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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

Enlargement of Prussia and Hannover


[Sidenote:

1714. END OF THE WAR.]

Austria received the Spanish Netherlands, Naples, Milan, Mantua and the Island of Sardinia. Freiburg, Old-Breisach and Kehl were restored to Germany, but France retained Landau, on the west bank of the Rhine, as well as all Alsatia and Strasburg. Thus the recovery of the latter territory, which Joseph I. refused to accept in 1710, was lost to Germany until the year 1870.

By the Treaty of Utrecht, Duke Victor Amadeus of Savoy had received Sicily as an independent kingdom. A few years afterwards he made an exchange with Austria, giving Sicily for Sardinia: thus originated the Kingdom of Sardinia, which continued to exist until the year 1860, when Victor Emanuel became king of Italy.

CHAPTER XXXII.

THE RISE OF PRUSSIA.

(1714--1740.)

Wars of Charles XII. of Sweden. --Invasion of Saxony. --Enlargement of Prussia and Hannover. --The "Pragmatic Sanction." --Sacrifices of Austria. --Battle of Peterwardein. --Treaty of Passarowitz. --War in Italy. --Frederick I. of Prussia. --Frederick William I. --His Character and Habits. --His Policy as a Ruler. --His Giant Body-Guards. --The Tobacco College. --Decay of Austria. --The other German States. --First Emigration to America. --War of the Polish Succession.

--French Invasion. --German Disunion. --The Treaty of Vienna. --Marriage of Maria Theresa. --Disastrous War with Turkey. --Prussia at the Death of Frederick William I. --Austria at the Death of Karl VI.

[Sidenote: 1714.]

While the War of the Spanish Succession raged along the Rhine, in Bavaria and the Netherlands, the North of Germany was convulsed by another and very different struggle. The ambitious designs of Charles XII. of Sweden, who succeeded to the throne in 1697, aroused the jealousy and renewed the old hostility, of Denmark, Russia and Poland, and in 1700 they formed an alliance against Sweden. Denmark began the war, the same year, by invading Holstein-Gottorp, the Duke of which was the brother-in-law of Charles XII. The latter immediately attacked Copenhagen, and conquered a peace. A few months afterwards he crushed the power of Peter the Great, in the battle of Narva, and was then free to march against Poland. Augustus the Strong was no match for the young Northern hero, who compelled the Polish nobles to depose him and elect Stanislas Lesczinsky in his stead, then marched through Silesia into Saxony, in the year 1706, and from his camp near Leipzig dictated his own terms to Augustus.

A year later, having exhausted what resources were left to the people after the outrageous exactions of their own Electors, Charles XII. evacuated Saxony with an army of 40,000 men, many of them German recruits, and marched through Poland on his way to the fatal field of Pultowa. The immediate consequences of his terrible defeat there, in 1709, were that Peter the Great took possession of the Baltic provinces, and prepared to found his new capital of St. Petersburg on the Neva. Then Denmark and Saxony entered into an alliance with Russia, Augustus the Strong was again placed on the throne of Poland, and the Swedish-German provinces on the Baltic and the North Sea were overrun and ravaged by the Danish and Russian armies. Towards the end of the year 1714, after peace had been concluded with France, Charles XII. suddenly appeared in Stralsund, having escaped from his long exile in Turkey and travelled day and night on horseback across Europe, from the shores of the Black Sea. Then Prussia and Hannover, both eager to enlarge their dominions at the expense of Sweden, united against him. He had not sufficient military strength to resist them, and after his death at Frederickshall, in 1718, Sweden was compelled to make peace on conditions which forever destroyed her supremacy among the northern powers.


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