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Map shows Central Europe 1797
|Context||Failed congress to compensate the German princes dispossessed by the War of the First Coalition.|
The Second Congress of Rastatt, which began its deliberations in November 1797, was intended to negotiate a general peace between the French Republic and the Holy Roman Empire, and to draw up a compensation plan to compensate those princes whose lands on the left bank of the Rhine had been seized by Francein the War of the First Coalition. Facing the French delegation was a 10-member Imperial delegation made up of delegates from the electorates of Mainz, Saxony, Bavaria, Hanover, as well as the secular territories of Austria, Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, the prince-bishopric of Würzburg, and the imperial cities of Augsburg and Frankfurt. The congress was interrupted when Austria and Russia resumed war against France in March 1799 at the start of the War of the Second Coalition, thus rendering the proceedings moot. Furthermore, as the French delegates attempted to return home, they were attacked by Austrian cavalrymen or possibly French royalists masquerading as such. Two diplomats were killed and a third seriously injured. The congress was held at Rastatt near Karlsruhe.
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.
The Rhine is one of the major European rivers, which has its sources in Switzerland and flows in an mostly northerly direction through Germany and The Netherlands, emptying into the North Sea. The river begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps, forms part of the Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-Austrian, Swiss-German and then the Franco-German border, then flows through the German Rhineland and the Netherlands and eventually empties into the North Sea.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
Widespread disagreement among the German delegates precluded the drawing up of a compensation plan but two important results were nevertheless achieved during the first months of the congress: the official recognition of the loss of the entire left bank to France, and the recognition that any compensation plan should be based on the secularization of the ecclesiastical states of the Empire.It is on this basis that deliberations on a compensation plan will resume after the signing of the Treaty of Lunéville in February 1801.
The Treaty of Lunéville was signed in the Treaty House of Lunéville on 9 February 1801. The signatory parties were the French Republic and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The latter was negotiating both on his own behalf as ruler of the hereditary domains of the Habsburg Monarchy and on behalf of other rulers who controlled territories in the Holy Roman Empire. The signatories were Joseph Bonaparte and Count Ludwig von Cobenzl, the Austrian foreign minister.
The congress also had a sequel of some interest. As the three French representatives were leaving the town in April 1799 they were waylaid, and two of them were assassinated by some Hungarian soldiers. The origin of this outrage remains shrouded in mystery, but the balance of evidence seems to show that the Austrian authorities had commanded their men to seize the papers of the French plenipotentiaries in order to avoid damaging disclosures about Austria's designs on Bavaria, and that the soldiers had exceeded their instructions. On the other hand, some authorities think that the deed was the work of French emigrants, or of the party in France in favour of war.
Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Spanning 93,030 square kilometres (35,920 sq mi) in the Carpathian Basin, it borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, and Slovenia to the west. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken Uralic language in the world, and among the few non-Indo-European languages to be widely spoken in Europe. Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest; other major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr.
Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.
The word plenipotentiary has multiple meanings. As a noun, it refers to a person who has "full powers". In particular, the term commonly refers to a diplomat fully authorized to represent a government as a prerogative. As an adjective, plenipotentiary refers to something—an edict, assignment, etc.—that confers "full powers".
Since it was expected that a major territorial reorganization of the Empire would result from the congress, it was followed with considerable interest, even passion, throughout Germany. Although indecisive from a diplomatic point of view the Congress brought high society to the area of Baden and was responsible for resurgence of interest in the spa town of Baden Baden.
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück and Münster, largely ending the European wars of religion, including the Thirty Years' War. The treaties of Westphalia brought to an end a calamitous period of European history which caused the deaths of approximately eight million people. Scholars have identified Westphalia as the beginning of the modern international system, based on the concept of Westphalian sovereignty, though this interpretation has been seriously challenged.
Frederick Augustus I was a member of the House of Wettin who reigned as Elector of Saxony from 1763 to 1806 and as King of Saxony from 1806 to 1827. He also served as Duke of Warsaw from 1807 to 1813.
The Treaty of Campo Formio was signed on 18 October 1797 by Napoleon Bonaparte and Count Philipp von Cobenzl as representatives of the French Republic and the Austrian monarchy, respectively. The treaty followed the armistice of Leoben, which had been forced on the Habsburgs by Napoleon's victorious campaign in Italy. It ended the War of the First Coalition and left Great Britain fighting alone against revolutionary France.
