Meaning of VIENNA, CONGRESS OF in English


assembly in 181415 that reorganized Europe after the Napoleonic Wars. Having begun in September 1814, five months after Napoleon's first abdication, it completed its Final Act in June 1815, shortly before the Waterloo campaign and the end of the Hundred Days of Napoleon's return to power. The settlement was the most comprehensive treaty that Europe had ever seen. Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain, the four powers chiefly instrumental in the overthrow of Napoleon, had concluded a special alliance among themselves with the Treaty of Chaumont, on March 9, 1814, a month before Napoleon's first abdication. The subsequent treaties of peace with France, signed on May 30 not only by the four but also by Sweden and Portugal and on July 20 by Spain, stipulated that all former belligerents should send plenipotentiaries to a congress in Vienna. Nevertheless, the four still intended to reserve the real making of decisions to themselves. Two months after the sessions began, however, Bourbon France was admitted to the four. The four thus became the five, and it was the committee of the five that was the real Congress of Vienna. Representatives began to arrive in Vienna toward the end of September 1814. Klemens, prince von Metternich, principal minister of Austria, represented his emperor, Francis II. Tsar Alexander I of Russia directed his own diplomacy. King Frederick William III of Prussia had Karl, prince von Hardenberg, as his principal minister. Great Britain was represented by its foreign minister, Viscount Castlereagh. When Castlereagh had to return to his parliamentary duties, the Duke of Wellington replaced him, and Lord Clancarty was principal representative after the duke's departure. The restored Louis XVIII of France sent Talleyrand. Spain, Portugal, and Sweden had only men of moderate ability to represent them. Many of the rulers of the minor states of Europe put in an appearance. With them came a host of courtiers, secretaries, and ladies to enjoy the magnificent social life of the Austrian court. The major points of friction occurred over the disposition of Poland and Saxony, the conflicting claims of Sweden, Denmark, and Russia, and the adjustment of the borders of the German states. In general, Russia and Prussia were opposed by Austria, France, and England, which at one point (Jan. 3, 1815) went so far as to conclude a secret treaty of defensive alliance. The major final agreements were as follows. For Poland, Alexander gave back Galicia to Austria and gave Thorn and a region around it to Prussia; Krakw was made a free town. The rest of the duchy of Warsaw was incorporated as a separate kingdom under the Russian emperor's sovereignty. Prussia got two-fifths of Saxony and was compensated by extensive additions in Westphalia and on the left bank of the Rhine. It was Castlereagh who insisted on Prussian acceptance of this latter territory, with which it had been suggested the king of Saxony should be compensated; Castlereagh wanted Prussia to guard the Rhine against France and act as a buttress to the new Kingdom of The Netherlands, which comprised both the former United Provinces and Belgium. Austria was compensated by Lombardy and Venice and also got back most of Tirol. Bavaria, Wrttemberg, and Baden on the whole did well. Hanover was also enlarged. The outline of a constitution, a loose confederation, was drawn up for Germanya triumph for Metternich. Denmark lost Norway to Sweden but got Lauenburg, while Swedish Pomerania went to Prussia. Switzerland was given a new constitution. In Italy, Piedmont absorbed Genoa; Tuscany and Modena went to an Austrian archduke; Parma was given to Marie-Louise, consort of the deposed Napoleon. The Papal States were restored to the pope, Naples to the Sicilian Bourbons. Valuable articles were agreed to on the free navigation of international rivers and diplomatic precedence. Castlereagh's great efforts for the abolition of the slave trade were rewarded only by a pious declaration. The Final Act of the Congress of Vienna comprised all these agreements in one great instrument. It was signed on June 9, 1815, by the eight (except Spain, who refused as a protest against the Italian settlement). All the other powers subsequently acceded to it. As a result, the lines laid down by the Congress of Vienna lasted, except for one or two changes, for more than 40 years. History The ancient city and medieval growth Traces of human occupation of the site of Vienna have been found dating as far back as the Paleolithic period. The area was subsequently inhabited by the Illyrians and then the Celts. In 1615 BC the Romans, under the future emperor Tiberius, occupied the foothills of the Alps, and in the next century the Celtic town of Vindobona (Celtic: White Field; later to become Vienna) became a strategic Roman garrison town. (The Roman camp is believed to have covered the area around the present Hoher Market.) Vindobona grew to about 15,000 inhabitants and became part of a widespread network of trade and communications. Emperor Marcus Aurelius is said to have died in Vindobona in 180 AD fighting off attacks by the Germanic tribes. The Romans were swept away in the turmoil of the 5th-century invasions, but enough of Vindobona remained to serve as the nucleus of the medieval city. The Bavarians occupied the area, and the people became Christianized. The city's name was recorded in 881 as Wenia and in 1030 as Wienis. The dukes of Babenberg, a Frankish dynasty, were overlords of Vienna from 1156 to 1246. The city developed into an important trading centre, where crusaders on their way to the East bought provisions and equipment. In the 13th century, walls were built around the city, and Vienna remained largely confined within the walled area until the 1700s. The Babenbergs kept a brilliant court and encouraged artists like the famous minnesinger Walther von der Vogelweide. In 1246 the last male of the Babenberg family died. In the ensuing struggle for domination, the king of Bohemia, Otakar II, became overlord of what was to become Austria. Otakar established