xxxxxAs we have seen (1702 AN), in 1706 Charles XII of Sweden had deposed the Polish king, Augustus II, and replaced him with his own candidate Stanislaw Leszczynski. However, when he lost the Battle of Poltava in 1709, the Russians, anxious to gain control over Poland, restored Augustus. When he died in 1733, Stanislaw attempted to make a come-
THE WAR OF THE POLISH SUCCESSION
Leszczynski: after the Hungarian painter Adam Manyoki (1673-
xxxxxAs we have seen (1702 AN), in 1706, Charles XII of Sweden, anxious to secure Poland before invading Russia, had deposed the king, Augustus II, and put in his place his own protégé the Polish nobleman Stanislaw Leszczynski (illustrated). But Sweden's decisive defeat at the hands of Peter the Great at the Battle of Poltava in 1709 not only relegated Sweden to a minor power, it also foreshadowed the loss of Polish independence. From then onwards Poland was going to be in Russia's sphere of influence and suffer as a consequence. It was with Russian support that Augustus II was restored to the Polish throne in 1709, and it was with Russian support that he stayed there.
xxxxxHowever, with his death in 1733 the question of the succession raised its ugly head. Two rival claimants emerged. One of them, the former King Stanislaw, wasted no time. In the September, with the backing of the king of France Louis XV (his son-
xxxxxAt the same time, another front had opened up in southern Europe. France had declared war on Austria in 1733, and was eagerly supported by Spain and Sardinia-
xxxxxBy the Treaty of Vienna of 1735, Spain gained Sicily and Naples, and Sardinia-
xxxxxThe Treaty of Vienna was held in 1735, though the agreements it contained were not ratified until three years later. By these terms, Stanislaw agreed to renounce the Polish throne in favour of Augustus III, but in return became Duke of Lorraine and Bar until his death, when they were to become French property. In the south, there was a redistribution of Italian territory. Austria ceded both Naples and Sicily to Spain, but received the duchies of Parma and Piacenza. Sardinia-
xxxxxAn exchange of ownership in parts of Italy was one result of the War of the Polish Succession. Another, and a very important one, was the growing domination of Russia in Polish affairs. Internally weak and divided, Poland was drifting towards extinction, a pawn amid the growing nations of eastern Europe. As we shall see (1772 G3a), the first partition of that unfortunate country was less than forty years away.
xxxxxIn keeping with Robert Walpole's aim, Britain was kept out of the conflict, but this did not stop the French and Spanish Bourbons from forming a "Family Compact" against the British, the first of three Pactes de Famille over the next thirty years. By the Treaty of Escorial of 1733, France promised to aid Spain in the recovery of Gibraltar, and both set out to disrupt British trade wherever possible. During the continental war that followed, the effect on Britain was minimal, but in North America it was quite another matter. Here, as we shall see, the rivalry between the British and the French was nearing boiling point, and went up a few more degrees in 1733 when Britain founded its new colony of Georgia.