The Congress of ViennaEditIn early 1826, after over a decade since the end of the Great Wars of the Empire and the beginning of the "Pax Napoleonica," Austria's Kaiser Franz I started to protest the way Napoleon had not broken up the British Empire among the Allies and rewarded them in other ways, as had been the promised arrangement and one of the main reasons the other countries fought for Napoleon in the first place (the other being blatant fear of total destruction). Thus, Napoleon, who was seemingly surprised by the anger and proclaimed to have just been busy conquering India from the British and East India Company holdouts and the native Indian warlords, agreed to hold a World Congress, the first of its kind, at Vienna.
The Congress's opening was full of pomp and circumstance. Several days were allotted for the monarchs and leaders to drown themselves in the praise and salutes and bows of the others, all given and received with doubtful sincerity. The following is a list of most of the leaders present (their dignitaries are not counted, which sometimes numbered in the hundreds):
- Napoleon I, Caesar (also King of Andorra, King of Italy, Lord of Mann, Mediator of the Helvetic Confederation, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, and Protector of the Free City of Lisbon)
- Michel Ney, Prime Minister
- Frederick VI, King
- Otto Joachim Moltke, Prime Minister
- Edward VII, King (traditional title of King of Hanover given to Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia six years prior to the Congress)
- John Wallace, Prime Minister
- Franz I, Kaiser (also King of Hungary and Bohemia)
- Prinz von Metternich, Chancellor
Prussia and Hanover:
- Friedrich Wilhelm III, King
- Count von Wylich, Chief Minister
- Ludwig I
Kingdom of Saxony and Grand Duchy of Warsaw:
- Frederick Augustus I, King, Grand Duke
- Wilhelm, King
- Karl, Grand Duke
- Stéphanie, Consort, Daughter of Napoleon I
Portuguese Confederation and Etruria:
- Louis, King (Powerless; ordered directly by Napoleon I)
Principality of Lucca and Piombino:
- Elisa Napoleona, Princess
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (formerly Naples and Sicily):
- Zénaïde, Queen, Daughter of Joseph Bonaparte
Kingdom of Holland:
- Louis I, King, Brother of Napoleon I
Kingdom of Sweden:
- Karl XIV, King (Jean Bernadotte, former grand marshal under and bitter rival of Napoleon I; the two openly argued with each other at the Congress until Karl suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack)
- Oscar I, King
- Ferdinand VII
- Benderli Selim Sirri Pasha, Ottoman Grand Vizier
- Nicholas I, Czar (also Grand Duke of Finland)
- Charles Goodyear, Representative
- Miles Romney, Representative
Confederation of the Carolinas:
- Andrew Jackson, Chancellor
- John C. Calhoun, Colonel of the Confederation (unique title; essentially Prime Minister)
Virgin Islands Confederacy:
- Thomas Bragg, Governor-General (answered directly to Jackson and also brought young son Braxton with him; the Congress had a "profound" effect on the boy)
Republic of Virginia:
- Henry Clay, President (also representing the Chesapeake Republic of Maryland)
- Daniel Webster, Vice President
Republic of Georgia:
- John Hardee, Representative (also representing the West Florida Republic and the Republic of Jamaica)
Green Mountain Republic of Vermont:
- Jay Thomas Powell, Chancellor (stormed out after being ridiculed by Ludwig of Bavaria)
The Canadian Question and Goodyear's Tirade, July 5th-6th, 1826:Edit
The whole reason that North American countries had representatives present was really Canada. The Republican Union had a fiery young businessman named Charles Goodyear as their chief negotiator, who was in turn balanced by the mild and moderate Miles Romney, a Consul of Massachusetts. Goodyear had become wealthy first in the rubber industry, farming the substance in French-occupied Brazil, and then in the growing steam engine business, and then finally a tycoon in a venture with Eli Whitney.The millionaire ranted for over an hour on July 5th, the first official day, over how the Republican Union had been abandoned by France and its allies and how 50% of Canada should be theirs. Frederick Augustus, of Saxony and Warsaw, and Louis, of the Portuguese Confederation and Etruria, both stood up, along with their entire entourages, and booed him publicly. Goodyear's face "looked red as a hot coal" and he turned and launched a brutal tirade of anti-Polish, anti-Eastern European, anti-Catholic, anti-Portuguese, and anti-Italian slurs, until Henry Clay of Virginia told him to "calm down, you ignorant fool." Incensed, Goodyear stormed out and would not com back till the next day, leaving his job to Romney. Romney calmly discussed Canada with the other parties concerned, and agreed to drop all other claims to to the French Colony in exchange for Nova Scotia. Goodyear would allegedly slap Romney in the face and call him a gutless coward to his face the next day.
