The War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48) 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 included King George's War in North America, the War of Jenkins' Ear (which formally began on 23 October 1739), the First Carnatic War in India, and the First and Second Silesian Wars.
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 the Electorate of Saxony. France and Prussia were allied with the Electorate of Bavaria.
Spain, which had been at war with Britain over colonies and trade ever since 1739, entered the war on the Continent to re-establish 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 Spain's war of succession earlier in the 18th century.
The war ended with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, by which Maria Theresa was confirmed as Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary, but Prussia retained control of Silesia.