The War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48) – including King George's War in North America, the War of Jenkins' Ear, and two of the three Silesian wars – involved most of the powers of Europe over the question of Maria Theresa's succession to the realms of the House of Habsburg.
The war began under the pretext that Maria Theresa was ineligible to succeed to the Habsburg thrones of her father, Charles VI, because Salic law precluded royal inheritance by a woman—though in reality this was a convenient excuse put forward by Prussia and France to challenge Habsburg power. Austria was supported by Great Britain and the Dutch Republic, the traditional enemies of France, as well as the Kingdom of Sardinia and Saxony. France and Prussia were allied with the Electorate of Bavaria.
Spain entered the war to reestablish its influence in northern Italy, further reversing an Austrian dominance over the Italian peninsula that had been achieved at Spain's expense as a consequence of that country's own war of succession earlier in the 18th century.
The war ended with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. The most enduring military historical interest and importance of the war lies in the struggle of Prussia and the Habsburg monarchs for the region of Silesia.