Changing the Map of Europe Back to 1815
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Changing the Map of Europe Back to 1815


Here we have Europe, 2018, as recognized by most of the countries themselves. And this is how most of us
are used to seeing the map of Europe today. But if we go back 200 years, to 1815,
almost nothing was the same, and what was considered a normal map of Europe then would be completely unrecognizable
for most of us looking on from the future. So let’s have a look,
and redraw the map of Europe back to 1815! A very quick and simplified background before we start. In 1789, there was a revolution in France,
and the king was executed. This led to a lot of political turmoil,
and also to a lot of war, since the European monarchs
who had not been revolutionized did not like the idea
of people discovering that this could be a thing. Anyway, the political chaos in France was then exploited by a man called Napoleon to take power. And Napoleon proved himself to be quite capable
at both ruling and waging war, so he made himself emperor,
and proceeded to conquer most of Europe. But then he finally failed,
and everyone turned against him, and he was exiled from Europe, and then he died. And this leads us to the main event of 1815:
The Congress of Vienna. This was a huge gathering of diplomats
from all across Europe to decide on the future of the continent
after the fall of the Napoleonic Empire. The main objective was to create
long term peace and stability in Europe, by creating a balance of power, where the major states would be
of approximately equal size and strength, so that no state could quickly overwhelm another. And considering that there wasn’t going to be
a large-scale European conflict for another 100 years. the mission was, in a sense, accomplished. But anyway, it’s map time! First of all, we can point out the few countries
that are not going to change. These are: Portugal, Spain, and Morocco. Followed by the tiny states of Andorra, Liechtenstein, and San Marino. That’s it. Everything else is going to be different,
in some way or another. So we’ll start by changing the United Kingdom, where we add Ireland, northwestern Germany, Malta, and seven islands along western Greece. However, this is not entirely accurate, as the German kingdom of Hanover
was not actually part of the UK at all. The reason it’s included here, is because
the two states were in a personal union, meaning that while they were functionally separate,
they shared the same king, which of course led to a fair bit of mutual involvement. Another special region to mention, is the Ionian Islands,
which was a freshly made British protectorate. Okay, next up is Prussia, which covered large parts
of northern and central Germany, most of today’s western Poland, Russia’s Kaliningrad province, as well as smaller parts of Lithuania, Czechia, and Belgium. Prussia was a German state,
one of the Great powers of Europe, and was later to become the driving force
behind German unification. South of Prussia, we find Bavaria,
the third largest German state of this time. And now the German states will keep coming. We have Baden, Württemberg, Saxony, which also includes
a tiny part of Poland, Hesse-Darmstadt, Nassau, Hesse-Kassel, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and others, which I’ll just go ahead
and group together at this point. After this German potpourri, we have Denmark, which also includes Iceland and the remaining part of northern Germany. But as you can see on the map,
Denmark is not a completely unified state either, and in the south
we first find the autonomous Schleswig, and then the two duchies
of Holstein and Saxe-Lauenburg, which were united with Denmark
through personal unions. Then, we have the Netherlands, which also consists of Belgium and Luxembourg, in addition to
losing a bit of land to the North Sea. But like Denmark, this state wasn’t unitary, and in the southeast
we have a larger version of Luxembourg, which was a separate grand duchy,
united through a personal and political union. To the north, we have Sweden, or more accurately, Sweden-Norway. This was a personal union between Sweden and Norway,
in which they were supposedly equal, but where a quick look at the flag
will tell you whose idea it really was. In central Europe, we move on to Austria, which in 1815 also included northeastern Italy, most of Czechia, all of Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia, as well as parts of Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro. Austria was one of the European Great powers
and—unlike today— it had an undisputed German identity, making it the largest and most prominent
of all the German states. And in 1815, most German states of Europe were members of the so-called German Confederation, which was a defensive and economic confederation primarily designed to guarantee the sovereignty
of all the smaller states. All states within these borders were members
of the confederation, and as you see, this also means that some parts of Prussia and Austria
were members, while some weren’t; and that Luxembourg, Holstein
and Saxe-Lauenburg were members while still being united to the Netherlands
and Denmark, which were outside of it. Answers in hand, we can probably say
that this wasn’t quite an optimal design… The next country is Switzerland, which hasn’t really changed from today,
but still needs to be addressed. Because in western Switzerland we have the principality of Neuchâtel, which in 1815 had been integrated into Switzerland while still technically being
in a personal union with Prussia. So, yeah… we’re gonna have a crisis here. Anyway, next up is Russia, which to the west includes all of Finland,
Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and Moldova, most of Lithuania and Ukraine, and the eastern half of Poland. In the east, it includes large parts of Kazakhstan, and to the south most of Georgia and Azerbaijan, and parts of Armenia. Also note how this area along the Black Sea
