The Map as History

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The Congress of Vienna 1814-1815

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L’Europe et les Nations 1815-1914

See also:

History of Europe 1918-1942

History of Europe 1945-2005

Home The Map as History > Europe and nations, 1815-1914

Europe and nations, 1815-1914

Throughout the 19th century, there was growing interest in establishing new national identities, which had a drastic impact on the map of Europe. These transformations also highlighted the failure of a certain ’European order’ which led to the outbreak of the First World War.

History of Europe during the 19th century: Congress of Vienna – the revolutions of 1848 – nationalism – national minorities – Balkan wars – colonial empires

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The Congress of Vienna 1814-1815

During the Congress of Vienna, the four great victors (Austria, France, Russia and the United Kingdom) redrew the map of Europe and attempted to put an end to the period heralded by the French Revolution.


Uprisings after the congress of Vienna


Independence of Greece

In 1821, the Greeks launched a war of independence against the Ottoman Empire.


Independence of Belgium

The Kingdom of The Netherlands, as constituted by the Congress of Vienna, broke apart in 1830.


The Polish Question

The major phases of the dismantlement of Poland, which had been a powerful country during the 15th and 16th centuries.


Serbian Autonomy

Several key dates in the history of the Serbian Kingdom from the 12th century onwards.


Revolutions of 1848


The Triumph of Nationalities 1848-1871

In 1848, the Spring of Nations ended with the failure of liberal forces in Europe. Meanwhile unification of Germany and Italy marked the triumph of nationality.


Unification of Germany

Bismarck forged German unity by launching three major wars against Denmark, Austria, and France.


The Affair of the Duchies

Danish and German populations lived side by side in the three duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg.


Annexation of Alsace and Lorraine

The annexation of these two regions illustrates how France and Germany interpreted the concept of the ‘nation’.


Unification of Italy

With help from France, Cavour built up Italian unity using the Kingdom of Piedmont & Sardinia as its starting point.


The Roman Question

For Italian patriots, Rome was the obvious capital of unified Italy, but the Pope refused to give up territory belonging to the heritage of Saint Peter.


Austria-Hungary 1867

Excluded from the movement to German unification, the Austrian Empire was transformed into a bi-national state: Austra-Hungary.


The Crimean War

France and England become allies in order to combat Russian control of the Straits.


Towards the Clash of Nations 1871-1914

The ‘European Order’, promoted by the Congress of Vienna, was replaced by a system of alliances which divided Europe into two hostile blocs.


Independence of the Balkan Peoples

From 1875, the situation in the Balkans was shattered by a series of crises. In 1914, the Ottoman Empire’s European territory was reduced to Eastern Thrace.


Independence of Norway

The Norwegians put an end to the Swedish tutelage in 1905.


The Irish Question

The outbreak of the First World War blocked moves for giving independence to the Irish Catholics.


Expansion of the Russian Empire after 1815

The Russian Empire’s plans for expansion in the Far East were blocked by Japan and in the Straits by the European powers.


Europe’s Colonial Empires in 1914

In 1914, the colonial empires established by the European Powers spread relentlessly across the globe.


National Minorities in 1914

In 1914, a number of populations were linked by a common language, religion or history and sought to obtain their independence or create their nation.


The Ottoman Empire: Expansion and Retreat

Several key dates in the history of the Ottoman Empire since the 14th century.


Outbreak of the First World War

In 1914, the alliances bring Europe to the brink of war.



History of Europe during the 19th century: Congress of Vienna – the revolutions of 1848 – nationalism – national minorities – Balkan wars – colonial empires

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