The Austrian Netherlands was the larger part of the Southern Netherlands between 1714 and 1797. The period began with the acquisition of the former Spanish Netherlands under the Treaty of Rastatt in 1714 and lasted until its annexation during the aftermath of the Battle of Sprimont in 1794 and the Peace of Basel in 1795. Austria, however, did not relinquish its claim over the province until 1797 in the Treaty of Campo Formio. The Austrian Netherlands was a noncontiguous territory that consisted of what is now western Belgium as well as greater Luxembourg, bisected by the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The dominant languages were German, Dutch (Flemish), and French, along with Picard and Walloon.
German mediatisation was the major territorial restructuring that took place between 1802 and 1814 in Germany and the surrounding region by means of the mass mediatisation and secularisation of a large number of Imperial Estates. Most ecclesiastical principalities, free imperial cities, secular principalities, and other minor self-ruling entities of the Holy Roman Empire lost their independent status and were absorbed into the remaining states. By the end of the mediatisation process, the number of German states had been reduced from almost 300 to just 39.
The (Deutsche) Fürstenbund was an alliance of mostly Protestant princes in the Holy Roman Empire formed in 1785 under the leadership of Frederick II of Prussia. The alliance, which initially comprised the three major northern states of Brandenburg/Prussia, Hanover and Saxony, was set up officially to safeguard the constitutional integrity and territorial status quo of the Empire, but more immediately to oppose the long-cherished ambition of Joseph II to add Bavaria to the Habsburg domains.
Residenz is a German word for "place of living", now obsolete except in the formal sense of an official residence. A related term, Residenzstadt, denotes a city where a sovereign ruler resided, therefore carrying a similar meaning as the modern expressions seat of government or capital. As there were many sovereign rulers in the Holy Roman Empire, ranking from Lord (Herr) to prince elector and king, there are many cities, palaces, and castles in this territory which used to be a residenz and are partially still so referred to today. The former residenz status of a city is frequently reflected by the architecture of its center. During the baroque period especially, many prestigious buildings were erected, sometimes even new towns were founded. Today, former Residenzstädte mostly still serve as cultural and administrative centers.
The Treaty of Baden was the treaty that ended formal hostilities between France and the Holy Roman Empire, which had been at war since the start of the War of the Spanish Succession. It was signed on 7 September 1714 in Baden, Switzerland, and complemented the Treaties of Utrecht and of Rastatt.
The Reichsdeputationshauptschluss, sometimes referred to in English as the Final Recess or the Imperial Recess of 1803, was a resolution passed by the Reichstag of the Holy Roman Empire on 24 March 1803. It was ratified by the Emperor Francis II and became law on 27 April. It proved to be the last significant law enacted by the Empire before its dissolution in 1806.
The Treaty of Rastatt was a peace treaty between France and Austria, concluded on 7 March 1714 in the Baden city of Rastatt, to put an end to state of war between them from the War of the Spanish Succession. The treaty followed the earlier Treaty of Utrecht of 11 April 1713, which ended hostilities between France and Spain, on the one hand, and Britain and the Dutch Republic, on the other hand. A third treaty at Baden, Switzerland was required to end the hostilities between France and the Holy Roman Empire.
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Johann Heinrich von Schmitt was an officer in the Army of the Holy Roman Empire. He was arguably one of the most successful chiefs of staff; he rose to the rank of Feldmarshalleutnant during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.
The fourth Peace of Pressburg was signed on 27 December 1805 between Napoleon and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II as a consequence of the French victories over the Austrians at Ulm and Austerlitz. A truce was agreed on 4 December, and negotiations for the treaty began. The treaty was signed in Pressburg, Hungary, by Johann I Josef, Prince of Liechtenstein, and the Hungarian Count Ignác Gyulay for the Austrian Empire and Charles Maurice de Talleyrand for France.
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The so-called Rittersturm was the seizure of the hitherto imperially immediate territories of the Imperial Knights within the Holy Roman Empire by the major powers in 1802–03.
A Reichskrieg was a war fought by the Holy Roman Empire as a whole against an opponent. After the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, a Reichskrieg was a formal state of war that could only be declared by the Imperial Diet.
The imperial election of 1792 was an imperial election held to select the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. It took place in Frankfurt on July 5.