Congress of Vienna

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Napoleon's abdication in April 1814 was followed by a preliminary settlement, the first treaty of Paris, which restored the Bourbon monarchy, returned most of France's colonies, allowed her the boundaries of 1792, and approved the union of Belgium and Holland. In March 1815 everything was thrown into the melting pot by Napoleon's escape from Elba, and not until he had been defeated in June at Waterloo were the arrangements safe. The terms of the Vienna settlement with France were then made more severe, giving her the 1790s boundaries, and insisting on an indemnity and an army of occupation. Belgium and Holland were united in the hope that they would be a more effective barrier to French aggression than either the Spanish or Austrian Netherlands had been; Piedmont was strengthened as a barrier in Italy, where Austria, with Milan, Lombardy, and Venetia, became the dominant power; a kingdom of Poland was established under the rule of Tsar Alexander; Prussia was compensated in the west for territorial losses in the east; the neutrality of Switzerland was guaranteed; Denmark lost Norway to Sweden, which had changed sides at the last minute; Hanover's gains included East Frisia; Britain retained the Cape of Good Hope, Ceylon, Tobago, St Lucia, Malta, Mauritius, the Ionian Islands, and Heligoland. The first piece of the settlement to collapse was the union of Belgium and Holland, which disintegrated in 1830.

Subjects: British History.

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