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  • The German Confederation 1828

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    If Bismarck built the German Empire, Napoleon cleared the way. Under French control, (1802–1814) the multitude of miniature principalities and enclaves strewn across the Holy Roman Empire, which was dissolved in 1806, were consolidated and eliminated. The Congress of Vienna left ‘just’ 39 states designated the German Confederation, but the... More
  • The Ties of Trade c. 1300

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    By the 1300s the European merchant class were no longer pedlars who hawked goods from town to town but were dealers, ship owners and guild members. The guilds enabled merchants to create trading posts and apply pressure for special trading privileges. Some guilds were so powerful they had their own... More
  • The Zollverein in Germany 1834–66

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    By 1828 three competing customs unions had been established, comprising, collectively, the bulk of the states of the German Confederation, the most notable exception being the territories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Although theoretically equivalent, the Prussian-controlled northern union clearly dominated, and when it formed a commercial alliance with the southern... More