EUROPE, the smallest of those principal divisions of the land-surface of the globe which are usually distinguished by the conventional name of continents.
1. Geography and Statistics
It has justly become a commonplace of geography to describe
Europe as a mere peninsula of Asia, but while it is necessary
to bear this in mind in some aspects of the geography
of the continent, more particularly in relation to the
climate, the individuality of the continent is established
the continent. in the clearest manner by the course of history and the resultant distribution of population. The earliest mention of Europe is in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, but there Europe is not the name of a continent, but is opposed to the Peloponnesus and the islands of the Aegean. The distinction between Europe and Asia is found, however, in Aeschylus in the 5th century B.C., but there seems to be little doubt that this opposition was learnt by the Greeks from some Asiatic people. On Assyrian monuments the contrast between asu, “(the land of) the rising sun,” and ereb or irib, “(the land of) darkness” or “the setting sun,” is frequent, and these names were probably passed on by the Phoenicians to the Greeks, and gave rise to the names of Asia and Europe. Where the names originated the geographical distinction was clearly marked by the intervention of the sea, and this intervention marked equally clearly the distinction between Europe and Libya (Africa). As the knowledge of the world extended, the difficulty, which still exists, of fixing the boundary between Europe and Asia where there is land connexion, caused uncertainty in the application of the two names, but never obscured the necessity for recognizing the distinction. Even in the 3rd century B.C. Europe was regarded by Eratosthenes as including all that was then known of northern Asia. But the character of the physical features and climate finally determined the fact that what we know as Europe came to be occupied by more or less populous countries in intimate relation with one another, but separated on the east by unpeopled or very sparsely peopled areas from the countries of Asia, and the boundary between the two continents has long been recognized as running somewhere through this area. Within the limits thus marked out on the east and on other sides by the sea “the climatic conditions are such that inhabitants are capable of and require a civilization of essentially the same type, based upon the cultivation of our European grains.” Those inhabitants have had a common history in a greater measure than those of any other continent, and hence are more thoroughly conscious of their dissimilarities from, than of their consanguinity with, the peoples of the east and the south.
On the subject of the boundaries of Europe there is still divergence of opinion. While some authorities take the line of the Caucasus as the boundary in the south-east, others take the line of the Manych depression, between the upper end of the Sea of Azov and the Caspian Sea, Boundaries. nearly parallel to the Caucasus. Various limits are assigned to the continent on the east. Officially the crest of the Caucasus and that of the Urals are regarded in Russia as the boundaries between Europe and Asia on the south-east and east respectively, although in neither case does the boundary correspond with the great administrative divisions, and in the Urals it is impossible to mark out any continuous crest. Reclus, without attempting to assign any precise position to the boundary line between the two continents, makes it run through the relatively low and partly depressed area north of the Caucasus and east of the Urals. The Manych depression, marking the lowest line of this area to the north of the Caucasus, has been taken as the boundary of Europe on the south-east by Wagner in his edition of Guthe’s Lehrbuch der Geographie, and the same limit is adopted in Kirchhoff’s Länderkunde des Erdteils Europa and Stanford’s Compendium of Geography and Travel. In favour of this limit it appears that much weight ought to be given to the consideration put forward by Wagner, that from time immemorial the valleys on both sides of the Caucasus have formed a refuge for Asiatic peoples, especially when it is borne in mind that this contention is reinforced by the circumstance that the steppes to the north of the Caucasus must interpose a belt of almost unpeopled territory between the more condensed populations belonging undoubtedly to Asia and Europe respectively. Continuity of population would be an argument in favour of assigning the whole of the Urals to Europe, but here the absence of any break in such continuity on the east side makes it more difficult to fix any boundary line outside of that system. Hence on this side it is perhaps reasonable to attach greater importance to the fact that the Urals form a boundary not only orographically, but to some extent also in respect of climate and vegetation, and on that account to take a line following the crest of the different sections of that system as the eastern limit between the two continents. Obviously, however, any eventual agreement among geographers on this head must be more or less arbitrary and conventional. In any case it must be borne in mind that, whatever conventional boundary be adopted, the use of the name Europe as so limited must be confined to statements of extent or implying extent. The facts as to climate, fauna and flora have no relation to any such arbitrary boundary, and all statistical statements referring to the countries of Europe must include the part of Russia beyond the Urals up to the frontier of Siberia. In such statements, however, in the present article the whole of the lieutenancy of the Caucasus will be left out of account. As to extent it is provisionally advisable to give the area of the continent within different limits.
The following calculations in English square miles (round numbers) of the area of Europe, within different limits, are given in Behm and Wagner’s Bevölkerung der Erde, No. viii. (Gotha, Justus Perthes, 1891), p. 53:—Europe, within the narrowest physical limits (to the crest of the Urals and the Extent. Manych depression, and including the Sea of Azov, but excluding the Caspian Steppe, Iceland, Novaya Zemlya, Spitsbergen and Bear Island) 3,570,000 sq. m. The same, with the addition of the Caspian Steppe up to the Ural river and the Caspian Sea, 3,687,750 sq. m. The same, with the addition of the area between the Manych depression and the Caucasus, 3,790,500 sq. m. The same, with the addition of territories east of the Ural Mountains, the portion of the Caspian Steppe east of the Ural river as far as the Emba, and the southern slopes of the Caucasus, 3,988,500 sq. m. The same, with Iceland, Novaya Zemlya, Spitsbergen and Bear Island, 4,093,000 sq. m. In all these calculations the islands in the Sea of Marmora, the Canary Islands, Madeira, and even the Azores, are excluded, but all the Greek islands of the Aegean Sea and the Turkish islands of Thasos, Lemnos, Samothrace, Imbros, Hagiostrati or Bozbaba, and even Tenedos, are included.
The most northern point of the mainland area is Cape Nordkyn in Norway, 71° 6′ N.; its most southern, Cape Tarifa in Spain, in 36° 0′ N.; its most western, Cape da Roca in Portugal, 9° 27′ W.; and its most eastern, a spot near the north end of the Ural Mountains, in 66° 20′ E. A line drawn Extreme points. from Cape St Vincent in Portugal to the Ural Mountains near Ekaterinburg has a length of 3293 m., and finds its centre in the W. of Russian Poland. From the mouth of the Kara to the mouth of the Ural river the direct distance is 1600 m., but the boundary line has a length of 2400 m.
Two of the most striking features in the general conformation of Europe are the great number of its primary and secondary peninsulas, and the consequent exceptional development of its coast-line—an irregularity and development which have been one of the most potent of the physical factors Coast-line. of its history. The total length of coast-line was estimated by Reuschle in 1869 at 19,820 m., of which about 3600 were counted as belonging to the Arctic Ocean, 8390 to the Atlantic, and 7830 to the Black Sea and Mediterranean. This estimate, however, does not take into account minor indentations. Reclus’s estimate, including the more important indentations, brings the coast-line up to 26,700 m., and that of Strelbitsky up to 47,790 m. (smaller islands not included), or 1 m. of coast for about 75 sq. m. of area. Rohrbach calculated the mean distance of all points in the interior of Europe from the sea at 209 m. as compared with 292 m. in the case of North America, the continent which ranks next in this respect. It must be pointed out, however, that such calculations are apt to be very misleading, inasmuch as the commercial value of the relations thus determined depends not merely on the existence of natural harbours or the presence of facilities for the construction of artificial harbours, but also on the presence of natural facilities for communication between such harbours and a productive interior.
The consideration just mentioned gives great significance to the
fact that while the coast-line of Europe is in its general features
very much the same as it was at the beginning of the true
historic period, it has undergone a number of important
local changes, some at least of which are due to causes
coast-line. that are at work over very extensive areas. These changes may be conveniently classified under four heads: the formation of deltas by the alluvium of rivers; the increase of the land-surface due to upheaval; the advance of the sea by reason of its own erosive activity; and the advance of the sea through the subsidence of the land. The actual form of the coast, however, is frequently due to the simultaneous or successive action of several of the causes—sea and river and subterranean forces helping or resisting each other. That changes in the coast-line on the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia have taken place within historical times through elevation of the land seems now to be generally admitted. The commune of Hvittisbofjärd north of Bjorneborg on the Finland side of that gulf gained about 21 sq. m. between 1784 and 1894, an amount greater than could be accounted for by the most liberal estimates of alluvial deposit, and the most careful investigation seems to show that on the Swedish coast of that gulf a rise has taken place in recent years on the east coast of Sweden from about 57° 20′ N. increasing in amount towards the north up to 62° 20′ N., where it reaches an average of about two-fifths of an inch annually. Our information is naturally most complete in regard to the Mediterranean coasts, as these were the best known to the first book-writing nations. There we find that all the great rivers have been successfully at work—more especially the Rhone, the Ebro and the Po. The activity of the Rhone, indeed, as a maker of new land, is astonishing. The tower of St Louis, erected on the coast in 1737, is now upwards of four miles inland; the city of Arles is said to be nearly twice as far from the sea as it was in the Roman period. The present St Gilles was probably a harbour when the Greeks founded Marseilles, and Aigues Mortes, which took its place in the middle ages, was no longer on the coast in the time of St Louis (13th century), but Narbonne continued to be a seaport till the 14th century. At the mouth of the Hérault, according to Fischer, the coast advances at least two metres or about 7 ft. annually; and it requires great labour to keep the harbour of Cette from being silted up. The Po is even more efficient than the Rhone, if the size of its basin be taken into account. Ravenna, which was at one time an insular city like Venice, has now a wide stretch of downs partly covered with pine forest between it and the sea. Aquileia, one of the greatest seaports of the Mediterranean in the early centuries of the Christian era, is now 7 m. from the coast, and Adria, which gives its name to the sea, is 13. The islands on which Venice is built have sunk about 3 ft. since the 16th century: the pavement of the square of St Mark’s has frequently required to be raised, and the boring of a well has shown that a layer of vegetable remains, indicating a flora identical with that observed at present on the neighbouring mainland, exists at a depth of 400 ft. below the alluvial deposits. A little to the south of Rovigno on the Istrian coast on the opposite side of the Adriatic a diver found at the depth of about 85 ft. the remains of a town, which has been identified with the island town of Cissa, of which nothing had been known after the year 679. At Zara ancient pavements and mosaics are found below the sea-level, and the district at the mouth of the Narenta has been changed into a swamp by the advance of the sea. A process of elevation, on the other hand, is indicated along nearly all the coasts of Sicily, at the southern end of Sardinia, the east of Corsica, and perhaps in the neighbourhood of Nice, while the west coast of Italy from the latitude of Rome to the southern shores of the Gulf of Salerno has undergone considerable oscillations of level within historical times. About the time of the settlement of the Greeks the coast stood at least 20 ft. above the level of the present day. Depression began in Roman times, though then the land was still 16 ft. higher than now. A more rapid depression began in the middle ages, so that the sea-level rose from 18 to 20 ft. above the present zero, and the coast began gradually to rise again at the close of the 15th century. Passing eastward to the Balkan peninsula, we find considerable changes on the coast-line of Greece; but as they are only repetitions on a smaller scale of the phenomena already described, it is sufficient to indicate the Gulf of Arta and the mouth of the Spercheios as two of the more important localities. The latter especially is interesting to the historian as well as to the geologist, as the river has greatly altered the physical features of one of the world’s most famous scenes—the battlefield of Thermopylae.
If we proceed to the Atlantic seaboard we observe, as we might expect, great modifications in the embouchures of the Garonne and the Loire, but by far the most remarkable variations of sea and land have taken place in the region extending from the south of Belgium in the neighbourhood of the Straits of Dover to the mouth of the Elbe and the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein. Here there has been a prolonged struggle between man and nature, in which on the whole nature has hitherto had the best of the battle. While, as is well known, much land below sea-level in the Low Countries has been protected against the sea by dikes and reclaimed, and the coast-line has been, on the whole, advanced between the Elbe and the Eider, there has been a great loss of land in the interior of Holland since the beginning of the Christian era, and on the balance a large loss of land north of the Eider since the first half of the 13th century. In the 1st century A.D. the Zuider Zee appears to have been represented only by a comparatively small inland lake, the dimensions of which were increased by different inroads of the sea, the last and greatest of which occurred in 1395. Among the local changes of European significance within this area may be mentioned the silting up towards the end of the 15th century of the channel known as the Zwin running north-eastwards from Bruges, which through that cause lost its shipping and in the end all its former renown as a seat of commerce.
The Baltic shores of Germany display the same phenomena of local gain and loss. In the western section inroads of the sea have been extensive: the island of Rügen would no longer serve for the disembarkation of an army like that of Gustavus Adolphus; Wollin and Usedom are growing gradually less; large stretches of the mainland are fringed with submerged forests; and at intervals the sites of well-known villages are occupied by the sea. Towards the east the great rivers are successfully working in the opposite direction. In the Gulf of Danzig the alluvial deposits of the Vistula cover an area of 615 sq. m.; in the 13th century the knights of Marienburg enclosed with dikes about 350 sq. m.; and an area of about 70 sq. m. was added in the course of the 14th. The Memel is silting up the Kurisches Haff, which, like the Frisches Haff, is separated from the open sea by a line of dunes comparable with those of the Landes in France. The so-called strand or coast-lines at various altitudes round the Scandinavian peninsula, though belonging for the most part to glacial times, speak also of relative changes of level in the post-glacial period.
The changes briefly indicated above take place so gradually for the most part that it requires careful observation and comparison of data to establish their reality. It is very different with those changes which we usually ascribe to volcanic agency. Besides the great outlying “hearth” of Iceland, Volcanoes and earthquakes. there are four centres of volcanic activity in Europe—all of them, however, situated in the Mediterranean. Vesuvius on the western coast of Italy, Etna in the island of Sicily, and Stromboli in the Lipari group, have been familiarly known from the earliest historic times; but the fourth has only attracted particular attention since the 18th century. It lies in the Archipelago, on the southern edge of the Cyclades, near the little group of islets called Santorin. The region was evidently highly volcanic at an earlier period, for Milo, one of the nearest of the islands, is simply a ruined crater still presenting smoking solfataras and other traces of former activity. The devastations produced by the eruptions of the European volcanoes are usually confined within very narrow limits; and it is only at long intervals that any part of the continent is visited by a really formidable earthquake. The only part of Europe, however, for which there are no recorded earthquakes is central and northern Russia; and the Alps and Carpathians, especially the intra-Carpathian area of depression, Greece, Italy, especially Calabria and the adjoining part of Sicily, the Sierra Nevada and the Pyrenees, the Lisbon district and the rift valley of the upper Rhine (between the Vosges and the Black Forest) are all regions specially liable to earthquake shocks and occasionally to shocks of considerable intensity. One well-marked seismic line extends along the south side of the Alps from Lake Garda by Udine and Görz to Fiume, and another forms a curve convex towards the south-east passing first through Calabria, then through the north-east of Sicily to the south of the Peloritan Mountains. Of all European earthquakes in modern times, the most destructive are that of Lisbon in 1755, and that of Calabria in 1783; the devastation produced by the former has become a classical instance of such disasters in popular literature, and by the latter 100,000 people are said to have lost their lives. Calabria again suffered severely in 1865, 1870, 1894, 1905 and 1908.
If the European mountains are arranged according to their greatest elevations, they rank as follows:—(1) the Swiss Alps, with their highest peaks above 15,000 ft.; (2) the Sierra Nevada, the Pyrenees, and Etna, about 11,000 ft.; (3) the Apennines, the Corsican Mountains, the Carpathians, the Balkans, Relief. and the Despoto Dagh, from 8000 to 9000; (4) the Guadarrama, the Scandinavian Alps, the Dinaric Alps, the Greek Mountains, and the Cevennes, between 6000 and 8000; (5) the mountains of Auvergne, the Jura, the Riesengebirge, the mountains of Sardinia, Majorca, Minorca, and the Crimea, the Black Forest, the Vosges, and the Scottish Highlands, from 4000 to 6000.
The following estimates are based on those contained in the fifth edition, by Dr Hermann Wagner, of Guthe’s Lehrbuch der Geographie. In the original the figures are given in German sq. m. and in sq. kilometres in round numbers, and the equivalents here given in English sq. m. are similarly treated:—
|The great European plain in its widest sense||2,660,000|
|The same exclusive of inland seas||2,300,000|
|The same exclusive of the Scandinavian and British lowlands||2,125,000|
|All other European lowlands||385,000|
|The Hungarian plain||38,000|
|The Po plain||21,000|
|The Scandinavian highlands||190,000|
|The Ural Mountains||127,000|
Several estimates have been made of the average elevation of the continent, but it is enough to give here the main results. In the following list, where a conversion from metres into feet has been necessary, the nearest multiple of 5 ft. has been given:—Humboldt, 675 ft.; Leipoldt, 975 ft.; De Lapparent, 960 ft.; Murray, 939 ft.; Supan, 950 ft.; von Tillo, 1040 ft.; Heiderich, 1230 ft.; Penck, 1085 ft. The exceptionally high estimate of Heiderich is due to the fact that by him Transcaucasia and the islands of Novaya Zemlya, Spitsbergen and Iceland are reckoned as included in Europe.
|Name of River.||Length in English Miles.|| Area of Basin |
in sq. m.
|Düna (S. Dvina)||470||576||32,975|
|Aluta (Alt, Oltŭ)||308||..||9,095|
Of more geographical significance than these estimates are the
facts with regard to the arrangement of the highlands of the continent.
It is indeed this arrangement combined with the
form of the coast-line which has indirectly given to Europe
its individuality. Three points have to be noted under
the highlands. this head:—(1) the fact that the highlands of Europe are so distributed as to allow of the penetration of westerly winds far to the east; (2) the fact that the principal series of highlands has a direction from east to west, Europe in this point resembling Asia but differing from North America; and (3) that in Europe the mountain systems belonging to the series of highlands referred to not only have more or less well-marked breaks between them, but are themselves so notched by passes and cut by transverse valleys as to present great facilities for crossing in proportion to their average altitude. The first and second of these points have special importance with reference to the climate and will accordingly be considered more fully under that head. The second is also of importance with reference to the means of communication, to which the third also refers, and detailed consideration of these points in that relation will be reserved for that heading. Here, however, it may be noted that in Europe the distribution of the natural resources for the maintenance of the inhabitants is such that, if we leave out of account Russia, which is almost entirely outside of the series of highlands running east and west, the population north of the mountains is roughly about 50% greater than that south of the mountains, whereas in Asia the population north of the east and west highland barrier is utterly insignificant as compared with that to the south.
From the table given on p. 909 (col. 1) it will be seen that the most extensive of the highland areas of Europe is that of Scandinavia, which has a general trend from south-south-west to north-north-east, and is completely detached by seas and plains from the highland area to the south. There are other completely detached highland areas in Iceland, the British Isles, the Ural Mountains, the small Yaila range in the south of the Crimea, and the Mediterranean islands. The connected series of highlands is that which extends from the Iberian peninsula to the Black Sea stretching in the middle of Germany northwards to about 52° N. In the Iberian peninsula we have the most marked example of the tableland form in Europe, and these tablelands are bounded on the north by the Cantabrian Mountains, which descend to the sea, and the Pyrenees, which, except at their extremities, cut off the Iberian peninsula from the adjoining country more extensively than any other chain in the continent. Between the foot-hills of the Pyrenees, however, and those of the central plateau of France the ground sinks in the Passage of Naurouse or Gap of Carcassonne to a well-marked gap establishing easy communication between the valley of the Garonne and the lower part of that of the Rhone. The highlands in the north spread northwards and then north-eastwards till they join the Vosges, but sink in elevation towards the north-east so as to allow of several easy crossings. East of the Vosges the Rhine valley forms an important trough running north and south through the highlands of western Germany. To the south of the Vosges again undulating country of less than 1500 ft. in elevation, the well-known Burgundy Gate or Gap of Belfort, constitutes a well-marked break between those mountains and the Jura, and establishes easy communication between the Rhine and the Saône-Rhone valleys. The latter valley divides in the clearest manner the highlands of central France from both the Alps and the Jura, while between these last two systems there lies the wedge of the Swiss midlands contracting south-westwards to a narrow but important gap at the outlet of the Lake of Geneva. Between the Alps and the mountains of the Italian and Balkan peninsulas the orographical lines of demarcation are less distinct, but on the north the valley of the Danube mostly forms a wide separation between the Alps and the mountains of the Balkan peninsula on the south and the highlands of Bohemia and Moravia, the Carpathians and the Transylvanian Alps on the north. The valleys of the Eger and the Elbe form distinct breaks in the environment of Bohemia, and the Sudetes on the north-east of Bohemia and Moravia are even more clearly divided from the Carpathians by the valley of the upper Oder, the Moravian Gate, as it is called, which forms the natural line of communication between the south-east of Prussia and Vienna.
An estimate has been made by Strelbitsky of the length and of the area of the basins of all the principal rivers of Europe. In the table on p. 909 all the estimates given without any special authority are based on Strelbitsky’s figures, but it should be mentioned that the estimates of length made by him evidently Rivers. do not take into account minor windings, and are therefore generally less than those given by others. The authorities are separately cited for the originals of all other figures given in the table.
The observations on the temperature of European rivers have been collected and discussed by Dr Adolf E. Forster. He finds that the dominant factor in determining that temperature is the temperature of the air above, but that rivers are divisible into four groups with respect to the relation between these temperatures at different seasons of the year. These groups are rivers flowing from glaciers, in which the temperature is warmer than the air in winter, colder in summer; rivers flowing from lakes, characterized by peculiarly high winter temperatures, in consequence of which the mean temperature for the year is always above that of the air; rivers flowing from springs, which, at least near their source, are more rapidly cooled by low than warmed by high air temperatures; and rivers of the plains, which have a higher mean temperature than the air in all months of the year.
In various parts of Europe, more particularly in calcareous regions, such as the Jura, the Causses in the south-east of France, and the Karst in the north-west of the Balkan peninsula, there are numerous subterranean or partly subterranean rivers. Several of the more important rivers are of very irregular flow, and some are subject to really formidable floods. This is particularly the case with rivers a large part of whose basin is made up of crystalline or other impervious rocks with steep slopes, like those of the Loire in France and the Ebro in Spain. The Danube and its tributaries, the great rivers of Germany, above all eastern Germany, and those of Italy, are also notorious for their inundations. In southern Europe, where the summers are nearly rainless, most of the rivers disappear altogether in that season.
|Name of Lake and Country.|| Height
of Cub. Ft.
|Onega, Russia||115||3765||About 1200||..||..|
|Chudskoye or Peipus, Russia||100||1357||90||..||..|
|Geneva, France and Switzerland||1220||225||1015||500||3,140,000|
|Constance, Germany and Switzerland||1295||208||825||295||1,711,000|
|Garda, Italy and Austria||215||143||1135||445||1,757,000|
|Scutari, Turkey||20||About 130||33||12½||45,900|
|Stor Afvan, Sweden||1370||92||925||..||..|
|Maggiore, Italy and Switzerland||645||82||1220||575||1,316,000|
For many European lakes, especially the smaller ones, estimates have been made of the mean depth and the volume. A list of all the European lakes for which the altitude, extent, and greatest depth could be ascertained, compiled by Dr K. Peucker, is published in the Geog. Zeitschrift (1896), pp. Lakes and marshes. 606-616, where estimates of the mean depth and the volume are also given where procurable. The table given above, comprising only the larger lakes, is mainly based on this list, where the original authorities are mentioned. The figures entered in the table not taken from this list are after Strelbitsky, the Géog. Universelle of V. de St Martin, or, in the case of Swedish lakes, from the official handbook of Sweden.
The Alpine lakes break up into a southern and northern subdivision—the former consisting of the Lago Maggiore, and the lakes of Lugano and Como, Lago d’Iseo, and Lago di Garda, all connected by affluents with the system of the Po; and the latter the Lake of Geneva threaded by the Rhone, Lakes Constance, Zürich, Neuchâtel, Biel and other Swiss lakes belonging to the basin of the Rhine, and a few of minor importance belonging to the Danube. The north Russian lakes, Ladoga, Onega, &c., are mainly noticeable as the largest members of what in some respects is the most remarkable system of lakes in the continent—the Finno-Russian, which consists of an almost countless number of comparatively small irregular basins formed in the surface of a granitic plateau. In Finland proper they occupy no less than a twelfth of the total area.
A few of the number are very shallow. The Neusiedler See, for example (the Peiso Lacus of the Latins and Fertö-tava of the Hungarians), completely dried up in 1693, 1738 and 1864, and left its bed covered for the most part with a deposit of salt. Lakes Copais in Boeotia and Fucino Celano in Italy have been entirely turned into dry land. The progress of agriculture has greatly diminished the extent of marsh land in Europe. The Minsk marshes in Russia form the largest area of this character still left, and on these large encroachments are gradually being made. Extensive marshes in northern Italy have been completely drained. The partial draining of the Pomptine marshes in Italy made Pope Pius VII. famous in the 18th century, and further reclamation works are still in progress there and elsewhere in the same country. (G. G. C.)
The geological history of Europe is, to a large extent, a history of the formation and destruction of successive mountain chains. Four times a great mountain range has been raised across the area which now is Europe. Three times the mountain range has given way; portions have sunk beneath the sea, and have Geology. been covered by more recent sediments, while other portions remained standing and now rise as isolated blocks above the later beds which surround them. The last of the mountain ranges still stands, and is known under the names of the Alps, the Carpathians, the Balkans, the Caucasus, &c., but the work of destruction has already begun, and gaps have been formed by the collapse of parts of the chain. The Carpathians were once continuous with the Alps, and the Caucasus was probably connected with the Balkans across the site of the Black Sea.
These mountain chains were not raised by direct uplift. They consist of crumpled and folded strata, and are, in fact, wrinkles in the earth’s outer crust, formed by lateral compression, like the puckers which appear in a tablecloth when we push it forward against a book or other heavy object lying upon it. How the lateral or tangential pressures originated is still matter of controversy, but the usually accepted explanation is as follows. The interior of the earth in cooling contracts more rapidly than the exterior, and, if no other change took place, the outer crust would be left as a hollow sphere without any internal support. But the materials of which it is composed are not strong enough to bear its enormous weight, and, like an arch which is too weak in its abutments, it collapses upon the interior core. Where the crust is rigid it fractures, as an ordinary arch would fracture; and some portions fall inward, while other parts may even be wedged a little outward. Where, on the other hand, the crust is made of softer rock, it crumples and folds, and a mountain chain is produced. Such a mountain chain, for want of a better term, is called a folded mountain chain. The folding is most intense where a flexible portion of the crust lies next to a more rigid part. Where the folding has occurred, the rocks which were once comparatively soft become hard and rigid, and the next series of wrinkles will usually be formed beyond the limits of the old one. This is what has happened in the European area.
The oldest mountain chain lay in the extreme north-west of Europe, and its relics are seen in the outer Hebrides, the Lofoten Islands and the north of Norway. The rocks of this ancient chain have since been converted into gneiss, and they were folded and denuded before the deposition of the oldest known fossiliferous sediments. The mountain system must therefore have been formed in Pre-Cambrian times, and it has been called by Marcel Bertrand the Huronian chain. It is probable that a great land-mass lay towards the north-west; but in the sea which certainly existed south-east of the chain, the Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian beds were deposited. In Russia and South Sweden these beds still lie flat and undisturbed; but in Norway, Scotland, the Lake District, North Wales and the north of Ireland they were crushed against the north-western continent and were not only intensely folded but were pushed forward over the old rocks of the Huronian chain. Thus was formed the Caledonian mountain system of Ed. Suess, in which the folds run from south-west to north-east. It was raised at the close of the Silurian period.
Then followed, in northern Europe, a continental period. By the elevation of the Caledonian chain the northern land-mass had grown southward and now extended as far as the Bristol Channel. Upon it the Old Red Sandstone was laid down in inland seas or lakes, while farther south contemporaneous deposits were formed in the open sea.
During the earlier part of the Carboniferous period the sea spread over the southern shores of the northern continent; but later the whole area again became land and the Coal Measures of northern Europe were laid down. Towards the close of the Carboniferous period the third great mountain chain was formed. It lay to the south of the Caledonian chain, and its northern margin stretched from the south of Ireland through South Wales, the north of France and the south of Belgium, and was continued round the Harz and the ancient rocks of Bohemia, and possibly into the south of Russia. It is along this northern margin, where the folded beds have been thrust over the rocks which lay to the north, that the coalfields of Dover and of Belgium occur. The general direction of the folds is approximately from west to east; but the chain consisted of two arcs, the western of which is called by Suess the Armorican chain and the eastern the Variscian. The two arcs together, which were undoubtedly formed at the same period, have been named by Bertrand the Hercynian chain. Everywhere the chief folding seems to have occurred before the deposition of the highest beds of the Upper Carboniferous, which lie unconformably upon the folded older beds. The Hercynian chain appears to have been of considerable breadth, at least in western Europe, for the Palaeozoic rocks of Spain and Portugal are thrown into folds which have the same general direction and which were formed at approximately the same period. In eastern Europe the evidence is less complete, because the Hercynian folds are buried beneath more recent deposits and have in some cases been masked by the superposition of a later series of folds.
The formation of this Carboniferous range was followed in northern Europe by a second continental period somewhat similar to that of the Old Red Sandstone, but the continent extended still farther to the south. The Permian and Triassic deposits of England and Germany were laid down in inland seas or upon the surface of the land itself. But southern Europe was covered by the open sea, and here, accordingly, the contemporaneous deposits were marine.
The Jurassic and Cretaceous periods were free from any violent folding or mountain building, and the sea again spread over a large part of the northern continent. There were indeed several oscillations, but in general the greater part of southern and central Europe lay beneath the waters of the ocean. Some of the fragments of the Hercynian chain still rose as islands above the waves, and at certain periods there seems to have been a more or less complete barrier between the waters which covered northern Europe and those which lay over the Mediterranean region. Thus, while the estuarine deposits of the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous were laid down in England and Germany, the purely marine Tithonian formation, with its peculiar fauna, was deposited in the south; and while the Chalk was formed in northern Europe, the Hippurite limestone was laid down in the south.
The Tertiary period saw fundamental changes in the geography of Europe. The formation of the great mountain ranges of the south, the Alpine system of Suess, perhaps began at an earlier date, but it was in the Eocene and Miocene periods that the chief part of the elevation took place. Arms of the sea extended up the valley of the Rhone and around the northern margin of the Alps, and also spread over the plains of Hungary and of southern Russia. Towards the middle of the Miocene period some of these arms were completely cut off from the ocean and large deposits of salt were formed, as at Wieliczka. At a later period south-eastern Europe was covered by a series of extensive lagoons, and the waters of these lagoons gradually became brackish, and then fresh, before the area was finally converted into dry land. Great changes also took place in the Mediterranean region. The Black Sea, the Aegean, the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian Sea were all formed at various times during the Tertiary period, and the depression of these areas seems to be closely connected with the elevation of the neighbouring mountain chains.
Exactly what was happening in northern Europe during these great changes in the south it is not easy to say. The basaltic flows of the north of Ireland, the western islands of Scotland, the Faeroe Islands and Iceland are mere fragments of former extensive plateaus. No sign of marine Tertiary deposits of earlier age than Pliocene has been found in this northern part of Europe, and on the other hand plant remains are abundant in the sands and clays interbedded with the basalts. It is probable, therefore, that in Eocene times a great land-mass lay to the north-west of Europe, over which the basalt lavas flowed, and that the formation of this part of the Atlantic and perhaps of the North Sea did not take place until the Miocene period.
At a later date the climate, for some reason which has not yet been fully explained, grew colder over the whole of Europe, and the northern part was covered by a great ice-sheet which extended southward nearly as far as lat. 50° N., and has left its marks over the whole of the northern part of the continent. With the final melting and disappearance of the ice-sheet, the topography of Europe assumed nearly its present form, and man came upon the scene. Minor changes, such as the separation of Great Britain from the continent, may have occurred at a later date; but since the Glacial period there have, apparently, been no fundamental modifications in the configuration of Europe.
The elevation of each of the great mountain systems already described was accompanied by extensive eruptions of volcanic rocks, and the sequence appears to have been similar in every case. The volcanoes of the Mediterranean are the last survivors of the great eruptions which accompanied the elevation of the Alpine mountain system. (P. La.)
In western Europe by far the most prevalent wind is the S.W. or W.S.W. It represents 25% of the annual total; while the N. is only 6%, the N.E. 8, the E. 9, the S. 13, the W. 17 and the N.W. 11. Of the summer total it represents 22%, while the N. is 9, N.E. 8, E. 7, S.E. 7, W. 21 and N.W. 17. In Winds. south-eastern Europe, on the other hand, the prevailing winds are from the N. and E.—the E. having the preponderance in winter and autumn. Of local winds the most remarkable are the föhn, in the Alps, distinguished for its warmth and dryness; the Rotenturm wind of Transylvania, which has similar characteristics; the bora of the Upper Adriatic, so noticeable for its violence; the mistral of southern France; the etesian winds of the Mediterranean; and the sirocco, which proves so destructive to the southern vegetation. Though it is only at comparatively rare intervals that the winds attain the development of a hurricane, the destruction of life and property which they occasion, both by sea and land, is in the aggregate of no small moment. About six or seven storms from the west pass over the continent every winter, usually appearing later in the southern districts, such as Switzerland or the Adriatic, than in the northern districts, as Scotland and Denmark.
The great determining factors of the climate of Europe are these. The northern borders of the continent are within the Arctic Circle; the most southern points of the mainland are 131° or more north of the Tropic of Cancer; to the east extends for about 3000 m. the continuous land surface of Asia; to the west Climate. lie the waters of the north Atlantic, which penetrate in great inland seas to the north and south of the great European peninsula; the prevailing winds in western Europe as already stated are more or less south-westerly; and the arrangement of the highlands is such as to allow of the penetration of winds with a westerly element in their direction far to the east. The first two of these factors are not distinguishing influences. They affect the climate of Europe in the same manner as they do that of any other land surface in the same latitudes.
The remaining factors, however, are of the highest importance. It is to them in fact that Europe owes in a very large measure those physical conditions which are the basis of its recognition as a separate continent. In estimating the value of those factors one must bear in mind, first, that the waters of the north Atlantic are exceptionally warm, especially on the European side of the ocean. The Gulf Stream carries a large body of warm water northwards to near the parallel of 40° N., and to the north of the Gulf Stream prevailing south-westerly winds, especially during the winter months, drift onwards to the western and northern shores of Europe, even as far east as Spitsbergen, large bodies of water of an exceptionally high temperature. Secondly, one must bear in mind that these relatively high temperatures over the ocean promote evaporation and thus favour the presence of a relatively large amount of water-vapour in the air over those parts of the ocean which adjoin the continent; and, thirdly, that, as the winds are the sole means of carrying water-vapour from one part of the earth’s surface to the other, and the sole means of carrying heat and cold from the ocean to the land, the prevailing south-westerly winds are allowed by the superficial configuration to bring a relatively high rainfall and a relatively large amount of heat in winter to land farther in the interior than in any corresponding latitudes. During the summer the winds referred to have a cooling effect, but not to the same degree as those of winter tend to raise the temperature. From the point of view just indicated the only part of the world that is fairly comparable with Europe is the west of North America; but, as there the outline and superficial configuration are quite different, the oceanic influences affect only a narrow strip of seaboard and not any extent of land which could be regarded as of continental rank. It is owing to these influences that in the greater part of Europe there is a more or less continuous population dependent on agriculture. On the east side of Europe, again, the existence of the continent of Asia has a marked effect on the climate which also aids in giving to Europe its individual character. It is owing to that circumstance that the south-east of the continent, which has temperatures as favourable to agriculture as the corresponding latitudes of eastern Asia or eastern North America, is without the copious rains which make those temperatures so valuable, and hence forms part of the desert that divides the populations of Europe and Asia.
On the local distribution of rainfall and temperature, the physical configuration of the continent has very marked effects. Here as elsewhere there is a striking difference both in the amount of rainfall and the temperature on the weather and lee sides of mountains and even low hills. But with reference Precipitation. to this it should not be forgotten that water-vapour, heat and cold may be carried farther into the land by winds blowing in a different direction from that of those by which they were introduced from the ocean, and, with reference to rainfall, that the condensation of water-vapour may be brought out by different winds from those by which the water-vapour was brought to the area in which it is condensed. Water-vapour that may have been introduced by a south-westerly wind may be driven against a mountain side by a northerly or easterly wind, and thus cause rain on the northern or eastern side of the mountain. Still, any rainfall map of Europe indicates clearly enough the origin of the water-vapour to which the rainfall is due. Such a map, taking into account the results of more detailed investigations of different parts of the continent, is that of Joseph Reger. This map shows the rainfall or rather total precipitation in seven tints at intervals of 250 mm. (about 10 in.) up to 1000 mm., and beyond that at intervals of 500 mm. up to 2000 mm. In some parts of the continent the limits of a rainfall of 200 mm. and 600 mm. are also shown. The picture there given is too complicated for brief description except by saying quite generally that it shows on the whole a diminution in the total amount of precipitation from west to east, and that the heaviest precipitation is indicated on the west or south and most exposed sides of mountains. The areas of scantiest rainfall lie to the north and north-west of the Caspian Sea and in the interior of the Kola Peninsula, north-west of the White Sea. The Stye in the English Lake District, some 2 m. from and 650 ft. higher than Seathwaite, has long been reputed to be the station recording the heaviest rainfall in Europe, but it has been shown to have a rival in Crkvice, a station immediately to the north of the Bocche di Cattaro on the Dalmatian coast. In the period 1881–1890 the average rainfall at the Stye amounted to 177 in., in 1891–1900 that at Crkvice amounted to about 179 in.
The amount of the snowfall as distinguished from the rest of the precipitation is now coming to be recognized as an important climatological element. So far, however, the only European country in which a record of the snowfall is kept is Russia, but it may be pointed out that the scantiness of the Snowfall. winter precipitation and accordingly of snow in the south-east of Europe almost entirely prevents the cultivation of winter wheat, which is thus left without the protective blanket enjoyed in some other parts of the world with cold winters.
The important subject of the seasonal distribution of the rainfall
of Europe has received attention from Drs A. J. Herbertson, Köppen
and Supan, and Mr A. Angot. The rainfall of each month
in Europe as in the other continents is shown by Dr A. J.
