Concert of Europe

From Academic Kids

The Concert of Europe describes the broad co-operation between Europe's great powers after 1815. Its purpose was to maintain the peace settlement concluded at the Congress of Vienna following the defeat of Napoleonic France.

Centred on the 1815 Quadruple Alliance of Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia (expanded in 1818 to include France's restored Bourbon monarchy in the Quintuple Alliance), the Concert was divided throughout by the differing ideological perspectives of its principal participants.

While the Continental powers sought to maintain the political status quo in western and central Europe to the extent of armed intervention against revolutionary outbreaks which might threaten conservative order, British statesmen from the 1820s pursued a less reactionary policy, notably in opposing any threat to the revolutions against Spanish and Portuguese rule in Latin America.

Britain similarly stood aside from the Continental monarchies' authorisation of Austrian military intervention in Italy in 1821 and French intervention in Spain in 1823. The July Revolution of 1830 eroded the unity of the Continental powers by bringing France under a more liberal monarchy.

The Concert's principal accomplishments were the securing of the independence of Greece (1830) and Belgium (1831). In 1840 the powers (except France) intervened in defence of the Ottoman Empire (against which they had supported Greece) to end Egypt's eight-year occupation of Syria.

Fatally weakened by the European revolutionary upheavals of 1848 with their demands for revision of the Vienna frontiers along national lines, the last vestiges of the Concert expired amid successive wars between its participants - the Crimean War (1854-56), the Franco-Austrian War (1859), the Austro-Prussian War (1866) and the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71).

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