King Karl of Sweden Dies and Oscar I Speaks, July 7th-9th, 1826:EditOne of the most shocking episodes came on the third day of the Congress, on July 7th, when, following a heated exchange with Napoleon I, Karl (Bernadotte) of Sweden dropped dead, stricken by massive cardiac arrest. The decision as to who would be speak for Sweden had to be made immediately. War was brewing between Sweden and Russia over the Finland Question, and with no leader, the matter might spiral out of control.
The little-known Swedish heir, Oscar I, now an un-crowned king, stood up and shocked everyone in attendance with his excellent speeches and oratory. The fact that he was Napoleon's godson and that he, unlike Karl, loved and respected the French emperor did not hurt his case with many of France's puppets. Frederick Augustus, of Saxony and Warsaw, and Louis, of the Portuguese Confederation and Etruria, stood up, beckoned their entourages to do the same, and "openly wept like babies, as if their very thrones depended on this tearful action." The greying French Caesar nodded approvingly. The matter was then resolved so that Finland became independent and completely neutral. Trade was opened to both Russia and Sweden. If any country violated the treaty, they would have to answer to the European Alliance and the French Empire.
The Spanish Bankruptcy Question, July 10th-15th:Edit
Certainly one of the most pressing and potentially devastating matters undertaken at Vienna was the growing instability of Spain, its colonial empire, and its economy. Despite the gift of a good 60% of Portugal from France during the Great Wars, it was still a backward, poor country, a mere shadow of its former glory and power.
New Spain had experienced its first real revolt just five months prior to the World Congress, when 50 Spanish troops were killed by a mob of impoverished farmers in Cuba. Spain had responded with brutal and quick action, killing citizens senselessly in what Napoleon I called "a needless massacre." The open revolt that followed was still raging at the time of the Congress, where Spain was told to get its act together on the island and stop murdering the Cubans or suffer dire consequences. Little did Vienna know that Cuba had declared independence five days before, or that Virginian and Carolinian ships were currently peacefully blockading Havana to prevent Spanish troops from landing.
In the end, the Congress refused to help Spain if it suffered rebellions, as the nations feared a brutal, prolonged conflict in the jungles and deserts of North and South America helping an elderly empire no one really liked much anymore. It also didn't help that many nations were verging on declaring war with Spain since it wouldn't (and couldn't) pay back huge loans. Austria was the most angry about not being recompensed, and it showed when Prinz von Metternich personally threatened war. Napoleon barely defused the situation, but it was just prolonging the inevitable. Many were suspecting that multiple European countries would support insurrections in New Spain.
The Partition of India, July 16th-28th, 1826: EditAfter the grueling talks over Spain's looming collapse, the Congress brought up the most touchy subject of the entire meeting, India. Napoleon and Ney declared that they had fought and bled for the conquest of India, but they would be willing to "fairly" divide the spoils with their Allies.
Everyone who was anyone got trading rights with the valuable subcontinent. France had set up its Asian capital in Bombay, and declared the entirety of "Bombay Principality," stretching from the Baluchistan border down to allied Mysore and including Kutch and Kathiawar, to be an official colony of France. The Sikh Empire nearby detested the return of a strong European military presence so near to their country when the French had first sent expeditions in in 1816. The British East India Company, after the collapse of the British Empire, had been essentially abandoned by William and Edward, and they had suffered multiple horrific defeats at the hands of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the fearsome Sikh emperor, and he had tried to expand his borders and faith into Rajputana.
France had favored the Muslims of India for quite some time, and after the East India Company destroyed the Hindu Maratha Confederacy in 1818 (their last real conquest), the Muslims of the remnants of the Mughal Empire agreed to submit to being French clients in exchange for protection against the Sikhs and the destruction of the British holdouts still occupying Mughal territory. Thus, by the time of the World Congress, the Franco-Sikh War was well underway. Napoleon II, the baby-faced, half-Austrian 15 year-old "King of Rome," grandson of Kaiser Franz, had volunteered to serve in Bombay during the beginning of the invasion, and there he began to show he had inherited his father's knack for strategy as he worked on mapping under the supervision of the French generals stationed there. Everyone gathered in Vienna expected the Sikhs to crumble before long, and many also expected that Napoleon II would be proclaimed Prince of Bombay once he came of age the next year. At the Congress, Kaiser Franz was proud of his grandson and awarded him the title of Duke of Reichstadt, and a medallion representing his new title was gifted to Napoleon I, for him to present to the King of Rome upon his return.
During all these events in India, a French force largely consisting of Irish, German, Dutch, and Italian troops had landed on areas of India's eastern coast, where they were met with open arms by the Sultanate of Mysore, which helped them enforce Napoleon's rule in the south. Further north, Bengal, the makeshift capital of the East India Company, put up some stiff resistance in some areas, but in the end surrendered, most in the August of 1825. This effectively ended any real form of English rule in Asia for good. At the World Congress of Vienna, Bengal was proclaimed a principality, and Napoleon offered the position of prince to Ferdinand of Austria, Kaiser Franz's son and the future leader of Austria. Once it was made clear to the mentally deficient Ferdinand that he would not actually be living in Bengal, he accepted gladly. Thus, Bengal fell under Austrian domination and essentially became a colonial administration of the Hapsburg Crown.
