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German Confederation

German Confederation
Deutscher Bund

Coat of arms (1848–66)

The German Confederation in 1815
  •   Member states
  •   Territory of member states outside of the confederation
Capital Frankfurt
Religion Roman Catholicism
Political structure Confederation
Head of the Präsidialmacht Austria
 •  1815–1835 Francis I
 •  1835–1848 Ferdinand I
 •  1850–1866 Franz Joseph I
Legislature Federal Convention
 •  Constitution adopted 8 June 1815
 •  German Revolutions 13 March 1848
 •  Punctation of Olmütz 29 November 1850
 •  Austro-Prussian War 14 June 1866
 •  Peace of Prague 23 August 1866
 •  1815 630,100 km² (243,283 sq mi)
 •  1815 est. 29,200,000 
     Density 46.3 /km²  (120 /sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Confederation of the Rhine
Austrian Empire
Kingdom of Prussia
North German Confederation
Austrian Empire
Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Württemberg
Grand Duchy of Baden
Grand Duchy of Hesse
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Principality of Liechtenstein
Today part of

Coat of arms (1848–66)

The German Confederation (German: Deutscher Bund) was an association of 39 German states in Central Europe, created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries and to replace the former Holy Roman Empire. Most historians have judged the Confederation to have been weak and ineffective, as well as an obstacle to the creation of a German nation-state. It collapsed due to the rivalry between Prussia and Austria, warfare, the 1848 revolution, and the inability of the multiple members to compromise.

In 1848, revolutions by liberals and nationalists were a failed attempt to establish a unified German state. Talks between the German states failed in 1848, and the Confederation briefly dissolved, but was re-established shortly after, in 1850. It decidedly fell apart only after the Prussian victory in the Seven Weeks' War of 1866.

The dispute between the two dominant member states of the Confederation, Austria and Prussia, over which had the inherent right to rule German lands ended in favour of Prussia after the Seven Weeks' War of 1866. This led to the creation of the North German Confederation under Prussian leadership in 1867. A number of South German states remained independent until they joined the North German Confederation, which was renamed the 'German Empire'.

  •   Member states
  •   Territory of member states outside of the confederation
  • Westermann, Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte (in German, detailed maps)
  • WorldStatesmen- here Germany; also links to a map on
  • Barrington Moore, Jr. 1993 [1966]. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Blackbourn, David. The Long Nineteenth Century: A History of Germany, 1780–1918 (1998) excerpt and text search
  • Blackbourn, David, and Geoff Eley. The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany (1984) online edition
  • Brose, Eric Dorn. German History, 1789–1871: From the Holy Roman Empire to the Bismarckian Reich. (1997) online edition
  • Evans, Richard J., and W. R. Lee, eds. The German Peasantry: Conflict and Community from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries (1986)
  • Nipperdey, Thomas. Germany from Napoleon to Bismarck (1996), very dense coverage of every aspect of German society, economy and government
  • Pflanze, Otto. Bismarck and the Development of Germany, Vol. 1: The Period of Unification, 1815-1871 (1971)
  • Ramm, Agatha. Germany, 1789–1919 (1967)
  • Sagarra, Eda (1977). A Social History of Germany: 1648–1914. New York: Holmes & Meier. pp. 37–55, 183–202. ISBN . 
  • Sagarra, Eda. Introduction to Nineteenth Century Germany (1980)
  • Sheehan, James J. German History, 1770–1866 (1993), 969pp; the major survey in English
  • Werner, George S. Bavaria in the German Confederation 1820–1848 (1977)


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