Congress of Vienna 1814-1815

December 12, 2011 | | 1 Comment

Napoleon’s vast reign of power came to an end in May, 1814.  His grand conquest expanded the French power deep throughout Europe.  Now that the Napoleon and the French had lost, the world powers had to figure out how to reconfigure Europe.  The Treaty of Paris was signed at Napoleons defeat and the main powers created a rough draft of what Europe was to look like in the future.  In the treaty, the powers ageed to convene again in a few months at a congress to finalize plans.  This congress became known as the Congress of Vienna.  It began in September 1815 and wasn’t completed until June 1815.  Napoleon’s brief regaining of power was not enough to cancel the Congress and the treaty was signed a few days before Napoleon’s final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. The two main principles of thought that the leaders wanted at this conference was:

1) Monarchial legitmacy-  This means restoring the old monarchies that were established before Napoloen.

2) Stability- Create a balance of power throughout Europe that the strongest nations could share.

The main powers in the congress and who represented them were as follows:

Austria- Prince Metternich.  He is credited as the chief negotiator in the group. 

United Kingdom- Viscount Castlereagh.

Russia- Tsar Alexander I

Prussia- Baron Hardenberg

France- Carles Maurice Prince de Talleyrand.  France was not originally going to have a say in the negotiations, but the French minister for foreign affairs Talleyrand performed swift political bidding to get France into the conversation.

Many other nations attended the negotiations as well, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the Papel States.  However, none of these nations had the same power in negotiations.

Major Results of the Congress:

Russia acquired land in Poland and Finland.

Prussia received major parts of Saxony and the German procince of Westphalia.

Britain-  Gained control of many important naval bases in areas such as Malta, Cape Colony in South Africa and others in Africa and Asia.

A German Confederation of 38 states was created and was to be ruled by the Austrian Emperor.

France was allowed to keep the territory it had before Napoleon’s conquests and King Louis XVIII was restored as the Bourbon king.  It was also required to pay the war debt of all of the nations.

There have been criticisms of the Congress of Vienna for ignoring the nationalism within some of the nations, it is hard to argue with its success.  This is because there was not a major war in Europe for almost a century.

 Works Cited:

“Congress of Vienna.” Encyclopedia Britannica Academic Edition. . (accessed December 12, 2011).

Frankforter, Daniel, and William Spellman. The West A Narrative History. New Jersey: Pearson, 2009




1 Comment so far

  1.    Christian Rodriguez on December 9, 2013 1:59 pm

    Hello i am a 10th grade student and i’m wondering about the United State’s involvement in the Congress of Vienna and also the effect the Congress had on the U.S.

Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind