The German Federation, 1815-1848

Germany's political landscape had undergone several fundamental changes during the Napoleonic Years. The number of statelets has been sharply reduced, from several hundreds to 38 which were recognized by the VIENNA CONGRESS.

List of the more important German States, 1815-1866
Empire of Austria
Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Wuerttemberg
Kingdom of Saxony
Kingdom of Hanover
Grand Duchy of Baden
Grand Duchy of Hessen-Darmstadt
Grand Duchy of Brunswick
Grand Duchy of Oldenburg
Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Grand Duchy of Luxemburg
Duchy of Holstein
Electorate Principality Hessen
County of Nassau
Frankfurt, free city
Hamburg, free Hanseatic city
Bremen, free Hanseatic city
Luebeck, free Hanseatic city
Kaiserreich Oesterreich
Koenigreich Preussen
Koenigreich Bayern
Koenigreich Wuerttemberg
Koenigreich Sachsen
Koenigreich Hannover
Grossherzogtum Baden
Grossherzogtum Hessen-Darmstadt
Grossherzogtum Braunschweig
Grossherzogtum Oldenburg
Grossherzogtum Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Grossherzogtum Luxemburg
Herzogtum Holstein
Kurfuerstentum Hessen
Grafschaft Nassau
Freie Reichsstadt Frankfurt
Freie Hansestadt Hamburg
Freie Hansestadt Bremen
Freie Hansestadt Luebeck

With the exception of the 4 free cities, which were republics, the other 30+ were monarchies. State policy, after 1815 was to stabilize the monarchy, to solidify their hold on territory gained only recently, to prevent another revolution.
The Duchies of HOLSTEIN and LAUENBURG were tied in DYNASTIC UNION with Denmark, and Holstein since the 15th century had merged it's parliament with that of the Danish Duchy of Schleswig (up ewig ungedeelt, for ever undivided). The Kingdom of HANNOVER was tied in Dynastic Union to England, the Grand Duchy of LUXEMBURG and the Duchy of LIMBURG to the NETHERLANDS.
On the other hand, both Austria (Hungary, Croatia, Galicia, Bukovina) and Prussia (Posen, West Prussia, East Prussia) owned large territories located outside of the federation. The territories aforementioned joined the GERMAN FEDERATION, a loose organization which succeeded the CONFEDERATION OF THE RHINE, which again was the successor of the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE OF GERMAN NATION. The German Federation, by and large, had the same borders as the pre-revolutionary Holy Roman Empire.
The (honorary) leadership of the German Federation lay with AUSTRIA. In practise, the Austrian Emperor had little authority over the other member states.

The GERMAN REVOLUTION of 1848/49 paralyzed the federation; at the Paulskirche in Frankfurt the unification of Germany was discussed. After the Paulskirche assembly broke up and the revolution ended in failure, the federation was reestablished at the Dresden Conference of 1850/51.

Deutscher Bund, from aeiou
Die Dresdner Konferenz 1850/51, from Humboldt Univ. Berlin : H-Soz-u-Kult
DOCUMENTS Map : Die Deutschen Staaten nach dem Ersten Pariser Frieden von 1814 (the German Stats after the 1st Peace of Paris, 1814), ; Die Deutschen Staaten nach dem Frankfurter Territorialrezess, 1820 (the German States after the Frankfurt Recess, 1820, both from IEG Maps
Treaty of June 8th 1815, establishing the Deutscher Bund, from Hertslet Vol.I, downloadable from Gallica
Acte du Congres de Vienne du 9 juin 1815 : Confederation Germanique, from Histoire Empire

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 12th 2004

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