Goa, which had been under Portuguese rule for centuries until the East India Company seized it once British-allied Portugal collapsed in 1809, was under Dutch occupation in 1826. At Vienna, Napoleon announced that the Portuguese Confederation was simply not economically capable of managing the far off colony. Instead, it was given to Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and Hanover.
Denmark-Norway, desiring to further its efforts in Africa and because they were no longer making a profit in places like Trankebar, on the south-east coast of India, sold all of its Indian possessions to France. The Danish East India Company thereby permanently closed its doors.
The Mughal Empire was known to be failing in Hyderabad in the face of civil unrest and economic collapse. The French announced they were going in, and the Principality of Hyderabad was declared in Vienna on July 27th, 1826. French Prime Minister Michel Ney was awarded honorary title of Prince; as in Bombay, Napoleon and the French military and navy would make day-to-day decisions involved in the running of the colonies- the princely titles were strictly honorary.
Bhutan had been under fire from every Western power in India for decades, and it finally submitted to being a satellite state of France in 1825. It's independence was "guaranteed" by France at Vienna.
The Australia and Malay Archipelago Partition, July 29th-August 2nd, 1826:Edit
The Australian Question was raised by Louis Bonaparte of Holland, who had been in a joint occupation with France of the former British colony since the last year of the Great Wars of the Empire. Louis requested official borders be drawn up. France agreed, and the border disputes were promptly put to rest, though several days of negotiations went on over various nearby islands. The Andaman Islands, a British penal colony, were awarded to the Dutch. The Dutch had long desired a monopoly in the Maylay Archipelago, and the local Spanish outposts were almost all abandoned. Thus, Louis requested sovereignty over all of the Archipelago, including New Guinea. This was agreed upon, as Napoleon had more than enough territory to go around at the present and he was satisfied that Holland was a loyal ally and satellite state.
The Finland Independence Question, August 3rd-15th, 1826:EditSince it had been agreed to by Russia and Sweden that Finland would be a neutral independent state, the matter of who would lead the frozen northern country lingered until August 3rd, when Napoleon presented the faithful, elderly, French lapdog Frederick Augustus I, King of Saxony and Grand Duke of Warsaw, as a candidate for the new Finnish Crown. Sweden, under the very cooperative Oscar, and Russia, under Napoleon's personal friend the Czar, agreed to this, and the "Fat Saxon" gained yet another hereditary title for himself and his daughter Maria Augusta. Prinz von Metternich called the Saxon monarch "a man with far more titles then he deserves. Three too many, in fact."
Conclusion:EditThe first-ever World Congress continued until October 15th, 1826, though many leaders had gone home earlier. Almost all American diplomats, for instance, had left in early August (with the exceptions of Goodyear and Romney), shortly after Virginia had purchased Bermuda (which incensed Goodyear yet again). Goodyear continued to launch angry tirades almost daily, even when the leaders were discussing matters with little to no effect to the entire North American Continent. This scored him major popularity points back home when the young tycoon returned to a hero's welcome. It was, overall, a civil affair, despite Goodyear, the death of Karl of Sweden, and the fact that many countries being represented hated each other beyond reason. Plans were made to convene again in 1832, and Berlin was voted to be the site of the next Congress. Friedrich Wilhelm III left in an extremely good mood and was already jotting down notes on how he would shock the world with a splendorous militaristic circus of an event when his city's time came.
The Congress had taken up a good part of Vienna, with the troops and guards and horses from all over Europe and America needing food, shelter, and drink. The housing for most of the leaders was beyond extravagant, and the more powerful a leader was, the more luxurious and showy it became. The Czar of Russia, for instance, had a "camp" so large, that Austrian citizens said it was like "some sort of exhibition on life in Moscow." Meanwhile, the hotel being rented by the Republican Union was set up by Goodyear to show off the latest technological gimmickry and machines from his and Eli Whitney's workshop. The highlight was Napoleon, who always claimed to be a "scientist at heart," stopping by to see "Goodyear's Vulcanized Rubber" and the the latest version of the steam engine. One of Goodyear's aides gifted a small piece of "chicle candy," wrapped in a wax paper. to Bonaparte. Unfortunately, Napoleon quickly bit his tongue and broke one of his fragile teeth, and he left the hotel in agony. Rumors flew that Goodyear had deliberately offered the "dirty Frenchman" a stale piece of the sweet, though the Republican Union ambassadors promptly denied this.
Thus, the "Pax Napoleonica" continued. Until the North American and Spanish leaders returned home to find their countries on the brink of all-out war...