The War of Polish Succession is one of the less known European conflicts of the 18 century, despite the fact that in the hostilities were engaged all main Powers & actions proceeded in Poland, Italy & Rhine.

Introduction to the conflict.


  The War in Poland.


The War of Polish Succession caused by the two rival claims to the throne of Poland asserted on the death in 1733 of Augustus II, elector of Saxony and king of Poland, by his son Augustus, and by the Polish nobleman Stanislaw Leszczynski. Augustus II had been king of Poland from 1697 to 1704, maintaining his office largely through Russian support. In 1704 Stanislaw, with the help of Charles XII, king of Sweden, had deposed Augustus II and then had been elected king by the Polish nobility. In 1709 after Swedish defeat at Poltava, however, Augustus reassumed the throne with Russian aid. On Augustus's death in 1733, Stanislaw again claimed the throne and a majority of the Polish nobles, influenced by Louis XV, king of France, who was the son-in-law of Stanislaw, reelected the Polish nobleman as king. At the same time Augustus's son also claimed the Polish throne, and a minority of the Polish nobility, influenced by Russia and Austria, then ruled respectively by Anna Ioanovna and and Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, elected him Augustus III, king of Poland, and demanded that Stanislaw abdicate. Stanislaw refused, and in 1733 a large Russian army invaded and drove him out of Poland. He took refuge in the fortress of the free city of Danzig (now Gdansk), to which the Russians laid siege. A French naval and military expedition to raise the siege was a failure. Stanislaw maintained his position until June 1734, but then he fled to Prussia, & his army surrendered.

In the meantime, in retaliation for the Austrian support of Augustus III, France in 1733 had declared war on Charles VI. Spain and Sardinia, viewing the war as an opportunity to make territorial gains in Italy at the expense of Austria, which then held large parts of the peninsula, allied themselves with France. Spanish forces invaded Austrian-held Lombardy (Lombardia), Naples, and Sicily. The French invaded the duchy of Lorraine, then part of the Holy Roman Empire, and also engaged in indecisive fighting with the forces of Charles VI on the upper Rhine River.

The war was terminated by the Treaty of Vienna, negotiated in 1735, but not ratified until 1738. The treaty had four principal provisions:

This were the results of the short & not-bloody War of Polish Succession.

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