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Pragmatic sanction

A pragmatic sanction is a sovereign's solemn decree on a matter of primary importance and has the force of fundamental law. In the late history of the Holy Roman Empire it referred more specifically to an edict issued by the Emperor.

When used as a proper noun, not otherwise qualified, it refers to the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, a legal mechanism designed to ensure that the Austrian throne and Habsburg lands would be inherited by Emperor Karl IV's daughter, Maria Theresa.