This Day in the Law
June 9

Congress of Vienna Ends (1815)

On June 9, 1815, the Congress of Vienna concluded, settling issues within the European community and establishing new boundaries between nations.

The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states held in Vienna, Austria from November 1814 to June 1815. Its objective was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. France, under Napoleon, had surrendered after 25 years of continuous war in May of 1814. This surrender, coupled with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, spurred leaders in the European community to discuss re-establishing peace in the region and redistributing boundaries. Interestingly, Napolean returned from exile and resumed power during the Congress, but negotiations continued uninterrupted.

The most prominent and involved nations and the Congress of Vienna were France, the United Kingdom, Austria, Russia, and Prussia, though other nations were present. The Congress was the first occasion in history where people came together on a continental scale to work on a treaty, rather than relying on messengers and messages between the several capitals.

This Congress of Vienna officially ended on June 9, 1815 with the signing of the Final Act. The Final Act resulted in the redrawing of the continent’s physical map and established the boundaries of France, Napoleon’s duchy of Warsaw, the Netherlands, the states of the Rhine, the German province of Saxony, and various Italian territories.

The Congress of Vienna formed the framework for European international politics and remained in effect until the outbreak of the World War I in 1914. The Congress most notably became a model for the League of Nations and United Nations due to its goal to constitute peace by all parties.