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(1713) Decree by Emperor Charles VI requiring the undivided descent of his Habsburg domains. It stipulated that his heritage go to his eldest son or, in the absence of a son, to his eldest daughter. It became law in 1720 within the Habsburg states, and much of Charles's later reign was directed toward securing acceptance of the sanction from the other European powers. Since his son died soon after birth (1716), his daughter Maria Theresa became his heir. On Charles's death (1740), the sanction was contested by Prussia and Bavaria, which led to the War of the Austrian Succession.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Pragmatic Sanction, visit Britannica.com.
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