I'm sure you've all heard the tongue-in-cheek saying, "What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine." Unfortunately for women through a majority of history, men could make such a statement with impunity and not only mean it, but enforce it.
When Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI died in 1740 he left only daughters. Anticipating this, he'd spent his last years solidifying the Hapsburg position throughout Europe and convincing his allies that his oldest daughter, Maria Theresa should inherit the hereditary Hapsburg lands, and her husband, Francis I of Lorraine should be elected Holy Roman Emperor. This was the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713.
In 1740, poor Charles was barely cold in his grave when Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia thumbed his nose at the Pragmatic Sanction and struck. Invading Silesia (a province on the German, Austrian, and Polish border - the majority of what was once Silesia is now in Poland). After all, Maria Theresa was merely a woman, and no one so far had backed Francis as the new Emperor.
Frederick underestimated Maria Theresa, however. With strong role models in Elizabeth I of England and Catherine I of Russia, she refused to yield, although she eventually lost the province of Silesia.I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end. ~~Margaret Thatcher
This could have easily been Maria Theresa's motto. Silesia was lost, but she had the last laugh as she and her husband, Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, held on to everything else.This day in history: The first battle of the War of Austrian Succession was fought on April 10, 1741. Where was it fought?
Labels: Hapsburgs, Maria Theresa, Wars