does not belong to Russia at this time. Due to its territorial expansion,
Russia also had several regions with special status. The most important of these
are Finland and Poland to the west, which were both autonomous, at least on paper. To the south and east, we have three areas
that were generally regarded as parts of Russia, but where Russian control was
more of a work in progress than a fact, and in the North Caucasus this would remain the case
for another half century. In the South Caucasus we also have autonomous areas, in the west the three principalities
of Abkhazia, Mingrelia and Guria, and in the east the khanates of
Tarki, Kiurin, Shaki, Shirvan, Karabakh and Talysh. Then, in what remains visible of Kazakhstan, we have Khiva, which was an Uzbek khanate
located in Central Asia, of which the main part isn’t visible on this map. Going back into Europe,
we now find the city-state of Cracow, which stood under the “protection”
of Prussia, Austria and Russia, and which was the closest thing the year 1815 had
to an independent Polish state. Then we go back to the Asian frontier
and the state of Persia, today known as Iran, which at this time also included
the central parts of Armenia, a little piece of Turkey, and the remaining parts of Azerbaijan. In the 18th century, Persia had been the major power
in the South Caucasus, but had recently lost this position
to the expanding Russia. To the west of Persia,
situated right between Europe and Asia, we have Turkey, or as it was more properly named, the Ottoman Empire. In the Balkans, this state also included most of Greece, all of Albania, Kosovo, FYRo Macedonia,
Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the remaining parts of Serbia and Romania, as well as large parts of Montenegro. Further west, it included
Algeria and Tunisia in North Africa, and to the northeast a small area in the North Caucasus
known as the Circassian Coast, as well as the remaining parts
of Georgia and Armenia. To the south, it possessed the island of Cyprus, as well as most of the land
in the Middle Eastern Fertile Crescent region, including most of today’s Syria, Lebanon,
Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Jordan. And like so many other states, the Ottoman Empire also had several regions
that were self-governing, and largely independent. In Europe, we have the Romanian principalities
of Moldavia and Wallachia, and in North Africa, we also have the states
of Algeria and Tunisia. Next we look at Arabia, where the remaining visible area is in fact
not under the control of any organized state at all, but sparsely populated
and left to the local tribes living there. It had recently been associated
with the Emirate of Diriyah, a predecessor to modern Saudi Arabia, but in 1815, this state was well under way
of being crushed by the Ottomans, and was soon to be a relic of history. Then we once again look at the Balkans, where Montenegro is still a sovereign state,
despite being a bit smaller than it is today. Just west of Montenegro, we find the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies,
covering most of southern Italy. Technically speaking, this was actually two states, Naples and Sicily, but the two were joined
in a personal union, and in the following year—1816—
they would merge into the single state shown here, which is why they are commonly referred to
as a common entity also for this period. In central Italy, we then have the neighboring Papal States, which is the predecessor
to what we today know as Vatican City. This state was ruled by the Pope, but unlike its modern successor—
which is tiny and mostly deals with spiritual matters— the Papal States was more of a country like any other. Then we have an array of smaller Italian states. We have Tuscany, Lucca, Massa & Carrara, Modena & Reggio, and finally Parma. As for the final Italian state, this is Sardinia, which also included parts
of present-day France, as well as Monaco. Despite the name,
this state had its center in the north, and to emphasize this, it is often referred to
as Sardinia-Piedmont. Sardinia was the leading Italian state
in the early 19th century, and would later play the main role
in the unification of Italy. And finally, we have France, which as you just saw, is a slight bit smaller in this time,
but overall still quite recognizable. And so we now have before us
the final map of Europe in 1815. Looking at the overall picture,
we can recognize quite a few familiar shapes, but still so much is radically different
from what we’re used to. So many of the countries that we today take for granted, are either split into pieces, ruled by someone else,
or haven’t even been thought of to begin with! And this is 200 years ago, which might seem like an eternity, but if you start counting your ancestors,
it’s not really gonna take you that long to get there. For example my own grandfather’s great-grandfather was 20 years old when Europe looked like this. If we put our two maps side by side,
all of this becomes even clearer. Countries and states are not static,
they have always been changing, and to properly understand the past,
we need to be aware of this fact, so that we can see the world as people saw it then. We can also use it
to gain some perspective on the future. If we compare the two maps and consider how strange and unpredictable our present map probably would have seemed
to someone from 1815, when so many major historical events
were still yet to happen; we can ask ourselves: How will the map of Europe look,
200 years from today? Thank you for watching, and do follow this channel if you want more videos and maps
about the history of Europe and its various regions.

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