Herbertson in The Distribution of Rainfall over the Land.Seasonal distribution
of rainfall. On plate 19 of the Atlas of Meteorology, by J. G. Bartholomew and A. J. Herbertson, Dr Köppen has furnished maps showing the months of maximum rainfall and the seasons of maximum and minimum rain frequency in different parts of Europe. Mr A. Angot’s work on the subject is published in two papers in the Annales du bureau central météor. de France, a series of memoirs in which the rainfall observations of Europe for the thirty years 1861–1890 are recorded and discussed. The first paper (1893, B, pp. 157-194) deals with the Iberian Peninsula, the second (1895, B, pp. 155-192) with western Europe (from about 43° to 58° N. and as far east as about 19° to 21° E.). Both papers are accompanied by maps showing by six tints the mean rainfall for each month as well as for the entire year; and that on western Europe, by maps extending in the west as far south as Avila, the proportion of the rainfall occurring during the winter, spring, autumn and summer months respectively. But the most instructive maps on the subject embracing the whole of Europe are four maps prepared by Dr Supan to show the percentage of the total rainfall of the year occurring in spring, summer, autumn and winter respectively. From the maps it appears that all the southern and western coasts of Europe have a high proportion of rain in autumn, and that this is true also of the whole of the Italian peninsula and the islands of the western half of the Mediterranean, of all the south-west of the Balkan peninsula, including the Peloponnesus, of the Saône-Rhone valley and both sides of the Gulf of Bothnia, and that a high winter rainfall is characteristic of Iceland, the extreme western coasts of Scotland, Ireland, France and the Iberian peninsula, as well as of the greater part of the Mediterranean region, but more particularly the south-east, while in this region, and, again more particularly in the south-east, there is a great scarcity of summer rains, which, on the other hand, form the highest percentage in the interior and eastern parts of the continent. If the year be divided into a winter and summer half, the area with a predominance of summer rains begins in the east of Great Britain and extends eastwards, while the Mediterranean region generally is one of rainy winters and relatively dry summers. The consequence is that with similar conditions of soil and superficial configuration the Mediterranean region is agriculturally much less productive, except where there are means of irrigation, than the corresponding latitudes in the east of Asia and the east of North America, where there are corresponding summer temperatures but an opposite seasonal distribution of rainfall.
In connexion with the seasonal distribution of rainfall may be noticed the prevalence of sunshine and cloud. The map accompanying König’s paper on the duration of sunshine shows on the whole, outside of the Mediterranean peninsulas, an increase from north-west to south-east (Orkney Islands, 1145 Sunshine. hours = 26% of the total possible; Sulina, 2411 hours = 55%). In the Mediterranean peninsulas the duration is everywhere great—greatest, so far as the records go, at Madrid, 2908 hours = 66%. Dr P. Elfert’s map illustrating cloud-distribution in central Europe embraces the region from Denmark to the basin of the Arno, and from the confluence of the Loire and Allier to the mouths of the Danube.
The temperature of the continent has been illustrated by Dr Supan in an interesting series of maps based on actual observations not reduced to sea-level, and showing the duration in months of the periods within which the mean daily temperature lies within certain ranges (at or below 32° F.; 50°–68° F.; Temperature. above 68° F.). The first of these maps strikingly illustrates the effect on temperature of the strong westerly winds of winter, and, in the south, that of winds from the Mediterranean Sea as well as the protection afforded to the Mediterranean countries against cold winds from the north by the barrier of mountains. South of the parallel of 60° there is no lowland area in the west of Europe where the average daily temperature is at or below the freezing point for as much as one month, and in the Mediterranean region only the higher parts of the mountains besides the northern part of the Balkan Peninsula are characterized by such prolonged frosts. On the other hand, on the parallel of 50° N. the duration of such low temperatures increases at first rapidly, afterwards more gradually, from west to east. The second map illustrating the duration of average daily temperatures between 50° and 68° F., that is, the temperatures favourable to the ordinary vegetation of the temperate zone, shows that the duration of such temperatures increases on the whole from south to north, and that by far the greater part of the continent south of 53° N. has at least six months within those limits, and south of 58° N. at least five months. The third of the maps shows that the high temperatures which it illustrates are prolonged for a month or more throughout the Mediterranean region, but outside of that region hardly anywhere except in the south-western plains of France, the Rhone valley and a large area in the south-east of Russia. Without doubt an important cause of the prolonged duration of high temperatures in this last area is the relatively long duration of sunshine already mentioned as shown by König’s map to be characteristic of south-eastern Europe.
Mention should here be made also of Brückner’s remarkable treatise on the variations of climate in time. Though it deals with such variations over the entire land-surface of the globe, a large proportion of the data are derived from Europe, for which continent, accordingly, it furnishes a great number of particulars with regard to secular variations in temperature, rainfall, the date of the vintage, the frequency of cold winters, the level of rivers and lakes, the duration of the ice-free period of rivers (in this case all Russian), and other matters. Those relating to the date of the vintage are of peculiar interest. They apply to 29 stations in France, south-west Germany and Switzerland, and for one station (Dijon) go back with few breaks to the year 1391; and as the variations of climate of which they give an indication correspond precisely to the indications derived from temperature and rainfall in those periods in which we have corresponding data for these meteorological elements, they may be taken as warranting conclusions with regard to these points even for periods for which direct data are wanting. A period of early vintages corresponds to one of comparatively scanty rains and high temperatures. It is accordingly interesting to note that the data referred to indicate, on the whole, for Dijon an earlier vintage for the average of all periods of five years down to 1435 than for the average of the periods of the same length from 1816–1880; but that the figures generally show no regular retardation from period to period, but more or less regular oscillations, differing in their higher and lower limits in different periods of long duration.
Much light has been thrown on the present state of agriculture in Europe by the publication of Engelbrecht’s Landbauzonen der aussertropischen Länder. Of the two chief bread-plants of Europe, wheat and rye, wheat is cultivated as far north as about 69° N. both in Norway and Finland, but the limit Cultivated plants. of the area in which more wheat is cultivated than rye to the west and south, more rye than wheat to the east and north, runs parallel to the west coast of the Netherlands and Belgium, then strikes south-eastwards so as to include nearly all Germany except Alsace-Lorraine and the south-west of Württemberg, also eastern Switzerland, nearly all the Alpine provinces of Austria and nearly the whole region north of the Carpathians, as well as the greater part of Bohemia within the area in which rye predominates, while in Russia the limit runs east-north-east from about 44° N. in the west to about 55° N. in the Urals. On one side of this line wheat makes up more than 80% of the entire grain area in western Rumania, in Italy and a large part of the south-west of France, and from 40% to 60% in the south-east of England. Spelt is cultivated in the south-west of Germany, Belgium and northern Switzerland, on the middle Volga and in Dalmatia and Servia. Rye covers more than 50% of the grain area in the east of Holland and Belgium, in the north-west of Germany, in central and eastern Germany and in middle Russia. Oats are more cultivated than all varieties of wheat in Ireland, in the west and the northern half of Great Britain, in Finland and in the greater part of Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein. Barley is more largely cultivated than oats both in the extreme north and the south of the continent. Maize is cultivated to a great extent in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula, in the south-west of France, in northern Italy and in the lands bordering the lower Danube; in many parts covering an area equal to or greater than that occupied by all grain crops. Millets (various species of panicum) are most extensively cultivated in the south-east of Europe. The kind of millet known as guinea-corn or durra (Sorghum vulgare Pers.), so extensively cultivated in Africa and India, is grown to a small extent on the east side and in the interior of Istria. Buckwheat is cultivated in the west and east of the continent—in the west from the Pyrenees to Jutland, in the east throughout southern and middle Russia. The potato is very largely cultivated in western, northern and central Europe, but has made comparatively little progress in Russia. The cultivation of lentils is most largely pursued in the west and south-west of Germany and in the south and north of France. That of lupines has spread with great rapidity since 1840 in the dry sandy regions of eastern Germany, where lupines have proved as well adapted for such soils as the more widely cultivated sainfoin has done for dry chalky and other limestone soils. Sugar beet is most largely cultivated in the extreme north of France and the adjoining parts of Belgium and in central Germany, to a less but still considerable extent in south-eastern Germany, northern Bohemia and the south-west of Russia. Flax, like other industrial plants, shows a tendency to concentrate itself on specially favourable districts. It is most extensively grown in Russia from the vicinity of Riga north-eastwards, even crossing in the north-east the 70th parallel of latitude; but it is also an important crop in the north-east of Ireland, in Belgium and Holland, in Lombardy and in northern Tirol. Hemp is more extensively cultivated in central and southern Europe, above all in Russia. Teasels are grown in various spots in the south-east of France and in south Germany. The cultivation of madder is not yet extinct in Holland and Belgium, that of weld (Reseda luteola), woad (Isatis tinctoria) and saffron not yet in France.
The vine can be grown without protection in southern Scandinavia, and has been known to ripen its grapes in the open air at Christiansund in 63° 7′; but its cultivation is of no importance north of 47½° on the Atlantic coast, 50½° on the Rhine, and from 50° to 52° in eastern Germany, the limit falling rapidly southwards to the east of 17° E. The olive, with its double crop, is one of the principal objects of cultivation in Italy, Spain and Greece, and is not without its importance in Portugal, Turkey and southern Austria. Tobacco is grown to a considerable extent in many parts of western, central and southern Europe, for the most part under government regulation. The most important tobacco districts are the Rhine valley in Baden and Alsace, Hungary, Rumania, the banks of the Dnieper, Bosnia and the south-west and other parts of France. The cultivation is even carried on in Sweden and Great Britain, but the most northerly area in which it occupies as much as 0.1% of the grain area is the Danish island of Fyen (Funen).
Hop-growing is hardly known in the south, but forms an important industry in England, Austria, Germany and Belgium. Among the exotics exclusively cultivated in the south are the sugar-cane, the cotton plant, and rice. The first, which is found in Spain and Sicily, is of little practical moment; the second holds a secondary position in Turkey and Greece; and the third is pretty extensively grown in special districts of Italy, more particularly in the valley of the Po. Even pepper is cultivated to a small extent in the extreme south of Spain. Of the vast number of fruit trees which flourish in different parts of the continent only a few can be mentioned. Their produce furnishes articles of export to Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and Spain. In Sardinia the acorn of the Quercus Ballota is still used as a food, and in Italy, France and Austria the chestnut is of very common consumption. In the Mediterranean region the prevailing forms—which the Germans conveniently sum together in the expression Südfrüchte, or southern fruits—are the orange, the citron, the almond, the pomegranate, the fig and the carob tree. The palm trees have a very limited range: the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) ripens only in southern Spain with careful culture; the dwarf palm (Chamaerops humilis) forms thickets along the Spanish coast and in Sicily, and appears less frequently in southern Italy and Greece.
Special interest attaches to the two main bread crops of Europe, wheat and rye, the average annual production of which in the different countries of the continent at three periods is shown in the following tables.Wheat and rye.
Average Production of Wheat in Millions of Bushels.
|Turkey in Europe||..||38||18|
Average Production of Rye in Millions of Bushels
in the chief Rye-producing Countries of Europe.
Perhaps the most striking facts revealed by these two tables are these; first, that the United Kingdom is the only great wheat-growing country which has shown a great decline in the amount of production in two successive periods; and, second, that both Germany and Russia show a great advance under both wheat and rye between the last two periods. This gives interest to statistics of acreage under these two crops, and some data under that head are given in the adjoining tables.
Acreage under Rye.
These figures show that the increased production is only in part, in some cases in small part, attributable to increase in area, and the following figures giving the average annual yield of wheat per acre (a) in the period preceding 1885, and (b) generally in the period of five years preceding 1905, shows that an improvement in yield in recent years has been very general.
When the Aryan peoples began their immigration into Europe a large part of the surface must have been covered with primeval forest; for even after long centuries of human occupation the Roman conquerors found vast regions where the axe had made no lasting impression. The account given by Julius Forests. Caesar of the Silva Hercynia is well known: it extended, he tells us, for sixty days’ journey from Helvetia eastward, and it probably included what are now called the Schwarzwald, the Odenwald, the Spessart, the Rhön, the Thüringerwald, the Harz, the Fichtelgebirge, the Erzgebirge and the Riesengebirge. Since then the progress of population has subjected many thousands of square miles to the plough, and in some parts of the continent it is only where the ground is too sterile or too steep that the trees have been allowed to retain possession. Several countries, where the destruction has been most reckless, have been obliged to take systematic measures to control the exploitation and secure the replantation of exhausted areas. To this they have been constrained not only by lack of timber and fuel, but also by the prejudicial effects exerted on the climate and the irrigation of the country by the denudation of the high grounds. But even now, on the whole, Europe is well wooded, and two or three countries find an extensive source of wealth in the export of timber and other forest productions, such as turpentine, tar, charcoal, bark, bast and potash.
Acreage under Wheat.
The following estimates of the forest areas of European countries are given in G.S. Boulger’s Wood:—
| Per cent. of |
Horse-breeding is a highly important industry in almost all European countries, and in several, as Russia, France, Hungary and Spain, the state gives it exceptional support. Almost every district of the continent has a breed of its own: Russia reckons those of the Bashkirs, the Kalmucks, the Domestic animals. Don-Cossacks, the Esthonians and the Finlanders as among its best; France sets store by those of Flanders, Picardy, Normandy, Limousin and Auvergne; Germany by those of Hanover, Oldenburg and Mecklenburg, which indeed rank among the most powerful in the world; and Great Britain by those of Suffolk and Clydesdale. The English racers are famous throughout the world, and Iceland and the Shetland Islands are well known for their hardy breed of diminutive ponies. The ass and the mule are most abundant in the southern parts of the continent, more especially in Spain, Italy and Greece. The camel is not popularly considered a European animal; but it is reared in Russia in the provinces of Orenburg, Astrakhan and Taurid, in Turkey on the Lower Danube, and in Spain at Madrid and Cadiz; and it has even been introduced into Tuscany. A much more important beast of burden in eastern and southern Europe is the ox: the long lines of slow-moving wains in Rumania, for example, are not unlike what one would expect in Cape Colony. In western Europe it is mainly used for the plough or fattened for its flesh. It is estimated that there are about 100 distinct local varieties or breeds in Europe, and within the last hundred years an enormous advance has been made in the development and specialization of the finer types. The cows of Switzerland and of Guernsey may be taken as the two extremes in point of size, and the “Durhams” and “Devonshires” of England as examples of the results of human supervision and control. The Dutch breed ranks very high in the production of milk. The buffalo is frequent in the south of Europe, more especially in the countries on the Lower Danube and in southern Italy. Sheep are of immense economic value to most European countries, above all to Spain and Portugal, Great Britain, France, Hungary, the countries of the Balkan Peninsula, the Baltic provinces of Germany and the south-east of Russia. The local varieties are even more numerous than in the case of the horned cattle, and the development of remarkable breeds quite as wonderful. In all the more mountainous countries the goat is abundant, especially in Spain, Italy and Germany. The pig is distributed throughout the whole continent, but in no district does it take so high a place as in Servia. In the rearing and management of poultry France is the first country in Europe, and has consequently a large surplus of both fowls and eggs. In Pomerania, Brandenburg, West Prussia, Mecklenburg and Württemberg the breeding of geese has become a great source of wealth, and the town of Strassburg is famous all the world over for its pâtés de foie gras. Under this heading may also be mentioned the domesticated insects, the silkworm, the bee and the cantharis. The silkworm is most extensively reared in northern Italy, but also in the southern parts of the Rhone valley in France, and to a smaller extent in several other Mediterranean and southern countries. Bee-keeping is widespread. The cantharis is largely reared in Spain, but also in other countries in southern and central Europe.
The most important mineral products of Europe are coal and iron ore. In order of production the leading coal-producing countries have long been the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Belgium. Since 1897 Russia has held the fifth place, Minerals. followed by Austria-Hungary, Spain and Sweden. The production in other countries is insignificant. Besides coal, lignite is produced in great amount in Germany and Austria-Hungary, and to a small amount in France, Italy and a few other countries. Down to 1895 the United Kingdom stood first among the iron-ore producing countries of Europe, but since 1896 the order under this head has been the German Customs’ Union, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Russia, Sweden, Austria-Hungary and Belgium. By far the most important iron-ore producing district of Europe is that which lies on different slopes of the hills in which German Lorraine, the grand duchy of Luxemburg and France meet, the district producing all the ore of Luxemburg and the principal supplies of Germany and France. Another important producing district is what is known as the Siegerland on the confines of the Prussian provinces of the Rhine and Westphalia. Next in importance to these are the iron-ore deposits of the United Kingdom, the chief being those of the Cleveland district south of the Tees, and the hematite fields of Cumberland and Furness.
With regard to the mineral production of Europe generally, perhaps the most notable fact to record is the relatively lower place taken by the United Kingdom in the production both of coal and iron. Here it is enough to state the main results. In the production of coal the United Kingdom is indeed still far ahead of all other European countries, but notwithstanding the fact that the British export of coal has been increasing much more rapidly than the production, this country has not been able to keep pace with Germany and Russia in the rate of increase of production. In 1878 the production of coal in the German empire was only about 34% of that of the United Kingdom, but in 1906 it had grown to nearly 50%. This, too, was exclusive of lignite, the production of which in Germany is increasing still more rapidly. It was equal to little more than one-fourth of the coal production in 1878, but more than two-fifths in 1906. The coal production of Russia (mainly European Russia) is still relatively small, but it is increasing more rapidly than that of any other European country. While in 1878 it was little more than 2% of that of the United Kingdom, in 1906 the corresponding ratio was above 8%. In the production of iron ores the decline in the position of the United Kingdom is much more marked. The production reached a maximum in 1882 (18,032,000 tons), and since then it has sunk in one year (1893) as low as 11,200,000 tons, while, on the other hand, there was a rapid increase in the production of such ores in the German Zollverein (including Luxemburg), France, Spain, Sweden and Russia, down to 1900, with a more progressive movement, in spite of fluctuations, in all these countries than in the United Kingdom in more recent years. In the total amount of production the United Kingdom in 1905 took the second place. While in 1878 the production of iron ores in the German Zollverein was little more than a third of that in the United Kingdom, in 1905 it exceeded that of the United Kingdom by nearly 60%.
An indication of the relative importance of different European countries in the production of ores and metals of less aggregate value than coal and iron is given in the following tables:—
Kilos = kilograms.M.t. = metric tons.
|Copper Ore.||Lead Ore.|| Manganese
M.t. = metric tons.
Platinum has hitherto been obtained nowhere in Europe except in the auriferous sands in the Russian government of Perm. Nickel is derived from Germany, Norway and Sweden; antimony from Germany and Hungary; bismuth from Saxony and Bohemia. Bauxite, which is used in the manufacture of aluminium, is obtained from France, Styria and Ireland. In order of importance the chief salt-producing countries are the United Kingdom (in which for some years the amount produced has been for the most part stationary or declining), Germany (which is rapidly increasing its production), Russia, France, Spain, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Rumania and Switzerland. Besides common salt Germany has for many years been producing a rapidly increasing amount of potash salts, of which it has almost a monopoly. Italy (chiefly Sicily) is by far the most important producer of sulphur. Among other mineral products may be mentioned the boric acid and statuary marble of Tuscany, the statuary marble of Greece, the asphalt of Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Austria-Hungary, the slates of Wales, Scotland and France, the kaolin of Germany, England and France, and the glass sands of Belgium, France and Bohemia.
With regard to commerce, industries and railways, as a whole, Europe may be said to be characterized by the rapid development of manufacturing at the expense of agricultural industry. With few exceptions the countries of Europe that export Commerce, industries and railways. agricultural products are able to spare a diminishing proportion of the aggregate of such produce for export. Other countries are becoming more and more dependent on imported agricultural products. Most European countries, even if not able to export a large proportion of manufactured articles, are at least securing a greater and greater command of the home market for such products. Inland centres of manufacturing industry are extending the range of their markets. All these changes have been largely, if not chiefly, promoted by the improvements in the means of communication, and the methods of transport by sea and land. Larger ships more economically propelled have brought grain at a cheaper and cheaper rate from all parts of the world, and improved methods of refrigeration have made fresh meat, butter and other perishable commodities even from the southern hemisphere articles of rapidly growing importance in European markets. Improvements in transport have likewise tended to cheapen British coal in many parts of the mainland of Europe. On the other hand, the extension of the railway network of the continent has brought a wider area within the domain of the manufacturing regions associated with the coalfields occurring at intervals in central Europe from the upper Oder to the basin of the Ruhr, as well as some of the more detached coalfields of Russia. As affecting the relative advantages of different European countries for carrying on manufacturing industry, three inventions or discoveries of recent years may be mentioned as of capital importance: (1) the invention in 1879 of the Thomas process for the manufacture of ingot iron and steel from the phosphoric iron ores, an invention which gave a greatly enhanced value to the ores on the borders of Lorraine, Luxemburg and Alsace, as well as others both in England and on the continent; (2) the invention of efficient machines for the application of power by means of electricity, an invention which gave greatly increased importance to the water-power of mountainous countries; and (3) the discovery of the fact that from lignite an even higher grade of producer gas may be obtained than from coal, a discovery obviously of special importance for the great lignite-producing districts of Germany and Bohemia.
Such particulars Water-power. as can be procured with regard to the utilization of water-power in the countries of Europe which use that source of power most largely are given in the following table:—
used in Mechanical
The figures derived from the three recent industrial censuses of Switzerland are very instructive, especially if one is justified in including the electric among the hydraulic installations. The estimates that have been made of the total available water-power in a few European countries are mostly based on such problematical data that they are not worth giving. One very uncertain element in such calculations is the amount of water-power that is capable of being artificially created by the construction of valley-dams, such as have been erected on a small scale in the Harz and other mining and smelting regions of Germany from an early date, and are now being built on a much larger scale in the Rhine region and other parts of Europe, or is incidentally provided in the construction of canals.
The commercial history of Europe has illustrated from the earliest Transcontinental routes. times the influence of the outline and physical features in determining great trade-routes along certain lines. At all periods land routes have connected the southern seas with the Baltic and the North Sea, effecting the great saving of distance more or less indicated by the following table:—
From the form of the continent it obviously results that the farther east the route lies the greater is the saving of distance. The precise direction of the routes has been very largely fixed, however, by the physical features; by the course of the rivers where navigable rivers formed parts of the routes; in other cases by the situation and form of the mountains, or the direction of the river valleys which is implied in the form of the mountains. From the Black Sea the most convenient starting-point is obviously towards the west, and two connecting routes with the Baltic lie wholly to the east of the mountains. One route makes use of the Bug or the Dniester, the San and the Vistula so far as possible, while another starting in the same way proceeds round the foot-hills of the Carpathians, thus finding easy crossing places on the head-streams of the rivers, as far as the Oder and then down that stream. Another route is up the Danube to the neighbourhood of Vienna, and then north-eastwards through the opening between the Carpathians and the Sudetic range to the head-waters of the Oder, crossing a water-parting little more than 1000 ft. in altitude. The first route was certainly used again and again by the ancient Greeks, starting from Olbia near the mouth of the Bug, the objective point being the coast in the south-east of the Baltic supplying the amber which was so important an article of commerce in early times. This route was again much used in the middle ages, when Visby, on Gotland, undoubtedly selected on account of the security afforded by an island station, was for hundreds of years an important centre of trade both in northern products (of which furs were the most valuable) and those of the East (pepper and other spices, silks and other costly articles). Numerous coins, Roman, Byzantine and Arabic, found not merely in Gotland itself but also at various points along the route indicated, testify to the long-continued importance of this route. In the middle ages the Oder route was also largely used whether reached by rounding the Carpathians or ascending the Danube, and in connexion with that route the island of Bornholm long formed a focus of commerce answering to that in Gotland farther east. The Danube route was also made use of farther west, and formed a large part of a great route connecting the East with the north-west of Europe. The valuable goods of the Orient could be conveyed up-stream as high as Ratisbon (Regensburg), and thence north-westward across Nuremberg to Frankfort-on-Main, from which access was had to the Rhine gorge leading on to Cologne and the ports of Dordrecht and Rotterdam, Bruges and Ghent; or they could be carried still farther up-stream to Ulm, thence by a route winding through the north of the Black Forest to Strassburg and from that point north of the Vosges to the Marne and Seine.
Farther west use was made at an early date of passes by which the whole system of the Alps could be crossed, or partly crossed and partly rounded, in a single rise. The ancient Etruscans, in exchanging their earthenware and bronzes for the amber found largely in those times not only in the Baltic but also on the eastern shores of the North Sea north of the Rhine mouths, made regular use of at least three such passes. One of these was the Brenner, the summit of which is under 4500 ft. in height, approached on the south side by the valley of the Adige and its tributary the Eisak, on the other side by the Inn valley and that of its small tributary the Sill. By this route the Alps at about their widest are crossed with exceptional ease; and hence it was natural that it should have been used by the Etruscans to reach the amber shores of the Baltic, and in all subsequent periods in intercourse between central Europe and northern Italy. In their trade with the mouth of the Rhine the Etruscans appear to have used only the passes approached by the Dora Baltea, which leads equally to the Little St Bernard, to the south of Mont Blanc, and so to the Isère valley and the Rhone, and to the Great St Bernard, to the east of Mont Blanc, and so directly to the Rhone valley above the Lake of Geneva, by which route the remainder of the Alps could be rounded on the west and the Rhine valley reached by crossing the northern Jura. Roman roads were afterwards made across all these passes, although that across the Great St Bernard (the highest of all, above 8100 ft.) seems never to have been made practicable for carriages. The Romans also made use of three intervening passes by which in a single rise from the Po basin the heads of valleys leading right down to the head of Lake Constance could be reached. These were the Bernardino, Splügen and Septimer, to mention them in the order from west to east. By the Romans the Simplon was also made use of as affording the most direct connexion between Milan and the upper Rhone valley. All these passes were likewise in use in the middle ages when Venice and Genoa were the great intermediaries in the trade in pepper and spices and other Oriental products. The Brenner afforded the most direct connexion between Venice and southern Germany, on a route leading also to northern Germany by way of Ratisbon and afterwards the rivers of the Elbe basin, and finally (from the end of the 14th century) by a canal to Lübeck, which was the great distributing centre of these and other products for the Baltic. To take the most direct route to the Rhine valley and north-western Europe some other pass (the Seefeld or the Fern) in the Bavarian Alps had to be crossed and the Rhine valley reached by Augsburg, and thence either by way of Ulm or Frankfort. From Genoa the routes in the early middle ages were by way of Milan to the Lake of Constance, and thence by way of Ulm if the Rhine valley was the goal, and by way of Augsburg if it was the Baltic. The St Gotthard route, the most direct connexion between Milan and the north of the Alps, was added about the end of the 13th century. The Mont Cenis pass from an early date afforded the most direct connexion between Genoa and the middle Rhone valley by way of Turin. When modern carriage roads came to be built it was still the same routes that were chosen. The road across the Brenner, completed in 1772, was the first of these. The building of the great Swiss carriage roads across the passes in the early part of the 19th century was inaugurated by Napoleon’s road across the Simplon completed in 1805. A later paragraph will show that modern railways follow much the same, if not exactly the same, routes. On the early use of the Saône-Rhone valleys, and the route between the foot-hills of the Cevennes and the Pyrenees, it is not necessary to insist, but it may be mentioned that English tin was sometimes conveyed to the Mediterranean (Marseilles) by this latter route in Roman times.
Since the introduction of railways inland waterways have in most countries taken a very inferior position as means of transport. The articles on the different countries supply the necessary information with respect to those which have a purely national interest, Inland waterways. but here mention must be made of those which have significance as belonging to trans-European routes or have an international value. The importance of shortening the water-route between the opposite sides of the great European isthmus separating the Baltic and the Black Sea is brought into prominence by the constant revival of projects for a ship-canal connecting those coasts. A definite step taken with a view to carrying out such a project was the sanction given by the tsar in April 1905 for the appointment of a special commission to inquire into the practicability of a scheme for the excavation of a canal about 28 ft. deep between Riga and Kherson, utilizing the waters of the Duna or western Dvina, the Berezina and Dnieper. Since the completion in 1845 of the Ludwigs or Danube-Main Canal, running from the Main near Bamberg to Kelheim on the Danube, it has been possible to go by water from the mouth of the Rhine to the mouth of the Danube; but this canal has in reality no trans-European significance. It cannot take barges of a greater capacity than 125 tons, is not adapted for steamers, and carries only a very small amount of traffic. But projects for connecting the Danube with northern Europe by water are still entertained. Of these the most advanced are those for establishing connexions through Austria. On the 11th of June 1901 the Austrian diet passed an act prescribing the construction of a canal connecting the Oder with the Danube through the Morava, and another connecting the Danube at Linz with the Moldau-Elbe, and the improvement of the navigation on the connected waterways. The Oder-Danube canal thus authorized would have to cross a watershed of little more than 1000 ft. in altitude as against 1365 ft. in the case of the Ludwigs Canal; but the Elbe-Danube Canal would have to cross one of about 2250 ft. Under the provisions of the act the work is to be completed by 1924. In Germany projects have been actively agitated for improving the Danube-Main connexion either wholly or partly along the route of the present canal, and for establishing a new connexion by means of a canal of at least 6½ ft. in depth by way of the Neckar, the Rems and the Brenz, joining the Danube at Lauingen about midway between Ulm and Donauwörth. The Moldau-Elbe is itself an important international waterway, inasmuch as it allows of steamer traffic from Prague in Bohemia to Hamburg, and by means of a connecting canal to Lübeck. But the most important of all international waterways in Europe is the Rhine, on which even sea-going steamers regularly ascend to Cologne, and an amount of traffic crosses the Dutch frontier three or four times as great as that which makes use of the Manchester ship-canal. The river is also navigable to Basel in Switzerland, though above Strassburg the river is little used, being replaced since 1834 by the Rhine and Rhone canal, which connects the two rivers through the Ill and the Saône. The Rhine is also connected with the Seine by the Marne and Rhine canal passing north of the Vosges, and its tributary the Moselle is also navigable from France into Germany. The Meuse again is navigable from France through Belgium into Holland, and is connected by more than one route with the Seine, and in the densely peopled mining and manufacturing country in the north of France and the adjoining parts of Belgium numerous waterways ramify in different directions. Even in an article on Europe the entirely French canals connecting the Seine and Rhone (Burgundy canal, summit-level 1230 ft., completed 1832), the Loire and Rhone (Canal du Centre, summit-level 990 ft., completed in 1793), and the Canal du Midi, connecting the Garonne at Toulouse with Cette on the Mediterranean, may be mentioned inasmuch as they establish communication between different seas. The last is of special interest because it is the oldest (completed in 1681), because it makes use of the lowest crossing, surmounting the passage of Naurouse, or Gap of Carcassonne, at an altitude of 625 ft., and because it effects the greatest shortening of distance from sea to sea. On this account the project of establishing a ship-canal of modern dimensions along this route has been as often revived as that of the Black Sea and Baltic canal. In the east of Europe the Vistula and Memel are both international waterways, but they are of little importance compared with those in the west. The Kaiser Wilhelm or North Sea and Baltic canal, opened in 1895, has, however, no little international value, inasmuch as it shortens the sea-route to the Baltic for all North Sea ports to the south of Newcastle, and affords the means of avoiding a rather dangerous passage round the north of Jutland. A minor degree of international interest belongs to the ship-canal through the Isthmus of Corinth, opened on the 6th of August 1893.
The following table gives a summary statement of the progress Railways. of railway construction in European countries down to the end of the 19th century:—
Railways in European Countries.
The chief railways of most European countries are on the same gauge as that originally adopted in Great Britain, namely, 4 ft. 8½ in. Irish railways are, however, on the gauge of 5 ft. 3 in. The standard gauge in Russia is 5 ft., that of Spain and Portugal about 5 ft. 6 in. The still isolated railway system of Greece is upon a narrow gauge. The very general use of a common gauge obviously greatly facilitates international trade. It allows, for example, of wagons from Germany entering every country on its frontier except Russia. It allows of German coal being carried without break of bulk to Paris, Milan and the mainland of Denmark. By means of train-ferries German trains can also be conveyed to Copenhagen by way of Warnemünde and Gjedser and then across the channel separating Falster and Zealand; and there is a similar means of communication between Copenhagen and Malmö (Sweden) and between Lindau in Bavaria on the Lake of Constance and Romanshorn on the same lake in the Swiss canton of Thurgau. The establishment of this method of transport between England and France has been urged in opposition to the Channel Tunnel scheme.
Of the railway systems of the mainland of Europe as a whole the main features are these. There is a broad belt running from the North Sea eastwards between the lines marked by Amsterdam and Hanover on the north, and Calais, Liége, Düsseldorf and Halle on the south, in which important lines of railway run from west to east. About 12° E. those lines begin to converge on Berlin. This belt is crossed in the Rhine valley by a much narrower but very important belt running north and south, now connected with the Italian railway system through the St Gotthard tunnel. To the south of the west end of the west-to-east belt lies the principal railway focus in western Europe, Paris, from which important lines radiate in all directions; two of these radiating lines now establish communication with the Italian railway system, through the Mont Cenis and Simplon tunnels respectively, and other two connecting with the Spanish system round the ends of the Pyrenees. Berlin in central Europe is perhaps an even more important railway focus. Among the chief lines radiating from it are one through Leipzig and Munich and connecting with the Italian railway system by the Brenner route, and another through Dresden and Prague to Vienna, and then by the Semmering pass by one route to Triest and by another to Venice. East of Berlin the railways of Europe begin to form wider meshes. Two main lines diverge towards the north-east, one by Küstrin and Königsberg and the other by Frankfort on the Oder and Thorn, both uniting at Eydtkühnen to the east of Königsberg before crossing the Prussian frontier and passing on to St Petersburg. From Thorn a line branches off by Warsaw to Moscow, the chief railway focus in eastern Europe. South-east from Berlin there runs another important line through Breslau, Cracow and Lemberg to Odessa, skirting to a large extent the foot-hills of the Carpathians like the ancient trade route from Olbia to the Baltic. Two routes on which there are services organized by the International Sleeping Car Company connect London with Constantinople, and it is noteworthy that both of these indicate the importance of the physical feature which has determined the position of the great north-south belt of railways above mentioned, and also of towns famous as commercial centres in the middle ages. One of these is the route of the Orient Express, which goes by Calais, Paris and Strassburg, then east of Strassburg runs north in the Rhine valley for about 40 m. to Karlsruhe, then winds through the hilly country between the Black Forest proper and the Odenwald to Stuttgart, proceeding thence by Ulm, Augsburg and Munich to Linz and then by the valley of the Danube through Vienna and Budapest to Belgrade, and thence by the valleys of the Morava, Nishava and Maritza to Constantinople. The other is that of the Ostend-Vienna express, going by Ostend to Brussels, and through Aix-la-Chapelle to Cologne, then up the Rhine gorge southwards to Bingen and eastwards to Mainz and on to Frankfort (on the Main), thence south-eastwards by the route so celebrated in the middle ages through Nuremberg to Regensburg (Ratisbon), and thence down the valley of the Danube coinciding with the Orient Express route from a point a few miles above Linz. From the Orient Express route a branch crosses from the valley of the Morava to that of the Vardar, establishing a connexion with Salonica.
In the development of this railway system the mountains have proved the most formidable of natural obstacles, and at the head of the mountains in this respect as in others stand the Alps. The first railway to cross one of the main chains of the Alps was the Semmering line on the route from Vienna to the Adriatic, constructed in 1848–1854. Its summit is in a tunnel less than 1 m. long, 2940 ft. above sea-level or nearly 300 ft. below the level of the pass. South of the Semmering, however, various other passes have to be crossed, and it was not till 1857 that the railway to Triest (by Laibach) was completed, and not till the late seventies that the more direct route to Venice across the Tarvis pass in Carinthia was established. Of the route from Triest by Görz across the Karawanken and Tauern Alps to Salzburg and south-eastern Germany the first section was opened only in 1906. After the Semmering the next railway to cross the Alps was that following the Brenner route which crosses the summit of the pass at the height of 4490 ft., and, as already stated, is the only pass that has to be crossed on the way from Munich to the plains of Italy. Next followed in 1871 the western route through the so-called Mont Cenis tunnel, really under the Col de Fréjus, to the west of the Mont Cenis pass, and effecting a crossing between the valleys of the Arc (Rhone basin) and the Dora Riparia (Po basin) at an altitude of 4380 ft., or nearly 2500 ft. lower than the pass previously used, but only by piercing the mountains in a tunnel more than 7½ m. long. Next in order was the St Gotthard route, opened in 1882, the most direct route between northern Italy and western Germany, connecting the Lake of Lucerne with the valley of the Ticino. Here the altitude is reduced to 3785 ft., about 3150 ft. below the sumit-level of the pass, but the tunnel length is increased to rather more than 9¼ m. The Simplon route opened in June 1906, between the upper Rhone valley and the Toce valley, shortening the route between Milan and northern France, effects the crossing at an altitude of only 2300 ft., nearly 4300 ft. lower than the pass, but by increasing the tunnel length to 12¼ m. Steps were subsequently taken to continue the Simplon route northwards by a tunnel through the Lötschberg in the Bernese Alps, and a project is entertained for continuing the Vintschgau (upper Adige) railway across or under the Reschenscheideck to the Inn valley. An important east-west crossing of the Alps was effected when the Arlberg tunnel (6.37 m. long, summit-level 4300 ft.) connecting the Inn valley with that of the Rhine above the Lake of Constance was opened in 1884.
Several lines wind through and cross the Jura. That which in 1857 pierced the Hauenstein, in the north of Switzerland, attained international importance on the opening of the St Gotthard tunnel, inasmuch as it lies on the route thence through Lucerne to the Rhine valley at Basel; and that which crosses the Col de Jougne between Vallorbe and Pontarlier acquired similar importance on the completion of the Simplon tunnel. Further projects are entertained for shortening the connexion between this tunnel and the north of France by making a more direct line from Vallorbe to the French side of the Jura, or by making a railway across or under the Col de la Faucille (4340 ft.), north-west of Geneva.
Of the two railways that pass round the extremity of the Pyrenees, the western was the first to be constructed, the eastern was not opened till 1878. Hitherto the intervening mountains have proved more of a railway barrier than the mightier system of the Alps, but in 1904 a convention was concluded between the French and Spanish governments providing for the establishment of railway connexion between the two countries at three points of the great chain.
There are several railways across the Carpathians, mostly by passes under 3000 ft. in height. The fact that the Tömös Pass, on the direct route from Hungary through Transylvania to Bucharest, attains an altitude of 3370 ft. was undoubtedly one reason why the railway following this route, completed in December 1879, passing through several tunnels, was one of the last to be constructed. But the obstruction of mountains has not been the only cause of delay in the building of railways. Sparseness of population and general economic backwardness have also proved hindrances, especially in Russia and the Balkan Peninsula. The railways to Constantinople and Salonica were completed only in 1888, and yet the highest altitude on the Constantinople line is only 2400 ft., that on the Salonica line 1750 ft. Among other important railways of recent date and of more than merely national significance may be mentioned that bringing Bucharest into connexion with the Black Sea port of Costantza by means of a bridge across the Danube at Chernavoda (opened in September 1895); a line across the Carpathians connecting Debreczen with Lemberg, the continuation of the line eastwards from Lemberg to Kiev; a network bringing the coalfield of the Donets basin into connexion with ports on the Sea of Azov; a line in the south-east of Russia connecting Novocherkask with Vladikavkaz, and branches running from the same point connecting that line with Novorossiysk on the Black Sea on the one hand, and with Tsaritsyn at the last angle of the Volga on the other hand; a line in northern Russia bringing Archangel into connexion with the European system at Vologda (opened in 1898); a detached line in the north-east across the Urals from Perm by Ekaterinburg (completed in 1878) to Tyumeñ (completed in 1884). Chelyabinsk on the Siberian railway has a branch running northwards to Ekaterinburg, and this line now affords uninterrupted communication with the northern Dvina, inasmuch as the railway which originally started at Perm has been carried westwards through Vyatka and then northwards to Kotlas at the point of origin of that river, to which point it was opened in 1900; and a line in the east connecting the European system at Samara with the great mining centre at Zlatoust, already in 1890 continued across the Urals to Miyas, and since then carried farther east as the great Siberian railway.
The result of the construction of the numerous transcontinental railways has been to bring rail and sea-routes and ports on opposite sides of the continents into competition with one another to a greater degree than is possible in any other continent. The more valuable, and above all perishable commodities may be sent right across the continent even through the mountains. Even from Great Britain, which is bound to carry on its external commerce in part by sea, goods are sometimes sent far south in Italy by railways running from one or other of the North Sea ports. It will hence be readily understood that for inland trade on the mainland the competition between ports on opposite sides of the continent and between different railways will be very keen, greatly to the advantage of the inland centres to which that competition extends. This competition is inevitably all the more keen now that the trade of Europe with the East is once more carried on through the Mediterranean as it was in ancient times and the middle ages. The great shortening of the sea-route in this trade at such ports as Marseilles, Triest, Venice and Genoa, indicated by the figures below, goes far to counterbalance the extra cost even of railway transport across the mountains.
Distance in Nautical Miles from Port Said.
An enormous amount of investigation with regard to European ethnology has been carried on in recent years. These labours have chiefly consisted in the study of the physical type of different countries or districts, but it is not necessary Ethnology. to consider in detail the results arrived at. It should, however, be pointed out that the idea of an Aryan race may be regarded as definitely abandoned. One cannot even speak with assurance of the diffusion of an Aryan civilization. It is at least not certain that the civilization that was spread by the migration of peoples speaking Aryan tongues originated amongst and remained for a time peculiar to such peoples. The utmost that can be said is that the Aryan languages must in their earliest forms have spread from some geographical centre. That centre, however, is no longer sought for in Asia, but in some part of Europe, so that we can no longer speak of any detachment of Aryan-speaking peoples entering Europe.
The most important works, summarizing the labours of a host of specialists on the races of Europe, are those of Ripley and Deniker. Founding upon a great multitude of data that have been collected with regard to the form of the head, face and nose, height, and colour of the hair and eyes, most of the leading anthropologists seem to have come to the conclusion that there are three great racial types variously and intricately intermingled in Europe. As described and named by Ripley, these are: (1) the Teutonic, characterized by long head and face and narrow aquiline nose, high stature, very light hair and blue eyes; (2) the Alpine, characterized by round head, broad face, variable rather broad heavy nose, medium height and “stocky” frame, light chestnut hair and hazel grey eyes; and (3) the Mediterranean, characterized by long head and face, rather broad nose, medium stature and slender build, dark brown or black hair and dark eyes. The Teutonic race is entirely confined to north-western Europe, and embraces some groups speaking Celtic languages. It is believed by Ripley to have been differentiated in this continent, and to have originally been one with the other long-headed race, sometimes known as the Iberian, and to the Italians as the Ligurian race, which “prevails everywhere south of the Pyrenees, along the southern coast of France, and in southern Italy, including Sicily and Sardinia,” and which extends beyond the confines of Europe into Africa. The Alpine race is geographically intermediate between these two, having its centre in the Alps, while in western Europe it is spread most widely over the more elevated regions, and in eastern Europe “becomes less pure in proportion as we go east from the Carpathians across the great plains of European Russia.” This last race, which is most persistently characterized by the shape of the head, is regarded by Ripley as an intrusive Asiatic element which once advanced as a wedge amongst the earlier long-headed population as far as Brittany, where it still survives in relative purity, and even into Great Britain, though not Ireland, but afterwards retired and contracted its area before an advance of the long-headed races. Deniker, basing his classification on essentially the same data as Ripley and others, while agreeing with them almost entirely with regard to the distribution of the three main traits (cephalic index, colour of hair and eyes, and stature) on which anthropologists rely, yet proceeds further in the subdivision of the races of Europe. He recognizes six principal and four secondary races. The six principal races are the Nordic (answering approximately to the Teutonic of Ripley), the Littoral or Atlanto-Mediterranean, the Ibero-Insular, the Oriental, the Adriatic or Dinaric and the Occidental or Cevenole.
Although language is no test of race, it is the best evidence for present or past community of social or political life; and nothing is better fitted to give a true impression of the position and relative importance of the peoples of Language. Europe than a survey of their linguistic differences and affinities. The following table contains the names of the various languages which are still spoken on the continent, as well as of those which, though now extinct, can be clearly traced in other forms. Two asterisks are employed to mark those which are emphatically dead languages, while one indicates those which have a kind of artificial life in ecclesiastical or literary usage.
|1. Indic branch, represented by||Gipsy dialects.|
|2. Iranic branch, represented by||(a)||Ossetian.|
|3. Hellenic branch, represented by||*(a)||Greek.|
|4. Italic branch, represented by||*(a)||Latin.|
|(h)||Ladin (Rumonsh, Rumansh, Rheto-Romance).|
|5. Celtic branch, represented by||(a)||Irish.|
|(b)||Erse or Gaelic.|
|6. Teutonic branch, represented by||**(a)||Gothic.|
|**(b)||Norse or Old Norse.|
|(c)||Icelandic and Faeroese.|
|**(g)||Saxon, Anglo-Saxon, or First English.|
|(j)||Platt-Deutsch or Low German.|
|**(n)||Old High German.|
|(o)||Middle High German.|
|(p)||New High or Literary German|
|7. Slavonic branch, represented by||*(a)||Church Slavonic.|
|(c)||Ruthenian, Rusniak, or Little-Russian.|
|(d)||White Russian or Bielo-Russian.|
|(k)||Sorbian (Wendic, Lusatian).|
|8. Lettic branch, represented by||**(a)||Old Prussian|
|9. Unattached||**?(a)||Old Dacian.|
|1. Canaanitic branch, represented by||*(a)||Hebrew.|
|**(b)||Phoenician or Punic.|
|2. Arabic branch, represented by||**(a)||Arabic.|
|III.||FINNO-TATARIC (Turanian, Ural-Altaic, &c.).|
|1. Finno-Ugric languages||(a)||Samoyede.|
|(b)||Finnish or Suomi.|
|(c)||Esthonian, Livonian, Vepsish, Votish.|
|(g)||Ziryenian and Permian.|
|2. Tatar-Turkish languages||(a)||Turkish.|
|(b)||Kazan Tatar, Crimean Tatar, Bashkir, Kirghiz.|
|3. Mongolian languages||Kalmuk.|
From this conspectus it appears that there are still about 60 distinct languages spoken in Europe, without including Latin, Greek, Old Slavonic and Hebrew, which are still used in literature or ecclesiastical liturgies. Besides all those which are spoken over extensive territories, and some even which are confined within very narrow limits, are broken up into several distinct dialects.
The boundaries of European countries have of course been determined by history, and in some cases only historical events can be held to account for their general situation, the influence of geographical conditions being seen only on a minute examination of details. In most Political boundaries. cases, however, it is otherwise. The present political boundaries were all settled when the general distribution of population in the continent was in a large measure determined by the geographical conditions, and accordingly the lines along which they run for the most part show the influence of such conditions very clearly, and thus present in many cases a marked contrast to the political boundaries in America and Australia, where the boundaries have often been marked out in advance of the population. In Europe the general rule is that the boundaries tend to run through some thinly peopled strip or tract of country, such as is formed by mountain ranges, elevated tablelands too bleak for cultivation, relatively high ground of no great altitude where soil and climate are less favourable to cultivation than the lower land on either side, or low ground occupied by heaths or marshes or some other sterile soil; but it is the exception for important navigable rivers to form boundaries between countries or even between important administrative divisions of countries, and for such exceptions a special explanation can generally be found. Navigable rivers unite rather than separate, for the obvious reason that they generally flow through populous valleys, and the vessels that pass up and down can touch as easily on one side as the other. Minor rivers, on the other hand, flowing through sparsely peopled valleys frequently form portions of political boundaries simply because they are convenient lines of demarcation. A brief examination of the present political map of Europe will serve to illustrate these rules.
The eastern frontier of the Netherlands begins by running southwards through a marsh nearly parallel to the Ems but nowhere touching it, then winds south or south-westwards through a rather sparsely peopled district to the Rhine. This river it crosses, it then approaches but does not touch the Meuse, but runs for a considerable distance roughly parallel to that river along higher ground, where the population is much more scanty than in the valley. On the side of Belgium the Dutch boundary is for the most part thoroughly typical, winding between the dreariest parts of the Dutch or Belgium provinces of North Brabant, Limburg and Antwerp. The Scheldt nowhere forms a boundary between countries, not even at its wide estuary. The eastern frontier of Belgium is quite typical both on the side of Germany and Luxemburg. It is otherwise, however, on the south, there that country confines with France, and indeed the whole of the north-east frontier of France may be called a historical frontier, showing the influence of geographical conditions only in details. One of these details, however, deserves attention, the tongue in which it advances northwards into Belgium so as to give to France the natural fortress of Givet, a tongue, be it noted, the outline of which is as typical a boundary as is to be seen in Europe in respect of scantiness of population, apart from the fortress.
The mountainous frontiers of France on the east and south require hardly any comment. Only in the Burgundy Gate between the Vosges and the Jura has an artificial boundary had to be drawn, and even that in a minor degree illustrates the general rule. The division of the Iberian peninsula between Spain and Portugal goes back in effect to the Christian reaction against the Moors. The valley of the Miño and its tributaries establishes a natural connexion between Galicia and the rest of Spain; but an independent crusade against the Moors starting from the lower part of the valley of the Douro resulted in the formation of the kingdom of Portugal, which found its natural eastern limit on the scantily peopled margin of the Iberian tableland, where the rivers cease to be navigable and flow through narrow gorges, that of the Tagus, where the river marks the frontier, being almost without inhabitants, especially on the Spanish side.
The greater part of the Italian boundary is very clearly marked geographically, though we have to look back to the weakness of divided Italy to account for the instances in which northern mountaineers have pushed their way into southern Alpine valleys. Even in these parts, however, there are interesting illustrations of geographical influence in the way in which the Italian boundary crosses the northern ends of the Lago Maggiore and the Lake of Garda, and cuts off portions of Lake Lugano both in the east and west. In all these cases the frontier crosses from one steep unpeopled slope to another, assigning the population at different ends or on different sides of the lakes to the country to which belongs the adjacent population not lying on their shores.
Of the Swiss frontiers all that it is necessary to remark is that the river Rhine in more than one place marks the boundary, in one, however, where it traverses alluvial flats liable to inundation (on the side of Austria), in the other place where it rushes through a gorge below the falls of Schaffhausen. The southern frontier of Germany is almost throughout typical, the northern is the sea, except where a really artificial boundary runs through Jutland.
In the east of Germany and the north-east of Austria the winding frontier through low plains is the result of the partition of Poland, but in spite of the absence of marked physical features it is for the most part in its details almost as typical as the mountainous frontier on the south of Germany. All the great rivers are crossed. Most of the line runs through a tract of strikingly scanty population, and the dense population in one part of it, where upper Silesia confines with Russian Poland, has been developed since the boundary was fixed.
In the Balkan Peninsula the most striking facts are that the Balkans do not, and the Danube to a large extent does form a boundary. Geographical features, however, bring the valley of the Maritsa (eastern Rumelia) into intimate relation with upper Bulgaria, the connexion of which with Bulgaria north of the Balkans had long been established by the valley of the Isker, narrow as that valley is. On the side of Rumania, again, it is the marshes on the left bank of the Danube even more than the river itself that make of that river a frontier. An examination of the eastern boundary of all that is included in Russia in Europe will furnish further illustrations of the general rule.
|Countries.||Area.||Population.|| Pop. per |
|Turkey (Europe)(e)||66,840||..||..||5,892 ?||90|
(a) Annexed by imperial decree to Austria-Hungary in 1908.
(b) Including Faeroe Islands.
(c) Area exclusive of Tagus and Sado inlets (together 161 sq. m.).
(d) Excluding Canary Islands.
(e) With Novi-bazar.
(f) Bulgaria proclaimed its independence of Turkey in 1908.
1 1885. 2 1881. 3 1879. 4 1878. 5 1884. 6 1887. 7 1891.
8 1889. 9 Census 1890. 10 1888. 11 Census 1900. 12 Census 1895.
13 Estimate 1897. 14 Census 1901. 15 Census 1896. 16 Census 1900.
17 Census 1899. 18 Census 1897.
Finally, on the north-west of Russia it was only natural that the Tornea and the Tana should be taken as lines of demarcation in that thinly peopled region, and it was equally natural that where the boundary between Norway and Sweden descends from the fjeld in the south it should leave to Norway both sides of the valley of the Glommen.
The preceding table shows the area of the countries of Europe, with their estimated or enumerated populations in thousands (000 omitted) at different dates.Population.
A noteworthy feature of the distribution of population in Europe, especially in western, southern and central Europe, in modern times, is the high degree of aggregation in towns, which is exhibited in the following table for the different countries or regions of the continent:—
|Percentage in Towns.|| All Towns |
|England and Wales||34.8||23.5||58.3|
|Spain and Portugal||10.5||5.7||16.2|
|Bosnia, Servia and Bulgaria||..||4.2||4.2|
|Galicia and Bukovina||2.0||4.8||6.8|
|Cis-Leithan provinces of Austria|
|(exclusive of the two latter)||12.4||5.9||18.3|
|Baltic Provinces, Russia||11.4||8.3||19.7|
|Black earth governments, Great Russia||0.7||4.9||5.6|
|Governments of middle and lower Volga||3.3||4.0||7.3|
The following table contains a list of the towns with more than 100,000 inhabitants, not in every case according to the most recent census, but, in order to make the populations fairly comparable with one another, according to the nearest census or available estimate to 1900. Population in thousands (000 omitted):—
|* London (Greater, 1901)||6581|
|London (Registration, 1901)||4536|
|* Paris (w. subs.)||2877|
|Paris (City, 1901)||2661|
|* Berlin (w. subs.)||2073|
|* St Petersburg (w. subs., 1897)||1267|
|* Constantinople (w. subs.)||1200|
|Moscow (w. subs., 1897)||1036|
|Glasgow (w. subs., 1901)||910|
|Liverpool (w. subs., 1901)||767|
|†Birmingham (w. subs., 1901)||599|
|* Naples (comm., 1901)||565|
|* Madrid (1900)||540|
|* Barcelona (1900)||533|
|* Milan (comm., 1901)||493|
|Copenhagen (w. subs., 1901)||477|
|* Rome (comm., 1901)||463|
|Leeds (w. subs., 1901)||444|
|Dublin (w. subs., 1901)||373|
|* Lisbon (1900)||356|
|Turin (comm., 1901)||335|
|Prague (w. subs., 1900)||317|
|* Palermo (comm., 1901)||310|
|Bordeaux (w. subs., 1896)||289|
|Riga (w. subs., 1897)||283|
|‡West Ham (1901)||267|
|Genoa (comm., 1901)||235|
|The Hague (1902)||222|
|* Valencia (1900)||214|
|Florence (comm., 1901)||205|
|Halle a S. (1900)||157|
|Bologna (comm., 1901)||152|
|* Venice (comm., 1901)||152|
|Catania (comm., 1901)||150|
|Messina (comm., 1901)||150|
|Zürich (comm., 1900)||150|
|St Etienne (1901)||147|
|Basel (comm., 1900)||109|
|Comm. = commune.||w. subs. = with suburbs.|
|* In 1800 only those to which an asterisk is prefixed rose above 100,000. Thirty-four out of the 144 towns enumerated in the list above belong to the British Isles.|
|† The contiguous parliamentary boroughs of Birmingham and Aston Manor.|
|‡ Part of Greater London.|
Authorities.—Elisée Reclus, vols. i. to v. of Nouvelle Géographie universelle (Paris, 1876–1880), translated by E. G. Ravenstein and A. H. Keane (vol. i. Southern Europe, vol. ii. France and Switzerland, vol. iii. Austria-Hungary, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, vol. iv. The British Isles, vol. v. Scandinavia, Russia in Europe, and the European islands, translation undated); G. G. Chisholm, “Europe” (2 vols.) in Stanford’s Compendium of Geography and Travel (London, 1899, 1902); Kirchhoff and others, Die Länderkunde des Erdteils Europa, vols. ii. and iii. of Unser Wissen von der Erde (comprising all the countries of Europe except Russia) (Vienna, &c., 1887–1893); A. Philippson and L. Neumann, Europa, eine allgemeine Länderkunde (Leipzig, 1895, 2nd edition by A. Philippson, 1906); Joseph Partsch, Central Europe (London, 1903) (embraces Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Rumania, Servia, Bulgaria and Montenegro treated from a general point of view); Joseph Partsch, Mitteleuropa (Gotha, 1904) (the same work in German, extended and furnished with additional coloured maps); M. Fallex and A. Moirey, L’Europe moins la France (Paris, 1906) (no index); A. Hettner, Europa (Leipzig, 1907) (an important feature of this work is the division of Europe into natural regions); Vidal de la Blache, Tableau de la géographie de la France (Paris, 1903) (contains a most instructive map embracing western and central Europe to about 42° N. and 24°-26° E., showing the former extent of forest, the distribution of soils earliest fit for cultivation, of littoral alluvium and of the mines of salt and tin which were so important in early European commerce); H. B. George, The Relations of Geography and History (Oxford, 1901) (deals very largely with Europe); W. Z. Ripley, The Races of Europe (London, 1900); J. Deniker, The Races of Man (London, 1900); R. G. Latham, The Nationalities of Europe (London, 2 vols., 1863); J. G. Bartholomew, “The Mapping of Europe,” in Scot. Geog. Magazine (1890), p. 293; Joseph Prestwich, Geological Map of Europe (Oxford, 1880); A. Supan, Die Bevölkerung der Erde (viii. Gotha, 1891, and x. Gotha, 1899); Strelbitsky, La Superficie de l’Europe (St Petersburg, 1882); Oppel, “Die progressive Zunahme der Bevölkerung Europas,” Petermanns Mitteil. (Gotha, 1886); Dr W. Koch, Handbuch für den Eisenbahn-Güterverkehr (Berlin), published annually (gives railway distances on all the lines of Europe except those of the British Isles, Greece, Portugal and Spain); Verkehrsatlas von Europa (Leipzig), frequently re-issued; Grosser Atlas der Eisenbahnen von Mitteleuropa (Leipzig); Verlag für Börsen and Finanzliteratur, frequently re-issued (gives kilometric distances between a great number of places and a great variety of other information in the text); K. Wiedenfeld, Die nordwesteuropäischen Welthäfen (Berlin, 1903) (an important work discussing the geographical basis of the commercial importance of the seaports of London, Liverpool, Hamburg, Bremen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Havre). Papers relating to the climate of Europe: J. Hann, “Die Vertheilung des Luftdruckes über Mittel- und Süd-Europa” (based on monthly and annual means for the period 1851–1880), in Penck’s Geograph. Abhandlungen (vol. ii. No. 2, Vienna, 1887); A. Supan, “Die mittlere Dauer der Haupt-Wärme-perioden in Europa,” Petermanns Mitteil. (1887), pl. 10, and pp. 165-172; Joseph Reger, “Regenkarte von Europa,” in Petermanns Mitteil. (1903), pl. 1; A. Supan, “Die jahreszeitliche Verteilung der Niederschläge in Europa,” &c., ibid. (1890), pl. 21, and pp. 296-297; P. Elfert, “Die Bewölkung in Mitteleuropa mit Einschluss der Karpatenländer,” ibid. (1890), pl. 11 and pp. 137-145; König, “Die Dauer des Sonnenscheins in Europa,” in Nova Acta Leopoldina Karol. der deutschen Akad. der Naturforscher, vol. lxvii. No. 3 (Halle, 1896); E. Ihne, “Phänologische Karte des Frühlingseinzugs in Mitteleuropa,” in Petermanns Mitteil. (1905), pl. 9, and pp. 97-108; A. Angot, “Régime des pluies de la péninsule ibérique,” in Annales du bur. cent. météor. de France (1893, B. pp. 157-194), and “Régime des pluies de l’Europe occidentale,” ibid. (1895, B. pp. 155-192); E. D. Brückner, “Die Klimaschwankungen seit 1700,” in Penck’s Geographische Abhandlungen, iv. Pl. 2 (Vienna, 1890); Supan, “Die Verschiebung der Bevölkerung in Mitteleuropa mit Einschluss der Karpatenländer,” Petermanns Mitteil. (1892); Block, L’Europe politique et sociale (2nd ed., 1892); E. Reclus, “Hégémonie de l’Europe,” in La Société nouvelle (Brussels, 1894). Publications relating to the measurement of a degree of longitude on the parallel of 52° N. from Valentia (Ireland) to the eastern frontier of Russia: (1) Stebnitsky, account of the Russian section of this work in the Memoirs (Zapiski) of the Milit. Topog. Section of the Russian General Staff, vols. xlix. and l. (St. Petersburg, 1893) (in Russian, see notice in Petermanns Mitteil. (1894), Litteraturbericht, No. 289); (2) and (3) Die europäische Längengradmessung in 52° Br. von Greenwich bis Warschau; (2) Part i., Helmert, Hauptdreiecke und Grundlinienanschlüsse von England bis Polen (Berlin, 1893); (3) Part ii., Bërsch and Krüger, Geodätische Linien, Parallelbogen, und Lothabweichungen zwischen Feaghmain und Warschau (Berlin, 1896); J. G. Kohl, Die geographische Lage der Hauptstädte Europas (Leipzig, 1874); Paul Meuriot, Des agglomérations urbaines dans l’Europe contemporaine (Paris, 1898); Scharff, The History of the European Fauna (London, 1899). (G. G. C.)
2. Political History
The origin of the name of Europe has been dealt with above, and the difficulty of any exact definition of the geographical limits covered by this term has been pointed out. A similar difficulty meets us when we come to deal with European history. We know what we mean when we speak of European civilization, though in its origins, as in its modern developments, this was not confined to Europe. In one sense the history of Europe is the history of this civilization and of the forces by which it was produced, preserved and developed; for a separate history of Europe could never have been written but for the alien powers by which this civilization was for centuries confined within the geographical limits of the European continent. Moreover, within these geographical limits the tradition of the Roman empire, and above all the organization of the Catholic Church, gave to the European nations, and the states based upon them, a homogeneity which without them could not have survived. The name of Europe, indeed, remained until modern times no more than “a geographical expression”; its diplomatic use, in the sense of a group of states having common interests and duties, is, indeed, no older than the 19th century; in the middle ages its place was taken by the conceptions of the Church and the Empire, which, though theoretically universal, were practically European. Yet the history of the states system of Europe, though enormously influenced by outside forces, possesses from the first a character of its own, which enables it to be treated as a separate unit. This historical Europe, however, has never been exactly commensurate with Europe considered as a geographical division. Russia, though part of Europe geographically—even if we set the limits of Asia at the Don with certain old geographers—had but slight influence on European history until the time of Peter the Great. The Ottoman empire, though its influence on the affairs of Europe was from the first profound, was essentially an Asiatic power, and was not formally introduced into the European system until the treaty of Paris of 1856. It still remains outside European civilization.
Europe, then, as we now conceive the term in its application to the political system and the type of culture established in this part of the world, may, broadly speaking, be traced to four principal origins: (1) The Aegean civilization (Hellenic and pre-Hellenic); (2) the Roman empire; (3) Christianity; (4) the break-up of the Roman empire by the Teutonic invasions. All these forces helped in the development of Europe as we now know it. To the Aegean civilization, whether transformed by contact with Rome, and again transformed by the influence of Christianity and the religious genius of the middle ages—or rediscovered during the classical Renaissance—Europe owes the characteristic qualities of its thought and of its expression in literature and art. From republican Rome it largely draws its conceptions of law and of administrative order. From the Roman empire it inherited a tradition of political unity which survived, in visible form, though but as a shadowy symbol, until the last Holy Roman emperor abdicated in 1806; survived also, more fruitfully, in the rules of the Roman lawyers which developed into modern international law. Yet more does Europe owe to Christianity, an Asiatic religion, but modified by contact with Greek thought and powerfully organized on the lines of the Roman administrative system. The Roman Church remained a reality when the Roman empire had become little more than a name, and was throughout the period of chaos and transformation that followed the collapse of the Roman empire the most powerful instrument for giving to the heterogeneous races of Europe a common culture and a certain sense of common interests.
The history of Europe, then, might well begin with the origins of Greece and Rome, and trace the rise of the Roman empire and the successive influence upon it of Hellenism and Christianity. These subjects are, however, very fully dealt with elsewhere (see Aegean Civilization; Greece; Rome; Church History); and it will, therefore, be more convenient to begin this account with the Teutonic invasions and the break-up of the Roman empire, events which mark the definite beginning of the modern European states system.
In a sense the Roman empire had been already “barbarized” before the invasions of the barbarians en masse. Land left vacant by the dwindling of the population was colonized by immigrants, Teutonic and other, from beyond the frontiers; the Roman legions were largely recruited from Germans and other non-Romans, some of whom even rose to the imperial purple. Thus, in the end, the Roman emperor, with his guard and his household, ruling over an empire mercilessly exploited to fill his treasury, was essentially indistinguishable from those barbarian chiefs, with their antrustions and their primitive fiscal methods, who entered into portions of his inheritance and carried on the traditions of his rule.
The history of the Teutonic peoples prior to their organized invasions of the empire is dealt with elsewhere (see Teutonic Peoples). It was in the 4th century that the pressure of their advance was first felt on the frontiers, and this led to a change in the government of the empire which was to have notable consequences. In A.D. 330 Constantine had transferred the capital from Rome to Byzantium (Constantinople), but the empire, from the Forth to the Tigris, continued to be administered successfully from a single centre. Not, however, for long: the increasing perils from without made a closer supervision essential, and after the death of Theodosius I. (395) the empire was divided between emperors of the East and West. It was the beginning not only of the break-up of the empire, but of that increasing divergence between the eastern and western types of European religion and culture which has continued to this day.
|EUROPE IN THE VI CENTURY|
|Emery Walker sc.|
The pressure of the Teutonic invasions became increasingly strong during the reigns of the emperor Valens and his successors. These invasions were of two types, (1) migrations of whole peoples with their old German patriarchal organization complete, (2) bands, larger or smaller, of emigrants in search of land to settle on, without tribal cohesion, but organized under the leadership of military chiefs. The earlier invaders, Goths and Vandals, and later the Burgundians and Lombards were of the first type; to the second belonged the Franks, “free” men from the Saxon plain, and the Saxon invaders of Britain. The distinction was a vital one; for the Goths, Vandals, Burgundians and Lombards never took root in the soil, and succumbed in turn, while the Frankish and Saxon immigrants, each man lord in his own estate, not only maintained themselves, but set up at the cost of the Roman organization and of the power of their own kings a wholly new polity, based on the independence of the territorial unit, which later on was to develop into feudalism.
It was owing to the pressure of Turanian invaders from the East that the Teutonic peoples were first forced to take refuge within the empire. In 378 the Goths defeated and slew the emperor Valens in a battle near Adrianople; in 410 Alaric, king of the West Goths, sacked Rome; The Teutonic Invasions. and shortly after his death the Goths passed into Gaul and Spain. In 429 Gaiseric, king of the Vandals, at the invitation, it is said, of the governor Bonifacius, passed over from Spain to Roman Africa, which became the centre of another Teutonic kingdom, soon established as a great naval power which for a while commanded the Mediterranean and devastated the coasts of Italy and Sicily with its piracies.
Meanwhile the Franks and Burgundians were pressing into Germany and Gaul, while from 449 onwards the Saxons, the Angles and the Jutes invaded and occupied Britain. For a moment it was doubtful if the Aryan or Turanian races would be supreme, but in 451 Attila, king of the Huns, was decisively beaten in the battle of Châlons by a combination of Franks, Goths and Romans, under the Roman general Aetius and Theodosius, king of the Goths. This battle decided that Europe was to be Christian and independent of Asia and Africa. In 476 the succession of Western emperors came to an end with Odoacer’s occupation of Rome, and with the decision of the Roman senate that one emperor was enough, and that the Eastern emperor, Zeno, should rule the whole empire. For a time Theodoric, king of the East Goths, ruled Italy, Gaul and Spain; but after his death in 526 the empire of the East Goths was shattered, and changes took place which led to the rise of independent Teutonic kingdoms in Gaul and Spain. In Gaul Clovis (d. 511), the king of the Franks, had already established his power, and in Spain, the West Gothic kingdom, with its capital at Toledo, now asserted its Teutonic independence. Under the emperor Justinian (527–565), indeed, the Roman empire seemed in a fair way to recover its supremacy; the Vandal kingdom in Africa was destroyed; in 555 the Byzantine general Narses finally shattered the power of the East Goths in Italy, and the exarchate of Ravenna was established in dependence on the Eastern emperor; the West Goths were forced to give up the south of Spain; and the Persians were checked. But with the death of Justinian troubles began. In 568 the Lombards, under Alboin, appeared in Italy, which they overran as far south as the Tiber, establishing their kingdom on the ruins of the exarchate. Though in Asia the emperor Heraclius, in a series of victorious campaigns, broke the Persian power and succeeded even in extending the Roman dominion, Italy, save for a while Ravenna itself and a few scattered sea-coast towns, was thenceforth lost to the empire of which in theory it still formed a part.
This catastrophe produced one result the importance of which it is impossible to exaggerate; the development of the political power of the papacy. At the beginning of the 6th century Rome, under Theodoric the Goth, was still the city of the Caesars; the tradition of its ancient life was yet unbroken; at the end of the century Rome, under Pope Gregory the Great (590–604), had become the city of the popes. And with the city the popes entered into some of the inheritance of the Caesars; in the world-wide activity of Gregory we already have a foreshadowing of universal claims, often effectively asserted, which made the great medieval popes, in a truer sense than the medieval emperors, the representatives of the idea of Roman imperial unity (see Rome, sec. ii. Middle Ages; Papacy).
The next event that profoundly affected the history of Europe was the rise of Mahommedanism. In A.D. 622, sixteen years after Gregory’s death, occurred the flight (Hijra) of Mahomet from Mecca to Medina, which fixed the memorable era of the Hegira. The full force of the The Hegira, A.D. 622. Rise of Mahommedanism. militant religion founded by the Arab prophet was not felt till after his death (632). The emperor Heraclius, the vigour of his manhood passed, was unable to meet this new peril; the Arabs, strong in their hardy simplicity, and new-born religious fanaticism, and aided by the treason and cowardice of the decadent Roman governing classes, overran Asia Minor, conquered Egypt and the whole of northern Africa, overwhelmed the Gothic kingdom in Spain, and even penetrated beyond the Pyrenees to the conquest of the province of Narbonne. One of the chief effects of these Arab conquests was that Christian civilization became gradually confined to Europe, another was that the trade routes to the East were closed to the Western nations. The conquest of Narbonne marked the limit of the advance of Islam in western Europe, for in 732 the Arabs were overthrown by Charles Martel in the battle of Tours, and a few years later were driven out of Gaul. In Spain, however, they succeeded in maintaining themselves throughout the middle ages; developing a high type of civilization which had a considerable influence on the intellectual life of medieval Europe; and it was not till 1494 that Granada, their last possession in the peninsula, was conquered by the Christian monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella.
The battle of Tours emphasized and increased the power and reputation of Charles Martel. As a mayor of the palace to the decadent Merovingian successors of Clovis, he was virtually ruler of the Franks, and, after his death, the last of the rois fainéants of the house of Merovech The Carolingians. was deposed, and Pippin, Charles’s son, was elected king of the Franks. The prestige of the Carolingian house (to give it the name it was later known by) was increased when, at the urgent entreaty of Pope Stephen III., Pippin marched into Italy and saved Rome from the Lombards, who were endeavouring to extend their power southwards. Pippin’s son Charles (Charlemagne) finally conquered the Lombards in 774 and thus added part of northern Italy to his dominions.
Charlemagne's empire at its greatest extent.
|Emery Walker sc.|
In 797 an event of the highest importance to the European
world took place. The emperor Constantine VI. was deposed
by his mother Irene, who seized the throne. Thereupon
Pope Leo and the Roman people definitely threw
off the authority of the emperors of Constantinople,
The coronation of Charles the Great
as emperor. 800. on the ground that a woman could not hold the position of Caesar. In 800 Leo crowned Charlemagne emperor at Rome, and henceforth till 1453, when Constantinople was conquered by the Turks, there was an Eastern and a Western empire. Till his death in 814 Charlemagne was king of the Franks as well as emperor. His kingdom embraced not only all German and modern France, but included a large part of Italy and Spain as far as the Ebro. Under his rule western Europe was united in a powerful empire, in the organization of which the principles of Roman and Teutonic administration were blended; and, after his death, he left to his successors, the Frankish and German kings, the tradition of a centralized government which survived the chaos of the period that followed, and the prescriptive right to the title and prestige of Roman emperors—a tradition and a claim that were to exercise a notable effect on the development of European history for centuries to come. (See France: History and Charlemagne.)
The period from the death of Charlemagne (814) to the 12th
century is characterized in western Europe by the general
weakening of the idea of central government and by
the rise of feudalism. During the same period the
East Roman or Byzantine empire escaped disruption
the death of Charlemagne. and, preserving the traditions of Roman civil and military administration, formed an effective barrier for Europe and Christendom against the advancing tide of Islam. At the same time, however, the growing divergence between the Eastern and Western Churches, which had been accentuated by the iconoclastic controversy (see Iconoclasts), and was destined in 1053 to culminate in a definite schism, was gradually widening the breach between the two types of European civilization, which came into violent conflict at the beginning of the 13th century, when crusaders from western Europe captured Constantinople and set up a Latin empire in the East (see Roman Empire, Later; Church History; Crusades). In western Europe, meanwhile, the unity of the empire did not long survive Charlemagne. Its definite break-up dates from the treaty of Verdun (843), by which Charles the Bald received Neustria, Aquitaine and western Burgundy, Louis the German Bavaria, Swabia, Saxony and Thuringia, and the emperor Lothair the middle kingdom known by his name, the regnum Lotharii or Lotharingia (see Lorraine). By the partition of Mersen (870) Lotharingia itself was divided between the West and East Frankish realms—France and Germany, terms which from this time begin to represent true national divisions. With the treaties of Verdun and Mersen the history of the European state system may be said to begin.
The Western Empire after the Partition of Mersen 870
|Emery Walker sc.|
At first, indeed, it seemed as though the nascent states were about to be dissolved by disruption from within and attacks from without. All alike were subject to the attacks of the Norse sea-rovers, hardy pirates who not only scourged all the coasts of Europe but penetrated, Rise of feudalism. burning and harrying, far inland up the great waterways. Meanwhile, the weakening of central government due to dynastic struggles had led to the growth of independent or semi-independent powers within the states themselves. The Frank landowners had successfully asserted their independence of the jurisdiction of the king (or emperor) and his officials; the imperial officials themselves, dukes or counts, had received grants of lands with similar immunities (beneficia), and these had become hereditary. Thus sprang up a class of great territorial nobles to whom, amid the growing anarchy, men looked for protection rather than to the weak and remote central power; and so, out of the chaos that followed the break-up of the empire of Charlemagne, was born the feudal system of the middle ages (see Feudalism). This organization was admirable for defence; and with its aid, before the close of the first decade of the 10th century, the frontiers of France and Germany had been made safe against the northern barbarians, who had either been driven off and barriers erected against their return—e.g. the marks established by Henry the Fowler along the middle Elbe—or, as in the case of the Normans, absorbed into a system well adapted for such a process. By the treaty of St Claire-sur-Epte (911) between Charles the Simple and Rollo, chief of the Norsemen, the Normans were established in the country since known as Normandy (q.v.), as feudatories of the French crown. In England, by the treaty of Wedmore (878) between Alfred and the Danish king Guthrum, the Danes had already been established in a large part of England.
Feudalism, by the time the Northmen had been subdued by its aid, was quite firmly established in the western part of Europe. During the 11th century it was carried by the Normans into England, into Sicily and southern Italy, and by the nobles of the first crusade into the newly established Royalty and feudalism. kingdom of Jerusalem (1099). By the kings of France, England and Germany, however, who saw themselves in danger of being stripped of all but the semblance of power by its delegation to their more or less nominal vassals, the feudal organization was early recognized as impossible as a form of state government, if the state was to be preserved; and the history of the three great European powers during the succeeding centuries is mainly that of the struggle of the sovereigns against the disruptive ambitions of the great feudal nobles. In England the problem was, from the outset, simplified; for though William the Conqueror introduced the system of feudal land tenure into England in 1066 he refused to set it up as his system of government, retaining alongside of it the old English national policy. In France, on the other hand, feudalism as a system of government had become firmly established; and it was not till the days of Philip Augustus (1180–1223) and Louis IX. (1226–1270) that the monarchy began to get the upper hand. From this time until the 17th century the power of the French monarchy, in spite of occasional lapses, grew steadily stronger. The reverse was the case with the German kingship. Its association with the undefined claims involved in the title of Roman emperor, traditionally attached to it, and notably those to authority in Italy, necessitated concession after concession to the feudal nobles, in order to purchase their support for their assertion. The kingship, moreover, became elective; the imperial title was obtainable only at Rome at the hands of the pope; and the German kings thus became entangled in contests, not only with their own vassals, but with the tremendous spiritual force of the medieval papacy by which, for its own ends, the spirit of feudal insubordination was from time to time fomented. Thus in Germany the feudal nobles gradually acquired a sovereign status which, in some cases, has survived the territorial rearrangements of the 19th century and left its mark on the federal constitution of modern Germany; while the kingship and the imperial title grew more and more shadowy till in 1806 it vanished altogether. (See English History; France: History, Germany: History.)
In France the process by which a strong hereditary monarchy was established was a slow one. During the greater part of the 10th century the Carolingians, stripped of the vast domains which had been the basis of the power of Pippin, owed their continued existence to the forbearance The rise of the house of Capet. of Hugh the Great, count of Paris. In 987, however, the last Carolingian king died, and Hugh Capet, son of Hugh the Great, the most powerful of the territorial magnates, was chosen king of France. With his election dates the real beginning of the French monarchy, and under him and his successors Paris became the capital of France. Hugh’s election, however, was the work of the great feudatories, and France remained divided among a number of great fiefs, of which the chief were Brittany, Anjou, Flanders, Vermandois, Champagne, Burgundy, Aquitaine, Poitou, Gascony, Toulouse and Normandy.
While the central power in France advanced slowly but
steadily, the development of the royal authority in Germany
was in the 10th and 11th centuries more rapid. In
911 the German magnates had elected Conrad the
Franconian to reign over them, and in 919 Henry
The royal power
in Germany. “the Fowler” of Saxony, “whose reign forms one of the great turning-points in the history of the German nation.” He defeated the Hungarians, the Slavs and the Danes, and by encouraging the growth and development of towns he contributed greatly to the formation of the German kingdom. His immediate successors, Otto the Great and Otto II., continued his work, which was only interrupted for a short time during the reign of the idealist Otto III., whose “cosmopolitan imperialism” brought him into collision with the German Church and to some extent with the German nobles. Henry II. (1002–1025) asserted with success his authority over Germany, and his successor Conrad II., who belonged to the Salian or Franconian line, did much to secure unity and prosperity to the Empire. His son and successor Henry III. (1039–1056) governed Germany wisely, and his reign witnessed the culminating point of the Holy Roman Empire. At the time of his death it seemed probable that Germany, like England and France, would gradually escape from the thraldom of the great feudatories. The future of the German monarchy depended upon the ability of future kings to suppress the forces of feudal disintegration in Germany, and to withstand the temptation of struggling to establish their influence over Italy. Unfortunately for German kingship Henry IV. (1056–1106) was only six years old on his accession, and when he became a man he found that the papacy under Hildebrand’s influence was practically independent of the emperor. Had Henry confined his efforts to coercing the German barons he might, like the Normans and Angevins in England, and like the Capetians in France, have proved successful. Unfortunately for Germany Henry entered upon the famous contest with the papacy under Gregory VII. (1073–1080), which ended in the 13th century in the defeat of the Empire in the person of Frederick II. The struggle began in 1073 over the question of investiture (q.v.), and widened into a duel between the spiritual and temporal powers. During the early years of the contest the influence of the papacy reached a high pitch and made itself felt in the crusading movement, which received its first impetus from Pope Urban II., who appealed to Europe at the council of Clermont in 1095 to recover the Holy Places from the Turks.
During the 11th century the Eastern Empire was attacked by the Russians, the Normans and the Seljuks. The emperor Alexius Comnenus found himself on his accession in 1081 threatened by the Seljuks (the victors in the decisive battle of Manzikert in 1071) and by the Sicilian The eastern Empire and the Crusades. Normans who in 1081 besieged Durazzo. In 1083 he defeated the Normans in the battle of Durazzo, and with the death of Robert Guiscard in 1085 all danger from a fresh Norman invasion passed away. But the first crusade brought new anxieties to Alexius, for he feared that the crusaders might attack Constantinople. That fear removed, he took advantage of the increased connexion between eastern and western Europe by bestowing commercial privileges upon the Italian trading republics, who thus gained access to the ports of the Empire on easy terms.
With the era of the Crusades, which lasted till the middle of the 13th century, Europe entered upon a period of change, the importance of which is realized by contrasting the condition of western Christendom in the 11th with its condition in the 13th century. Between the opening and close of the crusading movement Europe underwent a complete revolution. While the Crusades tended to enhance the prestige and authority of the papacy and the power of European monarchs, they also led to The Crusades and the Hildebrandine reformation. increased knowledge of the East, to the rapid development of commerce, to the introduction of new industries, to the rapid decline of the influence of the feudal nobility, and to the rapid development of town life (see Commune). At the same time the Hildebrandine reformation was having an immense influence upon the intellectual condition of Europe. The 12th century saw the establishment of many new monastic orders (see Monasticism), and at the same time a remarkable speculative and literary revival (see Scholasticism). This movement owed not a little of its success to the influence of the Crusades, which stirred up intellectual as well as commercial activity. This intellectual activity, as well as the fruits of commercial expansion, were—since learning was still a monopoly of the clerical order—weapons in the hands of the papacy, which in the 12th century attained the height of its power, if not of its pretensions. It is, indeed, impossible to exaggerate the influence of the Roman Church upon the development of Europe at this period. The popes, in fact, represented Europe in a sense that could not be predicated of the emperors; the terror of their spiritual power, their vast wealth derived from the tribute of all the West, their unique experience of international affairs, and—in the case of the great popes of this epoch—the superiority of their minds and characters, made them not only the spiritual rulers of Europe, but the effective centres of whatever political unity it possessed. As a Byzantine observer was to observe of Innocent III., they had become the successors of the Caesars rather than of Peter (see Papacy).
Nowhere were the beneficial effects of the Crusades seen more clearly than in France. The smaller fiefs were steadily absorbed by the greater lordships, which in their turn fell victims to the royal power. It might almost be said that “modern France is a creation of the Crusades.” Growth of the royal power in France. The effects of the crusading movement were felt in France as early as the reign of Louis VI. (1108–1137). Aided by his able minister Suger, Louis managed before his death to add to the possessions of his house the Île de France and a prospective claim to Poitou and Aquitaine. Under his successor Louis VII. (1137–1180) the consolidation movement was checked owing to the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine (after her divorce from Louis VII.) to Henry II of England. By the addition of his wife’s lands (Gascony and Guienne) to those which he had already inherited from his father and mother (Normandy, Anjou, Touraine and Maine) Henry was enabled to form the powerful though short-lived Angevin empire. But the lost ground was rapidly recovered by Philip Augustus (1180–1223), who took advantage of the weakness and folly of John of England, and before 1215 had united firmly to France Normandy, Maine, Anjou and Touraine. Louis VIII. and Louis IX. adhered firmly to the policy of Philip IV., and in 1258, by the treaty of Paris, Henry III. of England recognized the loss of Poitou. There thus remained to England out of the vast continental domains of Henry II. only Gascony and Guienne.
The rest of Europe was also in various degrees affected by the Crusades. While Spain was occupied in a crusade of her own against the Moors and gradually driving them into Granada, Germany, Italy, and to some extent England, were interested in, and influenced by, the Crusades General results of the Crusades. against the Turks. During the absence of many of the nobles in the East the growth of towns and the development of the mercantile class proceeded without interruption. The trading classes demanded strong governments and equal justice, and vigorously supported the monarchs in their suppression of feudalism.
During the 12th and 13th centuries the Crusades thus proved a large factor in the commercial prosperity of the Italian maritime states, an “open door” between East and West was secured, and reinforcements from Europe were poured into Syria as long as the peoples of the West regarded the stability of the Latin kingdom of Syria as a matter of prime importance. During the crusading period a check was placed to the tide of Mahommedan conquest, while to the caliphate the Crusades proved a perpetual drain upon its material resources. To the Mahommedans the possession of the Holy Places by the Christians was as great a humiliation as their desecration by the Mahommedans was to the crusaders. Unfortunately the Crusades led to a disastrous schism between the Byzantine empire and western Christendom, which had calamitous results. The decay of the crusading spirit was a necessary result of the growth of the consolidation of the European nations, but the price paid was the fall of Constantinople and the establishment of the Turks in eastern Europe. The Crusades thus not only postponed the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks for some two hundred years, but led, as had already been said, to a vast expansion of commerce, as seen in the rapid growth and development of the Italian cities, and to a striking development of town life.
The Crusades had enormously strengthened the power and prestige of the papacy, and indirectly contributed to its victory over the Empire in the person of Frederick II. From the reign of the emperor Henry IV. to the death of Frederick II. in 1250 the struggle between the Empire The struggle between the Empire and the papacy. and the papacy continued, and is coincident in point of time with the Crusades. The reign of Frederick Barbarossa (1152–1190) saw that struggle at its height, and during that reign it became apparent that the emperor’s efforts to unite Italy and Germany under one crown were doomed to failure. The rise and success of the alliance of Italian republics known as the Lombard League no doubt contributed to the success of the papacy, but in their contest with the popes the emperors never had any chance of gaining a permanent victory. Frederick II continued with great energy to attempt the hopeless task of dominating the papacy, but his possession of Sicily only made the popes more determined than ever to establish their predominance in Italy. Frederick’s death in 1250 marked not only the triumph of the papacy in Italy, but also that of feudalism in Germany. He has been called the “most dazzling of the long line of imperial failures,” and with him ends the Empire as it was originally conceived. Henceforward the Holy Roman Empire, which implied the unity of Italy and Germany, and the close alliance of pope and emperor, no longer exists save in name, and its place is taken by a glorified German kingship presiding over a confederation of turbulent German nobles.
Thus with the later years of the 13th century Europe had arrived at the definite close of one epoch and the beginning of another. The period of the Crusades was over, the theory of the Holy Roman Empire had broken down. The period from the beginning of the 14th to the close Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries. of the 15th century might well be styled the latter days of medieval Europe.
During the 14th and 15th centuries the idea of regarding Europe as one state in which emperor and pope presided over a number of subordinate kings gave way before the spirit of nationalism and particularism. England, France and Spain were rapidly becoming strong centralized monarchies which stood in striking contrast to the weakened Empire. Partly no doubt owing to the failure of the Empire and papacy to work together, a great impetus had been given to the formation of national monarchies. While Frederick II. had failed, Louis IX. and Philip IV. of France, Ferdinand III. of Castile (1217–1252), James the Conqueror, king of Aragon (1213–1276) and Edward I. of England (1239–1307) succeeded in laying the foundations of strong monarchies which after two centuries of struggles with the dying efforts of feudalism were established on a firm basis. In spite of the intellectual activity and political developments which characterized the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries it remains true that the later middle ages were marked by the decay of those remarkable social and political forces which had been such striking characteristics of the earlier period (see Middle Ages).
Thus the 14th and 15th centuries have characteristics which differentiate them from all preceding and succeeding centuries, The triumph of the papacy over the Empire had been short-lived. Owing to the disturbed state of Italy, Clement V. was in 1305 compelled to take refuge at Avignon, and till 1377—a Summary of the characteristics of the 14th and 15th centuries. period known as the Babylonish captivity—the popes remained in France. While the Empire and papacy steadily decline, while the Byzantine empire falls before the Turks, strong monarchies are gradually formed in England, France, Spain, and Portugal, and in Italy the Renaissance movement covers the later years of the 15th century with glory (see Renaissance). During these centuries there is common to Europe no one principle which is to be found in all kingdoms. But while the old system, founded on belief in the unity of Europe under the Empire and papacy, declines amid chaos and turbulence, there is much intellectual and political activity which portends the appearance of an entirely new state of things. The 14th and 15th centuries may truly be styled a period of transition.
From the death of Conrad IV., the son of Frederick II., in 1254 to 1273, when Rudolph of Habsburg became king, chaos reigned in Germany, and the period is known as the Great Interregnum. The forces of decentralization strengthened themselves, and the emperors found that The decline of the Empire, 1254–1519. the formation of a strong and united German kingdom was an impossibility. Rudolph of Habsburg (1273–1291), realizing what were the limits of his power in Germany and the futility of attempting to establish his hold upon Italy, began that policy of family aggrandizement which was continued so notably by successive members of his house. His reign witnessed the firm establishment of the house of Anjou in Naples, and, after the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, the supremacy of the house of Aragon in Sicily. Refusing to follow the example of Frederick II. and to take part in distant expeditions, Rudolph conquered Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, Vienna became the capital of the Habsburg dominions in Germany, and his son Albert of Austria, who was king from 1298 to 1308, was careful to continue the policy of his father. Though no Habsburg was again elected to the imperial throne till 1438, when the long succession of emperors began which continued unbroken till 1742, the establishment of the Habsburgs in Austria by Rudolph proved an event of European importance. From that time the leading members of the Habsburg family never lost an opportunity of aggrandizement. In 1335 they received Carinthia, in 1363 the Tirol. While, however, the Habsburgs, the Wittelsbachs and later the house of Brandenburg were strengthening themselves, the Empire was steadily declining in power and influence. The 14th century saw Switzerland shake itself free from the Austrian house and establish its independence, which was, however, not formally acknowledged till the treaty of Westphalia in 1648.
During the 14th century the weakness of the Empire became more and more accentuated under the weak rule of Louis IV. On his death in 1346 his successor Charles of Luxemburg, known as the emperor Charles IV., made a celebrated attempt to form a strong centralized German monarchy. With that object he issued in 1356 the Golden Bull, by which it was hoped that all matters connected with the imperial election would be settled. The number of imperial electors was settled, and henceforth they were to consist of the archbishops of Cologne, Mainz and Trier, and of the king of Bohemia, the duke of Saxony, the margrave of Brandenburg and the count palatine of the Rhine. Charles hoped to concentrate gradually in his house all the chief German provinces, and having by the Golden Bull endeavoured to check the growth of the towns, he expected to establish firmly the imperial influence in Germany. But the towns were too strong to be coerced, and during his reign the Swabian cities formed a union; and though the marriage of his son Sigismund to the heiress of the king of Hungary and Poland, and the possession of Brandenburg, which fell to him in 1373, seemed steps towards the realization of his hopes, his death in 1378 left his work unfinished. Moreover, his son and successor Wenceslaus (1378–1400) proved, like Richard II. of England and Charles VI. of France, unequal to the task of checking the growing independence of the nobles and the cities. The Hanseatic League (q.v.) was at the height of its power, and in 1381 the Rhenish towns formed a confederation. Wenceslaus, like Richard II., had fallen upon evil times. The advance westwards by the Turks occupied the attention of his brother Sigismund, now king of Hungary; he was himself unpopular in Bohemia, and at the same time was exposed to the intrigues of his cousin Jobst of Moravia, who had secured Brandenburg. In 1400 Wenceslaus was formally deposed by the electors, and spent the rest of his life in Bohemia, where he died in 1419. His successor Rupert of the palatinate reigned from 1400 to 1410, and during his reign the council of Pisa endeavoured to bring to an end the great schism which had followed upon the return of Pope Urban VI. from Avignon to Rome in 1377. Two popes had been elected, one living at Rome, the other at Avignon, and Christian Europe was scandalized at the sight of two rival pontiffs. On Rupert’s death the electors chose Sigismund the brother of Wenceslaus, and he ruled as emperor from 1411 to 1437.
Thus at the beginning of the 15th century the papacy was
seen to have fallen from the high position which it occupied at
the time of the death of Frederick II. The Avignon
captivity followed by the great schism weakened its
temporal as well as its spiritual power and prestige,
the papacy. while national developments and dynastic ambitions, such as led to the Hundred Years’ War, diverted men’s minds from religious to purely temporal concerns. The work of Wycliffe and Hus illustrated not only the decline of papal prestige but also the general opinion that reform in the papacy was necessary. Sigismund’s reign as emperor was rendered noteworthy by the part which he took in the council of Constance (q.v.), and by his successful efforts to suppress Sigismund,
1411–1437. the Hussite movement in Bohemia (see Hussites). That country on the death of Wenceslaus in 1419 fell to Sigismund, but it was not till 1431, after a long and sanguinary war, that the opposition to the union of Bohemia with the Empire was suppressed. Led by Žižka and other able chiefs, the Bohemians who were Slavs utilized the Hussite movement in a vigorous attempt to secure their independence. In 1436 Sigismund was formally acknowledged king of Bohemia. In 1431, the year of the final overthrow of the Bohemians and the Hussites, he opened the council of Basel (q.v.), being resolved to establish a religious peace in Europe and to prevent the Hussite doctrines from spreading into Germany. In 1438 Sigismund died, leaving Germany involved in a quarrel with the papacy, but having successfully withstood the efforts of the Bohemians to acquire independence. Sigismund’s death marks an epoch in the history of the Empire, for his successor Albert of Austria proved to be the first of a long line of Habsburg emperors. Albert himself reigned only from 1438 to 1440, but on his death the imperial dignity was conferred upon another member of the Habsburg house, Frederick, duke of Styria and Carinthia, known as the emperor Frederick III. With his accession the imperial throne became practically hereditary in the Habsburg family. Frederick’s long reign, which lasted from 1440 to 1493, was of little benefit to Germany; for he showed no administrative skill and proved a weak and incapable ruler. Undoubtedly his lot fell upon evil days, for not only were the Turks at the height of their power, but both Bohemia and The taking of Constantinople
by the Turks. Hungary gave him much anxiety. The imminent fall of Constantinople, the last barrier of Christendom against Islam in the East, was a threat not only to the Empire, but to all Christian Europe. But western Europe was too much occupied with internecine feuds to unite effectively against the common enemy. In vain the emperor John VI. had gone in person to solicit aid at the various courts of the West; in vain he had humbled himself to pay the price asked, by subscribing to the abnegation of the distinctive tenets of the Orthodox Church, which secured the ephemeral reunion of Christendom at the council of Florence (1438). The crusading spirit was dead; the European powers stirred no finger to save the imperial city; and in 1453 Sultan Mahommed II. rode through the breach over the body of the last of the Eastern Caesars, and planted the crescent on the dome of the metropolitan church, of Eastern Christendom (see Turkey, and Roman Empire, Later).
The fall of Constantinople marked the definite establishment on European soil of a power alien and hostile to all that was characteristic of European civilization. It was a power, moreover, which could live only by expanding; and for over two hundred years to come the dread of Ottoman aggression was a dominant factor in the politics of eastern Europe. The tide of Turkish advance could have been arrested by a union of Europe; but the appeals of Pope Nicholas V. fell unheeded upon a sceptical age, intent only on its dynastic and particularist ambitions. To the emperor the ousting of the Ottomans from the Balkan peninsula seemed of less importance than the consolidation of the Habsburg power in Germany, and its extension over the neighbouring kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia. France was exhausted by the long agony of the Hundred Years’ War, which came to an end the very year of the fall of Constantinople, and the French kings—especially Louis XI. (1461–1483)—were busy for the rest of the century crushing out the remnants of feudalism and consolidating the power of the monarchy. As for Italy, with its petty tyrants and its condottieri, there was no hope of uniting it for any purpose whatever, least of all a religious purpose, and Spain was busy with her own crusades against the Moors. The exploits of John Hunyadi, king of Hungary, against the Turks, therefore, remained isolated and unsupported. In 1456 he checked their advance northwards by a brilliant victory which led to the relief of Belgrade; but he died the same year, and his death was followed by a struggle for the succession between Hungarians and Bohemians. The racial and religious quarrels of the Balkan peoples had made it possible for the Turks to obtain a foothold in Europe; the jealousies and internecine struggles of the Christian states made possible the vast expansion of the Ottoman power, which in the 17th century was to advance the frontiers of Islam to those of Germany and to reduce the emperors, in their relations with the Porte, to the status of tributary princes.
The victory of Ladislaus, son of Casimir, king of Poland, who succeeded in uniting in his own person the crowns of Bohemia, Hungary and Poland, threatened to result in the permanent independence of those countries of the house of Habsburg. But in 1490 Ladislaus was compelled by Maximilian, son of Frederick III., to sign the treaty of Pressburg, providing for the eventual succession of the Habsburgs to Hungary and Bohemia.
In other ways the reign of Frederick III. laid the foundations of the greatness of his family. In 1477 Maximilian married Mary, duchess of Burgundy and heiress of Charles the Bold, and through her the Habsburgs obtained Franche Comté and the Netherlands. The line, Bella gerant Consolidation of the Habsburg power. alii, tu felix Austria nube, well described the method by which the house of Habsburg increased its possessions and established its fortunes. A.E.I.O.U. (Austriae est imperare orbi universo), was the device invented for his house at that time by Frederick III. and it proved no idle boast. Maximilian I, the son of Frederick III., reigned from 1493 to 1519, and during his reign Europe passed from medieval to modern times. Some reforms in the Empire were carried out, but the events of his reign made it apparent that it was impossible to set up a centralized monarchy in Germany (see Maximilian I.; Germany and Austria: History).
Far different developments were taking place during the 14th and 15th centuries in France, Spain, the Scandinavian north and in England. During the greater part of the 14th century France was engaged in foreign wars and in internal complications, and it seemed doubtful if a France in the 13th and 14th centuries. strong centralized monarchy would be firmly established. The failure of Philip VI. (1328–1350) and John (1350–1364) in their contest with England weakened the central power in France, and, though Charles V. (1364–1389), owing to his own sagacity and the weakness of the English government, managed to regain for France many of her lost provinces, the French power both at home and abroad again declined under the rule of the incapable Charles VII. (1380–1422). In fact the year 1422 may be said to mark the lowest stage in the history of the French monarchy. From that year an improvement gradually set in. A national sentiment, as exemplified in the career of Joan of Arc (q.v.), was developed; an alliance, essential for the successful expulsion of the English from France, was made in 1435 between the king of France and the duke of Burgundy; and in 1439 the famous ordinance empowering the king to maintain a standing army and to raise money for its maintenance was passed at Orleans by the states-general. These measures proved successful; in 1453 the Hundred Years’ War came to an end, and Louis XI. managed between 1461 and 1483 to establish an absolutism in France on sure foundations. Under his successor Charles VIII. (1483–1498), Brittany was annexed, and France, secure from all danger of a feudal reaction, entered with the invasion of Italy in 1494 by Charles VIII. upon modern times. A similar process is observable in England and Spain. In England the Wars of the Roses were followed by the establishment of a strong monarchy under Henry VII., while in Spain Ferdinand and Isabella established in place of anarchy the royal authority, and during their reign suppressed all attempts at provincial independence. In 1491 the consolidation of Spain was completed by the conquest of Granada. In 1397, by the union of Calmar, the three kingdoms of Norway, Sweden and Denmark were united under Eric XIII. This union was, however, short-lived, and in the early years of the 16th century came definitely to an end (see Norway; Sweden; Denmark).
The close of the middle ages and the beginning of modern times was marked by several noteworthy events. The invention of printing, the discovery of America and the invasion of Italy by Charles VIII. all occurred before the end of the 15th century, while in the early years of the 16th The close of the middle ages. century the ideal of civil and ecclesiastical unity was finally shattered by the Reformation and by the development of the modern states system, accompanied by the prominence henceforward attached to the question of the balance of power.
During the whole of the 15th century Europe had been affected by what is known as the Renaissance movement, which marked the transition from the medieval to the modern order. This movement, caused by the growth of learning, had its first home in Italy, which had witnessed a The Renaissance. marvellous revival of interest in classical antiquity, in painting and in sculpture, accompanied by a keen intellectual activity in religious and political, no less than in literary matters. Criticism of existing beliefs was developed, knowledge became widely diffused, and, while the way was prepared for the substitution of individualism for the old ecclesiastical system, the development of commerce coincident with the discovery of America and the establishment of monarchical systems destroyed feudalism (see Renaissance). The later years of the 15th, and the early years of the 16th, centuries may be described as the transition from medievalism to modern times, from feudalism to individualism, from the idea of a world church and a world empire to one in which national consolidation was the chief feature and monarchical government a necessity.
From the beginning of the 16th century Europe entered upon modern times. Many events marked the close of the middle ages. The discovery of America, the decay of Venice, the development of the European states system, the rise Summary of European history from 1500. of diplomacy as a permanent international system (see Diplomacy), the wars of religion—all these are the general characteristics of the new period upon which Europe now enters. With the growth of monarchies arises the belief in the divine right of kings, the development of territorial sovereignty, and wars of ambition like those waged by Louis XIV.
With the 18th century democratic ideas first begin to appear side by side with the rule of the enlightened despots such as Frederick the Great, Catherine II. and Joseph II. The outbreak of the French Revolution brings to an end the old European system, upsets the ideas on which it was founded, and leads to important territorial changes.
The advent of the Reformation, as has already been pointed
out, finally shattered that ideal of civil and religious unity
which had been the main characteristic of the middle
ages. Thus from the beginning of the 16th century
Europe sees the development of the modern statesThe balance of power and the beginning of
modern times. system and becomes the scene of national wars in which the idea of the balance of power was the leading principle (see Balance of Power). That principle did not allow of the recognition of the rights of nationalities, and till the wars of the French Revolution the interests of the various European states were usually subordinated to the dynastic aims of their rulers. During the ensuing centuries the balance of power in Europe was seriously threatened; during the first half of the 16th century by Charles V., during the latter half of the same century by Philip II., in the first half of the 17th century by the house of Habsburg, and in the latter half by Louis XIV.
The close of the Seven Years’ War seemed to prelude a period of British ascendancy on the continent, but that danger passed away with the outbreak of the war between Great Britain and her American colonies. For a time the balance of power in Europe was completely shattered by Napoleon’s brilliant conquests, but his fall, while to a great extent restoring the political equilibrium, gave an opportunity to Alexander of Russia to dominate Europe. Thus the 16th century definitely marked the beginning of modern times both from a political as well as from a religious point of view.
With the accession of Francis I. to the French and Charles V.
to the imperial throne began the long rivalry between France
and the house of Habsburg, which continued with few
interruptions till 1756. In the struggle between
Charles V. and Francis I., which began in 1521, theThe Reformation
and the rivalry of
Charles V. and Francis I. former had the advantage, and the battle of Pavia (1525) seemed likely to lead to the permanent pre-eminence of the imperial cause. But unexpected allies were found by Francis in the German reformers and in the Turks. The nailing by Luther of his ninety-five theses to the door of the Wittenberg church, followed by the decisions of the diet of Worms in 1521, led to a rapid development of Lutheran opinions among the princes of the north of Germany. Charles V.’s victory over France in 1525 and his reconciliation with the papacy in 1529 seemed, however, to prelude the suppression of the Protestant opinions. But Francis I. again took up arms, while the invasions of Suleiman the Magnificent, during whose reign the Turkish influence was not only felt in Hungary and Germany but extended to the west basin of the Mediterranean, forced Charles to temporize. When in 1544 the conclusion of the peace of Crépy with Francis I. enabled Charles to turn his attention to the rapid growth of Protestantism, it was too late to adopt with any chance of success a policy of suppression. In 1552 he found himself compelled to agree to the treaty of Passau which implied the adoption of a policy of compromise, and which in 1555 was followed by a definite arrangement at Augsburg, which admitted the principle of cujus regio, ejus religio. Till the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War in 1618, the settlement of Augsburg tended to keep peace between the Catholics and the Protestants. Equally unsuccessful were Charles’s later efforts against France; in 1553 he lost Metz, Toul and Verdun, and in 1556 he retired to Spain, leaving the Empire to his brother Ferdinand, and Spain, the Netherlands and his Italian possessions to his son Philip. The latter, after winning the battle of St Quentin in 1557, made peace with Henry II. of France by the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis in 1559.
By this peace a term was put to the struggle between France on the one hand and the Empire and Spain on the other, and the kings of France and Spain were enabled to turn their attention to the issues raised by the immense growth of Protestantism since 1521. While Charles V. hadThe Counter-Reformation. been engaged in his struggles with the Turks and the French, Protestantism had rapidly developed. In Sweden, in Denmark, in England, in various parts of Germany, and in France Protestant principles had been largely adopted (see Reformation).
Though the forces of Roman Catholicism had for a time been vanquished they had still to be counted with. From the middle of the 16th century the growth of Protestantism began to be checked, and a period of reaction against the Reformation set in. For a time it seemed that the efforts of Roman Catholicism would be successful and that the cause of Protestantism would be permanently weakened. The papacy since the beginning of the 16th century had reformed itself, the council of Trent (q.v.), which closed its sittings in 1564, had given Roman Catholicism a “clearly and sharply defined body of doctrine,” and the Catholic Church had become “more united, less wordly; and more dependent on herself.” In this work of reorganization the Jesuits had played a great part, and the success of the Counter-Reformation was largely due to their efforts (see Jesuits). Paul III., Pius IV. and V., Gregory XIII. and Sixtus V. are all good examples of the reforming popes of the 16th century. Under them the Jesuits worked; they restored Catholicism in Poland, Bohemia and south Germany; and supported by them the Inquisition crushed Protestantism out of Spain and Italy.
The interest of the Counter-Reformation movement from 1559 to 1618 centres round Philip II. of Spain. While Pius V. (1566–1572) is the best example of the Counter-Reformation popes, Philip II. took the lead among European Catholic monarchs in working for the extinctionThe aims of Philip II. of Protestantism. His recovery of the southern Netherlands for the Catholic cause, his attempt to conquer England, his intention of subjugating France, were all parts of a scheme to advance simultaneously his own power and that of the Counter-Reformation.
Circumstances combined to aid Philip, and while he was endeavouring to carry out his political aims, the Jesuits were busily occupied in winning back large portions of Europe to allegiance to the papacy. But failure attended most of Philip’s projects. Though he succeeded in recovering the southern or Walloon provinces of the Netherlands, he was unable to conquer the northern provinces, which under William of Orange formed themselves into the Dutch republic (see Holland: History). His scheme for the conquest of England failed, and the Spanish Armada was totally defeated in 1588. Nor was his plan for the subjection of France more successful. After a tedious civil war between the Catholics and Huguenots, Henry of Navarre appeared as a national leader, who, having overcome the armies of the League with which Philip was allied, concluded the peace of Vervins in 1598. In consenting to this treaty Philip acknowledged that his schemes for the establishment of his influence over France had failed. Thus, when the 16th century closed, England’s independence was assured, the Dutch republic was established, the French monarchy was rapidly recovering from the effects of the religious wars and the decadence of the Spanish monarchy had set in. But the religious question was still unsettled, religious passions ran high, and no satisfactory agreement between Catholicism and Protestantism had been, or seemed likely to be arrived at. The successes of the Counter-Reformation under the Jesuits and such men as Ferdinand of Styria (afterwards the emperor Ferdinand II.) and Maximilian of Bavaria only roused strenuous opposition on the part of Calvinist princes such as Frederick IV., the elector palatine.
Various events had indicated the approach of a final struggle between Protestantism and Catholicism during the early years of the 17th century. The seizure of Donauwörth, a town with Protestant sympathies, by Maximilian of Bavaria in 1607, the formation of the Protestant UnionThe approach of the Thirty Years’ War. in 1608 and of the Catholic League in 1609, the questions raised in 1609 by the Cleves-Jülich affair, the preparations of Henry IV. of France for an anti-Habsburg campaign—all these showed that the political atmosphere was charged with electricity. Till 1618, however, an open conflict between Protestantism and Catholicism in Germany was averted; in that year the acceptance, by the Calvinist Frederick, the elector palatine, of the crown of Bohemia, proved the starting-point of the Thirty Years’ War.
Till the death of Gustavus Adolphus in 1632 that war preserved a religious or semi-religious character. The emperor Ferdinand II., Philip III. of Spain and Maximilian of Bavaria undoubtedly hoped to suppress Protestantism in Germany, while Wallenstein, the great imperial general, was The Thirty Years’ War. prepared to conquer Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and to convert the Baltic into an Austrian lake. Though the resistance of Christian IV. of Denmark was vain, the jealousy felt by the Catholic princes of Wallenstein and the skill of Gustavus Adolphus caused the total failure of these ambitious schemes. All hope of seeing the imperial flag waving over the Baltic was dispelled by the victory of Breitenfeld, and that of Lützen in 1632, and though Gustavus Adolphus fell in the last-named battle, he had saved north Germany from falling into the hands of the Jesuits.
With his death the Thirty Years’ War became in the main a
political struggle between France and the Habsburgs—a continuation
of the wars of Francis I. and Henry II.
against Charles V., and of the war between Henry IV.
and Philip II. Ferdinand II. had attempted to carry
Entry of France
into the war. back the religious history of the Empire more than seventy years, and had failed. He had endeavoured to make the Empire a reality and to revive and carry out the designs of Charles V. His failure was now complete. The edict of Restitution issued in 1629 remained a dead letter, and from 1632 to 1648 he and his successor Ferdinand III. had to employ all their energies in defending their possessions from the attacks of the French and Swedes.
The death of Gustavus Adolphus followed in 1634 by the assassination of Wallenstein proved an admirable opportunity for the entry of France into the Thirty Years’ War. And till 1648, in spite of occasional reverses, the French and their allies gradually wore down their adversaries. After the death of Henry IV. in 1610 France had temporarily retired from a foremost place in the politics of Europe, and for some thirty years her ministers were busy in coercing the Huguenots and establishing the supremacy of the crown which was threatened by the nobles. Once united at home France was ready and eager to seize the opportunity for inflicting a severe blow upon the Habsburgs in Spain and Austria. The time for such action was well chosen. Austria was weakened by the war which had been waged since 1618, while Spain, exhausted by her efforts in the preceding century, had entered upon a long period of decay, and was about to see Portugal regain its independence. The Protestant princes in the north of Germany were ready to ally with France and Sweden against the emperor, even the Catholic Bavarian duke was to prove a doubtful ally of the Habsburg house. In 1642 Richelieu and in 1643 Louis XIII. died, but though Louis XIV. was an infant, and the French nobles by their cabals hindered the work of the regency, Mazarin successfully carried out the anti-Habsburg policy of his predecessors and brought the war against Austria to a successful conclusion. (See further Thirty Years' War.)
The peace of Westphalia in 1648 marked the virtual close of religious conflicts in Europe. It also marked the end of the attempts of the Habsburgs to establish a monarchical system throughout all Germany. By that peace the practical independence of the German princes was The peace of Westphalia, 1648. assured. Henceforward each prince could decide what form of religion was to be observed in his dominions. Thus Lutheranism, Calvinism and Catholicism were alike tolerated, and this recognition of the principle of compromise prepared the way for a wider toleration. Moreover, the petty principalities of the Empire, which numbered over 300, were allowed the right of concluding alliances with any foreign power, of making their own laws, and of carrying on war. Thus, in consequence of this most important concession of the emperor, the Empire lost all cohesion and became little more than a confederation. The states had firmly established their “liberties,” the princes were now emancipated from imperial control, and it was evident that, unless by some means the house of Austria could re-establish its ascendancy, the eventual dissolution of the Empire must sooner or later follow. The peace of Westphalia thus marks for Europe, and in a special sense for Germany, the end of an important epoch. For Germany the changes introduced into its political life amounted to nothing less than a revolution, for there “the mainspring of the national life was broken.” For Europe the Thirty Years’ War brought to a close “the mighty impulses which the great movements of the Renaissance and Reformation had imparted to the aspirations” of men in all parts of the western world.
It was not, however, till the treaties of the Pyrenees (1659) and Oliva (1660) were signed that the echoes of the Thirty Years’ War died away, and Europe entered upon a period in which the political ambitions of Louis XIV. threatened the interests of Europe and absorbed the attention of The treaties of the Pyrenees and Oliva. all European statesmen. During the intervening years from 1648 to 1659 Spain and France continued the struggle, while Charles X. of Sweden in 1654 entered upon a career of aggression and conquest in the north of Europe, which was only ended with his death on the 23rd of February 1660. Upon the balance of power in the north of Europe the wars of Charles X. had little permanent effect, and the peace of Oliva to a great extent merely marked the restoration of the status quo. But the peace of the Pyrenees was far more important. During its struggle with France, Spain found itself also involved in hostilities with England, and the real rottenness of the Spanish monarchy became rapidly apparent. Any assistance which might have been hoped for from the emperor was prevented by the formation of leagues of German princes—lay and ecclesiastical—in 1657 and 1658, which had the full support of France. The effect of the formation of the second league was at once apparent: all hope of assistance to Spain from the emperor was seen to have disappeared, and the conclusion of a pacific settlement between France and Spain was at once arrived at. The peace of the Pyrenees was a triumph for the Rheinbund, no less than for France.
With the beginning of the personal rule of Louis XIV. in 1661,
and the return of Charles II. to England in 1660, a new period
in the history of personal monarchy in Europe began.
At the time of the peace of Westphalia the monarchy
in Europe was under a cloud. In England the cause
The age of
Louis XIV. of Charles I. was lost; in France the Fronde was holding its own against Mazarin; in Germany the princes had triumphed over the emperor; even in Russia the nobles were aiming at the curtailment of the power of the crown. But from 1660 it became evident that these attempts to secure the curtailment of the monarchical power were, with few exceptions, not destined to be successful. Though all chance of the establishment of a strong central authority in Germany had disappeared, the various states composing the Empire now entered upon a new period in their history and speedily formed miniature despotisms. Of these Brandenburg, Saxony and Bavaria were the most important. In Denmark Frederick III. made his crown hereditary, and his establishment of an absolutism was imitated by Charles XI. of Sweden a few years later.
Thus when Louis XIV. took into his own hands the government of France, the absolutist principle was triumphant all over Europe. The period of his personal rule lasted from 1661 to his death in 1715, and is known as “the age of Louis XIV.” During that period France was the leading monarchy in Europe, and the most conspicuous not only in arms but also in all the arts of civilization. While Turenne, Luxemburg, Villars and many others exemplified, till the rise of Marlborough, the pre-eminence of French generals, Pascal, Racine, Corneille, Molière and Fénelon testified to the commanding position taken by France in the world of literature. The building of Versailles and the establishment of the French court there was an event of importance not only in the history of France, but also in the history of Europe. The history of Europe may without exaggeration be said during the reign of Louis XIV. to centre round Versailles.
During his reign France took the lead in European politics,
and established her supremacy all the more easily, owing partly
to the weakness of most of the European countries,
partly to the aggressions of the Turks, whose invasions
of eastern Europe occupied from 1683 to 1699 the
The political condition of
1661–1688. attention of the Poles and of the Austrians. The weakness or neutrality of the various European states was due to various causes. England was prevented till 1689 from taking a part in opposing the ambitious schemes of Louis XIV. owing to the personal aims of Charles II. and James II. Philip IV. and Charles II. of Spain could do nothing to resist the growing ascendancy of France, owing to the increasing weakness and rapid decadence of Spain, whose disappearance from the rank of great powers was one of the most striking features in the history of Europe during the second half of the 17th century. The weakness of Germany from the peace of Westphalia to the end of the century, due partly to the establishment of the independence of the princes of the Empire, partly to the unrest in Hungary, partly to the aggressions of the Turks, was obviously an immense gain to Louis XIV.
Realizing the strength of his own position and the weakness of that of most of the European states, he entered in 1667 into the Devolution war and secured several fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands. From 1672 to 1678 he was again at war with Holland, and from 1673 with the Louis’ aggressions. emperor, Spain and Brandenburg as well. At the same time the Turks invaded Poland, but were successfully resisted by John Sobieski. In 1676, however, they made the favourable treaty of Zurawna, securing Kamenets and portions of Podolia and the Ukraine. Thus, while the Turks were threatening the independence of eastern Europe, Louis XIV. was attacking the independence of western Europe. In 1678 he made the treaty of Nijmwegen, securing great advantages for France. Till the end of the century Europe was faced with two serious problems: Could she successfully cope with the Turks on her eastern frontier? And could she resist the continued aggressions of France on her western frontier? Consequently the years from 1678 to the end of the century were of vital importance to the European world. For during that period the French and Turks made unceasing efforts to extend their frontiers at the expense of Germany. Encouraged by the weakness of the chief European states, Louis set up the Chambers of Reunion, seized Strassburg in time of peace and attempted to annex Luxemburg. At the same time it seemed that an independent Gallican Church would be set up, and that Louis, like Henry VIII., would sever all connexion with Rome. The persecution of the Jansenists and the revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685 established something akin to religious uniformity in France. Buoyed up by his successes abroad and at home, and conscious that he had nothing to fear from England or from Spain, Louis prepared to carry out his schemes, with regard to the extension of his territory eastwards, at the expense of Germany. Simultaneously with Louis’ aggressions in western Europe, the Turks had made an attempt to capture Vienna in 1683. Fortunately the efforts of the emperor Leopold, aided by John Sobieski, king of Poland, were successful, and the Turkish tide of conquest was gradually but successfully checked. It was not, however, till the accession of William III. to the English throne that the tide of French conquest in western Europe was in like manner successfully resisted, and it was not till the treaty of Ryswick in 1697 that Louis realized that Europe had set a limit to his conquests. That treaty inflicted a blow on the prestige of France, just as the treaty of Karlowitz, concluded in 1699, was an important step in the decline of the Ottoman power. By that treaty, which marks a definite beginning in the history of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the hands of the emperor were freed, and he was able to devote his attention to the Spanish succession question, which already engrossed the attention of all Europe.
The decadence of Spain had been obvious to all Europe since the middle of the century, and in anticipation of the death of the Spanish king Charles II., Louis XIV. and William III. had made a partition treaty in October 1698, which was superseded in March 1700 by a second partition treaty. However, on the death The Spanish Succession War. of King Charles on the 1st of November 1700 Louis repudiated the partition treaties and accepted the crown of Spain for his grandson Philip, who became Philip V. of Spain. Not content with this success Louis committed a number of aggressive acts which led to the War of the Spanish Succession in 1702. That war continued till 1713, when the treaty of Utrecht, followed in 1714 by the treaties of Rastadt and Baden, ended a struggle which had many results of vital importance to Europe. Great Britain, strengthened by the possession of Gibraltar and Minorca, by her establishment in Canada, and by trading rights in South America, henceforward stood forth as a rising colonial power to whom the command of the sea was essential. Austria obtained not only Belgium, which she held till the French Revolution, but also a firm foothold in Italy, which she maintained till 1859. To Spain the war indirectly brought unexpected benefits. Freed from her expensive possessions in Belgium and Italy, and now ruled by a new dynasty, Spain, so far from meeting with the fate which later attended Poland, entered upon a new period in her career, and throughout the 18th century showed considerable power of resistance to the colonial policy of Great Britain.
With all its defects the treaty of Utrecht proved in many ways an excellent settlement. Till 1740, although a few short wars took place, Europe as a whole enjoyed peace. But with the settlement of Utrecht Europe seemed to have lost all touch with the high ideals which The 18th century. occasionally, as in the career of Gustavus Adolphus, or in the English great rebellion, or in the defence of Vienna by John Sobieski, were met with. The 18th century was marked by the dominance of a perverted system of the balance of power, which regarded such acts as the Prussian seizure of Silesia and the partition of Poland as justifiable on the ground that might is right.
Before many years had passed after the treaty of Utrecht it became evident that two new nations were forcing themselves into the front rank of European powers. These were Russia and Prussia. The treaty of Nystäd in 1721 was to the north of Europe what the treaty of Utrecht European politics—1715–1740. was to the western and southern nations. It marked the decline of Sweden and the rise of Russia, which henceforth played an important part in European politics. Nevertheless till 1740 with the exception of the short Polish Succession War 1733–35 and the equally short war of 1737–39, in which Russia and Austria fought against Turkey, no general European struggle took place. That this was so was due in great measure to the alliance of 1717 between Great Britain and France, to the subsequent peace policy upheld by Walpole, Fleury, Patiño and Horn (the English, French, Spanish and Swedish ministers), to the hostility between the courts of Vienna and Madrid—only momentarily healed by the treaty of Vienna in 1725—and to the uncertain character of Russian politics.
During those years from 1713 to 1740 the great powers were slowly forming themselves into groups, bound together by motives of interest. Thus Spain and France after 1729 began to realize that both countries were interested in checking Great Britain’s colonial developments, while Spain was also ready to seize every opportunity of increasing her possessions in Italy at the expense of Austria.
With the year 1740 Europe entered upon a new epoch. The rivalry of Austria and Prussia for the leadership of Germany definitely began, and the struggle between Great Britain and France for supremacy in India, Canada and the West Indies entered upon an acute phase. 1740 a new epoch. The War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48) holds therefore an important place in the history of Europe, and proved with the Seven Years’ War, which was practically a continuation of it, of very real interest to Europe.
In April 1748 Great Britain, France and Holland signed preliminaries of peace, which on the 18th of October became the definitive treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. The other powers concerned agreed to the treaty with reluctance, Spain on the 20th of October, Austria on the 8th of November, and Sardinia on the 20th of November. By the terms of the peace France and Great Britain restored the conquests in America, India and Europe The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1748. which each had made from the other. As regards the other powers, the peace left serious heart-burnings. Sardinia, though gaining territory in the Milanese, was compelled to relinquish her hold on Piacenza and its territory, and to restore Finale to Genoa; Austria had to yield Parma and Piacenza to Don Philip, and to recognize the loss of Silesia to Prussia; Spain was compelled to forgo all hope of regaining Gibraltar. The importance of the terms of this treaty lies in the fact that they indicate not only the lines followed by later European settlements, but also the tendency of later European developments. To Great Britain the treaty was only a pause in her expansion in Canada and in her advance to the establishment of her influence over all India. To France the treaty was equally a presage of future disasters in India and Canada. The retention of Silesia by Prussia was a pronouncement to all Europe that a new power had arisen which was destined in 1866 to oust Austria from her dominant position in Germany. The gains won by Sardinia, too, indicated that the real danger to Austria’s position in Italy would come from the house of Savoy.
The Seven Years’ War (1756–63) opened with a diplomatic revolution as important as that of 1717, when France and Great Britain made an alliance. In May 1756, as a reply to the treaty of Westminster the Second, made in January between Great Britain and Prussia, France The Seven Years’ War. and Austria, united in the treaty of Versailles. This unexpected union, which lasted till the French Revolution, between two powers which had been hostile to each other from the beginning of the 16th century, amazed all Europe. However, it had not the results expected, for although Russia, which was allied with Austria, sent large armies headed by capable generals to the war, Frederick the Great remained unconquered. This result was partly due to the English alliance, partly to the incapable French generals, and partly to the state of internal politics in Russia. The treaties of Paris (February 10, 1763) and Hubertsburg (February 15) marked an important stage in the history of Europe. By the first Great Britain emerged from the war an imperial power with possessions all over the world, by the second Prussia was recognized as the equal of Austria in Europe.
The period from the close of the Seven Years’ War to the French Revolution saw all the special characteristics and tendencies of the 18th century in an accentuated form. Benevolent despotism found representatives not only in Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa, but also in Close of the Seven Years’ War to the French Revolution. Joseph II., Catherine II., Charles III. of Spain, and Leopold of Tuscany. Reforming ministers, too, flourished in the persons of Tanucci, Turgot, Squillaci, Florida Blanca, D’Aranda and many others. Instances, too, of the low state of political morality are to be found. The indefensible seizure of Silesia by Frederick the Great was followed in 1772 by the equally immoral partition of Poland, and it was clearly apparent that monarchs, though ostensibly actuated by a desire for the welfare of their subjects, were resolved that reforms should come from above and not from below. The chief European events during these years were (1) the partition of Poland; (2) the war of the Bavarian Succession; (3) the alliance of Russia with Prussia in 1764 and with Austria in 1781; (4) the entry of France and Spain into war between Great Britain and her American colonies; (5) the combined attack of Russia and Austria against Turkey (1787–92); (6) the Triple Alliance of 1788.
No sooner was the Seven Years’ War ended than France and Spain, having made the third family compact in 1761 (the other two were signed in 1733 and 1743), prepared to take revenge upon Great Britain at the first favourable opportunity. The result of this determination, and of Great Britain’s absorption in internal politics, was that Russia, Prussia and Austria were enabled to carry out the first partition of Poland in 1772. The entry of France into the American war of independence rendered it impossible for Joseph II., single-handed, to carry out his project of exchanging the Austrian Netherlands for Bavaria, and he was compelled, after a short war, to give up for the time his project and to agree to the treaty of Teschen (1779). The continuance of the American War proved of great value to Russia and enhanced her position in Europe. Not only had she, together with France, brought about the treaty of Teschen, but in 1780 she headed the league of armed neutrality, and between 1780 and 1784 annexed the Crimea. The conclusion of the war of American Independence enabled Great Britain to regain her influence in Europe, and when Russia and Austria combined to attack Turkey, and when France threatened to re-establish her influence in Holland, Pitt formed with the Prussian king and the stadtholder the famous Triple Alliance of 1788. During the ensuing four years the influence of that alliance made itself felt in an unmistakable way. All hope of the establishment of French influence in Holland was destroyed; Denmark was forced to relinquish an attack on Sweden, then at war with Russia; and after Leopold of Tuscany had succeeded Joseph II. as emperor in 1790, the revolution in the Netherlands was brought to an end. Moreover, through the influence of Leopold the hostility of Prussia to Austria was removed, and the two powers in July 1790 made the treaty of Reichenbach. Great Britain, the chief member of the Triple Alliance, had supported the pacific solution of all these questions so menacing to European peace, and Pitt was aided in his policy by the emperor Leopold, who in 1791 made the treaty of Sistova with the Turks. Danger to the peace of Europe was, however, caused by the attempt of the Spaniards to annex Nootka Sound, and by the continuance of the war between Russia and Turkey. The former difficulty was, however, removed in November 1790 by an agreement between Great Britain and Spain, and in January 1792 Russia made the treaty of Jassy with Turkey.
Instead of Europe remaining at peace the year 1792 saw the beginning of a series of wars which did not come to a final conclusion till the battle of Waterloo. While the east of Europe was engaged in war, and while the Triple Alliance was busy attempting to restore peace to Europe, French Revolution, 1789. the French Revolution had broken out in 1789. The assistance given by France to the American colonists had brought the country to bankruptcy, and no course was left to Louis XVI. except to summon the states-general in May 1789. In that year a revolution against the reforms of Joseph II. had taken place in the Netherlands, and a revolution was being prepared in Poland for the overthrow of the aristocratic constitution and for the establishment of an hereditary monarchy. At first the revolution in France was entirely occupied with internal reforms, but after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in September 1791 the Girondists, whose influence became paramount, determined by the advice of Brissot to insist upon a policy of menace towards the Empire which would inevitably lead to war. War would, they hoped, result in the downfall of monarchy in France. On the other hand, Lafayette and his party advocated war on the ground that it would strengthen the cause of monarchy. In April 1792 war was accordingly declared upon Austria, then in alliance with Prussia. After a short period of failure the French in September won the battle of Valmy, and in November the battle of Jemappes. French armies advanced to the Rhine, Belgium was occupied, the Scheldt was declared open, and Holland was threatened. In consequence of the danger to Opening of the war between France and Great Britain, 1793. Holland, Pitt adopted a warlike tone, and in February 1793 France declared war upon Great Britain. In that war Spain, Sardinia and Tuscany joined, so that France was practically fighting all Europe. Nevertheless, owing to the want of union among the allies, to the Polish questions which distracted Prussia and Austria, and to the determination and patriotism of all classes in France, the allies were discomfited and the league of powers broken up in 1795, when the treaties of Basel were made. Only Great Britain, Austria and Sardinia remained in arms against France, which was till 1799 ruled by the Directory. The next few years witnessed a series of most startling events. The successes of Napoleon Bonaparte in the Italian campaigns of 1797 and 1798 led to the peace of Cherasco with Sardinia, and the peace of Campo Formio with Austria. Only Great Britain remained at war with France. In 1799, taking advantage The treaties of Lunéville and Amiens. of the absence of Napoleon in Egypt, the Second Coalition was formed by Russia, Great Britain and Austria. Though the French were driven from Italy, Massena defeated the Russians in Switzerland, and the English were forced to retire from Holland. The return of Napoleon from Egypt was followed by the establishment of the Consulate in November 1799, by the overthrow of the Austrians at Marengo and Hohenlinden, by the treaty of Lunéville with the emperor, and by the treaty of Amiens in 1802 with the English government. (See French Revolutionary Wars.)
Up to this point the Revolution may be said to have benefited Europe and to have shaken to its base the 18th-century ideas of government. During the years succeeding the peace of Campo Formio a revolution was effected in Germany. The Holy Roman Empire had become an anachronism, The German Revolution. and as soon as France became possessed of the left bank of the Rhine it was obvious that the imperial constitution required revision. The jealousies existing among the German princes and the overthrow of Austria at Austerlitz enabled Napoleon to carry out a revolution in Germany according to his own ideas. At first, in 1804, new arrangements were made with regard to the character and formation of the diet. The constitution of that assembly was so altered that a Protestant majority free from Austrian influence was now assured. The middle states, such as Prussia, Baden, Bavaria, Württemberg and Hanover, received additions of territory, taken either from the ecclesiastical states or from the lands belonging to the imperial knights. After Austerlitz Napoleon in 1806 established the Confederation of the Rhine, and the Holy Roman Empire came finally to an end. A great European revolution had now been effected, but much remained to be done before a feeling of nationality could be aroused among the people of central Europe.
Already before the peace of Amiens Pitt had tried to stir up national feeling in Austria and Prussia, the means which he suggested for opposing Napoleon being in great measure those which were adopted in 1813 and 1814. But during Pitt’s lifetime central Europe was not The causes of Napoleon’s success. moved by any feeling of nationality or of patriotism. During the war of the Second Coalition in 1799 Austria had acted without any regard for her allies, while Prussia, from motives of jealousy of and from want of confidence in Austria, had refused to move. It was not till the small states which hitherto had formed independent units had been destroyed and Austria and Prussia trampled under foot by Napoleon that a strong national spirit in Germany was evoked. Until the treaty of Tilsit had been signed in 1807 there was no visible growth of a national uprising in any part of Europe. During the intervening years Prussia had been crushed at Jena and her kingdom cut short (1806), while Alexander I. of Russia, after a fierce campaign against Napoleon, had agreed in 1807 to the treaty of Tilsit, which apparently placed Europe at the feet of France and Russia. Napoleon was, as he thought, now in a position to Napoleon aims at the destruction of Great Britain. bring about the humiliation of Great Britain. Already in November 1806, realizing that he could not ruin England by direct invasion, he had issued the first Berlin Decree, which ordered the exclusion of British goods from the continent. The Continental System necessitated by the victory of Trafalgar was thus definitely set up. After Tilsit he proposed to become supreme in the Baltic, and, by securing the dependence of Spain and Portugal, to dominate the Mediterranean, and to resume his plans for conquests in the East, and for the destruction of the British power in India. Thus the effects of the British naval victories of the Nile and Trafalgar would be completely nullified, the Mediterranean would be closed to British ships, Great Britain’s Indian possessions would be lost, and Great Britain herself would be forced by starvation into surrender. Fortunately for Europe various circumstances hindered the realization of these ambitious schemes. Alexander, who feared that the French emperor, desired Constantinople, never proved a very helpful ally, the measures taken by Great Britain seriously interfered with Napoleon’s schemes, and, before he had subjugated Spain, first Austria in 1809 and then Russia in 1812 offered an active resistance to his projects. The first note of opposition to Napoleon’s plans was struck by Canning, when in 1807 he carried off the Danish fleet to England. Then the British fleet conveyed to Brazil in safety the Portuguese royal family when Portugal was invaded by Junot, while the surrender of 30,000 French troops at Baylen in July 1808, which was followed in August by the convention of Cintra, indicated that Spanish patriotism was, when roused, as effective as in the days of the Spanish Succession War. Austria was the first country to follow the example of Spain, and though she was defeated at Wagram and forced to accept Napoleon’s hard terms, the national feeling aroused in Germany in 1809 rapidly developed. But Napoleon was apparently unconscious of the growth and importance of a national sentiment in any of the subject countries. In 1810 he had married Marie Louise of Austria, on the 20th of March 1811 a son was born to him, and he now seems to have resolved upon the establishment of a strictly hereditary empire with Paris its capital and Rome its second city. In extent, his empire would be vaster than that of Charlemagne, and the pope was to be completely subordinate to the emperor. This conception of the establishment of a reformed Holy Roman Empire with its centre at Paris did not appear unrealizable in 1811 when everything seemed to favour the new Charlemagne. Napoleon’s power was apparently securely established, and during the years 1810 and 1811 he was again returning to his vast oriental designs. A sudden check, however, was about to be placed upon his ambitious schemes.
The establishment of French influence in Italy and Germany had stirred up in both countries a national feeling, the growth of which was encouraged by the example of Spain. No greater mistake was ever made by Napoleon than when, ignoring the strength of the Spanish resistance, The triumph of “nationality.” and the development of a national movement in Germany, he resolved to enter upon the Russian campaign and to march to Moscow. Unconsciously Napoleon “had called into vigorous life the forces of Democracy and Nationality in Germany and Italy.” The failure of the Moscow campaign led at once to a national rising in Prussia, and as soon as Austria had united her forces with those of Prussia and Russia, the overthrow of Napoleon at Leipzig in October 1813 was the result, and “the imperial yoke was shaken from the neck of the German people.” Napoleon’s wars had roused feelings of patriotism in Italy, Germany, Russia and Spain. It was at least realized by the nations of continental Europe, what had long been apparent to Englishmen, that a nation to be strong must be united. To “the subversive cosmopolitanism” of the French Revolution was now opposed the modern idea of nationality, against which the Napoleonic legions hurled themselves in vain. (See Napoleon I.; Napoleonic Campaigns; French Revolution; Alexander I., emperor of Russia; Metternich.) (A. Hl.)
The downfall of Napoleon involved that of the political system of Europe which he had constructed. The changes wrought by the revolutionary period in the old states system were, however, too profound to admit of any attempt at a complete restoration, even had the interests of the Reconstruction of Europe. allied powers been consistent with such a course. The object of the four great powers in whose hands the settlement of Europe now lay, was rather, after taking precautions to confine France within her “legitimate boundaries,” to arrange such a “just equilibrium” in Europe that no individual state should for the future be in a position to overset the balance of power. The first object was to be attained by the re-establishment of the ancient dynasty in France, as a guarantee to Europe against a renewal of the revolutionary propaganda; the Congress of Vienna, 1814–1815. second was the work of the congress of Vienna, by which, between September 1814 and June 1815, the reconstruction of Europe was taken in hand. The opening of the congress, in which for the first time all Europe seemed to be united for the friendly settlement of common interests, was hailed as the dawn of a new era. In a sense it was so; but hardly in the manner nor to the degree that some had hoped. In its councils the arts of the old diplomacy, still inspired by the traditional principles or lack of principles, were directed to the old ends; and the world, as though the popular upheaval of the Revolution had never been, was treated as real estate to be parcelled out by the executors of Napoleon’s empire among sovereigns by divine right, regardless of the wishes of the populations, which figured in the protocols merely as numbers to be balanced and bartered one against the other.
This process of “dividing the spoils,” as Gentz called it, was naturally pregnant with possibilities of quarrels. Of these the most dangerous was that provoked by the resolution of the emperor Alexander I. at all costs to keep the former grand-duchy of Warsaw for himself, while compensating Prussia for the loss of some of her Polish territories by the annexation to her of all Saxony. The deadlock caused by the stubborn insistence on this plan, which the other great powers were equally determined to frustrate, all but led to war, and by a secret treaty signed on the 3rd of January 1815, Great Britain, France, and Austria agreed to make common cause in that event against Russia and Prussia. It needed Napoleon’s return from Elba (March 1815) to remind the powers that their particular interests must still be subordinated to those of Europe. The common peril restored the broken harmony; and while the armies of the Alliance were closing in for the final struggle with the French emperor, the congress hurried on its deliberations, and on the 9th of June 1815, a few days before the battle of Waterloo, by which Napoleon’s power was finally shattered, the Final Act, embodying the treaties of Vienna, was signed.
The territorial arrangements thus effected were for half a century the basis of the states system of Europe, and the treaties in which they were defined the charter of international relations. It was in central Europe, where Napoleon’s policy had most profoundly affected Territorial adjustments of the Vienna treaties. the pre-revolutionary system, that the greatest changes were made. No attempt, indeed, was made to restore the Holy Roman Empire, in spite of the protest of the pope against the failure to re-establish “the centre of political unity”; but the Confederation of the Rhine having come to an end, Germany was reconstituted as a confederation of sovereign states, in which all the former members of the Empire which had survived the revolutionary epoch found a place (see Germany). Austria, in virtue of the imperial tradition of the house of Habsburg, received the presidency of the federal diet; but the bulk of her territories lay outside the frontiers of the Confederation, and the non-German character of the Habsburg monarchy was accentuated by the other arrangements at the congress. In Italy Lombardo-Venetia was erected into a kingdom under the Austrian crown; while the dynastic settlements in the other Italian states tended to make Austrian influence supreme in the peninsula (see Italy). In return for this, Austria surrendered her claim to her former possessions in the Low Countries, which were annexed to the crown of Holland, so as to form, under the title of the United Netherlands, an efficient barrier to French aggression northwards. The function of defender of Germany on the Rhine frontier which Austria thus abandoned was assigned to Prussia, an arrangement pregnant with momentous issues. In compensation for her disappointment in the matter of Saxony, half of which was ultimately restored to the dynasty of Wettin, she received a large accession of territory in the Rhine provinces, carved partly out of the suppressed kingdom of Westphalia, partly out of the former ecclesiastical states, and comprising the imperial city of Aix-la-Chapelle and the former electorate of Cologne. To Prussia also was conceded the right to garrison the federal fortress of Luxemburg.
Of the other German states, Bavaria, which alone was sufficiently powerful to be of any great importance in the general affairs of Europe, reaped the reward of her timely defection from the cause of her protector Napoleon. She had, indeed, to restore to Austria the territories annexed to her at the expense of the Habsburg monarchy by the French emperor: Tirol, the Quarters of the Inn and of the Hausruck, and part of Salzburg. But she received ample compensation elsewhere, notably the former Bavarian Palatinate with a strip of territory to connect it with Bavaria proper. The right to garrison the federal fortress of Mainz was also ultimately conceded to her. Bavaria was thus placed in a position to continue her traditional policy of aiming at the position of a European great power and holding the balance between Austria and Prussia (see Bavaria: History). The two other German states whose elevation to kingdoms had symbolized a similar ambition, Saxony and Württemberg, were henceforth relegated to a position of third-rate importance; Saxony depended for her very existence on the rivalry of her more powerful neighbours: Württemberg protested in vain against the dictatorship of the great powers to which she was forced to submit. Finally, the electorate of Hanover, partly out of compliment to the king of Great Britain, partly because with the abolition of the Holy Empire the title elector had fallen obsolete, was elevated to a kingdom. The request of the elector of Hesse for a similar concession in his case was refused by the powers assembled at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818.
Of great importance were the changes effected in the north and east of Europe. The affairs of the Ottoman empire, which the treaty of Bucharest (1812) between Russia and Turkey had left in a very unsatisfactory condition, were not dealt with by the congress, in spite of the efforts of Great Britain to bring them into discussion. But the concessions made to the emperor Alexander elsewhere represented a notable advance in the European position of Russia. The possession of Finland, conquered from the Swedes in 1808, was confirmed to her; and, above all, the erection of the former grand-duchy of Warsaw into a constitutional kingdom of Poland under the Russian crown not only thrust the Muscovite power like a wedge into the heart of Germany, but seemed to threaten the Polish possessions of Austria and Prussia by setting up a quasi-independent Poland as a centre of attraction to the scattered elements of the Polish nation; though in the sequel the establishment of the city of Cracow and its territory as an independent republic, to avoid the difficult question of its assignment elsewhere, proved a more fruitful source of nationalist unrest. In the north the settlement confirmed by the congress marked the definite withdrawal of the Scandinavian Powers from any active influence on the affairs of the continent. Alone of the parvenu monarchs of the Napoleonic age Bernadotte retained the crown of Sweden, to which, by the treaty of Kiel, that of Norway had been added. On the other hand, by the cession of Swedish Pomerania to Prussia, Sweden finally withdrew from the southern shores of the Baltic. The Scandinavian states ceased henceforth to play any determining part in European politics. In the south, on the other hand, the restoration of Savoy and Piedmont to Victor Emmanuel I., king of Sardinia, and the incorporation in his dominions of the territories of the former republic of Genoa, were factors pregnant with mighty issues. The object of this increase of the power of the house of Savoy was but to erect a barrier against any possible renewal of French aggression in Italy; in effect it established the nucleus of the power which was to struggle successfully with Austria for the hegemony of Italy.
The gains of Great Britain in Europe were comparatively small, though by no means unimportant. By the retention of Malta she secured her power in the Mediterranean, and this was further increased by the treaty of Paris (November 5, 1815), by which the powers recognized her protectorate over the Ionian Islands. (See Vienna, Congress of.)
But for the episode of the Hundred Days, France would have emerged from the congress with recovered prestige and mistress of at least some of the territorial gains of the revolutionary wars; though Napoleon had thrown away, during the negotiations at Châtillon, the chance of preserving The powers and France. for her her “natural frontiers” of the Rhine, the Alps and the Pyrenees. After Napoleon’s second downfall she was in serious danger of dismemberment, for which the German powers clamoured as essential to their safety. That Louis XVIII. continued to rule over the territories “handed down to him by his ancestors” was due to the magnanimity, or policy, of the emperor Alexander I. (q.v.), and the commonsense of Castlereagh and Wellington, who saw well that the “just equilibrium,” which it was their object to establish, could not be secured if France were unduly weakened, and that peace could never be preserved if the French people were left to smart under a sense of permanent injury. By the second peace of Paris, signed on the 20th of November 1815, France retained her traditional boundaries. The unsatisfied ambition to secure her “national frontiers” was to bear troublesome fruit later.
That the treaties embodied in the Final Act of Vienna represented a settlement of all outstanding questions was believed by nobody. They had been negotiated for weary months in an atmosphere of diplomatic and feminine intrigue; they had been concluded in a hurry, under the influence of the panic caused by Napoleon’s return from Elba. To Friedrich von Gentz they were at best but “partial arrangements,” useful as forming an authoritative basis for the establishment of a more complete and satisfactory system. The history of the international politics of Europe for the years immediately succeeding the congress of Vienna is that of the attempt to establish such a system.
After a quarter of a century of almost ceaseless wars, what
Europe needed above all things was peace and time to recuperate.
This conviction was common to all the powers who had
inherited Napoleon’s dictatorship in Europe; but on
Treaty of Nov. 20, 1815, and the Concert of Europe.
the question of the method by which peace should be
secured, and the principles which should guide their
action, a fateful divergence of view soon became
apparent within their councils. All were agreed that France still
represented the storm centre of Europe; and a second treaty,
signed on the 20th of November 1815, renewed the provisions of
the treaty of Chaumont, in view of any fresh outburst of the
French revolutionary spirit. But the new treaty went further.
By its 6th article it was declared that “in order to consolidate
the intimate tie that unites the four sovereigns for the happiness
of the world, the High Contracting Powers have agreed to renew
at fixed intervals . . . meetings consecrated to great common
objects and to the examination of such measures as at each of
these epochs shall be judged most salutary for the peace and
prosperity of the nations and for the maintenance of the peace of
Europe.” This was the formal charter of the concert of the great
powers by which for the next seven years Europe was governed,
a concert to which the name “Holy Alliance” has been commonly
The Holy Alliance.
but erroneously applied. The Holy Alliance, drawn up
by the emperor Alexander I., and signed by him, the
emperor Francis, and King Frederick William III. of
Prussia on the 26th of September 1815, represented a different and
conflicting ideal. Actually it was not a treaty at all, but at best a
declaration of principles to which any Christian could subscribe, at
worst—to quote Castlereagh—“a piece of sublime mysticism and
nonsense” from the political point of view (see Holy Alliance).
It gained its sole political importance from the persistent efforts
of the tsar and his ministers to replace the committee of the great
powers, established by the treaty of the 20th of November, by a
“Universal Union” of all the powers, great and small, who had
signed the Holy Alliance, and thus to establish that “Confederation
of Europe” of which the autocratic idealist had borrowed
the conception from the theorists of the 18th century (see
Alexander I., emperor of Russia). It was clear from the first
that any attempt to set up such a central government of Europe
the Concert. under a “universal guarantee” would imperil the independence of the sovereign states; and from the first Great Britain, represented by Castlereagh, protested against it. She would consent to take common action on the basis of the treaties she had actually signed, consulting with her allies on each case as it arose; but to vague and general engagements she refused to commit herself. The attitude of Austria and Prussia was from the outset less clear. Metternich was torn between dread of revolution and dread of Russia; the Holy Alliance, though essentially “verbiage,” might be useful in holding the imperial Jacobin in check; the “universal guarantee” could not but be discouraging to the “sects”; on the other hand, the extreme willingness of the tsar to march 200,000 Russians for any “European” purpose in any direction convenient or inconvenient to Austria, was—to say the least—disconcerting. Frederick William III., on the other hand, though he too had signed the Holy Alliance with reluctance, in moments of panic saw in the “universal guarantee” his best defence against the renewed attack by France which was his nightmare. In effect, owing to the firm attitude of Castlereagh at the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, “the transparent soul of the Holy Alliance” never received a body, though attempts were subsequently made at the congresses of Troppau, Laibach and Verona to apply some of its supposed principles—attempts that led to the definitive breach of Great Britain with the Alliance.
The highwater-mark of the activity of the Allies as a central government for Europe was reached at the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (q.v.) in 1818. France was now admitted to the Alliance, the objects of which were reaffirmed by a Congress of Aix-la-Chappelle, 1818. public declaration to which she adhered; but at the same time a secret treaty renewed the compact of Chaumont between the four other powers. Certain questions outstanding from the congress of Vienna were referred for settlement to a ministerial conference to meet at Frankfort in the following year. The treaty which was the result of this conference was signed on the 20th of July 1819. The bulk of it was concerned with territorial settlements in Germany: between Austria and Bavaria, and Bavaria and Baden; but some of the articles arranged for the cession of the border fortresses Philippeville and Mariembourg to the Netherlands, defined the frontiers of Savoy, and settled the reversion of the Italian duchies held by the empress Marie Louise.
Meanwhile the balance of forces within the European concert
had shown a tendency to shift. At the outset the restless
activity of the emperor Alexander, his incalculable
idealism, and his hardly veiled ambitions had drawn
Alexander I. of Russia and Metternich.
Austria and Great Britain together in common suspicion
of an influence that threatened to be little less disturbing
to the world’s peace than that of Napoleon. But
at Aix Metternich had begun to realize that, in the long-run,
the system of repression which he held to be essential to the
stability of the European, and above all of the Austrian, polity
would receive little effective aid from Great Britain, fettered
as she was by constitutional forms; while Alexander, alarmed
at the discovery of revolutionary plots against his person, had
already shown gratifying signs of repentance. The “Jacobin”
propaganda of the tsar’s agents continued, it is true, especially
in Italy; and, in spite of the murder of the dramatist Kotzebue,
as a Russian emissary, by the fanatical “Bursche” Karl Sand,
Alexander joined with Castlereagh in protesting against the
reactionary policy embodied in the Carlsbad Decrees of October
1819. But the murder of the duke of Berri on the 13th of
February 1820 completed the Russian autocrat’s “conversion.”
At the congress of Troppau, which met in the autumn of the same
year, he was a “changed man,” committed henceforth heart
and soul to Metternich and his policy. The outcome of this new
Congress and protocol of
Troppau, 1820. understanding was the famous Troppau Protocol, published to the world on the 19th of November 1820, and signed by Austria, Prussia and Russia. The immediate occasion of this manifesto was the military insurrection, under General Pepe, at Naples, by which the Spanish constitution of 1812 had been forced on the king (see Naples: History). But the protocol embodied a general principle involving issues infinitely more important than any arising out of this particular question. “States which have undergone a change of government due to revolution,” it declared, “the results of which threaten other states, ipso facto cease to be members of the European alliance, and remain excluded from it till their situation gives guarantees for legal order and stability. If, owing to such alterations, immediate danger threatens other states, the powers bind themselves, by peaceful means, or if need be by arms, to bring back the guilty state into the bosom of the Great Alliance.”
This was, in effect, an attempt to apply the principle of the Carlsbad Decrees to all the world; and, had the attempt succeeded, all Europe would have been turned into a confederation on the model of that of Germany; for a political alliance, charged with the safeguarding of the territorial settlement defined by treaty, would have been substituted a central diet of the great powers, armed with undefined authority; and the sovereign independence of the nations would have been at an end. To any such principle, and therefore to the protocol in which it was embodied, Great Britain offered an uncompromising opposition. In vain Metternich urged upon Castlereagh that the protocol was but the logical conclusion drawn from premises to which he was already committed; for, if the alliance was to be effective in maintaining peace, it must interfere wherever and whenever peace should be threatened, and therefore to crush internal revolutions which could not but have an external result. The logic was perfect; the proposition that on which every “project of peace” must eventually break. Castlereagh’s reply was, in brief, that Great Britain could never admit a principle which she would not in any circumstances allow to be applied in her own case.
The absence of the signatures of Great Britain and France
from the Troppau protocol marked the first rift in the alliance,
a rift that was soon to develop into a breach. For the
First rift in
the alliance. time, indeed, the crack was “papered over.” Castlereagh was prepared to leave Austria a free hand to deal with the risings in Naples and Piedmont, since she had treaty rights in the former case and her interests, as an Italian power, were threatened in both. Great Britain was even represented at the congress which reassembled at Laibach in January 1821, though Lord Stewart, the ambassador at Vienna, was not armed with full powers. Castlereagh had Congress of Laibach, 1821. approved of the invitation sent to the king of Naples to attend the congress, as implying “negotiation,” an improvement on the dictatorial attitude of the protocol. But everything in the conferences tended still further to shatter the unstable foundations of the alliance. Capo d’Istria, as though the debates of Aix-la-Chapelle had never been, raised once more the spectre of the “Universal Union” which Castlereagh believed he had laid for ever. Metternich, anxious to prove to the Italian Liberals that the tsar was no longer their friend, welcomed the demonstration, and Prussia followed obediently in Austria’s wake. “It is clear,” wrote Lord Stewart, “that a Triple Understanding has been created which binds the parties to carry forward their own views in spite of any difference of opinion which may exist between them and the two great constitutional governments.” (See Troppau and Laibach.)
But the narrower “Holy Alliance” of the three autocratic
monarchies, as opposed to the two western constitutional
monarchies, was not in fact destined to take shape
till after the Paris revolution of 1830. Several factors
Effect of revolution in Spain.
delayed the process, notably the revolt of the Greeks
against the Ottoman rule, and the Spanish question,
which latter formed the main subject of discussion at the congress
of Verona in 1822. In the Eastern Question the interests
of Austria and Great Britain were identical; both desired to
maintain the integrity of Turkey; both saw that this integrity
was in the greatest peril owing to the possible intervention of the
Orthodox tsar in favour of his co-religionists in revolt; and both
agreed that the best means of preventing such intervention was
to bind the Russian emperor to the European concert by using
his devotion to the principles of the Holy Alliance. At Verona,
however, the Eastern question was entirely overshadowed
Verona, 1822. by that of Spain, and in this matter the views of Great Britain were diametrically opposed to those of the other powers of the alliance. She shared indeed with France and Austria the strenuous objection to the emperor Alexander’s proposal to march 150,000 Russians into Piedmont in order to deal with Jacobinism whether in France or Spain; but she protested equally strenuously against the counter-proposal of France, which was ultimately adopted, that a French army should march into Spain to liberate the king from his constitutional fetters in the name of Europe. George Canning, carrying on the tradition of Castlereagh, once more protested, through Wellington, as British plenipotentiary at the congress, against the whole principle of intervention; and when, in spite of the British protest, the other powers persisted, the breach of Great Britain with the continental alliance was proclaimed to all the world. When, on the 7th of April 1823, the French army under the duke of Angoulême crossed the Bidassoa, the great experiment of governing Europe through a central committee of the great powers was at an end. (See Verona, Congress of; Alexander I.; Londonderry, Robert Stewart, 2nd marquess of; Canning, George.)
Henceforth, though the treaties survived, and with them the
principle of the concert on which they were based, “Europe”
as a diplomatic conception tends to sink into the background
and to be replaced by the old international
End of the “Confederation
of Europe.” anarchy of the 18th century. To Canning this development seemed wholly welcome. He applied to the rivalry of states the Liberal principle of free competition as the sole condition of healthy growth. “Villèle is a minister of thirty years ago,” he wrote to Bagot on the 3rd of January 1823, “no revolutionary scoundrel: but constitutionally hating England, as Choiseul and Vergennes used to hate us, and so things are getting back to a wholesome state again. Every nation for itself, and God for us all.” But the essential difference between the rivalries of the 18th and 19th centuries was in the conception of the “nation.” To Canning, as to the diplomatists of the congress of Vienna, “nation” was synonymous with “state,” and national boundaries were those defined by the treaties, Principle of nationality. which Canning was as bent on preserving as any of his reactionary contemporaries. The conception of the divine right of every nationality to readjust political frontiers to suit its own ideals was as foreign to him as to Metternich. Yet this principle of nationality, which was destined during the 19th century to wreck the political structure consecrated at Vienna, and to leave to the succeeding age a host of unsolved and insoluble problems, found in Canning its earliest champion in the higher councils of Europe. The recognition of the independence of the South American republics and of the belligerent rights of the Greek insurgents were both in the first instance motived by the particular interests of Great Britain; but they were none the less hailed as concessions to the principles of nationality, to which they gave an impetus which was destined to continue till the face of Europe had been transformed.
This in fact constitutes the main significance for Europe of the War of Greek Independence, which lasted from the first rising of the Greeks in the Morea in 1821 till the signature of the treaty of London on the 7th of May Europe and the revolt of Greece. 1832 (see Greek Independence, War of; Turkey: History). Its actual outcome, so far as the political structure of Europe was concerned, was but to add an insignificant kingdom to the European states system. But its moral effect was immense. The sacrosanctity of the status quo had been violated, and violated with the active aid of three of the powers of the continental alliance: Russia, France and Great Britain. Metternich was right when he said that, in principle, there was no difference between the Greek insurgents and any other “rebels against legitimate authority,” and the Liberals of all Europe, forced into inactivity by the Austrian police system, hailed in the Greeks the champions of their own cause. Philhellenism, beyond its proper enthusiasm, served as a convenient veil for agitations that had little concern with Greece. Other forces making for political change were simultaneously at work. The peace secured by the concert of the powers had given free Economic progress; rise of the middle classes. play to the mechanical and industrial innovations that heralded the marvellous economic revolution of the coming age; wealth increased rapidly, and with it the influence and the ambition of the middle classes. The revolution of July 1830, which established the bourgeois monarchy in France, marked their first triumph. In countries less economically advanced, e.g. Germany and Italy, the attempt to follow French example ended in failure; but the revolt of the Belgians, for reasons partly economic and partly national, against the domination of the Dutch, Revolutions of 1830. resulted in the establishment of the independent kingdom of Belgium—the first actual breach in the territorial settlement of 1815. In Great Britain the agitation of the disfranchised middle classes, which seemed to threaten a violent revolution, ended in 1832 in the passing of the Reform Bill and their admission to political power. (See France; Germany; Italy; Belgium; English History.)
