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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 Wittelsbach 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.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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