206 years ago today, the Congress of Vienna ended with the signing of the Congress Act by the participants. The Congress had been in session since 18.09.1814 and had aimed to reorganize Europe, as its political landscape had changed considerably over the course of Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule.
After the defeat of France in the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna was supposed to create a stable and lasting peace. For this purpose, about 200 European states, sovereign territories and interest groups came together under the leadership of the victorious powers Russia, Austria, Prussia, and the United Kingdom.
Among other things, the Congress redrew borders and created new states. Instead of a German nation-state, which many had hoped for, the German Confederation, a confederation of the numerous individual states on German territory, was established.
Another significant decision of the congress was an outlawing of the slave trade, even though it would take some time before it was actually abolished.
It was also decided that such congresses should be held regularly, the so-called Monarch Congresses. However, these congresses were less important than the Congress of Vienna and served to consolidate monarchical rule and suppress all liberal and nationalist movements in Europe. The first of these congresses took place in Aachen in 1918. Even today, some street names remind us of this event: Congress Street, Alexander Street (after the Tsar) or Franz Street (after the Austrian Emperor).