himself as a powerful central European prince, and by 1276 he was at war with the German king, Rudolf I of the Habsburg dynasty. When Otakar fell in battle in 1278, the Habsburgs took over his domain and retained it for more than 600 years. The capital city flourished, trading with Trieste, Venice, and Hungary; nevertheless, economic decline attended the numerous disputes over inheritance within the Habsburg family. In 1485, under siege by Matthias I Corvinus of Hungary, the city fathers surrendered in the hope of bettering their status. When Corvinus died five years later, Vienna reverted to the Habsburg emperor, Frederick III. Development of imperial Vienna During the Renaissance, Vienna was a leader in science and fine arts, and the university (1365) was a centre of humanism. When Charles V became Holy Roman emperor in the 16th century he entrusted his Austrian territories to his brother, the future emperor Ferdinand I. Seeking to increase their liberties and economic position, the Lower Austrian Diet rebelled against their regent. Ferdinand responded by condemning the leaders of the insurrection to death, and in 1526 he issued an ordinance that stripped the city of almost all its rights. In the same year, he inherited the kingdoms of Bohemia and Hungary and, accordingly, the task of fighting the Turks, who commanded large parts of Hungary. Turkish forces besieged Vienna in 1529 but were successfully beaten off. When Ferdinand was crowned emperor in 1558, Vienna regained its political status and became the administrative seat of numerous kingdoms that the Habsburgs acquired by marriage. The Reformation swept through Europe during the 16th century, arousing heated opposition from the Roman Catholic church. In an attempt to stem the controversy, the imperial Diet, in the Peace of Augsburg (1555), recognized the right of Lutheranism to exist but decreed that the regional princes were to determine which form of Christianity their subjects must follow. Because the Viennese were required to remain Roman Catholic, many of the great number who had become Protestant had to leave the city. It was during this period that new fortifications were built to replace the medieval city walls and the Hofburg was enlarged with the addition of new courts. The splendid secular buildings of the Baroque era proclaimed Vienna's stature as an imperial residence and one of the great world capitals. In 1679 the bubonic plague struck the city, killing nearly a third of its population. Then, during the summer of 1683, Vienna suffered a second Turkish siege, this one led by the grand vizier Kara Mustafa. The Viennese defenders, together with imperial troops under Charles of Lorraine, held off the Turkish army, which was defeated with the help of relief forces led by John III Sobieski, king of Poland. Shortly thereafter Prince Eugene of Savoy succeeded in driving the Turks out of Hungary. With the Turkish threat at an end, there followed an upsurge of building, particularly in the devastated suburbs. Between 1700 and 1730 a city of palaces and stately homes emerged. A second line of fortifications, the Linienwall (straight rampart), was built in 170406 to give the suburbs protection. In the densely built-up Innere Stadt old houses either had upper stories added or were demolished and replaced by Baroque structures. Hildebrandt, J.B. Fischer von Erlach, and Fischer von Erlach's son Joseph Emanuel were the great Viennese architects of the time, and their achievements are still evident in some of the city's best buildings. During this period, immigrants arrived from other parts of the empire, and new factories heralded the city's transition from trade to manufacturing. The arts also received fresh energy, as instanced by Joseph Anton Stranitzky's newly created Viennese Impromptu Theatre, which opened with the character masque of Hanswurst. The male line of the Habsburgs died out with Charles VI in 1740, but by the terms of the Pragmatic Sanction his daughter Maria Theresa gained the right of succession and reigned until 1780. She established compulsory primary-school attendance; separated the university from the church, bringing it under state control; and reorganized the economy, the army, and the judiciary. Her son and successor, Joseph II, was typical of the Enlightenment's absolute monarchs and continued in her reforming spirit. His Edict of Toleration guaranteed religious freedom to Protestants and Jews. He instituted many humanitarian measures, improved government and education, and supported the arts. Some of his actions, like the dissolution of the monasteries, brought him into conflict with the church. By the time Joseph died in 1790, there were 300 factories in Vienna, the population had increased to 235,000, and the built-up area had increased 10-fold since the Turkish siege. Gluck, Haydn, and Mozart had ushered in Vienna's first golden age of music; Beethoven and Schubert would carry it into the next century. In 1804 Francis II declared himself emperor of Austria and in 1806 resigned his former imperial crown, thus bringing to an end the Holy Roman Empire, which had long been essentially a German monarchy. Napoleon's armies occupied Vienna in 1805 and again in 1809. Inflation and state bankruptcy followed the Napoleonic Wars. Politically, however, Vienna held a central position in the restoration of Europe at the Congress of Vienna (181415) under the leadership of the powerful statesman Prince Metternich. By 1845 Vienna had 430,000 inhabitants. The aspirations and cultural interests of the middle class were growing, finding artistic expression primarily in the simple and commonplace forms of the Biedermeier style of decoration and furniture design. Joseph Lanner and the elder Johann Strauss enlivened the city with Viennese waltzes. The revolution of March 1848 in Vienna brought to an end Metternich's authoritarian rule. A second uprising, in October, was put down by the imperial army of Francis Joseph. The city continued to grow culturally as the Austrian (later the Austro-Hungarian) imperial capital.

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