On This Day
1713 – With no living male heirs, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, issues the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 to ensure that Habsburg lands and the Austrian throne would be inherited by his daughter, Maria Theresa (not actually born until 1717).
The Pragmatic Sanction (Latin: Sanctio Pragmatica) was an edict issued by Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, on 19 April 1713 to ensure that the Habsburg hereditary possessions, which included the Archduchy of Austria, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Duchy of Milan, the Kingdom of Naples, the Kingdom of Sicily and the Austrian Netherlands, could be inherited by a daughter.
Charles and his wife Elizabeth Christine had not to that point had children, and since 1711 Charles had been the sole surviving male member of the House of Habsburg. Charles’s elder brother Joseph I had died without male issue, leaving Joseph’s daughter Maria Josepha as the heir presumptive. This presented two problems. First, a prior agreement with his brother known as the Mutual Pact of Succession (1703) had agreed that, in the absence of male heirs, Joseph’s daughters would take precedence over Charles’s daughters in all Habsburg lands. Though at that time Charles had no children, if he were to be survived by daughters alone, they would be cut out of the inheritance. Secondly, because Salic law precluded female inheritance, Charles VI needed to take extraordinary measures to avoid a protracted succession dispute as other claimants would have surely contested a female inheritance.
Charles VI was indeed ultimately succeeded by his own elder daughter Maria Theresa (born 1717). However, despite the promulgation of the Pragmatic Sanction, her accession in 1740 resulted in the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession as Charles-Albert of Bavaria, backed by France, contested her inheritance. Following the war, Maria Theresa’s inheritance of the Habsburg lands was confirmed by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, while the election of her husband Francis I as Holy Roman Emperor was secured by the Treaty of Füssen.
Born On This Day
1787 – Deaf Smith, American soldier (d. 1837)
Erastus “Deaf” Smith (April 19, 1787 – November 30, 1837) was an American frontiersman noted for his part in the Texas Revolution and the Army of the Republic of Texas. He fought in the Grass Fight and the Battle of San Jacinto. After the war, Deaf Smith led a company of Texas Rangers.
Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: The Universe in Verse Livestream: April 28
I am delighted to announce that although the laws of physics have enforced their cruel limitations on our space and The Universe in Verse sold out in a blink, Kickstarter has kindly donated a livestream. So you can tune in from anywhere in the world at 7p.m. EST on April 28:
Since we are donating all ticketing proceeds to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the hosts and peformers are all donating their time and talent, and this livestream is itself a donation, please consider joining the collective goodwill by making a donation to the NRDC yourself.
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