At school it is usually taught that the “Pragmatic Sanction” only served to secure Maria Theresa’s throne.

In reality, however, the story was far more complicated and the causes of this treaty must be sought elsewhere than one thinks.


In the year 1701 the Spanish line of the Habsburgs died out and bloody battles for the throne took place, as a result of which ever larger parts of the former world empire were lost.

This is exactly what Charles VI wanted to prevent for Habsburg Austria and therefore tried to create a constitutional basis for the monarchy.


With the “Pragmatic Sanction” he finally presented a set of documents that determined the indivisibility and indivisibility of all Habsburg hereditary kingdoms and countries.

In the course of this he also created a new regulation of succession by turning away from the purely male succession as laid down in the “Salian Law”.

Now, as before, the eldest son and the line founded by him and then all other lines in the male tribe were to be entitled to inherit, but if there were no male heirs, the crown would not be lost, but transferred to the female descendants for the first time.


By 1730, Charles VI, with the support of his closest advisors, had obtained the agreement of the majority of foreign powers.

But after his death they did not want to know anything more about it and expressed doubts, whereby they were less interested in female succession than in power and land.


The most serious was the demand of Frederick II of Brandenburg-Prussia, whose father had acknowledged the Pragmatic Sanction and thus also the indivisibility of the Habsburg territories, but who now made a claim to the province of Silesia and demanded the assignment of the same.

As a result, fights culminated in the War of the Austrian Succession, the result of which was the recognition of the Pragmatic Sanction. But Silesia was lost forever.


In history, the Pragmatic Sanction was the actual founding act of the Habsburg Monarchy, because it was the first time that the individual countries had expressed their will to come together in a common state under the leadership of the Habsburgs.