Friday, June 10, 2011

This Day in History - Congress of Vienna Concludes

The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states, chaired by Klemens von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815 for the purpose of settling the many issues that arose from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. The Congress resulted in the redrawing of the continent's political map, establishing the boundaries of France, Napoleon's Duchy of Warsaw, the Netherlands, the states of the Rhine, the German province of Saxony, and various Italian territories, and the creation of spheres of influence through which Austria, Britain, France and Russia brokered local and regional problems. The Congress of Vienna was the first of a series of international meetings that came to be known as the Concert of Europe, which was an attempt to forge a peaceful balance of power in Europe.

The immediate background was Napoleonic France's defeat and surrender in May 1814, which brought an end to twenty-five years of nearly continuous war. Negotiations continued despite the outbreak of fighting triggered by Napoleon's dramatic return from exile and resumption of power in France during the Hundred Days of March–July, 1815. The Congress's "Final Act" was signed nine days before his final defeat at Waterloo on June 18, 1815. (Wikipedia)

Although Jane Austen chose not to write about the conflict on the Continent, the Napoleonic Wars served as a backdrop for one of her novels, Persuasion, and since two of her brothers were admirals, she had been personally impacted by the fighting. The Congress of Vienna redrew the map of Europe. There would not be a major outbreak of hostilities for another 99 years, thus allowing Britain to focus on the expansion of her empire. The 19the Century would see the rise of the greatest empire since the fall of Rome.


  1. Thanks for this interesting bit of history, Mary.

    All the best,

  2. I like this, concise and informative!! Although I am not interested in your regular posts.