The easy success of the revolutions in the west of Europe had been due, not to any reluctance of the reactionary powers to interfere on the basis of the old agreements, but to their preoccupation with the national revolt in Poland (q.v.). In view of this, and of the attitude of Great Britain, they had to recognize the title of Louis Philippe as king of the French, merely stipulating that he should guarantee to maintain the treaties. In spite of the overthrow of the legitimate dynasty in France, and of the partition of the kingdom of the Netherlands, the territorial settlement of Vienna remained, after the revolution of 1830, substantially intact. Outside the limits of the treaties, however, fateful changes were in progress. These were determined, broadly speaking, by the two main questions that dominated international politics between the years 1831 and 1841: (1) the antagonism between the western constitutional powers, France and Great Britain, and the eastern autocratic powers, Russia, Austria and Prussia; and (2) the crisis in the Eastern question resulting from the revolt of Mehemet Ali, pasha of Egypt, against the Porte.
The strained relations between Great Britain and France, resulting from the French policy of aggression in the Spanish peninsula, which had more than once brought the two powers to the verge of war, had been eased before the fall of the government of Charles X. The peril of Anglo-French “entente.” a French hegemony over the vast colonial empire of Spain had been forestalled by Canning’s recognition of the independence of the South American republics; the intrigues of France in favour of the partisans of Dom Miguel in Portugal had been checkmated by a politic breach, on behalf of the Portuguese Liberals, of the British principle of non-intervention, and finally the chief cause of offence had been removed, in 1827, by the withdrawal of the French army of occupation from Spain. In the Greek question the two powers had acted cordially in concert; and this good understanding even the French conquest of Algiers in 1830, which laid the foundations of the French empire in Africa, had not availed to shatter; for the eyes of the Tory ministry were still fixed on France as the potential focus of revolutionary propaganda, and any over-sea possessions she might acquire were, in Wellington’s opinion, so many hostages for her good behaviour given to British sea-power. The results of the July revolution in Paris were accepted by Great Britain so soon as it became clear that Louis Philippe stood for peace and not for revolutionary aggression; the armed intervention of France in favour of the Belgians in August 1831 was stopped by the firm language of Palmerston; the French occupation of Ancona, as a countermove to Austrian aggressions in Italy, was accepted as “an incident of the balance of power”; and the intention of the king of the French to abide by the treaties, which became clearer with the consolidation of his power at home, paved the way for that entente between the two Liberal powers which lasted until 1840.
The cleavage between the fundamental principles of the two
groups of autocratic and constitutional powers was not only
apparent in their general attitude towards constitutional
and national movements, but affected also the
position taken up by them during the crisis of the
v. the autocratic powers. Eastern question evoked by the revolt of Mehemet Ali, pasha of Egypt, a crisis by which between 1839 and 1841 all other diplomatic issues were overshadowed. (See Mehemet Ali.) During the Greek revolt the efforts of Austria had been directed to preventing a Russian attack upon Turkey; these efforts had failed, and Metternich’s worst fears seemed to be realized when the Russo-Turkish campaigns of 1828–29 issued in the treaty of Adrianople (September 14, 1829) and the apparently complete vassalage of the sultan to the tsar. But when, in 1832, Sultan Mahmud appealed in his despair to the emperor Nicholas to save him from ruin at the hands of the Egyptian rebels, and, as the result, the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi (July 8, 1833) seemed to The Eastern question, Mehemet Ali. place definitely in the hands of Russia the keys of the Black Sea, it was left to France and Great Britain to give voice to the protest of Europe. Austria, alarmed by the revolutionary movements of 1830, accepted the fact of Russian preponderance at Constantinople, rather than risk a breach with the autocrat who was now the main pillar of the Holy Alliance. The emperor Nicholas, for his part, was equally prepared to surrender some of his ambitions in the East for the sake of the common cause, the more so since to Russian statesmen the maintenance of Turkey in a condition of weakness and dependence now seemed preferable to any attempt to break it up. The result Conventions of Münchengrätz and Berlin, 1833. of these dispositions was the convention of Münchengrätz (September 18, 1833) between Russia, Austria and Prussia, by which the three powers undertook to guarantee the integrity of the Ottoman empire. In the following month a secret convention was signed at Berlin between the same powers (October 15), reaffirming the right of the powers to intervene in the internal affairs of a friendly state at the request of its legitimate sovereign, a right with which no third power would be allowed to interfere, such interference to be regarded by the three powers as an act of hostility directed against all of them.
This reconstitution of the “Holy Alliance” on a narrower basis was the work of the emperor Nicholas, whose masterful personality had by this time quite overshadowed the influence of Metternich in the councils of the autocratic powers. There was no formal breach of the Grand The Tsar Nicholas I. and Palmerston. Alliance; the “treaties” remained in force; but the French revolution of 1830 had produced a practical disruption which was every day accentuated by the attitude of the British government under the influence of Palmerston. For Palmerston had now become “the firebrand of Europe,” openly proclaiming his contempt for international law and equally openly posing as the protector of “oppressed nationalities.” “If these two powers (France and England),” wrote the tsar to King Frederick William of Prussia, “have the courage to profess loudly rebellion and the overturn of all stability, we ought to have the right and the courage to support Divine right.” This deep cleavage of principles was immediately exhibited in the attitude of the powers towards the troubles in the Spanish peninsula. In September 1833 Ferdinand VII. of Spain died, and, under the Pragmatic Affairs of Spain and Portugal. Quadruple Alliance of 1834. Sanction, his daughter Isabella succeeded under the regency of Queen Christina; in July, Dom Miguel, the absolutist pretender to the throne of Portugal, had made himself master of Lisbon. In Spain Don Carlos, Ferdinand’s brother, claimed the crown as the legitimate heir, and began the long agony of the Carlist wars; in Portugal the constitutionalists upheld in arms the rights of Queen Maria da Gloria (see Spain and Portugal). Carlists and Miguelists, making common cause, had the moral support of the allies of Münchengrätz; while France and Great Britain took the side of the Liberals. A formal alliance between the two western powers, proposed by Talleyrand, was indeed refused by Palmerston, who had no wish to commit Great Britain to an irrevocable breach with Austria and Russia, and was suspicious of the ambitions of France in Spain; but ultimately a triple alliance between Great Britain, Spain and Portugal—-with the object of restoring order in the peninsula—was converted, under pressure from the French government, into the Quadruple Alliance of the 22nd of April 1834.
The entente implied by this formal instrument was, however,
more apparent than real. When, in the spring of 1835, Queen
Christina applied to the Allies for help against a renewed
Carlist rising, Palmerston’s suspicions were again aroused by the somewhat naïve suggestion of Thiers that France should
once more intervene as in 1823, a suggestion that was firmly
Nicholas I. and
Great Britain. rejected. Palmerston’s counter-proposal of an English expedition met with as little favour in Paris. The Anglo-French entente was proving but a “cardboard alliance,” as Wellington called it; and the emperor Nicholas, to whom the existence of Louis Philippe as king of the French was at once a sacrilege and a menace, began with a good hope to work for its destruction. The fears roused by the Reform Act of 1832 had been belied by its results; the conservative temper of the British electorate had restored to Great Britain the prestige of a legitimate power; and the pledge of the tsar’s renewed confidence and goodwill was the visit of the cesarevich (afterwards the emperor Alexander II.) to the English court in Breach of Anglo-French “entente” 1840. 1839. This was not without its effect on the public sentiment; but the triumph of the tsar’s diplomacy was due to fresh complications in the Eastern question, due to the renewed effort of Sultan Mahmud to crush the hated viceroy of Egypt. These events will be found outlined in the article Mehemet Ali. Here it will suffice to say that the convention of London of the 15th of July 1840, signed by Great Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia without calling France into counsel, marked the definite breach of the Anglo-French entente, a breach which was but imperfectly healed by the Straits’ Convention signed by all the powers on the 13th of July 1841.
The Straits’ Convention was hailed by Count Nesselrode, the
Russian foreign secretary, as having re-established “the federative
system of the European states on its old basis.”
This was true, in so far as it created yet another
precedent for the concerted action of the European
and France. powers, and once more consecrated the right of “Europe” to decide in common on questions of first-rate international importance. But the divergence of interests and principles within the concert were too great to be healed by the settlement of a single issue, however important, and this divergence increased as events moved towards the revolutionary outbreaks of 1848. When, in 1846, the independent republic of Cracow was suppressed by agreement of the three autocratic powers, on the ground that it had become a dangerous centre of revolutionary agitation, it was Great Britain and France that protested against an arbitrary infraction of the treaties by the very governments which had laid the greatest stress upon their sanctity. The entente between the two Liberal powers had been patched up after the closure of the Egyptian Question; it was cemented by visits of Queen Victoria and the prince consort to the Château d’Eu (1843 and 1845), and of King Louis Philippe to Windsor (1844); and it survived, in spite of several causes of friction, notably the crisis in Morocco (q.v.), until 1846, when the affair of the Spanish Marriages brought it to a somewhat dramatic conclusion.
The attempt to secure the succession to the Spanish throne for his descendants by pressing on the marriage of the duke of Montpensier with the infanta Luisa, before that of the young queen Isabella had been proved to be fruitful in children, was on the part of Louis Philippe more The “Spanish Marriages.” than a breach of faith with Great Britain (how deeply it was resented may be learnt from Queen Victoria’s letters); it was a breach of faith with the revolution that had made him king. Since 1840, indeed, the whole tendency of the king’s policy had been to revert to the traditional standpoint of the Bourbons; internally, “resistance” to the growing claims of the democracy; externally, dynastic ambition. But in endeavouring to win the goodwill of the reactionary powers he only succeeded in losing that of the classes of his own people on which The “February Revolution,” 1848. his authority was based. In 1847 he joined with the three autocratic powers in supporting the clerical and reactionary Sonderbund in Switzerland, in defiance of the protests of Great Britain and the attitude of the majority of Frenchmen. When, in February 1848, the revolution broke out in Paris, the bourgeois monarchy, utterly discredited, fell without a struggle (see France and Louis Philippe).
The revolution in Paris was not the cause of the political upheaval which in the year 1848 convulsed Europe from Ireland to the banks of the Danube; it had indeed been preceded by the triumph of Liberalism in Switzerland, by successful revolutions in Naples and Palermo, and Revolution of 1848 outside France. by the grant of a constitution in Piedmont; but flaming up as it were in the revolutionary centre of Europe, it acted as the beacon signal for the simultaneous outbreak of movements which, though long prepared, might but for this have been detached and spasmodic. It was this simultaneity which gave to the revolutions of 1848 their European character and their formidable force. They were the outcome of various, dissimilar and sometimes contradictory impulses—political, social, racial. In France the issue resolved itself into a struggle between the new working-class ideal of Socialism and the bourgeois ideal of the great Revolution; in England the Chartist movement presented, in a less degree, the same character; in Germany, in the Austrian empire, in Italy, on the other hand, the dominant motives were constitutional and nationalist, and of these two the latter became in the end the determining factor. The events of the different revolutions are described elsewhere (see France; Austria; Germany; Hungary; Italy). From the point of view of Europe such unity as they possessed was due to their being, so far as Central Europe was concerned, directed against the system of “stability” associated with the name Metternich. In hatred of this system German, Czech, Magyar, and Italian were united; Kossuth’s great speech of the 3rd of March echoed far beyond the frontiers of Hungary; the fall of Metternich (March 13) was a victory, not only for the populace of Vienna, but for all the peoples and races which had worn the Austrian fetters. It was the signal for revolutions in Hungary (the passing of the “March Laws”), in Bohemia, in Prussia (March 15), in Milan; on the 23rd of March, Charles Albert of Sardinia, placing himself at the head of the Italian national movement, declared war against Austria. Against a movement so widespread and apparently inspired by a common purpose the governments were powerless. The collapse of the Austrian administration, of which the inherent rottenness was now revealed, involved that of those reactionary powers which had leaned upon it. One by one they accepted what seemed to be the inevitable; even Pope Pius IX. sent troops to fight under the banner of St Peter for the Italian cause; while in Berlin Frederick William IV., wrapped in the gold and black colours of imperial Germany, posed as the leader of “the glorious German revolution.” When, on the 18th of May, the parliament of United Germany was opened at Frankfort, it seemed as though pan-German dreams were on the threshold of realization; while in Italy, early in the same month, Lombardy, Modena, Parma and Piacenza declared by plebiscites for incorporation in the north Italian kingdom, Venice following suit on the 4th of June. A profound modification of the European states system seemed inevitable.
That, in the event, the revolutions of 1848 left the territorial settlement of Vienna intact, was due in the main to the marvellous resisting power of the Habsburg monarchy, the strength of which lay in the traditional loyalty of the army and the traditional policy of balancing race Causes of the failure of the revolutionary movements. against race within the empire. The triumph of democracy in Germany was made possible only by the temporary collapse of the Habsburg power, a collapse due to the universality and apparent unanimity of the onslaught upon it. But it was soon clear that the unanimity was more apparent than real. The victory of the democratic forces had been too easy, too seemingly overwhelming; the establishment of the constitutional principle in the main centres of autocracy seemed to make common action against the powers of reaction of secondary importance, and free play was allowed to the racial and national antagonisms that had been present from the first. The battle of German, as well as of Italian, liberty was being fought out on the plains of Lombardy; yet the German democrats, whether in Vienna or Frankfort, hailed the victories of the veteran Radetzky as triumphs of Germanism. In Bohemia the revolution was wrecked on the rivalry of German and Czech; and when the Hungarians drew the sword against Austria, the imperial government was reinforced by the hatred of the southern Slavs for their Magyar task-masters.
Thus, from the chaos of warring races, the old order began slowly to reappear. So early as the 15th of June 1848 Prince Windischgrätz had restored order in Prague and received the thanks of the Frankfort parliament; on the 25th of July Radetzky’s victory at Custozza set Victory of the conservative forces. free the imperialist army in Italy; on the 4th of September Jellachich, ban of Croatia, invaded Hungary in the name of the united empire; on the 1st of November Windischgrätz entered democratic Vienna. The alliance of the army and the Slav races had won the victory over German democracy. The combating of Hungarian nationalism proved a longer and a harder task; but the Austrian victory of Kapolna (February 26–27, 1849) encouraged Schwarzenberg to dissolve the rump of the Reichsrath at Kremsier and proclaim a new constitution for the whole empire, including Hungary. The Magyar victories that followed issued in the proclamation, on the 14th of April, of the independence of Hungary. But though the Austrian arms had not been strong enough to crush the Hungarian revolt, they had proved at least the vitality of the conservative principle. The emperor Nicholas I. of Russia had watched in disgusted silence the weak spirit of concession with which the revolutions had been everywhere met; so long as the sovereigns seemed to forget their divine mission he had held rigorously aloof, and had only broken silence to congratulate Windischgrätz on his capture of Vienna and Schwarzenberg on his reassertion of vigorous principles. Now, however, that Divine Right was in arms against the forces of disorder, he was prepared to listen to the prayer of the emperor Francis Joseph for assistance against the Hungarian rebels. The engagements of 1833 were remembered; and in the brotherly spirit of the Holy Alliance, Hungary was subdued by Russian armies and handed over, without quid pro quo, to her legitimate king.
Görgei’s capitulation of Világos (August 14, 1849) cleared the ground for the complete restoration of the system destroyed by the March revolutions of the year before. The refusal of Frederick William IV. of Prussia to accept the imperial crown (April 21,1849) had already advertised Prussia and Austria. Convention of Olmütz, 1850. the failure of the constitutional and unionist movement in Germany; and Prussia, her military prestige restored, stood once more face to face with Austria in rivalry for the hegemony of Germany. In the diplomatic contest that followed Prussia was worsted, her claims to an independent supremacy in the north were defeated, and the convention of Olmütz (November 29, 1850) restored the status quo of the Confederation as established in 1815.
Within three years of the great upheaval of 1848 the forces of
revolution seemed everywhere to have been subdued, the states
system of Europe to have been re-established on the
basis of the treaties of Vienna. In reality, however,
this restoration was only on the surface; the cracks in
and Europe. the structure of the European system had—to use Bismarck’s phrase applied to another occasion—only been “papered over”; and soon ominous rents revealed the fact that the forces that had threatened it with sudden ruin were still at work. One fateful breach in the treaties had, indeed, been accepted as beyond repair; when the dust of the revolutionary turmoil was at length laid a Bonaparte was once more firmly seated on the throne of France. The emperor Nicholas, watching from the calm of Russia, had realized all that the recognition of this fact would involve; he had proposed to set in motion the somewhat rusty machinery of the Grand Alliance, but the other autocratic powers were in no case to support a legitimist crusade, and when Napoleon in 1852 assumed the title of emperor, all Europe recognized his right to do so, even Nicholas being fain to content himself with refusing to treat the parvenu monarch as his “brother,” and to admit his style of “third” Napoleon, which seemed to imply a dynastic claim. Napoleon, indeed, was accepted by the powers, as he was welcomed by the French people, as the “saviour of society” from the newly revealed perils of the social revolution. For new and ominous forces had made their appearance since the revolution of 1830 had established the middle classes in power. The industrial development had proceeded in the west of Europe Rise of socialism. with astonishing rapidity, with its resulting concentration of vast populations in factories and factory cities; and this “proletariat,” excluded from any voice in the government, and exposed in accordance with the prevailing economic theories of doctrinaire Liberalism to the horrors of unrestricted competition, had begun to organize itself in a movement, of which the catchword was “the right to work” and the banner the red flag of the socialist commune. The reign of Charles X. had been the reductio ad absurdum of the principle of legitimacy; that of Louis Philippe had discredited for ever government based solely on the bourgeoisie; the socialistic experiments of 1848 in Paris had collapsed amid the anarchy and bloodshed of the June days. At this opportune moment “The Napoleonic Idea.” Louis Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed to the French people the “Napoleonic Idea” as conceived by himself. The great Napoleon had been the incarnation of the Revolution, had “sprung armed from the Revolution, like Minerva from the head of Jupiter”; he had ruled because to him the people, by whom the Revolution had been made, had delegated the duty of representing, protecting and guiding it. Of this idea Louis Napoleon conceived himself to be the heir; and when by a double plebiscite the French nation had established him in supreme power, first as president for life (1851), then as emperor (1852), he was able to claim that he represented the people in a far more immediate sense than could be asserted of the chance majority of any representative assembly.
It was clear that, sooner or later, Napoleon III. would prove a disturbing force in Europe. His title to rule was that he represented France; it followed therefore that he must be hostile to “the treaties,” by which the traditional aspirations of France, e.g. for her “natural boundaries” Economic revolution in Europe. of Rhine, Alps and Pyrenees, were restrained. He reigned as “emperor of the French”; it followed that he represented that principle of nationality which the treaties ignored. He could not afford—as Metternich had said of Ferdinand of Naples—“to treat his throne as an arm-chair”; and any activity he might display would be almost certainly at the expense of the established order. At the outset, indeed, it was his policy to pose as its custodian. To conciliate the French clericals he supported the pope against the Italian Liberals; but otherwise he proclaimed aloud his devotion to the arts of peace. A period of rapid material expansion succeeded the unrest of the revolutionary years; engineers and men of science were quickly producing a change in all the material conditions of life, greater than could have been effected by any political revolution; especially the face of Europe was gradually being covered with a network of railways, which it was hoped would draw the European nations not only materially but morally closer together. The first universal exhibition, opened under the auspices of the prince consort at London in 1851, was intended to advertise and consecrate the dawn of a new era of international peace and goodwill. The Crystal Palace at Sydenham, once hailed as the “bright Koh-i-nur of the West,” remains the dismal monument of a hope so soon to be belied by the hard logic of events. For no period since 1815 has been so occupied with wars and the rumours of war as the twenty years that followed the opening of this great temple of peace.
One question, that of the ultimate destination of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, which threatened the tranquillity of the West, was temporarily settled by the conference of London in 1852 (see Schleswig-Holstein Question). But about the same time anxious watchers noticed The Crimean War. on the political horizon in the East a cloud, no bigger than a man’s hand, that threatened a serious storm. At first this was no more than a quarrel between Greek and Latin monks about the custody of certain holy places and things in Palestine. It soon, however, became clear that behind these insignificant combatants loomed the figures of the emperors of Russia and France. The motives that induced Napoleon to take up the cause of the rights of the Latin church in this matter were partly political, partly personal. He resented the tsar’s attitude towards himself; he wished to gain the firm support of the clergy for his throne; he desired to win prestige for himself and his dynasty by reasserting the traditional influence of France in the Ottoman empire. The events that led up to the Crimean War, and those of the war itself, are told elsewhere (see Crimean War). Great Britain had been drawn into the war by her traditional policy of preserving the Ottoman empire as a barrier against the advance of Russia to the Mediterranean and the consequent danger to the British empire in India. It is now generally conceded that, so far as these objects were concerned, the war was a tragic mistake. The hopes that were built on the capacity of Turkey to reform itself were disappointed; the restrictions imposed upon Russia were repudiated at the first opportunity, during the Franco-German War in 1870; and the results of the Russo-Turkish War of 1876 have shown that a far more effective barrier against Russia than the weakened Ottoman Congress of Paris, 1856. empire has been furnished by the young and vigorous national states of the Balkan Peninsula. None the less, the treaty of Paris (1856), by which the war was closed, marks an important epoch in the diplomatic history of Europe; and it is impossible to say that the blood spilled in the Crimea was wholly wasted. At the time the main success of the allied powers seemed to be in the thrusting back of Russia from the Danube by the cession of Bessarabia, the extinction of Russian sea-power in the Black Sea, the formal repudiation of the tsar’s claim to a special right of interference in Turkey. But the true significance of the work of the congress of Paris lies in the impetus given by it to the development of an effective international law. The concert of Europe was consecrated anew by the solemn admission of the Ottoman empire to an equality of status with the European powers and the declaration of the collective obligations of Europe towards it. The congress, moreover, acted in some sort as the legislative body of Europe; it established the principle of the free navigation of the Danube and of the right of all nations to carry their commerce into the Black Sea; by a declaration, signed by all the powers present, it abolished the practice of granting letters of marque to privateers in war time. The question was even discussed of establishing some sanction by which the rules of international law agreed upon should be enforced upon recalcitrant states; and, though nothing was settled, a vœu to this effect was entered upon the protocol. The congress of Paris thus set a precedent more hopeful than those of the congresses held earlier in the century, because the issues were not confused by the supposed necessity for upholding “legitimacy” at all costs; it was a stage in the progress from the ideals of the Grand Alliance to those of the Hague Conference.
The conclusion of the Crimean War left the emperor Napoleon the most influential personage in Europe; and Paris, the seat of the congress, became also the centre of the diplomatic world. Russia had been bled almost to death Preponderance of France. by the war; Austria was discredited and isolated owing to the dubious part she had played in it; Prussia had not recovered from the humiliation of Olmütz; Great Britain was soon plunged into the critical struggle of the Indian Mutiny. The time was obviously opportune for the realization of some of the aspirations implied in the Napoleonic idea. The opportunity came from the side of Italy. By sending Sardinian troops to fight in a quarrel not their own, Napoleon and Italy. War of 1859. alongside the Allies in the Crimea, Cavour had purchased for Piedmont the right to be heard in the councils of the powers—a right of which he had made use at the Paris congress to denounce before all Europe the Austrian misrule in Italy. The Italian unionists were at one with Napoleon in desiring to overset “the treaties”; and the Franco-Italian alliance which, in 1859, drove the Austrians out of Lombardy and established the nucleus of the Italian kingdom was the beginning of a process which, within twelve years, was to change the balance of Europe. It was ominous of the future that it was largely the menace of Prussian intervention that persuaded Napoleon to conclude the armistice of Villafranca (July 11, 1859), which, contrary to his agreement with Victor Emmanuel, left Venice to the Austrians. In spite of the peace of Zürich (November 10), indeed, the union of Italy continued during the succeeding years, and Savoy and Nice were the reward of the French emperor’s connivance (see Italy). France thus once more gained her “natural frontier” of the Alps; the question was whether she would be able to regain her other natural frontier on the Rhine. The times were not unpropitious for an enterprise which was undoubtedly one of the main objects of Napoleon’s policy. The European concert had ceased to exist as an effective force; the treaties had been violated Napoleon and Germany. with impunity; in Germany, where the tension between the two great powers had not been eased by Prussia’s dubious attitude during the war, there was little prospect of a united opposition to French aggression, and the conditions seemed highly favourable for reviving the traditional policy of exploiting German disunion for the aggrandizement of France. Prussia was arming, but her armaments were directed not against Napoleon but against Austria, and the beginning of the reign of William I., who had become regent in 1858 and king in 1861, pointed to the development of a situation in which the French emperor would once again become the arbiter of Germany. On the 29th of March 1862 Prussia signed a commercial treaty with France on a basis that involved the exclusion of Austria from the Zollverein, and replied to the protests of the court of Vienna by recognizing the new kingdom of Italy. In September of the same year King William placed the supreme direction of Prussian policy in the hands of Otto von Bismarck, whose views on the exclusion of Austria from Germany were known to all the world.
The outcome of the Polish insurrection of 1863, however, again altered the aspect of things, and in a direction unfavourable to France (see Poland: History). Napoleon had been forced by French public opinion to come forward as Decline of Napoleon’s influence. the protector of the Poles; but the spectacle of a Bonaparte posing as the champion of “the treaties” was not impressive; his brave words were not translated into action; and he only succeeded in offending Russia by his protests and alienating Great Britain by his tergiversations. The proffered intervention of Austria, France and Great Britain was rejected in a note of Prince Gorchakov to Baron Brunnow, the Russian ambassador in London (July 1, 1863); no action followed; and the last effort to put forward the treaties of Vienna as the common law of Europe ended in a fiasco. British ministers, who had been made to look somewhat ridiculous, henceforth began to be chary of active intervention in continental affairs; Austria and France were alike discredited and isolated. Prussia which, under Bismarck’s auspices, had aided Russia in suppressing the Poles (convention of February 8, 1863) alone emerged from the crisis with increased prestige. Bismarck, indeed, was too wary to accept the tsar’s suggestion of an offensive alliance and an immediate combined attack on Austria and France; but in the coming struggle for the hegemony of Germany he was assured at least of Russia’s neutrality.
The final act in this long rivalry began with the opening up of the Schleswig-Holstein question on the death of Frederick VII. of Denmark and the accession of the “protocol-king” Christian IX. (November 15, 1863). The Rivalry of Prussia and Austria. Schleswig-Holstein question. German claim to the Elbe duchies, the Danish claim to at least Schleswig as an integral part of the northern kingdom, were but subordinate issues of questions far more fateful, the developments of which once more illustrated the hopeless enfeeblement of the idea of the European concert. In the struggle for the possession of the duchies the general sentiment of Germany was on one side, that of Europe on the other. By the protocol of 1852 the duchies had been treated as an integral part of Denmark, and France and Great Britain, as signatory powers, alike protested against the action of Austria and Prussia in asserting the German claim by force of arms. But, as in the case of Poland, protests were not followed by action; Napoleon in the end contented himself with proposing his favourite “Napoleonic idea” of a plebiscite, to discover the wishes of the populations concerned; Palmerston, who realized some of the important issues involved, allowed his warlike attitude, under exalted influences, to evaporate in words. Thus Great Britain earned the lasting resentment of Germans, without succeeding in preventing the establishment of German sea-power in the Baltic. For the Prussian war-harbour of Kiel and the Kiel Canal were in Bismarck’s mind from the outset. Throughout Austro-Prussian War of 1866. Prussia supreme in Germany. he intended to make the duchies a part of Prussia and to use the whole question as a means for the solution of that of Germany. The Austro-Prussian War of 1866 grew inevitably out of the Dano-German War of 1864; and the treaty of Prague (Aug. 23, 1866), which excluded Austria from Germany and established the North German Confederation under the headship of Prussia, not only absorbed into Prussia the North German states which had sided with Austria, but by the annexation to her of Schleswig and Holstein laid the foundations of German power in the North Sea, and of German rivalry with England in the future.
More immediate were the effects of the campaign of Königgrätz on France. The rapid and overwhelming victory of Prussia overthrew all the calculations of Napoleon, who had looked to intervening as arbiter between exhausted combatants. The sudden menace of the new German Napoleon and Prussia. power alarmed him, and he sought to secure the Rhine frontier for France, by negotiations with Prussia, in the form of “compensations” at the expense of the South German states. He succeeded only in placing a fresh weapon in Bismarck’s hands. The communication of the French overtures to the South German courts was enough to throw them into the arms of Prussia; and treaties of offensive and defensive alliance were signed in August 1866 between Prussia and Württemberg (3rd), Baden (17th), and Bavaria (22nd), by which the king of Prussia was to receive the supreme command of the allied armies in time of war. In vain Napoleon tried to retrieve his damaged prestige by securing compensation elsewhere. His proposal that the grand-duchy of Luxemburg, which had not been included in the new German Confederation, should fall to France by agreement with Prussia was no more successful than his other demands for “compensation.” Luxemburg was declared a neutral state by the convention of London in 1867 (see Luxemburg), and the French proposal, published by Bismarck in The Times at the outset of the war of 1870, only damaged the French emperor’s cause in the eyes of Europe.
Meanwhile public feeling in France had become seriously excited by this sudden menace of a hostile power on her eastern frontier, and this excitement was raised to fever heat when it became known that the vacant throne of Spain had been offered to and accepted by a prince of the house of Hohenzollern. Napoleon’s policy had become hopelessly discredited by the successive fiascos in Poland, Mexico and Germany, and even the establishment of a liberal constitution in 1869 could not avail to restore confidence in him. He knew the risk he ran in challenging a conflict with a power whose military efficiency had been so strikingly displayed; but by refusing to do so, in the excited state of public feeling, he would have risked his throne. He reckoned on the traditional jealously of the South German states for Prussia and their traditional friendship with France; he was assured, too, of the support of Austria, in the event of a victorious opening of the campaign. On the other hand Bismarck was bent on war, which, in accordance with his policy of “blood and iron,” he believed to be the sole effective means of binding the heterogeneous elements of Germany into a coherent whole. The device of the “Ems telegrams” (see Bismarck) was sufficient to end the hesitations of Napoleon by giving an irresistible volume to the cry of the war party in France; and on the 19th of July the French emperor’s declaration of war was handed in at Berlin.
The story of the struggle that followed is told elsewhere (see Franco-German War). The hopes that Napoleon had based on the action of the South German courts was belied; and the first crushing German victories (Weissenburg, August 4, and Wörth, August 6) not only removed all The Franco-German War, 1870–1871. chance of Austrian co-operation but brought down with a crash the imposing facade of the Second Empire. On the 2nd of September Napoleon surrendered, with his army, at Sedan; and two days later the Empire was overthrown and a provisional republican government set up at Paris. On the 19th Paris itself was invested and, after a heroic defence, capitulated on the 28th of January 1871. On the 18th of January, at the palace of Versailles, William I., king of Prussia, was proclaimed The new German Empire. German emperor. On the 26th of February were signed the preliminaries of peace, by which France agreed to cede to the German empire Alsace (except Belfort and its territory) and German Lorraine, with Metz and Thionville (Diedenhofen), and to pay a war indemnity of five milliards of francs (£200,000,000) in three years, to be secured by the occupation of French territory. The definitive treaty was signed at Frankfort-on-Main on the 10th of May 1871.
The most important outcome of the events which culminated in the Franco-German War and its result was the establishment of a powerful German empire, which was destined to dominate the continent for years to come, and the expansive ambitions of which remain pregnant with menace for the future. So great an overturn, however, involved other changes in the territorial system, which may be briefly summarized. The most notable of these was the reconstruction of the Austrian monarchy as a result of the war of 1866. By the treaty of Vienna (October 3, 1866) between Austria and Italy, Austria recognized the Italian kingdom and ceded to it the city and territory of Venice, thus surrendering the traditional claim of the Habsburgs to domination in Italy. This was followed in 1867 by the establishment of Dual system in Austria-Hungary. the Dual Monarchy in the Habsburg dominions under the auspices of Bismarck’s rival, Count Beust,—Francis Joseph being crowned king of Hungary, and a separate constitution being established for Hungary and the Cis-Leithan dominions of the Austrian emperor (see Austria: History). In Italy, meanwhile, the unification of the kingdom had continued after the conclusion of the war of 1859 by the treaty of Zürich. In 1860 Tuscany, Parma and Modena were united to the monarchy of Victor Emmanuel, at the cost of the cession of Nice and Savoy to Napoleon. In May of the same year Garibaldi and his “Thousand” landed in Sicily, which he reduced by the end of June; in August he crossed to the mainland, and the capitulation of Francis II. of the Two Sicilies at Gaeta on the 13th of February 1861 ended the Bourbon kingdom Union of Italy. in southern Italy. On the 17th of March Victor Emmanuel II. was proclaimed king of United Italy. This title, as mentioned above, was recognized by Austria in 1866, when Italy was increased by the cession of Venice. Finally, Rome, which had been preserved to the papacy by Napoleon’s troops, was on their withdrawal occupied by the Italians on the 20th of September 1870. Thus the temporal power of the popes came to an end; and the unification of Italy was completed (see Italy: History).
Another significant outcome of the collapse of France was the denunciation by Russia of the “Black Sea” clauses of the treaty of Paris of 1856, an action rendered possible by the entente between the governments of Berlin and St Petersburg. In the note addressed to the signatory powers announcing that Russia no longer felt herself bound by the clauses of the treaty limiting her sovereign rights in the Black Sea, Prince Gorchakov wrote: “It would be difficult to affirm that the written law founded on the respect for treaties, as the basis of public right and rule of the relations of states, has preserved the same moral sanction as in former times.” The action of Russia was, in fact, a practical illustration of Bismarck’s dicta that “rebus sic stantibus is involved in all treaties that require performance” (Mem. ii. 280), and that “ultro posse nemo obligatur holds good in spite of all treaty obligations whatsoever, nor can any treaty guarantee the discharge of obligations when the private interest of those who lie under them no longer reinforces the text” (ib. ii. 270). Great Britain did her best to counteract a doctrine so subversive of international confidence. For a moment at least a diplomatic breach with Russia seemed inevitable. At Bismarck’s suggestion, however, a conference was held at London to arrange the affair. There was, in the circumstances, no chance of forcing Russia to recede from her position; but in order “to reconcile facts with principles” the conference on the 17th of January 1871 agreed on a formula announcing that “contracting powers can only rid themselves of their treaty engagements by an understanding with their co-signatories.” Thus the principle of the European concert was saved. But, for the time at least, it seemed that the triumph of Bismarck’s diplomacy had re-established
. . . the simple plan
That they should take who have the power
And they should keep who can.
Beust was not far wrong when he exclaimed, “Je ne vois plus de l’Europe!” (W. A. P.)
By the Franco-German War of 1870–71 and the creation of the German empire the political condition of Europe was profoundly changed. Germany became for a time the leading power on the continent of Europe, and German statesmanship had to devise means for preventing, until the new edifice was thoroughly consolidated, the formation of a hostile coalition of jealous rivals. The first thing to be done in this direction was to secure the support of Russia and Austria to the new order of things.
With regard to Russia there was little cause for apprehension. She had aided Bismarck to carry out his audacious schemes in the past, and there was no reason to suppose that she would change her policy in the immediate future. The rapprochement dated from the Polish insurrection of Russian policy towards Germany. 1863, when the governments of France and England, yielding to popular excitement, made strong diplomatic representations to Russia in favour of the Poles, whereas Bismarck not only refused to join in the diplomatic campaign, but made a convention with the cabinet of St Petersburg by which the Russian and German military authorities on the frontiers should aid each other in suppressing the disturbances. From that time the friendship ripened steadily. The relations between the two powers were not, it is true, always without a cloud. More than once the bold designs of Bismarck caused uneasiness and dissatisfaction in St Petersburg, especially during the Schleswig-Holstein complications of 1864 and the Austro-Prussian conflict of 1866; but the wily statesman of Berlin, partly by argument and partly by dexterously manipulating the mutual trust and affection between the two sovereigns, always succeeded in having his own way without producing a rupture, so that during the Franco-German War of 1870–71 Russia maintained an extremely benevolent neutrality, and prevented Austria and Italy from taking part in the struggle. So benevolent was the neutrality that the emperor William at the end of the campaign felt constrained to write to the tsar that he owed to His Majesty the happy issue of the campaign and would never forget the fact. Having thus helped to create the German empire, Alexander II. was not likely to take an active part in destroying it, and Bismarck could look forward confidently to a long continuance of the cordial relations between the two courts.
The second part of the German chancellor’s programme, the permanent conciliation of Austria, was not so easily carried out. Austria had been the great sufferer, more perhaps even than France, from Bismarck’s aggressive policy. For generations she had resisted strenuously and successfully Austrian relations with Germany. the efforts of the Hohenzollerns to play the leading part in Germany, and she had always considered her own influence in Germany as essential to the maintenance of her position as a first-class power. By the disastrous campaign of 1866 and the consequent treaty of Prague, Austria had been formally excluded from all direct influence in German affairs. With these events still fresh in his recollection, the emperor Francis Joseph could hardly be expected to support the new empire created by his rival at Austria’s expense, and it was known that on the eve of the Franco-German War he had been negotiating with the French government for a combined attack on Prussia. To an ordinary statesman the task of permanently conciliating such a power might well have seemed hopeless, but Bismarck did not shrink from it, and even before the signature of the treaty of Prague he had prepared the way for attaining his object. “With regard to Austria,” he himself explained on one occasion, “I had two courses open to me after her defeat, either to destroy her entirely or to respect her integrity and prepare for our future reconciliation when the fire of revenge had died out. I chose the latter course, because the former would have been the greatest possible act of folly. Supposing that Austria had disappeared, consider the consequences.” He then described very graphically those probable consequences, and drew the conclusion: “for the sake of our own life Austria must live. I had no hesitation, therefore, and ever since 1866 my constant effort has been to stitch up the great torn texture and to re-establish amicable relations with our ancient associate of the Confederation.” For this purpose he tried to soothe Austrian susceptibilities, and suggested confidentially that compensation for the losses of territory, influence and prestige in Italy and Germany might be found in south-eastern Europe, especially by the acquisition of Bosnia and Herzegovina; but so long as his rival Count Beust was minister for foreign affairs in Vienna, and Austria had the prospect of being able to recover her lost position by the assistance of Russia and France, these efforts had no success. It was only when Prince Gorchakov had declined Count Beust’s advances, which took the form of suggesting the abolition of the Black Sea clauses of the treaty of Paris, and when France had been paralysed for some years by her war with Germany, that a rapprochement between the cabinets of Vienna and Berlin became possible. Bismarck lost no time in making advances. From the German headquarters at Versailles he sent a despatch to Vienna suggesting the establishing of more cordial relations between the two countries, and Count Beust replied in an equally amicable tone. The emperor Francis Joseph, finding himself isolated, had evidently accepted the inevitable with his customary resignation, and abandoned his dreams of again playing the leading part in Germany. As a further proof of the change in his disposition and aims he replaced Count Beust by Count Andrássy, who was a personal friend of Bismarck, and who wished, as a Hungarian, to see Austria liberated from her German entanglement, and he consented to pay a visit to Berlin for the purpose of drawing still closer the relations between the two governments.
