Bavarian Succession, War of the

Bavarian Succession, War of the,

between Austria and Prussia, 1778–79. With the extinction of the Bavarian line of the house of WittelsbachWittelsbach
, German dynasty that ruled Bavaria from 1180 until 1918.

The family takes its name from the ancestral castle of Wittelsbach in Upper Bavaria. In 1180 Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I invested Count Otto of Wittelsbach with the much-reduced duchy of Bavaria, of
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 on the death of Elector Maximilian Joseph in 1777, the duchy of Bavaria passed to the elector palatine, Charles Theodore, of the Sulzbach line. However, by a secret treaty with Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, who wished to strengthen imperial and Austrian influence in Germany, Charles Theodore ceded Lower Bavaria to Austria and Austrian troops occupied the area. Charles Theodore had no legitimate issue, but his heir presumptive, Duke Charles of Zweibrücken, on the advice of Frederick II of Prussia, protested the transfer of this portion of his inheritance. Prussia, allied with Saxony, declared war on Austria and invaded Bohemia. No serious engagement took place, and the war ended with the Congress of Teschen (1779). Austria renounced its claims but retained the Inn quarter, a small but fertile and densely populated triangle of land along the border between Bavaria and Austria. Prussia's claims to Ansbach and Bayreuth were recognized, and Saxony received monetary compensation. The conflict has been called the Potato War because Prussian troops spent time picking potatoes in the fields.
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Bavarian Succession, War of the


The War of the Bavarian Succession took place in 1778–79 between Austria on the one side and Prussia and Saxony on the other. After the death of the childless Bavarian elector Maximilian III Joseph of the Wittelsbach house at the end of 1777, the Austrian government obtained from his heir, the elector of the Palatinate, Charles Theodore, an agreement to cede about 40 percent of all Bavarian lands to Austria. Anxious to prevent the strengthening of the position of the Austrian Hapsburgs in Germany, Prussia, in an alliance with Saxony (which had claims to part of Bavaria), began military actions against Austria on July 5, 1778. The Prusso-Saxon troops led by Frederick II of Prussia and Prince Henry invaded the territory of Bohemia but were unable to overcome the resistance of the Austrian troops and retreated in September 1778. Under diplomatic pressure from Russia, which was supported by France, peace negotiations were begun. Under the Teschen Peace of 1779, Austria received only a small part of Bavaria—the district of Inn. The remaining Bavarian lands were returned to the elector of the Palatinate, The Palatinate line of the Wittelsbachs was reaffirmed in Bavaria.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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