When Charles Albert took Bohemia from Maria Theresa of Austria

(public domain)

In 1740, Maria Theresa succeeded her father Emperor Charles VI as the Queen of Bohemia. Maria’s father had spent years of his life making sure that his daughter was able to rule over the hereditary Habsburg lands after his death, by creating the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713. This Imperial decree was necessary because female rule was not permitted in some of the dominions and also because Charles VI had previously promised that the lands would fall to his brother’s children if he failed to have a male heir. In securing the support of the leading European nations and publishing his Pragmatic Sanction, Charles made sure that Maria Theresa automatically became the ruler of Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Austria and the Austrian Netherlands when he died.

Despite Charles VI’s hard work, after his death, there was no way of forcing other nations to comply with the rules stated in the Pragmatic Sanction. A number of territories immediately dismissed Maria Theresa’s right to rule and marched on Austria. One of Maria Theresa’s biggest rivals was Charles Albert, Duke of Bavaria. Charles Albert was the husband of Maria Amalia, who was Maria Theresa’s cousin and one of the claimants to the Habsburg lands that were pushed out of the succession by the Pragmatic Sanction. In Charles Albert’s eyes, Maria Theresa had stolen her dominions from his wife. This dispute, amongst others, led to The War of the Austrian Succession.

On 26 October 1741, Charles Albert of Bavaria captured Prague and had himself crowned King of Bohemia, with the support of many of the locals. Maria Theresa wept when she heard what had happened, but announced that she would “Put everything to stake to save Bohemia”.

Under two years later, Maria Theresa regained her crown as Queen of Bohemia and was crowned on 17 May 1743, securing the realm of Bohemia for the rest of her lifetime.

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