without a male heir this brought an end to the Spanish Habsburg line. He chose a French Bourbon Philip of Anjou, the grandson of Louis XIV, as his successor over the Austrian Habsburg candidate to the throne Charles of Austria, the son of Leopold I, (who later became Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI) this threatened the balance of power and brought about the War of Spanish Succession. When Charles became Holy Roman Emperor the European powers would not recognize him as this would unite the Spanish Crown under a Habsburg who also held the land of the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace of Utrecht that ended the war saw Philip recognized as King Philip V of Spain but he renounced is French line of succession which precluded him from uniting the crowns of the French with Spain.
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The Treaty of Rastatt the ended the War of Spanish Succession and gave Austria many Italian lands including Milan, Mantua, Mirandola, Sardinia and Naples, as well as, the Spanish
Netherland to compensate for their loss of Spain.
Charles fought a highly successful against the Ottoman Empire from 17161738. He raised needed funds by introducing direct rule of Bohemia (today part of
the Czech Republic), Hungary and Transylvania (today part of Romania) He founded the lucrative Ostend Company (1722-1731) to enter into trade with India which was finally abandoned
due to English and Dutch pressure.
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The War of Polish Succession (1733-1738) was lost by Austria who along with Prussia (today in Germany) and Russia had backed Augustus III of Saxony a candidate for the Polish crown.
France, Sardinia and Spain backed the Polish candidate Stanislaw Leszcynski who gained the Polish crown. As a result of this war Austria lost Naples (today in Italy) and Sicily (today in Italy) and a track of territory in Lombardy to Sardinia (both in today’s Italy). Austria gained two other Italian territories of Parma and Piacenza.
In 1713 Charles had promulgated the Pragmatic Sanction which allowed Austrian lands to be passed undivided to female heirs in the absence of male heirs. This ruling took effect on
Charles death as his only son had died early and his inheritance was passed on to his eldest daughter Maria Theresa.
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8. The Enlightenment: The Enlightened State: 1740-1792 (8 minutes)
Melk Abbey located in the Town of Melk in northeastern Austria The Austrian Enlightenment (1 minute)
Maria Theresia: 1740-1780 (4 minutes) Joseph II: 1765- 1790 (2 minutes) Leopold II: 1790-1792 (1 minute)
Austria found it hard to adapt to the ideals of the enlightenment as well established monarchy. The enlightenment first came to the provinces and then during this period came to
Austria itself largely in the form of a centralized government. They need to improve the state’s finances brought the first reforms under Maria Theresia. Joseph II continued reforming the state, both he and his mother were Roman Catholics but both believed that the state Church should be subject to state – this concept in Austrian history has been termed – Josephinism. Joseph II’s reforms were motivated more by humanitarianism than fiscal reform.