- Part of the settlement of the Congress of Vienna, the Confederation was a loose organization of 39 sovereign German territories (including four free cities) that had once been part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Habsburg Empire, or, from 1806 to 1867, Austrian Empire, together with the kingdom of Prussia, were the leading states in the organization. Austria was to hold its presidency in perpetuity. One of the Confederation’s central charges was to secure the territorial integrity of all participants, a distinct advantage for weaker principalities. States sent delegates to a diet, which met in Frankfurt. The Confederation could also receive and send ambassadors, declare war, and make treaties.German nationalists gathered at the so-called Frankfurt Parliament during the Revolutions of 1848 suspended the organization briefly. With the collapse of their demands for a Germany unified under the leadership of the king of Prussia, the Confederation was restored and continued to function for another 17 years. During the Seven Weeks’ War between Austria and Prussia in 1866, significant members of the Confederation—Saxony, Bavaria, Hanover, and Württemberg— supported the monarchy of Franz Joseph. Prussian victory in July 1866 and the Treaty of Prague, which closed the war, brought about the dissolution of the Confederation. The disappearance of the body ended whatever formal influence the Habsburgs still held over the German lands north of their multiethnic empire.See also Metternich, Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Prince Of.
Historical dictionary of Austria. Paula Sutter Fichtner. 2014.
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