Bismarck was delighted at this turn of affairs, but he advanced with his usual caution. He gave it to be clearly understood that improvement in his relations with Vienna must not disturb the long-established friendship with St Petersburg. The tsar, on hearing privately of the intended The Dreikaiserbund. meeting, gave a hint to Prince Reuss, the German ambassador, that he expected an invitation, and was invited accordingly. The meeting of the three sovereigns took place at Berlin at the end of August 1872. The three ministers, Prince Bismarck, Prince Gorchakov and Count Andrássy, held daily conferences, on the basis that the chief aim in view should be the maintenance of peace in Europe, and that in all important international affairs the three powers should consult with each other and act in concert. As a result of three days’ consultation the Three Emperor’s League was founded, without any formal treaty being signed. In this way the danger of a powerful coalition being formed against the young German empire was averted, for in the event of a conflict with France, Germany could count on at least the benevolent neutrality of Russia and Austria, and from the other powers she had nothing to fear. What ulterior designs Bismarck may have had in forming the league, or “Alliance” as it is often called, must be to some extent a matter of conjecture, but we shall probably not be far wrong in adopting the view of a competent Russian authority, who defines the policy of the German chancellor thus: “To make Austria accept definitively her deposition as a Germanic power, to put her in perpetual conflict with Russia in the Balkan Peninsula, and to found on that irreconcilable rivalry the hegemony of Germany.”
For more than two years there was an outward appearance of extreme cordiality between the three powers. They acted together diplomatically, and on all suitable occasions the three allied monarchs exchanged visits and sent each other congratulations and good wishes. There was, however, from the beginning very little genuine confidence between them. Before the breaking up of the conferences at Berlin, Alexander II. and his chancellor had conversations with the French ambassador, in which they not only showed that they had suspicions of future aggressive designs on the part of Germany, but also gave an assurance that so long as France fulfilled her engagements to Germany she had nothing to fear. A few months later, when the emperor William paid his return visit to the tsar in St Petersburg, a defensive convention was concluded by the two monarchs behind the back of their Austrian ally. Without knowing anything about the existence of this convention, the Austrian ally did not feel comfortable in his new position. In Vienna the old anti-Prussian feeling was still strong. The so-called party of the archdukes and the military resisted the policy of Andrássy, and sought to establish closer relations with Russia, so that German support might be unnecessary, but as Bismarck has himself testified, “Russia did not yet respond. The wound caused by the conduct of Austria during the Crimean War was not yet healed. Andrássy made himself very popular in the court society of St Petersburg during his visit there with his imperial master, but the traditional suspicion of Austrian policy remained.” Altogether, the new league was not a happy family. So long as all the members of it were content to accept the status quo, the latent germs of dissension remained hidden from the outside world, but as soon as the temporary state of political quietude was replaced by a certain amount of activity and initiative, they forced their way to the surface. No one of the three powers regarded the status quo as a satisfactory permanent arrangement. In Berlin much anxiety was caused by the rapid financial and military recovery of France, and voices were heard suggesting that a new campaign and a bigger war indemnity might be necessary before the recuperation was complete. In St Petersburg there was a determination to take advantage of any good opportunity for recovering the portion of Bessarabia ceded by the treaty of Paris, and thereby removing the last tangible results of the Crimean War. In Vienna there was a desire to obtain in the Balkan Peninsula, in accordance with the suggestion of Bismarck, compensation for the losses in Italy and Germany. Thus each of the members of the league was hatching secretly a little aggressive scheme for its own benefit, and the danger for the rest of Europe lay in the possibility of their reconciling their schemes so far as to admit of an agreement for action in common. Fortunately for the onlookers there were important conflicting interests, and the task of reconciling them was extremely difficult, as the subsequent course of events proved.
The first of the three powers to move was Germany. In
February 1875 M. de Radowitz was despatched to St Petersburg
on a secret mission in order to discover whether, in
the event of hostilities between Germany and France,
Russia would undertake to maintain a neutral attitude
of 1875. as she had done in 1870–1871; in that case Germany might be relied on to co-operate with her in her great designs in the East. Prince Gorchakov did not take the bait with the alacrity that was expected. Having overcome in some measure his hatred of Austria, which had distorted for so many years his political vision, he had come to understand that it was not for the interests of his own country to have as neighbour a powerful united Germany instead of a weak confederation of small states, and he now perceived that it would be a grave error of policy to allow Germany to destroy still more to her own advantage the balance of power in Europe by permanently weakening France. No doubt he desired to recover the lost portion of Bessarabia and to raise Russian prestige in the East, but he did not wish to run the risk of exciting a great European war, and he believed that what he desired might be effected without war by the diplomatic skill which had warded off European intervention during the Polish troubles of 1863, and had recovered for Russia her freedom of action in the Black Sea during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. In reply, therefore, to M. de Radowitz’s inquiries and suggestions, he declared that the Russian court fostered no ambitious designs in the East or in the West, and desired only peace and the maintenance of the status quo, with possibly an amelioration in the miserable condition of the Christian subjects of the sultan. This rebuff did not suffice to dispel the gathering storm. The warlike agitation in the German inspired press continued, and the French government became thoroughly alarmed. General Leflô, the French ambassador in St Petersburg, was instructed to sound the Russian government on the subject. Prince Gorchakov willingly assured him that Russia would do all in her power to incline the Berlin cabinet to moderation and peace, and that the emperor would take advantage of his forthcoming visit to Berlin to influence the emperor William in this sense. A few days later General Leflô received similar assurances from the emperor himself, and about the same time the British government volunteered to work likewise in the cause of peace. Representations were accordingly made by both governments during the tsar’s visit to Berlin, and both the emperor William and his chancellor declared that there was no Russia and Germany divided. intention of attacking France. The danger of war, which the well-informed German press believed to be “in sight,” was thus averted, but the incident sowed the seeds of future troubles, by awakening in Bismarck a bitter personal resentment against his Russian colleague. By certain incautious remarks to those around him, and still more by a circular to the representatives of Russia abroad, dated Berlin and beginning with the words maintenant la paix est assurée, Gorchakov seemed to take to himself the credit of having checkmated Bismarck and saved Europe from a great war. Bismarck resented bitterly this conduct on the part of his old friend, and told him frankly that he would have reason to regret it. In the Russian official world it is generally believed that he took his revenge in the Russo-Turkish War and the congress of Berlin. However this may be, he has himself explained that “the first cause of coldness” was the above incident, “when Gorchakov, aided by Decazes, wanted to play at my expense the part of a saviour of France, to represent me as the enemy of European peace, and to procure for himself a triumphant quos ego to arrest by a word and shatter my dark designs!” In any case the incident marks the beginning of a new phase in the relations of the three powers; henceforth Bismarck can no longer count on the unqualified support of Russia, and in controlling the Russo-Austrian rivalry in south-eastern Europe, while professing to be impartial, he will lean to the side of Count Andrássy rather than to that of Prince Gorchakov. He is careful, however, not to carry this tendency so far as to produce a rapprochement between Russia and France. The danger of a Franco-Russian alliance hostile to Germany is already appearing on the political horizon, but it is only a little cloud no bigger than a man’s hand.
The next move in the aggressive game was made by Austria, with the connivance of Russia. During the summer of 1875 an insurrection of the Christian Slavs in Herzegovina, which received support from the neighbouring principalities of Montenegro and Servia, was fostered by the Austrian authorities and encouraged by the Russian consuls on the Adriatic coast. A European concert was formed for the purpose of settling the disturbance by means of local administrative reforms, but the efforts of the powers failed, because the insurgents hoped to obtain complete liberation from Turkish rule; and in the beginning of July, with a view to promoting this solution, Servia and Montenegro declared war against the Porte. Thereupon Russia began to show her hand more openly. The government allowed volunteers to be recruited in Moscow and St Petersburg, and the Russian general Chernayev, who had distinguished himself in Central Asia, was appointed to the command of the Servian army. When the ball had thus been set rolling, the two powers chiefly concerned considered that the Austro-Russian agreement, 1876. time had come for embodying the result of their informal confidential pourparlers in a secret agreement, which is known as the convention of Reichstadt, because it was signed at a meeting of the two emperors in the little Bohemian town of that name. It bore the date of the 8th of July 1876—exactly a week after Servia and Montenegro had declared war—and it contained the following stipulations: (1) That so long as the struggle which had just begun remained undecided, the two sovereigns should refrain from interference, and that in the event of the principalities being defeated, any modification of the territorial or political status quo ante to their detriment should be prevented; (2) that in the event of the principalities proving victorious, and territorial changes taking place, Austria should claim compensation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Russia should demand the restitution of the portion of Bessarabia which she had lost by the Crimean War; (3) that in the event of the collapse of the Ottoman empire, the two powers should act together to create autonomous principalities in European Turkey, to unite Thessaly and Crete to Greece, and to proclaim Constantinople a free town. The contracting parties evidently expected that the two principalities would be victorious in their struggle with the Porte, and that the compensations mentioned would be secured without a great European war. Their expectations were disappointed. Montenegro made a brave stand against superior forces, but before five months had passed Servia was at the mercy of the Turkish army, and Russia had to come to the assistance of her protégé. A Russian ultimatum stopped the advance of the Turks on Belgrade, and an armistice, subsequently transformed into a peace, was signed.
Russia and Austria had now to choose between abandoning their schemes and adopting some other course of action, and unforeseen incidents contributed towards making them select the latter alternative. In June 1876 an attempt Bulgarian Question. at insurrection in Bulgaria had been repressed with savage brutality by the Turks, and the details, as they became known some weeks later, produced much indignation all over Europe. In England the excitement, fanned by the eloquence of Gladstone, became intense, and compelled the Disraeli cabinet to take part, very reluctantly, in a diplomatic campaign, with the object of imposing radical reforms on Turkey. In Russia the excitement and indignation were equally great, and the tsar gradually formed the resolution that if the powers would not act collectively and energetically, so as to compel the Porte to yield, he would undertake the work single-handed. This resolution he announced publicly in a speech delivered at Moscow on the 10th of November 1876. The powers did not like the idea of separate Russian action, and in order to prevent it they agreed to hold a conference in Constantinople for the purpose of inducing the Porte to introduce the requisite reforms. The Porte was at that moment under the influence of popular patriotic excitement which made it indisposed to accept orders, or even well-meant advice, from governments more or less hostile to it, and the inconsiderate mode of procedure suggested by General Ignatiev, and adopted by the other delegates, made it still more unconciliatory. At the first plenary sitting of the conference the proceedings were disturbed by the sound of artillery, and the Turkish representative explained that the salvo was in honour of the new Ottoman constitution, which was being promulgated by the sultan. The inference suggested was that as Turkey had spontaneously entered on the path of liberal and constitutional reform for all Ottoman subjects, it became superfluous and absurd to talk of small reforms for particular provinces, such as the conference was about to propose. The deliberations continued, but finally the Porte refused to accept what the plenipotentiaries considered an irreducible minimum, and the conference broke up without obtaining any practical result. The tsar’s Moscow declaration about employing single-handed the requisite coercive measures now came to be fulfilled.
In order to make a successful aggressive move on Turkey, Russia had first of all to secure her rear and flank by an arrangement with her two allies. In Berlin she encountered no difficulties. Bismarck had no objection to seeing Russia weaken herself in a struggle with Turkey, provided she did not upset the balance of power in south-eastern Europe, and he felt confident that he could prevent by diplomatic means any such catastrophe. He was inclined, therefore, to encourage rather than restrain the bellicose tendencies of St Petersburg. In Vienna the task of coming to a definite arrangement was much more difficult, and it was only after protracted and laborious negotiations that a convention was concluded on the 15th of January 1877, and formally signed three months later. It was a development of the agreement of Reichstadt, modified according to the changes in the situation, but retaining the essential principle that in the event of the territorial status quo being altered, Russia should recover the lost portion of Bessarabia, and Austria should get Bosnia and a part of Herzegovina. Having made these preliminary arrangements, Russia began the campaign simultaneously in Europe and Asia Minor, and after many reverses and enormous sacrifices of blood and treasure, she succeeded in imposing on the Turks the “preliminary peace” of San Stefano (3rd March 1878). That peace was negotiated with very little consideration for the interests of the other powers, and as soon as the terms of it became known in Vienna and London there San Stefano. was an outburst of indignation. In negotiating the treaty General Ignatiev had ignored the wishes of Austria, and had even, according to the contention of Andrássy, infringed the convention signed at the beginning of the war. However this may be, the peace of San Stefano brought to the surface the latent conflict of interests between the two empires. Russia’s aim was to create a big Bulgaria under the influence of St Petersburg, and to emancipate Servia and Montenegro as far as possible from Austrian influence, whereas Austria objected to the creation of any large Slav state in the Balkan Peninsula, and insisted on maintaining her influence at Belgrade and Tsetigne (Cetinje). In vain Prince Gorchakov endeavoured to conciliate Austria and to extract from Count Andrássy a clear statement of the terms he would accept. Count Andrássy was in no hurry to extricate Russia from her difficulties, and suggested that the whole question should be submitted to a European congress. The suggestion was endorsed by Great Britain, which likewise objected to the San Stefano arrangements, and Bismarck declined to bring any pressure to bear on the cabinet of Vienna.
Deceived in her expectations of active support from her two allies, Russia found herself in an awkward position. From a military point of view it was absolutely necessary for her to come to an arrangement either with Austria or with England, because the communications of her army before Constantinople with its base could be cut by these two powers acting in concert—the land route being dominated by Austria, and the Black Sea route by the British fleet, which was at that time anchored in the Sea of Marmora. As soon, therefore, as the efforts to obtain the support of her two allies against the demands of England had failed, negotiations were opened in London, and on the 30th of May a secret convention was signed by Lord Salisbury and Count Schuvalov. By that agreement the obstacles to the assembling of the congress were removed. The Berlin Congress. congress met in Berlin on the 13th of June, and after many prolonged sittings and much secret negotiation the treaty of Berlin was signed on the 13th of July. By that treaty the preliminary peace of San Stefano was considerably modified. The big Bulgaria defined by General Ignatiev was divided into three portions, the part between the Danube and the Balkans being transformed into a vassal principality, the part between the Balkans and the Rhodope being made into an autonomous province, called Eastern Rumelia, under a Christian governor named by the sultan with the assent of the powers, and the remainder being placed again under the direct rule of the Porte. The independence of Montenegro, Servia and Rumania was formally recognized, and each of these principalities received a considerable accession of territory. Rumania, however, in return for the Dobrudja, which it professed not to desire, was obliged to give back to Russia the portion of Bessarabia ceded after the Crimean War. In Asia Minor Russia agreed to confine her annexations to the districts of Kars, Ardahan and Batum, and to restore to Turkey the remainder of the occupied territory. As a set-off against the large acquisitions of the Slav races, the powers recommended that the sultan should cede to the kingdom of Greece the greater part of Thessaly and Epirus, under the form of a rectification of frontiers. At first the sultan refused to act on this recommendation, but in March 1881 a compromise was effected by which Greece obtained Thessaly without Epirus. Bosnia and Herzegovina were to be occupied and administered by Austria-Hungary, and the Austrian authorities were to have the right of making roads and keeping garrisons in the district of Novi-Bazar, which lies between Servia and Montenegro. In all the provinces of European Turkey for which special arrangements were not made in the treaty, the Porte undertook (Art. 23) to introduce organic statutes similar to that of Crete, adapted to the local conditions. This article, like many of the subordinate stipulations of the treaty, remained a dead letter. We may mention specially Art. 61, in which the Sublime Porte undertook to realize without delay the ameliorations and reforms required in the provinces inhabited by Armenians, and to guarantee their safety against the Circassians and Kurds. Equally unreliable proved the scheme of Lord Beaconsfield to secure good administration throughout the whole of Asia Minor by the introduction of reforms under British control, and to prevent the further expansion of Russia Cyprus Convention. in that direction by a defensive alliance with the Porte. A convention to that effect was duly signed at Constantinople a few days before the meeting of the congress (4th June 1878), but the only part of it which was actually realized was the occupation and administration of Cyprus by the British government. The new frontiers stipulated in the treaty of San Stefano, and subsequently rectified by the treaty of Berlin, are shown in the accompanying sketch-map.
The secret schemes of Russia and Austria, in so far as they were defined in the agreement of Reichstadt and the subsequent Austro-Russian treaty of Vienna, had thus been realized. Russia had recovered the lost portion of Bessarabia, and Austria had practically annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, though the nominal suzerainty of the sultan over the two provinces was maintained. But Russia was far from satisfied with the results, which seemed to her not at all commensurate with the sacrifices imposed on her by the war, and her dissatisfaction led to a new grouping of the powers. Before the opening of the Berlin congress Bismarck had announced publicly that he would refrain from taking sides with any of the contending parties, and would confine himself to playing the part of an honest broker. The announcement was received by the Russians with astonishment and indignation. What they expected was not an impartial arbiter, but a cordial and useful friend in need. In 1871 the emperor William, as we have seen, had spontaneously declared to the tsar that Germany owed to His Majesty the happy issue of the war, and that she would never forget it, and we may add that on that occasion he signed himself “Your ever grateful Friend.” Now, in 1878, when the moment had come for paying at least an instalment of this debt, and when Russia was being compelled to make concessions which she described as incompatible with her dignity, Bismarck had nothing better to offer than honest brokerage. The indignation in all classes Russian resentment against Bismarck. was intense, and the views commonly held regarding Bismarck’s “duplicity” and “treachery” were supposed to receive ample confirmation during the sittings of the congress and the following six months. On the 4th of February 1879 Prince Gorchakov wrote to the ambassador in Vienna: “Needless to say, that in our eyes the Three Emperors’ Alliance is practically torn in pieces by the conduct of our two allies. At present it remains for us merely to terminate the liquidation of the past, and to seek henceforth support in ourselves alone.” The same view of the situation was taken in Berlin and Vienna, though the result was attributed, of course, to different causes, and the danger of serious complications became so great that Bismarck concluded with Andrássy in the following October (1879) a formal defensive alliance, which was avowedly directed against Russia, and which subsequently developed into the Triple Alliance, directed against Russia and France.
The causes of the rupture are variously described by the different parties interested. According to Bismarck the Russian government began a venomous campaign against Germany in the press, and collected, with apparently hostile intentions, enormous masses of troops near the German and Austrian frontiers, whilst the tsar adopted in his correspondence with the emperor William an arrogant and menacing tone which could not be tolerated. On the other hand, the Russians declare that the so-called Press-Campaign was merely the spontaneous public expression of the prevailing disappointment among all classes in Russia, that the military preparations had a purely defensive character, and that the tsar’s remarks, which roused Bismarck’s ire, did not transgress the limits of friendly expostulation such as sovereigns in close friendly relations might naturally employ. Subsequent revelations tend rather to confirm the Russian view. After an exhausting war and without a single powerful ally, Russia was not likely to provoke wantonly a great war with Germany and Austria. The press attacks were not more violent than those which frequently appear in newspapers which draw their inspiration from the German foreign office, and the accusations about the arrogant attitude and menacing tone of Alexander II. are not at all in harmony with his known character, and are refuted by the documents since published by Dr Busch. The truth seems to be that the self-willed chancellor was actuated by nervous irritation and personal feeling more than by considerations of statecraft. His imperial master was not convinced by his arguments, and showed great reluctance to permit the conclusion of a separate treaty with Austria. Finally, with much searching of heart, he yielded to the importunity of his minister; but in thus committing an unfriendly act towards his old ally, he so softened the blow that the personal good relations between the two sovereigns suffered merely a momentary interruption. Bismarck himself soon recognized that the permanent estrangement of Russia would be a grave mistake of policy, and the very next year (1880), negotiations for a treaty of defensive alliance between the two cabinets were begun. Nor did the accession to the throne of Russia of Alexander III., who had long enjoyed the reputation of being systematically hostile to Germans, produce a rupture, as was expected. Six months after his father’s death, the young tsar met the old kaiser at Danzig (September 1881), and some progress was made towards a complete renewal of the traditional friendship. Immediately afterwards a further step was taken towards re-establishing the old state of things with regard also to Austria. On his return to St Petersburg, Alexander III. remembered that he had received some time previously a telegram of congratulation from the emperor Francis Joseph, and he now replied to it very cordially, referring to the meeting at Danzig, and describing the emperor William as “that venerable friend with whom we are united in the common bonds of a profound affection.” The words foreshadowed a revival of the Three Emperors’ League, which actually took place three years later.
The removal of all immediate danger of a Franco-Russian
alliance did not prevent Bismarck from strengthening in other
ways the diplomatic position of Germany, and the
result of his efforts soon became apparent in the alliance
of Italy with the two central powers. Ever since the
Growth of the
Triple Alliance. Franco-German War of 1870–71, and more especially since the congress of Berlin in 1878, the Italian government had shown itself restless and undecided in its foreign policy. As it was to France that Italy owed her emancipation from Austrian rule, it seemed natural that the two countries should remain allies, but anything like cordial co-operation was prevented by conflicting interests and hostile feeling. The French did not consider the acquisition of Savoy and Nice a sufficient compensation for the assistance they had given to the cause of Italian unity, and they did not know, or did not care to remember, that their own government was greatly to blame for the passive attitude of Italy in the hour of their great national misfortunes. On the other hand, a considerable amount of bitterness against France had been gradually accumulating in the hearts of the Italians. As far back as the end of the war of 1859, popular opinion had been freely expressed against Napoleon III., because he had failed to keep his promise of liberating Italy “from the Alps to the Adriatic.” The feeling was revived and intensified when it became known that he was opposing the annexation of central and southern Italy, and that he obtained Savoy and Nice as the price of partly withdrawing his opposition. Subsequently, in the war of 1866, he was supposed to have insulted Italy by making her conclude peace with Austria, on the basis of the cession of Venetia, before she could wipe out the humiliation of her defeats at Custozza and Lissa. Then came the French protection of the pope’s temporal power as a constant source of irritation, producing occasional explosions of violent hostility, as when the new Chassepot rifles were announced to have “worked wonders” among the Garibaldians at Mentana. When the Second Empire was replaced by the Republic, the relations did not improve. French statesmen of the Thiers school had always condemned the imperial policy of permitting and even encouraging the creation of large, powerful states on the French frontiers, and Thiers himself publicly attributed to this policy the misfortunes of his country. With regard to Italy, he said openly that he regretted what had been done, though he had no intention of undoing it. The first part of this statement was carefully noted in Italy, and the latter part was accepted with scepticism. In any case his hand might perhaps be forced, for in the first republican chamber the monarchical and clerical element was very strong, and it persistently attempted to get something done in favour of the temporal power. Even when the party of the Left undertook the direction of affairs in 1876, the government did not become anti-clerical in its foreign policy, and Italian statesmen resigned themselves to a position of political isolation. The position had its advantages. Events in the Balkan Peninsula foreshadowed a great European war, and it seemed that in the event of Europe’s being divided into two hostile camps, Italy might have the honour and the advantage of regulating the balance of power. By maintaining good relations with all her neighbours and carefully avoiding all inconvenient entanglements, she might come forward at the critical moment and dictate her own terms to either of the contending parties, or offer her services to the highest bidder. This Machiavellian policy did not give the expected results. Being friends with everybody in a general way may be the best course for an old, conservative country which desires merely the maintenance of the status quo, but it does not secure the energetic diplomatic support required by a young enterprising state which wishes to increase its territory and influence. At the congress of Berlin, when several of the powers got territorial acquisitions, Italy got nothing. The Italians, who were in the habit of assuming, almost as a matter of principle, that from all European complications they had a right to obtain some tangible advantage, were naturally disappointed, and they attributed their misfortune to their political isolation. The policy of the free hand consequently fell into disrepute, and the desire for a close, efficient alliance revived. But with what power or powers should an alliance be made? The remnants of the old party of action, who still carried the Italia Irredenta banner, had an answer ready. They recommended that alliances should be concluded with a view to wresting from Austria the Trentino and Trieste, with Dalmatia, perhaps, into the bargain. On the other hand, the Conservatives and the Moderates considered that the question of the Trentino and Trieste was much less important than that of political influence in the Mediterranean. A strong Austria was required, it was said, to bar the way of Russia to the Adriatic, and France must not be allowed to pursue unchecked her policy of transforming the Mediterranean into a French lake. Considerations of this kind led naturally to the conclusion that Italy should draw closer to the powers of central Europe. So the question appeared from the standpoint of “la haute politique.” From the less elevated standpoint of immediate political interests, it presented conflicting considerations. A rapprochement with the central powers might prevent the conclusion of a commercial treaty with France, and thereby increase the financial and economic difficulties with which the young kingdom was struggling, whereas a rapprochement with France would certainly excite the hostility of Bismarck, who was retiring from the Kulturkampf and journeying towards Canossa, and who might possibly conciliate the pope by helping him to recover his temporal sovereignty at the expense of Italy. Altogether the problem was a very complicated one. The conflicting currents so nearly balanced each other, that the question as to which way the ship would drift might be decided by a little squall of popular sentiment. A very big squall was brewing.
During the congress of Berlin the French government was very indignant when it discovered that Lord Beaconsfield had recently made a secret convention with the sultan for the British occupation of Cyprus, and in order to calm its resentment Lord Salisbury gave M. Waddington France and Tunis. to understand that, so far as England was concerned, France would be allowed a free hand in the Regency of Tunis, which she had long coveted. Though the conversations on the subject and a subsequent exchange of notes were kept strictly secret, the Italian government soon got wind of the affair, and it was at first much alarmed. It considered, in common with Italians generally, that Tunis, on the ground of historic right and of national interests, should be reserved for Italy, and that an extension of French territory in that direction would destroy, to the detriment of Italy, the balance of power in the Mediterranean. These apprehensions were calmed for a time by assurances given to the Italian ambassador in Paris. M. Gambetta assured General Cialdini that he had no intention of making Italy an irreconcilable enemy of France, and M. Waddington declared, on his word of honour, that so long as he remained minister of foreign affairs nothing of the sort would be done by France without a previous understanding with the cabinet of Rome. M. Waddington honourably kept his word, but his successor did not consider himself bound by the assurance; and when it was found that the Italians were trying systematically to establish their influence in the Regency at the expense of France, the French authorities, on the ground that a Tunisian tribe called the Kroumirs had committed depredations in Algeria, sent an armed force into the Regency, and imposed on the bey the Bardo treaty, which transformed Tunis into a French protectorate.
The establishment of a French protectorate over a country which the Italians had marked out for themselves as necessary for the defence and colonial expansion of the kingdom had the effect which Gambetta had foreseen—it made Italy, for a time at least, the irreconcilable enemy of France. Whilst the French were giving free expression to their patriotic exultation, and even Gambetta himself, in defiance of what he had said to Cialdini, was congratulating Jules Ferry on having restored France to her place among the nations, the Italians were trying to smother their indignation and to discover some means of retrieving what they had lost. The only remedy seemed to be to secure foreign alliances, and there was now no hesitation as to where they should be sought. Simple people in Italy imagined that if an alliance had been concluded sooner with Germany and Austria, these powers would have prevented France from trampling on the sacred interests of Italy. This idea was entirely erroneous, because Austria had little or no interest in the Tunisian Question, and Bismarck was not at all sorry to see France embark on an enterprise which distracted her attention from Alsace-Lorraine and removed all danger of a Franco-Italian alliance. The illusion, however, had a powerful influence on Italian public opinion. The government was now urged to conclude without further delay an alliance with the central powers, and the recommendation was not unwelcome to the king, because most of the Italian Gallophils had anti-dynastic and republican tendencies, and he was naturally disposed to draw nearer to governments which proclaimed themselves the defenders of monarchical institutions and the opponents of revolutionary agitation. After protracted negotiations, in which Italy tried in vain to secure protection for her own separate interests in the Mediterranean, defensive treaties of alliance were concluded with the cabinets of Vienna Triple Alliance signed 1882. and Berlin in May 1882. Though the Italian statesmen did not secure by these treaties all they wanted, they felt that the kingdom was protected against any aggressive designs which might be entertained by France or the Vatican, and when the treaties were renewed in 1887 they succeeded in getting somewhat more favourable conditions.
By the creation of this Triple Alliance, which still subsists, the diplomatic position of Germany was greatly strengthened, but Bismarck was still haunted by the apprehension of a Franco-Russian alliance, and he made repeated attempts to renew the old cordial relations with the court of St Petersburg. He was bold enough to hope that, notwithstanding the Austro-German treaty of October 1879, avowedly directed against Russia, and the new Triple Alliance, by which the Austro-German Alliance was strengthened, he might resuscitate the Three Emperors’ League in such a form as to ensure, even more effectually than he had done on the former occasion, the preponderance of Germany in the arrangement. With this object he threw out a hint to the Russian ambassador, M. Sabourof, in the summer of 1883, that the evil results of the congress of Berlin might be counteracted by a formal agreement between the three emperors. The suggestion was transmitted privately by M. Sabourof to the tsar, and was favourably received. Alexander III. was disquieted by the continuance of the Nihilist agitation, and was not averse from drawing closer to the conservative powers; and as he desired tranquillity for some time in the Balkan Peninsula, he was glad to have security that his rival would do nothing in that part of the world without a previous understanding. M. de Giers, who had now succeeded Prince Gorchakov in the direction of foreign affairs, was accordingly despatched to Friedrichsruh to discuss the subject with Bismarck. The practical result of the meeting was that negotiations between the two governments were begun, and on the 21st of March 1884 a formal document was signed in Berlin. About six months later, in the month of September, the three emperors met at Skiernevice and ratified Dreikaiserbund revived 1884. the agreement. Thus, without any modification of the Triple Alliance, which was directed against Russia, the old Three Emperors’ League, which included Russia, was revived. Germany and Austria, being members of both, were doubly protected, for in the event of being attacked they could count on at least the benevolent neutrality of both Russia and Italy. France was thereby completely isolated.
In drawing up the secret treaty of Skiernevice, which may be regarded as the chef-d’œuvre of Bismarckian diplomacy, the German chancellor’s chief aims evidently were to paralyse Russia by yoking her to Germany and Austria, to isolate France, and to realize his old scheme of holding the balance between Russia and Austria in the Balkan Peninsula. With a view to attaining the first two objects it was stipulated that if any one of the three powers were forced to make war on a fourth power, the two other contracting parties should observe a benevolent neutrality towards their ally. If we may believe a well-informed Russian authority, Bismarck wished it to be understood that in the event of two of the powers being at war with a fourth, the stipulation about benevolent neutrality should still hold good, but Alexander III. objected, on the ground that he could not remain a passive spectator of a duel in which France would be confronted by two antagonists. In his third object Bismarck was successful, for it was expressly laid down that in all cases of a disagreement between two of the parties in the affairs of the Balkan Peninsula, the third power should decide between them. This meant, of course, that in all discussions between Russia and Austria, the two great rivals in the Eastern Question, Bismarck should always have a casting vote. In return for all this, Russia obtained two small concessions: firstly, that Germany and Austria should seek to restrain the sultan from permitting the passage of the Dardanelles to an English fleet, as he had done in 1878, when the Russian army was before Constantinople; and, secondly, that they should not oppose the union of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia, if it was accomplished by the force of things and within the limits traced by the congress of Berlin.
This new form of the Three Emperors’ League had all the organic defects of its predecessor, and was destined to be still more short-lived. The claims of Russia and Austria might be reconcilable in theory, but in practice they were sure to conflict; and however much Bismarck might try to play the part of an honest broker, he was certain to be suspected of opposing Russia and favouring Austria. It was therefore only during a period of political stagnation in south-eastern Europe that the arrangement could work smoothly. The political stagnation did not last long. Prince Alexander of Bulgaria had for some time been fretting under the high-handed interference of the Russian agents in the principality, and had begun to oppose systematically what the Russians considered their legitimate influence. Relations between Sofia and St Petersburg had Bulgarian crisis. consequently become strained, when a crisis was suddenly brought about by the revolution of Philippopolis in September 1885. The conspirators arrested and expelled the governor-general, who had been appointed by the sultan with the assent of the powers, and at the same time proclaimed the union of the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia with the principality of Bulgaria, in defiance of the stipulations of the treaty of Berlin. The revolution had been effected with the connivance and approval of the regularly accredited Russian agents in Philippopolis, but it had not received the sanction of the Russian government, and was resented as a new act of insubordination on the part of Prince Alexander. When he arrived in Philippopolis and accepted the declaration of union, the cabinet of St Petersburg protested against any such infraction of the Berlin treaty, and the Porte prepared to send an army into the province. It was restrained from taking this step by the ambassadors in Constantinople, so that an armed conflict between Turks and Bulgarians was prevented; but no sooner had the Bulgarians been relieved from this danger on their eastern frontier, than they were attacked from the west by the Servians, who were determined to get ample compensation for any advantage which the Bulgarians might obtain. The Bulgarian army defeated the Servians at Slivnitza (November 19–20, 1885), and was marching on Belgrade when its advance was stopped and an armistice arranged by the energetic intervention of the Austrian government. Following the example of the Servians, the Greeks were preparing to exact territorial compensation likewise; but as their mobilization was a slow process, the powers had time to restrain them from entering on active hostilities, first by an ultimatum (April 26, 1886), and afterwards by a blockade of their ports (May 1886). By that time, thanks to the intervention of the powers, a peace between Bulgaria and Servia had been signed at Bucharest (March 3); and with regard to Eastern Rumelia a compromise had been effected by which the formal union with the principality was rejected, and the prince was appointed governor-general of the province for a term of five years. This was in reality union in disguise.
The diplomatic solution of the problem averted the danger of a European war, but it left a great deal of dissatisfaction, which soon produced new troubles. Not only had Prince Alexander escaped punishment for his insubordination to Russia, but he and the anti-Russian party among the Bulgarians had obtained a decided success. This could not well be tolerated. Before six months had passed (August 21, 1886) Prince Alexander was kidnapped by conspirators in his palace at Sofia and conveyed secretly to Russian Bessarabia. As soon as the incident was reported to the tsar, the prince was released, and he at once returned to Sofia, where a counter-revolution had been effected in his favour; but he considered his position untenable, and formally abdicated. A fortnight after his departure General Kaulbars arrived from St Petersburg with instructions from the tsar to restore order in accordance with Russian interests. In St Petersburg it was supposed that the Bulgarian people were still devoted to Russia, and that they were ready to rise against and expel the politicians of the Nationalist party led by Stambolof. General Kaulbars accordingly made a tour in the country and delivered speeches to the assembled multitudes, but Stambolof’s political organization counteracted all his efforts, and on the 20th of November he left Bulgaria and took the Russian consuls with him. Stambolof maintained his position, suppressed energetically several insurrectionary movements, and succeeded in getting Prince Ferdinand of Coburg elected prince (July 7, 1887), in spite of the opposition of Russia, who put forward as candidate a Russian subject, Prince Nicholas of Mingrelia. Prince Ferdinand was not officially recognized by the sultan and the powers, but he continued to reign under the direction of Stambolof, and the Russian government, passively accepting the accomplished facts, awaited patiently a more convenient moment for action.
These events in the Balkan Peninsula necessarily affected the mutual relations of the powers composing the Three Emperors’ League. Austria could not remain a passive and disinterested spectator of the action of Russia in Bulgaria. Her agents had given a certain amount of support to Prince Alexander in his efforts to emancipate himself from Russian domination; and when the prince was kidnapped and induced to abdicate, Count Kalnoky had not concealed his intention of opposing further aggression. Bismarck resisted the pressure brought to bear on him from several quarters in favour of the anti-Russian party in Bulgaria, but he was suspected by the Russians of siding with Russian hostility to Germany. Austria and secretly encouraging the opposition to Russian influence. This revived the hatred against him which had been created by his pro-Austrian leanings after the Russo-Turkish War. The feeling was assiduously fomented by the Russian press, especially by M. Katkoff, the editor of the Moscow Gazette, who exercised great influence on public opinion and had personal relations with Alexander III. On the 31st of July 1886, three weeks before the kidnapping of Prince Alexander, he had begun a regular journalistic campaign against Germany, and advocated strongly a new orientation of Russian policy. M. de Giers, minister of foreign affairs, was openly attacked as a partisan of the German alliance, and his “pilgrimages to Friedrichsruh and Berlin” were compared to the humiliating journeys of the old Russian grand-princes to the Golden Horde in the time of the Tatar domination. The moment had come, it was said, for Russia to emancipate herself from German diplomatic thraldom, and for this purpose a rapprochement with France was suggested. The idea was well received by the public, and it seemed to be not unpalatable to the tsar, for the Moscow Gazette was allowed to continue its attacks on M. de Giers’s policy of maintaining the German alliance. In Berlin such significant facts could not fail to produce uneasiness, because one of the chief aims of Bismarck’s policy had always been to prevent a Russo-French entente cordiale. The German press were instructed to refute the arguments of their Russian colleagues, and to prove that if Russia had really lost her influence in the Balkan Peninsula, the fact was due to the blunders of her own diplomacy. The controversy did not produce at once a serious estrangement between the two cabinets, but it marked the beginning of a period of vacillation on the part of Alexander III. When the treaty of Skiernevice was about to expire in 1887, he positively refused to renew the Three Emperors’ League, but he consented to make, without the cognizance of Austria, a secret treaty of alliance with Germany for three years. Not satisfied with this guarantee against the danger of a Franco-Russian alliance, Bismarck caused attacks to be made in the press on Russian credit, which was rapidly gaining a footing on the Paris bourse, and he imprudently showed his hand by prohibiting the Reichsbank from accepting Russian securities as guarantees. From that moment the tsar’s attitude changed. All his dormant suspicions of German policy revived. When he passed through Berlin in November 1887, Bismarck had a long audience, in which he defended himself with his customary ability, but Alexander remained unmoved in his conviction that the German government had systematically opposed Russian interests, and had paralysed Russian action in the Balkan Peninsula for the benefit of Austria; and he failed to understand the ingenious theory put forward by the German chancellor, that two powers might have a severe economic struggle without affecting their political relations. Bismarck had to recognize that, for the moment at least, the Three Emperors’ League, which had served his purposes so well, could not be resuscitated, but he had still a certain security against the hostility of Russia in the secret treaty. Soon, however, this link was also to be broken. When the treaty expired in 1890 it was not renewed. By that time Bismarck had been dismissed, and he subsequently reproached his successor, Count Caprivi, with not having renewed it, but in reality Count Caprivi was not to blame. Alexander III. was determined not to renew the alliance, and was already gravitating slowly towards an understanding with France.
