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Wiener Kongress#

Vienna, Congress of, September 19, 1814 - June 06, 1815. Assembly agreed upon in the peace of Paris on May 5, 1814, attended by monarchs and representatives of the most important countries to reorganise the political map of Europe after the Napoleonic Wars. The representatives of the four main allies were: Tsar Alexander I and Count K. W. Nesselrode (Russia), King Friedrich Wilhelm III and Chancellor K. A. Prince of Hardenberg (Prussia), Viscount Castlereagh and the Duke of Wellington (England), Emperor Franz I and the chairman of the Congress C. W. Prince Metternich (Austria); The French representative C. M. de Talleyrand had ensured France´s participation as the 5th decisive power.

Small states tried to intervene and the negotiations were characterised by tensions (secret alliance between Austria, England and France against Russia and Prussia on January 03, 1815), but were accelerated by Napoleon´s return from Elba (March 01, 1815). As a result Austria was handed back parts of its former possessions including Western Carinthia, Carniola, Istria and Dalmatia (Vorarlberg, Tirol, Salzburg, the Hausruckviertel and Innviertel regions were returned in a barter agreement with Bavaria in 1816), the borough of Tarnopol in Galicia (but not New Galicia) and the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom in Northern Italy, which secured Austria´s dominant position in Italy. The Habsburg secundogenitures Tuscany (Ferdinand III, the brother of Emperor Franz I) and Modena (Franz IV of Austria-Este) were re-established. Marie Louise kept Parma and Piacenza, but Austria surrendered the Vorlande with the Breisgau region and the Austrian Netherlands. The Deutscher Bund under the presidency of Austria replaced the Holy Roman Empire, which had been dissolved in 1806; the Act of the German Federation was integrated into the final act of the Congress. Further results of the Congress: Switzerland was enlarged and given a guarantee for its neutrality; Baden, Wuerttemberg and Bavaria remained in existence; Kraków became a Free City and Poland joined Russia. Furthermore, the droit de legation was codified ("Règlement de Vienne") as well as the freedom of international river traffic and the outlawry of the slave trade. At the Congress of Vienna Austria once more succeeded in asserting its position in Europe and prolonging its supremacy in Germany and Italy. The further course of the 19th century was characterised by a competitive relationship with Prussia, to which Austria had to yield again and again. The Congress of Vienna was accompanied by many social gatherings and put Austria to great expense; The Prince of Ligne coined the phrase "the Congress dances, but it does not get anywhere" ("Le congrès danse beaucoup, mais il ne marche pas").


Wiener Kongress, exhibition catalogue, Vienna 1965; P. Burg, Der Wiener Kongress., 1984; K. Mueller (ed.), Quellen zur Geschichte des Wiener Kongresses, 1986.