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The Deutsches Bund or the German Confederation was created by a treaty (known as the Deutsche Bundesakte) signed on the 8th June 1815 and a union of German states intended as a replacement for the old Holy Roman Empire which was one of the casualties of the Napoleonic Wars.

After Napoleon's final defeat the major powers convened the Congress of Vienna in an attempt to restore some kind of order to a Europe disrupted by a generation of revolutionary conflict and warfare. The formation of the German Confederation part of this attempt to create a new international political order and its creation was ratified in the final act of the Congress of Vienna on the 9th June 1815.

In practice the Confederation was nothing more than a mutual defense pact with each member pledging to aid the others if attacked and even then the kings of England, Denmark and the Netherlands who were members of the confederation due to their simultaneous holding of German titles were exempted from this requirement.

Despite a general intellectual consensus that greater German unity was a 'good thing', the Confederation did nothing to move in that direction for the simple reason that it was not in the interests of either Prussia or Austria to do so. As a diverse and multi-ethnic empire Austria had no specific interest in promoting German unity and the Prussians simply viewed it as a threat.

The German Confederation lasted until the 14th June 1866 when Prussia simultaneously declared the Confederation dissolved and war on Austria. Prussia rapidly defeated Austria and at the resulting Peace of Prague of the 23rd August 1866 Austria explicitly recognised the demise of the Confederation. Prussia subsequently annexed the territories of various other former members of the Confederation namely Hannover, the electorate of Hesse, Nassau, Frankfurt, Holstein and Schleswig, Hesse-Homburg as well as parts of Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt.


The membership of the German Confederation was as follows:-

The Emperor of :-

The Kings of :-

The Grand Dukes of :-

The Prince-Elector and Landgrave of :-

The Dukes of :-

The Princes of :-

The Landgrave of :-

The Free Cities of :-

All the above named signed up to the original confederation of 8th June 1815 with the exception of;

Württemberg joined 26th July 1815
Baden joined 1st September 1815 and
Hesse-Homburg which joined on the 7th July 1817.

SOURCES

http://www.geocities.com/vrozn/ger19.html
http://www.heraldica.org/topics/national/germany.htm

See also a map showing the members of the German Confederation at
http://www.rootsweb.com/~wggerman/map/germanconf.htm

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