No treaty or formal defensive engagement of any kind existed between Russia and France, but it was already tolerably certain that in the event of a great war the two nations would be found fighting on the same side, and the military Franco-Russian entente. authorities in both countries felt that if no arrangements were made beforehand for concerted action,—such arrangements having been long ago completed by the powers composing the Triple Alliance—they would begin the campaign at a great disadvantage. This was perfectly understood by both governments; and after some hesitation on both sides. Generals Vannovski and Obruchev, on the one side, and Generals Saussier, Miribel and Boisdeffre on the other, were permitted to discuss plans of co-operation. At the same time a large quantity of Lebel rifles were manufactured in France for the Russian army, and the secret of making smokeless powder was communicated to the Russian military authorities. The French government wished to go further and conclude a defensive alliance, but the tsar was reluctant to bind himself with a government which had so little stability, and which might be induced to provoke a war with Germany by the prospect of Russian support. Even the military convention was not formally ratified until 1894. The enthusiastic partisans of the alliance flattered themselves that the tsar’s reluctance had been overcome, when he received very graciously Admiral Gervais and his officers during the visit of the French fleet to Cronstadt in the summer of 1891, but their joy was premature. The formal rapprochement between the two governments was much slower than the unofficial rapprochement between the two nations. More than two years passed before the Cronstadt visit was returned by the Russian fleet, under Admiral Avelan. The enthusiastic ovations which the admiral and his subordinates received in Toulon and Paris (October 1893) showed how eager and anxious the French people were for an alliance with Russia, but the Russian government was in no hurry to gratify their wishes. Of the official action all we know with certainty is, that immediately after the Cronstadt visit in 1891 a diplomatic protocol about a defensive alliance was signed; that during the special mission of General Boisdeffre to St Petersburg in 1892 negotiations took place about a military convention; that in 1894 the military convention was ratified; that in the summer of 1895 M. Ribot, when prime minister, first spoke publicly of an alliance; and that during the visit of the president of the French Republic to St Petersburg, in August 1897, France and Russia were referred to as allies in the complimentary speeches of the tsar and of M. Félix Faure. Though we are still in the dark as to the precise terms of the arrangement, there is no doubt that close friendly relations were established between the two powers, and that in all important international affairs they sought to act in accord with each other. It is equally certain that for some years Russia was the predominant partner, and that, in accordance with the pacific tendencies of the tsar, she systematically exercised a restraining influence on France.
The great expectations excited among the French people by the entente cordiale were consequently not realized, and there appeared gradually premonitory symptoms of a reaction in public opinion, but the alliance between the two governments was maintained, and though the The Triple entente and the Triple Alliance. Triple Alliance was weakened by the internal troubles of Austria-Hungary and by a tendency on the part of Italy to gravitate towards France, the grouping of the great powers was not radically changed till the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–5. By that war the balance of power in Europe was seriously disturbed. Russia inadvertently provoked a struggle with Japan which made such a drain on her energies and material resources that her political influence in Europe necessarily suffered a partial eclipse. Thus the Triple Alliance outweighed its rival, and there was a danger of the German emperor’s taking advantage of the situation to secure for himself a diplomatic predominance in Europe. France at once perceived that there was a grave danger for herself, and naturally looked about for some diplomatic support to replace that of Russia, which had lost much of its value. From her uncomfortable isolation there were only two possible exits—a rapprochement with Germany or a rapprochement with England. Both of these demanded sacrifices. The former required a formal abandonment of all ideas of recovering Alsace and Lorraine; the latter a formal recognition of British predominance in Egypt. Under the influence of M. Delcassé the French government chose what seemed the lesser of two evils, and concluded with the English foreign office in April 1904 a general agreement, of which the most important stipulation was that France should leave England a free hand in Egypt, and that England in return should allow France, within certain limits, a free hand in Morocco. On that basis was effected a rapprochement between the two governments which soon developed into an entente cordiale between the two nations. The efforts of the German emperor to undermine the entente by insisting on the convocation of a conference to consider the Morocco question caused M. Delcassé to resign, and produced considerable anxiety throughout Europe, but the desired result was not attained. On the contrary, the conference in question, which met at Algeciras in January 1906, ended in strengthening the entente and in accentuating the partial isolation of Germany.
The grouping of the great continental states into two opposite but not necessarily hostile camps helped to preserve the balance of power and the peace of Europe. The result was that the causes of conflict which arose from time to time up to the end of the 19th century were localized. Some of the principal questions involved may be more particularly mentioned.
The Armenian Question was brought prominently before Europe by the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. In the treaties of San Stefano and Berlin the Sublime Porte undertook “to carry out without delay the ameliorations and reforms required by local needs in the provinces inhabited by the Armenians, and to Armenia. guarantee their security against the Circassians and the Kurds.” This stipulation remained a dead letter, and the relations between the Armenians and the Mussulmans became worse than before, because the protection of the powers encouraged in the oppressed nationality far-reaching political aspirations, and the sultan regarded the political aspirations and the intervention of the powers as dangerous for the integrity and independence of his empire. For some fifteen years the Armenians continued to hope for the efficacious intervention of their protectors, but when their patience became exhausted and the question seemed in danger of being forgotten, they determined to bring it again to the front. Some of them confined themselves to agitating abroad, especially in England, in favour of the cause, whilst others made preparations for exciting an insurrectionary movement in Constantinople and Asia Minor. These latter knew very well that an insurrection could be suppressed by the Turkish government without much difficulty, but they hoped that the savage measures of repression which the Turks were sure to employ might lead to the active intervention of Europe and ensure their liberation from Turkish rule, as the famous “atrocities” of 1876 had led to the political emancipation of Bulgaria. In due course—1895–1896—the expected atrocities took place, in the form of wholesale massacres in Constantinople and various towns of Asia Minor. The sultan was subjected to diplomatic pressure and threatened with more efficient means of coercion. In the diplomatic campaign England took the lead, and was warmly supported by Italy, but Germany, Austria and France showed themselves lukewarm, not to say indifferent, and Russia, departing from her traditional policy of protecting the Christians of Turkey, vetoed the employment of force for extracting concessions from the sultan. In these circumstances the Porte naturally confined itself to making a few reforms on paper, which were never carried out. Thus the last state of the Armenians was worse than the first, but the so-called European concert was maintained, and the danger of a great European war was averted.
The next attempt to raise the Eastern Question was made by the Greeks. In 1896 a semi-secret society called the Ethniké Hetairia began a Panhellenic agitation, and took advantage of one of the periodical insurrections in Crete to further its projects. In February 1897 the Cretan Crete. revolutionary committee proclaimed the annexation of the island to the Hellenic kingdom, and a contingent of Greek regular troops landed near Canea under the command of Colonel Vassos to take possession of the island in the name of King George. The powers, objecting to this arbitrary proceeding, immediately occupied Canea with a mixed force from the ships of war which were there at the time, and summoned the Greek government to withdraw its troops. The summons was disregarded, and the whole of the Greek army was mobilized on the frontier of Thessaly and Epirus. In consequence of a raid into Turkish territory the Porte declared war on the 17th of April, and the short campaign ended in the defeat of the Greeks. The powers intervened to put an end to the hostilities, and after prolonged negotiations a peace was concluded by which Greece had to consent to a strategical rectification of frontier and to pay a war indemnity of £4,000,000. Thus a second time the European concert acted effectually in the interests of peace, but it did not stand the strain of the subsequent efforts to solve the Cretan Question. Finding the Turks less conciliatory after their military success, and being anxious to remain in cordial relations with the Porte, Germany withdrew from further co-operation with the powers, and Austria followed her example. They did not, however, offer any active opposition, and the question received a temporary solution by the appointment of Prince George, second son of the king of Greece, as high commissioner and governor-general of the island. (See Crete.)
The conflicting desires of several of the powers to obtain colonial possessions in various parts of the world, and to forestall their competitors in the act of taking possession, were bound to introduce complications in which England, as the greatest of colonial powers, would generally be involved; and as the unappropriated portions of the earth’s surface at the beginning Africa. of the period under discussion were to be found chiefly in Africa, it was in the Dark Continent that the conflicts of interests mostly took place. England’s chief competitors were France and Germany. Her traditional policy, except in the south of the continent, where the conditions of soil and climate were favourable to European colonists, had been purely commercial. She had refrained from annexation of territory, as involving too much expenditure and responsibility, and confined her protection to the trading stations on the coast. When France came into the field this policy had to be abandoned. The policy of France was also commercial in a certain sense, but the methods she adopted were very different. She endeavoured to bring under her authority, by annexation or the establishment of protectorates, the largest possible extent of territory, in order to increase her trade by a system of differential tariffs; she encroached on the hinterland of British settlements, and endeavoured to direct artificially the native inland trade towards her own ports. A glance at the map of the African West Coast will suffice to show the success with which this policy was carried out. When the British government awoke to the danger, all that could be done was to prevent further encroachments by likewise annexing territory. The result is shown in the article Africa: § 5. In her dealings with France about the partition of Africa, England was generally conciliatory, but she was always inflexible in guarding carefully the two entrances to the Mediterranean. There was, therefore, a permanent danger of conflict in Egypt and Morocco. When England in 1882 considered it necessary to suppress the Arabi insurrection, she invited France to co-operate, but the French government declined, and left the work to be done by England alone. England had no intention of occupying the country permanently, but she had to take precautions against the danger of French occupation after her withdrawal, and these precautions were embodied in an Anglo-Turkish convention signed at Constantinople in May 1887. France prevented the ratification of the convention by the sultan, with the result that the British occupation has been indefinitely prolonged. She still clung persistently, however, to the hope of obtaining a predominant position in the valley of the Nile, and she tried to effect her purpose by gaining a firm foothold on the upper course of the river. The effort which she made in 1898 to attain this end, by simultaneously despatching the Marchand mission from her Congo possessions and inciting the emperor Menelek of Abyssinia to send a force from the east to join hands with Major Marchand at Fashoda, was defeated by the overthrow of the Khalifa and the British occupation of Khartum. For a few days the two nations seemed on the brink of war, but the French government, receiving no encouragement from St Petersburg, consented to withdraw the Marchand mission, and a convention was signed defining the respective spheres of influence of the two countries.
In Morocco the rivalry between the two powers was less acute but not less persistent and troublesome. France aspired to incorporate the sultanate with her north African possessions, whilst England had commercial interests to defend and was firmly resolved to prevent France from getting unfettered possession of the southern coast of the Straits of Gibraltar. As in Egypt, so in Morocco the dangers of conflict were averted, in 1904, by a general agreement, which enabled France to carry out in Morocco, as far as England was concerned, her policy of pacific penetration, but debarred her from erecting fortifications in the vicinity of the straits. Germany thereafter strongly opposed French claims in Morocco, but after a period of great tension, and the holding of an ineffectual conference at Algeciras in 1906, an understanding was come to in 1909 (see Morocco: History).
With Germany likewise, from 1880 onwards, England had some diplomatic difficulties regarding the partition of Africa, but they never reached a very acute phase, and were ultimately settled by mutual concessions. By the arrangement of 1890, in which several of the outstanding questions were solved, Heligoland was ceded to Germany in return for concessions in East Africa. A conflict of interests in the southern Pacific was amicably arranged by the Anglo-German convention of April 1886, in which a line of demarcation was drawn between the respective spheres of influence in the islands to the north and east of the Australian continent, and by the convention of 1899, in virtue of which Germany gained possession of Samoa and renounced in favour of England all pretensions to the Tonga Archipelago.
In Asia the tendencies of the European powers to territorial expansion, and their desire to secure new markets for their trade and industry, have affected from time to time their mutual relations. More than once England and Russia have had disputes about the limits of their respective spheres of Asia. influence in central Asia, but the causes of friction have steadily diminished as the work of frontier delimitation has advanced. The important agreement of 1872–1873 was supplemented by the protocol of the 22nd of July 1887 and the Pamir delimitation of 1895, so that the Russo-Afghan frontier, which is the dividing line between the Russian and British spheres of influence, has now been carried right up to the frontier of the Chinese empire. The delimitation of the English and French spheres of influence in Asia has also progressed. In 1885 France endeavoured to get a footing on the Upper Irrawaddy, the hinterland of British Burma, and England replied in the following year by annexing the dominions of King Thebaw, including the Shan States as far east as the Mekong. Thereupon France pushed her Indo-Chinese frontier westwards, and in 1893 made an attack on the kingdom of Siam, which very nearly brought about a conflict with England. After prolonged negotiations an arrangement was reached and embodied in a formal treaty (January 1896), which clearly foreshadows a future partition between the two powers, but guarantees the independence of the central portion of the kingdom, the Valley of the Menam, as a buffer-state. Farther north, in eastern China, the aggressive tendencies and mutual rivalries of the European powers have produced a problem of a much more complicated kind. Firstly Germany, then Russia, next England, and finally France took portions of Chinese territory, under the thin disguise of long leases. They thereby excited in the Chinese population and government an intense anti-foreign feeling, which produced the Boxer movement and culminated in the attack on the foreign legations at Pekin in the summer of 1900. (See China: History.)
In 1899–1901 the relations of the European powers were disturbed by the Boer War in South Africa. In nearly every country of Europe popular feeling was much excited against England, and in certain influential quarters the idea was entertained of utilizing this feeling for the formation of a coalition against the British empire; but in view of the decided attitude assumed by the British government, and the loyal enthusiasm displayed by the colonies, no foreign government ventured to take the initiative of intervention, and it came gradually to be recognized that no European state had any tangible interest in prolonging the independence and maladministration of the Boer republics.
One permanent factor in the history of Europe after the war of 1870–71 was the constant increase of armaments by all the great powers, and the proportionate increase of taxation. The fact made such an impression on the young emperor of Russia, Nicholas II., that he invited the powers to consider whether the further increase of the burdens thereby imposed on the nations might not be arrested by mutual agreement; and a conference for this purpose was convened at the Hague (May 18-July 29, 1899), but the desirable object in view was not attained. (See Arbitration, International.) (D. M. W.)
Though neither the first Hague Conference nor the second, which met in 1907, did much to fulfil the expectations of those who hoped for the establishment of a system which should guarantee the world against the disasters of war, they undoubtedly tended to create a strong public Progress of the Peace movement. opinion in favour of peaceful methods in the solution of international problems which has not been without its effect. Any attempt to organize the concert of the powers must always fail, as it failed in the early part of the 19th century, so long as the spirit of national and racial rivalry is stronger than the consciousness of common interests; and the early years of the 20th century showed no diminution, but rather an accentuation of this rivalry. The court of arbitration established at the Hague early in 1901 may deal effectively with questions as to which both parties desire a modus vivendi, and the pacific efforts of King Edward VII., which did so much to prevent misunderstandings likely to lead to war, resulted from 1903 onwards in a series of arbitration treaties between Great Britain and other powers which guaranteed the Hague court an effective activity in such matters. But more perilous issues, involving deep-seated antagonisms, have continued to be dealt with by the methods of the old diplomacy backed by the armed force of the powers. How far the final solution of such problems has been helped or hindered by the general reluctance to draw the sword must for some time to come remain an open question. Certainly, during the early years of the 20th century, many causes of difference which a hundred years earlier would assuredly have led to war, were settled, or at least shelved, by diplomacy. Of these the questions of Crete, of Armenia, and of contested claims in Africa have already been mentioned. Other questions of general interest which might have led to war, but which found a peaceful solution, were those of the separation of Norway and Sweden, and the rivalry of the powers in the northern seas. In October 1905 Sweden formally recognized the separate existence of Norway (see Norway: History and Sweden: History). On the 23rd of April 1908 were signed the “Declarations”; the one, signed by the four Baltic littoral powers, recognized “in principle” the maintenance of the territorial status quo in that sea; the other—to which Great Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Holland were the parties—sanctioned a similar principle in regard to the North Sea. These were followed, in June of the same year, by two agreements intended to apply the same principles to the southern European waters, signed by France and Spain and Great Britain and Spain respectively. Another agreement, that signed between Russia and Great Britain in 1907 for the delimitation of their spheres of influence in Persia and the northern borders of the Indian empire, though having no direct relation to European affairs, exercised considerable influence upon them by helping to restore the international prestige of Russia, damaged by the disasters of the war with Japan and the internal disturbances that followed. The new cordial understanding between the British and Russian governments was cemented by the meeting of King Edward VII. and the emperor Nicholas II. at Reval in June 1908.
More perilous to European peace, however, than any of these issues was the perennial unrest in Macedonia, which threatened sooner or later to open up the whole Eastern Question once more in its acutest form. The situation was due Revival of the Eastern Question. to the internecine struggle of the rival Balkan races—Greek, Bulgarian, Servian—to secure the right to the reversion of territories not yet derelict. But behind these lesser issues loomed the great secular rivalries of the powers, and beyond these again the vast unknown forces of the Mahommedan world, ominously stirring. The very vastness of the perils involved in any attempt at a definitive settlement compelled the powers to accept a compromise which, it was hoped, would restore tolerable conditions in the wretched country. But the “Mürzsteg programme,” concerted between the Austrian and Russian emperors in 1903, and imposed upon the Porte by the diplomatic pressure of the great powers, did not produce the effects hoped for. The hideous tale of massacres of helpless villagers by organized Greek bands, and of equally hideous, if less wholesale, reprisals by Bulgarian bands, grew rather than diminished, and reached its climax in the early months of 1908. The usefulness of the new gendarmerie, under European officers, which was to have co-operated with the Ottoman authorities in the restoration of order, was from the outset crippled by the passive obstruction of the Turkish government. The sultan, indeed, could hardly be blamed for watching with a certain cynical indifference the mutual slaughter of those “Christians” whose avowed ideal was the overthrow of Mahommedan rule, nor could he be expected to desire the smooth working of a system against which he had protested as a violation of his sovereign rights. In 1908 the powers were still united in bringing pressure to bear on the Porte to make the reforms effective; but the proposal of Great Britain to follow the precedent of the Lebanon and commit the administration of Macedonia to a Mussulman governor appointed by the sultan, but removable only by consent of the powers, met with little favour either at Constantinople or among the powers whose ulterior aims might have been hampered by such an arrangement.
Such was the condition of affairs when in October 1908 the revolution in Turkey altered the whole situation. The easy and apparently complete victory of the Young Turks, and the re-establishment without a struggle of the constitution Young Turkish revolution, 1908. which had been in abeyance since 1876, took the whole world by surprise, and not least those who believed themselves to be most intimately acquainted with the conditions prevailing in the Ottoman empire. The question of the Near East seemed in fair way of settlement by the action of conflicting races themselves, who in the enthusiasm of new-found freedom appeared ready to forget their ancient internecine feuds and to fraternize on the common ground of constitutional liberty (see Turkey: History). By the European powers the proclamation of the constitution was received, at least outwardly, with unanimous approval, general admiration being expressed for the singular moderation and self-restraint shown by the Turkish leaders and people. Whatever views, however, may have been openly expressed, or secretly held, as to the revolution so far as it affected the Ottoman empire itself, there could be no doubt that its effects on the general situation in European results. Europe would be profound. These effects were not slow in revealing themselves. On the 5th of October Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria proclaimed himself king (tsar) of the Bulgarians; and two days later the emperor Francis Joseph issued a rescript announcing the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Habsburg monarchy (see Bulgaria: History and Bosnia and Herzegovina: History). Whatever cogent reasons there may have been for altering the status of these countries in view of the changed conditions in Turkey, there could be no doubt that the method employed was a violation of the public law of Europe. By the declaration of London of 1871, to which Austria-Hungary herself had been a principal party, it had been laid down that “contracting powers could only rid themselves of their treaty engagements by an understanding with their co-signatories.” This solemn reaffirmation of a principle on which the whole imposing structure of international law had, during the 19th century, been laboriously built up was now cynically violated. The other powers, confronted with the fait accompli, protested; but the astute statesman who had staked his reputation as foreign minister of the Dual Monarchy on the success of this coup had well gauged the character and force of the opposition he would have to meet. European crisis provoked by Austria. Baron von Aehrenthal, himself more Slav than German, in spite of his name, had served a long apprenticeship in diplomacy at Belgrade and St Petersburg; he knew how fully he could rely upon the weakness of Russia, and that if Russian Pan-Slav sentiment could be cowed, he need fear nothing from the resentment of the Servians. He was strong, too, in the moral and—in case of need—the material support of Germany. With Germany behind her, Austria-Hungary had little to fear from the opposition of the powers of the triple entente, Great Britain, France and Russia. This diagnosis of the situation was justified by the event. For months, indeed, Europe seemed on the verge of a general war. During the autumn the nationalist excitement in Servia and Montenegro rose to fever-heat, and Austria responded by mobilizing her forces on the frontiers and arming the Catholic Bosnians as a precaution against a rising of their Orthodox countrymen. Only the winter seemed to stand between Europe and a war bound to become general, and men looked forward with apprehension to the melting of the snows. It is too early as yet to write the history of the diplomatic activities by which this disaster was avoided. Their general outline, however, is clear enough. The protests of Turkey at a violation of treaty rights, doubly resented as likely to damage the prestige of the new constitutional régime, were sympathetically received by the powers of the triple entente. An international conference was at once suggested as the only proper authority for carrying out any modifications of the treaty of Berlin necessitated by the new conditions in Turkey; the right of Austria-Hungary to act on her own initiative was strenuously denied; Bulgarian independence and Prince Ferdinand’s title of king were meantime refused recognition. In the assertion of these principles Great Britain, Russia and France were united. Germany, on the other hand, maintained an attitude of reserve, though diplomatically “correct”; she accepted the principle of a conference, but made her consent to its convocation conditional on that of her ally Austria-Hungary. But the latter refused to agree to any conference in which the questions at issue should be reopened; the most that she would accept was a conference summoned merely to register the fait accompli and to arrange “compensations” not territorial but financial.
For a while it seemed as though Baron Aehrenthal’s ambition had o’erleaped itself. The reluctance of the Russian government, conscious of its military and political weakness, to take extreme measures seemed likely to be overborne by the Pan-Slav enthusiasm of the Russian people, The German-Austrian victory. and the Austrian statesman’s policy to have placed him in an impasse from which it would be difficult to extricate himself, save at an expense greater than that on which he had calculated. At this point Germany, conscious throughout of holding the key to the situation, intervened with effect. Towards the end of March 1909 the German ambassador at St Petersburg, armed with an autograph letter from the emperor William II., had an interview with the tsar. What were the arguments he used is not known; but the most powerful are supposed to have been the German forces which had been mobilized on the Polish frontier. In any case, the result was immediate and startling. Russia, without previous discussion with her allies, dissociated herself from the views she had hitherto held in common with them, and accepted the German-Austrian standpoint. All question of a conference was now at an end; and all that the powers most friendly to Turkey could do was to persuade her to make the best of a bad bargain. The Ottoman government, preoccupied with the internal questions which were to issue in the abortive attempt at counter-revolution in April, was in no condition to resist friendly or unfriendly pressure. The principle of a money payment in compensation for the shadowy rights of the sultan over the lost provinces was accepted, and Bulgarian independence under King Ferdinand was recognized on the very eve of the new victory of the Young Turks which led to the deposition of Abd-ul-Hamid II. and the proclamation of Sultan Mahommed V. (see Turkey: History).
The change made by these events in the territorial system of Europe was of little moment. A subject principality, long practically independent, became a sovereign state; the Almanach de Gotha was enriched with a new royal title; the sentiment of the Bulgarian people was gratified by the Its moral. restoration of their historic tsardom. Two provinces long annexed to the Habsburg monarchy de facto became so de jure, and the vision of a Serb empire with a free outlet to the sea, never very practicable, was finally dissolved. Of vastly greater importance were the moral and international issues involved. The whole conception of an effective concert of Europe, or of the World, based on the supposed sacred obligation of treaties and the validity of international law, was revealed, suddenly and brutally, as the baseless fabric of a dream. The most momentous outcome of the international debates caused by Austria’s high-handed action was the complete triumph of Bismarck’s principle that treaties cease to be valid “when the private interest of those who lie under them no longer reinforces the text.” Henceforth, it was felt, no reaffirmation of a principle of international comity and law, so successfully violated, could serve to disguise the brutal truth that in questions between nations, in the long-run, might is right—that there is no middle term between the naked submission preached by Tolstoy and his disciples and Napoleon’s dictum that “Providence is with the big battalions.” In Great Britain, especially, public opinion was quick to grasp this truth. It was realized that it was the immense armed power of Germany that had made her the arbiter in a question vitally affecting the interests of all Europe. Germany alone emerged from the crisis with prestige enormously enhanced; for without her intervention Austria could not have resisted the pressure of the powers. The cry for disarmament, encouraged by the action of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman’s government, suddenly died down in England; and the agitation in favour of an increased ship-building programme, that followed the revelation by the first lord of the admiralty (April 1909) of Germany’s accelerated activity in naval construction, showed that public opinion had been thoroughly awakened to the necessity of maintaining for Great Britain her maritime supremacy, on which not only her position in Europe but the existence of her over-sea empire depended.
Bibliographical Note.—(1) Bibliographies.—Lists of the principal works on the history of the various European countries, and of their main sources, are given in the bibliographies attached to the separate articles (see also those appended to the articles Papacy; Church History; Diplomacy; Crusades; Feudalism, &c.). For the sources of the medieval history of Europe see Ulysse Chevalier’s monumental Repertoire des sources historiques du moyen âge; Bio-Bibliographie (Paris, 1877, &c.), which with certain limitations (notably as regards the Slav, Hungarian and Scandinavian countries) gives references to published documents for all names of people, however obscure, occurring in medieval history. In 1894 M. Chevalier began the publication of a second series of his Répertoire, under the somewhat misleading title of Topo-Bibliographie, intended as a compendious guide to the places, institutions, &c., of the middle ages; though very useful, this is by no means so complete as the Bio-Bibliographie. August Potthast’s Bibliotheca historica medii aevi (2nd ed., Berlin, 1895–1896) gives a complete catalogue of all the annals, chronicles and other historical works which appeared in Europe between the years 375 and 1500 and have since been printed, with short notes on their value and significance, and references to critical works upon them. See also the article Record. For authorities on the history of Europe from the end of the 15th to the 19th centuries inclusive the excellent bibliographies appended to the volumes of the Cambridge Modern History are invaluable.
(2) Works.—Of general works the most important are the Histoire générale du IV me siècle à nos jours, published under the direction of E. Lavisse and A. Rambaud (Paris, 1894, &c.), in 12 vols., covering the period from the 4th to the end of the 19th century: Leopold von Ranke’s Weltgeschichte (Leipzig, 1881, &c.), in 9 vols., covering (i.) the oldest group of nations and the Greeks; (ii.) the Roman Republic; (iii.) the ancient Roman Empire; (iv.) the East Roman empire and the origin of the Romano-German kingdoms; (v.) the Arab world-power and the empire of Charlemagne; (vi.) dissolution of the Carolingian and foundation of the German empire; (vii.) zenith and decay of the German empire; the hierarchy under Gregory VII.; (viii.) crusades and papal world-power (12th and 13th centuries); (ix.) period of transition to the modern world (14th and 15th centuries). To this may be added Ranke’s works on special periods: e.g. Die Fürsten und Völker von Süd-Europa im 16ten und 17ten Jahrhundert (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1837–1839); Geschichten der romanischen und germanischen Völker, 1494–1514 (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1874, Eng. trans. 1887). In English the most important general work is the Cambridge Modern History (1903, &c.), produced by the collaboration of English and foreign scholars, and covering the ground from the end of the 15th to the 19th century inclusive. The Historians’ History of the World, edited by Dr H. Smith Williams (1908), is a compilation from the works of eminent historians of all ages, and the value of its various parts is therefore that of the historians responsible for them. Its chief merit is that it makes accessible to English readers many foreign or obscure sources which would otherwise have remained closed to the general reader. It also contains essays by notable modern scholars on the principal epochs and tendencies of the world’s history, the texts of a certain number of treaties, &c., not included as yet in other collections, and comprehensive bibliographies. On a less ambitious scale are the volumes of the “Periods of European History” series (London, 1893, &c.): Per. I. The Dark Ages, 476–918, by C. W. C. Oman (1893); Per. II. The Empire and the Papacy, 918–1273, by T. F. Tout (1898); Per. III. The Close of the Middle Ages, 1273–1494, by R. Lodge (1901); Europe in the 16th Century, 1494–1598, by A. H. Johnson (1897); The Ascendancy of France, by H. O. Wakeman (1894); The Balance of Power, by A. Hassal (1896); Revolutionary Europe, by H. Morse Stephens (1893); Modern Europe, by W. Alison Phillips (1901, 5th ed., 1908). See also T. H. Dyer, History of Modern Europe from the fall of Constantinople, revised and continued to the end of the 19th century by A. Hassal (6 vols., London, 1901). Besides the above may be mentioned, for European history since the outbreak of the French Revolution, A. Sorel, l’Europe et la Révolution Française (7 vols., Paris, 1885, &c.), a work of first-class importance; A. Stern, Geschichte Europas seit den Wiener Verträgen von 1815 (Stuttgart and Berlin, 1894, &c.), based on the study of much new material, still in progress (1908); C. Seignobos, Histoire politique de l’Europe contemporaine (Paris, 1897), a valuable text-book with copious bibliography (Eng. trans., London, 1901); C. M. Andrews, Historical development of Europe, 2 vols. (New York, 1896–1898).
(3) Published Documents.—For the vast mass of published sources reference must be made to the bibliographies mentioned above. It must be borne in mind, however, that these represent but a fraction of the unpublished material, and that the great development of original research is constantly revealing fresh sources, throwing new light on old problems, and not seldom upsetting conclusions long established as final. For these latest developments of scholarship the numerous historical and archaeological reviews published in various countries should be consulted: e.g. The English Historical Review (London); The Scottish Hist. Rev. (Glasgow); The American Hist. Rev. (London and New York); the Revue historique (Paris); the Historische Zeitschrift (Munich). The most notable collections of treaties are J. Dumont’s Corps diplomatique, covering the period from A.D. 800 to 1731 (Amsterdam and the Hague, 1726–1731); F. G. de Martens and his continuators, Recueil des traités, &c. (1791, &c.), covering with its supplements the period from 1494 to 1874; F. (T. T.) de Martens, Recueil des traités conclus par la Russie, &c. (14 vols., St Petersburg, 1874, &c.); A. and J. de Clercq, Recueil des traités de la France (Paris, 1864; new ed., 1880, &c.); L. Neumann, Recueil des traités conclus par l’Autriche (from 1763), (6 vols., Leipzig, 1855); new series, by. L. Neumann and A. de Plason (16 vols., Vienna, 1877–1903); Österreichische Staatsverträge (vol. i. England, 1526–1748), published by the Commission for the modern history of Austria (Innsbruck, 1907), with valuable introductory notes; British and Foreign State Papers (from the termination of the war in 1814), compiled at the Foreign Office by the Librarian and Keeper of the Papers (London, 1819, &c.); Sir E. Hertslet, The Map of Europe by Treaty (from 1814), (4 vols., London, 1875–1891). See the article Treaties. (W. A. P.)
- H. Wagner’s edition of Guthe’s Lehrbuch der Geographie (5th ed., Hanover 1882).
- At the summit of each of the Trans-Ural railways (Perm-Tyumen and Ufa-Chelyabinsk) and that of the road across the Caucasus from Vladikavkaz to Tiflis, sign-posts, with the name Europe on one side, Asia on the other, mark this boundary.
- Fifth edition, vol. ii. pp. 24-25.
- Pt. i. pp. 11-12.
- Griesbach, on the strength of Middendorff’s observations, remarks that, in addition to European fruit trees, oak, maples, elms, ashes and the black alder do not cross the Urals, while the lime tree is reduced to the size of a shrub (La Végétation du globe, translated by Tchihatchef, i. p. 181).
- On the history of the boundary between Asia and Europe see F. G. Hahn in the Mitteilungen des Vereins für Erdkunde zu Leipzig (1881), pp. 83-104. Hahn, on the ground that true mountain systems must be regarded as forming geographical units, pronounces against the practice of making “natural boundaries” run along mountain crests, and assigns the whole of the Caucasus region to Europe as all belonging to such a system, but orographically quite different from the Armenian plateau (p. 103). But surely it is no less different from the European plain.
- Petermanns Mitteilungen (1890), p. 91.
- See Supan’s Physische Erdkunde, 4th ed., pp. 376-377, and the authorities there quoted.
- “Kustenveranderungen im Mittelmeergebiet,” in Ztschr. der Ges. für Erdkunde zu Berlin (1878).
- See Mitteil der Wiener Geog. Gesellschaft (1890), p. 333.
- See R. T. Gunther, Contributions to the Study of Earth-Movements in the Bay of Naples (Oxford, 1903), and “Earth-Movements in the Bay of Naples,” in the Geog. Journ. vol. xxii. pp. 121-149, 269-285.
- See Petermanns Mitteil. (1891), Pl. 8.
- Ib. (1893), Pl. 12.
- See Ed. Suess, The Face of the Earth, translated by H. B. C. Sollas, vol. i. (Oxford, 1904); J. Milne, Seismology (London, 1886); R. Hörnes, Erdbebenkunde (Leipzig, 1893).
- Die mittlere Höhe Europas (Plauen, 1874).
- Traité de géologie (Paris, 1883).
- Scot. Geog. Mag. (1888), p. 23.
- Petermanns Mitteilungen (1889), p. 17.
- Trans. (Izvestiya) Imp. Rus. Geog. Soc. (1889), p. 113.
- Die mittleren Erhebungsverhaltnisse der Erdoberfläche, pt. i., in Penck’s Geographische Abhandlungen, vol. v. (Vienna, 1891).
- Morphologie der Erdoberfläche, vol. i.
- The equivalent of the figures given in Superficie de l’Europe. A later measurement by Strelbitsky yielded a result equal to 2215 English miles.
- General von Tillo, in Transactions (Izvestiya) Imp. Rus. Geog. Soc. vol. xix. (1883), pp. 160-161.
- Dr Al. Bludau in Petermanns Mitteilungen (1898), pp. 185-187, has given new calculations of the areas of the basins of certain European rivers, namely, the Tagus, 31,250 sq. m.; Ebro, 32,810 sq. m.; Guadalquivir, 21,620 sq. m.; Po, 28,800 sq. m.; Guadiana, 25,810 sq. m.; and Jucar, 8245 sq. m.
- St Martin, Dict. de géog. univ.
- In other parts of this work areas of river-basins and lakes, and other measurements, may be observed to conflict in some degree with those given here. Various authorities naturally differ, both in methods of estimating and in standards of precision.
- Penck’s Geographische Abhandlungen, vol. v. pt. iv. (Vienna, 1894); noticed in Geog. Journ. vol. vi. p. 264.
- Including L. Pskov as well as the connecting arm known as Teploye.
- Sweden, its People and its Industry (Stockholm, 1904).
- See Ascherson, “Die Austrocknung des Neusiedler Sees,” in Z. der Ges. für Erdkunde zu Berlin (1865).
- See Suess, The Face of the Earth; M. Bertrand, “Sur la distribution géographique des roches éruptives en Europe,” Bull. Soc. Géol. France, ser. 3, vol. xvi. (1887–1888), pp. 573-617. A translation of a lecture by Suess, giving a short summary of his views on the structure of Europe, will be found in the Canadian Record of Science, vol. vii. pp. 235-246.
- Vesselovski, as quoted by Voeikov, Die atmosphärische Circulation.
- Plate 1 in Petermanns Mitteilungen (1903).
- See a paper on “Das regenreichste Gebiet Europas,” by Prof. Kassner, Berlin, in Petermanns Mitteilungen (1904), p. 281.
- London, 1901 (one of the publications of the Royal Geog. Society).
- Plate 21 in Petermanns Mitteilungen (1900).
- Nova Acta Leop. Karol. d. deutschen Akad. d. Naturforscher, vol. lxvii. No. 3 (Halle, 1896).
- Petermanns Mitteilungen (1890), pl. 11 (text pp. 137-145).
- Ib. (1887), pl. 10 (text pp. 165-172).
- Berlin, 3 vols. (one made up of maps), 1898–1899.
- By this term (Getreidefläche) Engelbrecht designates the area occupied by wheat and other varieties of triticum, rye, oats and barley.
- Based on Scherzer, Das wirtschaftliche Leben der Völker, p. 12.
- From the Fifth Report of the United States Department of Agriculture, Division of Statistics, Miscellaneous Series, p. 13.
- Based on the Corn Trade Year-book (1904), p. 284.
- Exclusive of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which the average production in 1894–1903 was about 21 million bushels.
- The estimates for Bulgaria, Rumania, Servia and Turkey in Europe for 1872–1876 are not comparable with those of the two later periods on account of the territorial changes since that date. Those for Bulgaria in the period 1881–1890 include Eastern Rumelia.
- Including Poland.
- Spanish statistics very imperfect.
- Based on the same authorities as the wheat table. In the original, however, the figures for 1894–1903 are given in “quarters of 480 ℔,” while the figures given above are calculated on an average quarter of 462 ℔.
- Including Poland, but not Finland, in which the average production of rye is estimated at about 11,000,000 bushels.
- Mainly from or based on the Agricultural Returns for Great Britain, 1905.
- Single years.
- Period 1883–1887.
- Based on Mines and Quarries: General Report and Statistics for 1906, pt. iv. (Cd. 4145), 1908.
- Production in the Ural districts only.
- A considerable quantity of quicksilver is produced in the government of Ekaterinoslav.
- See note 11.
- In 1906 Greece produced 12,308 m.t. of argentiferous pig lead.
- Zinc and lead ore.
- Cupreous pyrites and cupreous iron pyrites, besides which a considerable quantity of copper precipitate is produced.
- A small quantity of copper ore is produced in Finland, but the bulk of the Russian production is in the Asiatic provinces.
- A considerable quantity of manganese ore is produced in the government of Ekaterinoslav, but the main seat of Russian production is the Caucasus.
- Mainly cupreous iron pyrites.
- Of which 158,424 m.t. argentiferous.
- In addition to 28,891 m.t. of calcined zinc ore.
- Probably the most complete synopsis of the evidence on this point is to be found in Prince Kropotkin’s Fields, Factories and Workshops (London, 1899).
- The total horse-power used in mechanical industries is obtained by adding 650,000, the estimated total of horse-power in hydraulic installations given in an article in the Annales de géographie for January 1904, to the total steam-power in fixed engines officially given for 1903, and accordingly excludes gas and other engines not driven by steam- or water-power.
- The proportion estimated in the official publication entitled Sweden: its People and its Industry, edited by G. Sundbärg (Stockholm, 1904).
- Including the installations returned in the Swiss industrial censuses as electric, most if not all of which are probably driven by water-power.
- See bibliography at the end of the article.
- See on the whole subject Hovelacque’s Science of Language, Latham’s Nationalities of Europe, and the same author’s Philology.
- Taken from a paper by Professor Voeikov on “Verteilung der Bevölkerung auf der Erde unter dem Einfluss der Naturverhältnisse und der menschlichen Tatigkeit,” in Petermanns Mitteil. (1906), p. 249, where corresponding figures are given for other parts of the world.
- Kaluga, Smolensk, Tver, Moscow, Yaroslav, Kostromer and Vladimir.
- Kursk, Orel, Tula, Ryazan, Tambov, Voronezh and Penza.
- Nizhniy Novgorod, Kazan, Simbirsk, Samara, Saratov and Astrakhan.
- Bessarabia, Kherson, Taurida, Ekaterinoslav and Don Province.
- The Austro-Turkish protocol had been signed at Constantinople on the 5th of March; it was now ratified by the Turkish parliament on the 5th of April.