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Örjan Martinsson

Austria 1700-1815

= Austria
= Other parts of the Holy Roman Empire
= Territorial gains 1714, 1718 and 1720
= Temporary territorial gain 1714-20

The King Carlos II of Spain had no children and because of his poor health had the European monarchs been planning the partition of the Spanish realm ever since Carlos II became king 1665. The main claimants were France and Austria and two partition treaties had been proposed 1698 and 1700 to settle the issue. But the Austrian emperor Leopold I had rejected both treaties because he wanted his son Charles to inherit the entire Spanish realm. The Spaniards themselves wanted to preserve an unpartitioned realm, but they considered France to be more able to defend it from the other claimant. So Carlos II bequeathed his kingdoms to French king Louis XIV's younger grandson. This ignited the War of the Spanish Succession, which lasted 1701-1714 and resulted in a partition that was less favourably than the partition treaties Austria previously turned down. Even so, it was a very large expansion of Austria's territory and large parts of modern Belgium and Italy came under Vienna's rule. More was to come because when a Turkish attempt to reconquer territory lost to Venice in the Peace of Karlowitz triggered a Austrian declaration of war in 1715 and in the following peace treaty from 1718 was Austria enlarged with the remaining parts of Hungary and adjacent territories. A Spanish attempt to reconquer their lost Italian possessions 1717-1720 failed, but resulted in Austria exchanging Sardinia with Sicily from the duke of Savoy. Austria had now reached its largest extent ever.

= Austria
= Other parts of the Holy Roman Empire
= Tuscany (ruled by Maria Theresia's husband 1737-65)
= Austrian territorial losses
= Temporary gain 1735-48
 

Even though Austria was larger than ever before, it had one great problem. Emperor Charles VI was the last surviving male member of the house of Habsburg and he had no sons. His reign 1711-1740 was therefore focused on getting international guarantees for the so called Pragmatic Sanction, which would ensure the succession of his daughter Maria Theresia to an unpartitioned Austrian empire. However, already during Charles VI's lifetime would Austria diminish in size. The War of the Polish Succession 1733-35 against France resulted in the loss of the Kingdom of Both Sicilies in southern Italy as well as parts of Lombardy in northern Italy. Apart from this was Maria Theresia's husband Franz Stephan forced to exchange his duchy of Lorraine with Tuscany 1737. In exchange for the losses in Italy acquired Austria the considerably smaller duchy of Parma. A new Turkish war 1737-39 led to the loss of those parts of Bosnia, Serbia and Wallachia that had been gained in 1718. The international guarantees also proved to be worthless when Charles VI died 1740 and Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony made claims to Austrian territory with support from France. The expected partition of the Austrian monarchy did not happen however, and Maria Theresia managed to put up a successful defence of Austria during the War of the Austrian Succession 1740-48). But she was still unable to prevent Prussia from conquering most of Silesia. She was also forced to cede Parma and additional parts of Lombardy. Because the Habsburg dynasty technically had become extinct was Maria Theresia's husband Franz Joseph elected to Holy Roman Emperor in 1745 and their sons took the name Habsburg (now as the house of Habsburg-Lorraine).

= Austria
= Territorial gains 1772, 1775 and 1779
= Other parts of the Holy Roman Empire
= Tuscany (ruled by a Habsburg cadet line)

The War of the Austrian Succession had revealed serious deficiencies in the Austrian state. The decades after 1748 were spent on reforming the Austrian army and administration. A very desired objective was also the reconquest of the rich province of Silesia, which in 1742 had been lost to Prussia and thus made it possible for this kingdom to become a serious rival to Austria's position as the leading German state. The Austrians would however fail to reclaim Silesia despite an alliance with Russia and France during the the Seven Years' War 1756-63, although their army restored its reputation. Austria participated in the first partition of Poland in 1772 together with Prussia and Russia and gained Galicia and Lodomeria. With the consent of Russia would Austria also occupy the adjacent territory of Bukovina in 1774 and the once so feared Ottoman Empire had no choice than to formally cede this territory the following year. Joseph II who had succeeded his father as Holy Roman Emperor in 1765 and until his mother Maria Theresia's death in 1780 shared power with her, was the driving force in this peaceful (but aggressive) expansion and he also wanted to annex Bavaria. A good opportunity for this came in 1777 when the branch of the Wittelsbach dynasty that had ruled Bavaria became extinct. Prussia would however not tolerate such a large Austrian expansion on German territory and thus initiated the War of the Bavarian Succession (1777-79). Joseph had to settle with just a small strip of Bavarian territory (Innviertel) in the following peace treaty.

= Austria
= Territorial gains 1795 and 1797
= Territorial losses 1797
= Other parts of the Holy Roman Empire
= Tuscany (ruled by a Habsburg cadet line)
 

After the death of Maria Theresias in 1780, Joseph II began with a feverish activity to introduce modernising reforms in the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment These were however met with great resistance in Hungary and in the Austrian Netherlands (modern Belgium) and many reforms were withdrawn after the death of Joseph in 1790. Joseph II had also during the 1780s tried to exchange the Austrian Netherlands with Bavaria, but Joseph II and the Bavarian elector could not agree on how much money these territories were worth. Similar plans to partition the Ottoman Empire with Russia were equally unsuccessful. Austria reclined from participation in Poland's second partition in 1793 in exchange for a promise of an annexation of Bavaria (which never happened)). But Austria did participate in the third partition of Poland, which wiped out Poland from the map, and received West Galicia

Of great importance was the French revolution in 1789, which led to a French declaration of War against Austria in 1792. Despite the fact that Austria was a part of a large coalition of countries opposing the French republic would they be defeated by the French revolutionary armies. When a peace treaty was concluded at Campo Formio in 1797 had France conquered all lands west if the Rhine, including the Austrian Netherlands. These losses were added by the remaining Austrian possessions in Italy. As a compensation for this was Austria allowed to annex the Republic of Venice.

= Austria
= Other parts of the Holy Roman Empire
= Territorial gains 1805
= Territorial losses 1805

The wars against the revolutionary France would however not end with the peace of Campo Formio. A Second Coalition War was fought 1799-1802, which for Austria's part ended in 1801 with a confirmation of the Campo Formio terms. The Third Coalition War resulted in a French occupation of Vienna and was decided by the Three Emperors Battle of Austerlitz. Austria was forced to cede the former Republic of Venice and Further Austria (including Tyrol which became Bavarian). The Habsburg cadet line who ruled Tuscany was also deposed. The only territory Austria received as compensation was the Archbishopric of Salzburg, Mozart's native country. Because the French dictator Napoleon Bonaparte had coronated himself emperor in 1804, had Franz I the same year declared himself hereditary emperor of Austria (in addition to the existing title Holy Roman Emperor).

= Austria   = Territorial losses 1809

The title Holy Roman Emperor was lost 1806 when Napoleon dissolved the Holy Roman Empire and replaced it with the French led Confederation of the Rhine. Three years later Austria participated foolishly in the Fifth Coalition War against France. This was not more successful than the previous one and Austria lost Innviertel, Salzburg, Carinthia, Carniola and the western parts of Croatia as well as West Galicia and a part of East Galicia.

The history of Austria continues on this page.