France 1814–61


Map Code: Ax01890

After the Congress of Vienna (1815) and the Bourbon Restoration in France, which became a constitutional monarchy under Louis XVIII, France’s political geography was reorganized and made uniform; it was divided into over 80 departments, many of which have survived into the 21st century, and power became more centralized. All Napoleon Bonaparte’s conquests were returned to their former owners, and France reverted to its 1791 borders. The enclaves of Venaissin, Avignon, Montbeliard, acquired after the Revolution, were the exception. The European powers regarded France with understandable caution, anxious to ensure that her ‘natural’ borders would not be transgressed again. With this in mind, Prussia gained most of the French territories to the east of the Rhine and a new state, Luxembourg, was created. In 1858, Camille Cavour, the minister for Savoy (Savoie), promised France the duchy of Savoy and the county of Nice in exchange for French support in the struggle for the unification of Italy, the Risorgimento, which was led by King Victor-Emmanuel II of Savoy. The treaty was actually signed in 1859. French-Sardinian victories against the Austrians in the Second Italian War of Independence, at Magenta and Solferino in 1859, led to the armistice of Villafranca. Austria ceded Lombardy to France, and it was immediately ceded to Piedmont/Sardinia, while Napoleon II took back Savoy and Nice. This transfer of territory was confirmed by a popular plebiscite in 1860. In the following years the towns of Roquebrunne and Mentone (Menton) considered to be part of the county of Nice, chose by referendum to be reunited with France, a decision that was ratified by Prince Charles III of Monaco.

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