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Europe After Napoleon Index

Europe After Napoleon : The Congress of Vienna
Revolutionary Europe 1820-1848
The Breakup of the Congress System 1818 - 1830
Nationalist Revolutions after 1820
The Revolutions of 1830 and 1848
Socialism
Europe After 1848
The Unification of Italy and Germany (The Breakdown in the Balance of Power)
Italy (1859-1970)
Germany (1848-1871)

History Chapters Main Index

 

 

Outcome of the Congress of Vienna

Austria

Germanic confederation formed from 39 states which was placed under Austrian rule. Austria also gained territory it had lost. It gained territory in Germany and Italy (Lombardy, Parma, Modena, Tuscany and Venice), Polish province of Galacia, Tirol, Salzburg

Prussia

Gained two fifths of Saxony, parts of Westphalia and the Rhine Province, Thorn, Pomerania, Polish province of Posen

Russia

Gained Finland and most of Poland

Britain

Gained Malta, Cape Colony, South Africa and other colonies. Gained control of the seas

France

Lost all of the territory conquered by Napoleon

Netherlands

House of Orange was given Austrian Netherlands and Dutch Republic to make the Netherlands

Sweden

Gained Norway

Spain

Gained Parma

The Papacy

The papal states were restored

Hanover

Was enlarged and became part of the German Confederation under Austria

Switzerland

Guaranteed its neutrality for its independence

Kingdom of Sardinia 

Was restored and given Piedmont, Nice, Savoy and Genoa

Denmark

Gained Lauenburg

 

N.B. This table does not give a complete picture of the changes made to Europe at the Congress of Vienna. There were many other minor changes made which have not been noted.

 

 

TWO CENTURIES OF REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE

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Europe After Napoleon

The Congress of Vienna : Outcome and Alliances

The Congress of Vienna

The Congress of Vienna

 

Needless to say, the return of Napoleon from exile in Elba in February 1815 caused panic and the Congress was suspended. However, after Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo in June 1815, it reassembled and continued its work.

The Congress of Vienna was dominated by the "big four", despite the fact that all of Europe was represented. The decisions taken were taken by Napoleon's principal adversaries, Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia. Despite all its faults and shortcomings, and there were many, the Congress did seriously attempt to protect Europe from war, which it did for almost fifty years. This in itself was a considerable accomplishment.

 

Europe 1815

Map showing the outcome of the Congress of Vienna in 1815

 

The Quadruple Alliance, 1815

This was an idea put forward by the British foreign minister. He proposed that it was the responsibility of the great powers to prevent war in Europe, a Europe ravaged by war since 1792, by having regular meetings to discuss the international situation and intervene, using force if necessary, to stop an international conflict developing. (This was very much the same idea which lay behind the League of Nations after World War I and the United Nations after World War II).

 

The Holy Alliance, 1815

This was the brainchild of Tsar Alexander I who proposed an alliance of all the Christian rulers of Europe in order to deal with each other like brothers, and to rule their subjects like fathers, in the name of God. Every country in Europe joined it, with three notable exceptions:

  • Ottoman Turkey, which because it was a Moslem state, was not invited to join.

  • The Papal States because the Pope, as head of the Catholic Church, was suspicious of an alliance created by an Orthodox Christian ruler.

  • Britain, which thought the idea was a complete waste of time or, as the British foreign minister described it, "a piece of sublime mysticism and nonsense.

In practice, the Holy Alliance would be used to protect the "legitimate" rulers (those representing God) from any form of attack, including internal revolution.

 

The Quintuple Alliance 1818

This was nothing more than the Quadruple Alliance plus France. By 1818 it was evident that the French people had accepted Louis XVII as their king and that there was no further danger of another return of Napoleon from exile. It was a diplomatic triumph Talleyrand, France representative at Vienna. It was also a sensible acceptance, by the Big Four, that the affairs of Europe could not be settled without the inclusion of France.

 

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