The 1720s and 1730s tend to be overshadowed in military history, in part because of the fame of military leaders earlier in the century, notably Marlborough, Eugene, Charles XII and Peter the Great, but these decades again display the themes outlined in the introduction. The standard Western-centric focus ensures that the period only appears of consequence at the close, when the outbreak of war with Spain, the War of Jenkins’ Ear (1739–48), began a period (1739–63) in which, having defeated France on land and sea in 1758–60, Britain ultimately became the strongest power in North America. Attention is also devoted to the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession in 1740, when Frederick the Great (II) of Prussia successfully invaded the Austrian province of Silesia. In contrast to both wars, the campaigning of the earlier years in the period 1720–40 is overshadowed. Moreover, the War of the Polish Succession (1733–5) and the Balkan conflicts of 1735–9 with the Turks seem far less consequential than the earlier conflicts in Europe of 1700–18, which also receive more attention.
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