Where the immigrants came from
WHERE THEY CAME FROM...
A look at the immigrants' Fatherlan
Of course, in 1860, Americans were standing on the brink of a time that would be crucial to the history of their country. Similarly, the Germans of the 1860s were about to face a critical juncture in their history- the Unification of Germany and the birth of the modern nation-state of Deutchland.
It is imoprtant to remember that Germany did not exist as a state in 1860. In its place was a confederation of 38 states and free cities that assumed sovereignty in their own affairs.
Consequently, one might also correctly note that the black, red, and gold flag at the top of this page would not have been used in the 1860s. However, since it represented the goal of a unified Germany, a Fatherland for all Germans, and the ultimate goal of many German patriots, and since it was used to represent this ideal at least as early as the 1848 revolutions, I chose to let it fly here.
At this time, I am using the following symbols in the listing below:
Any state shown with a flag is an independent nation, and completely separate from modern Germany. This situation for Germany had been established at the Congress of Vienna, at the close of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, when territorial boundaries throughout Europe were redrawn to re-establish a balance of power. By 1819, The Germanic Confederation was formed with 39 sovereign states participating, under the presidency of Austria.
Any state shown with a coat of arms or shield is a political division of the modern re-unified Germany. These do not necessarily represent states that existed in 1860. I hope soon to add historical arms that would be correct for the 1860 period.
Modern German States:
Baden-Württemberg / Bavaria / Berlin / Brandenburg / Bremen / Hamburg / Hesse / Lower Saxony / Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania / North Rhine-Westphalia / Rhineland-Palatinate / Saarland / Saxony / Saxony-Anhalt / Schleswig-Holstein / Thuringia
It may seem odd to Americans today to include Austria in a look at 19th Century Germany, since it has long been a separate and distinct political entity. In the 19th Century, however, that was far from being the case. Germany did not exist as a state, and Austria was an important leader in the German speaking world. Austria was a member and the president of the German Confederation, and its only serious rival for the leadership role in the Confederation was Prussia. Even today, 98% of the people in Austria speak German.
The Austrian Hapsburg family dominated central Europe until 1806 when the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved by Napoleon. After 1815 and until the revolutions of 1848, Prince Klemens von Metternich dominated Austrian politics (although Ferdinand I was actually the reigning monarch). As a consequence, Metternich also dominated politics in the German Confederation. In 1848, however, Germans, Magyars, Slavs, and Italians all turned against the monarchy of Ferdinand I. Metternich was forced to resign, and Ferdinand abdicated.
Ferdinand I was replaced by his nephew, Francis Joseph I, who would reign from 1848 to 1916. Austria was involved in the Crimean War (1853-1856) when it forced Russia to abandon the territories of Moldavia and Walachia. This conflict ruined Austria financially, and helped make an enemy of Russia. In 1859, Austria was forced off the Italian peninsula.
In Prussia, Otto von Bismark was working to eliminate Austria from German affairs and unify Germany under Prussian leadership. In 1866, Austria would go to war against both Prussia and Italy in the Seven Weeks' War. Austria was defeated in the battle of Sadowa. In 1867, the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary was declared.
Vienna, of course, was a cultural center for the world during the 18th and 19th Centuries, with many of the famous 'German' composers creating their masterpieces there. Mozart, Beethoven, Hayden, Schubert, and others worked in Austria because of its importance in the world of classical music.
Napoleon made the state of Baden into an electorate in 1803, and into a grand duchy in 1806. The state remained a grand duchy after the Congress of Vienna in 1815, and was a member of the German Confederation. The reigning grand duke was deposed in 1848 during the revolutions, but Prussian forces later came to aid in re-instating him. This fact made Baden the scene of some of the largest military actions that followed the 1848 Revolutions. Franz Sigel spent nearly all of his life in Baden before moving to the U.S., and gained his reputation by helping to lead the fight against the Prussian forces.
Baden is now a part of the modern state of Baden-Würtemberg.
See also: Baden-Württemberg
The modern state of Baden-Württemberg was formed from the area that the two states of Baden and Württemberg occupied in the 19th Century. Its attractions include the famous Black Forest.
See also: The Palatinate
In German, Bavaria is known as Bayern. It is the catholic region in Southern Germany known for its Gemütlichkeit and Oktoberfest. In 19th century, as now, the capital was Munich (in German- München). The Wittelsbach family gained possession of the area in 1180, and retained it until 1918. Bavaria was made a kingdom by Napoleon, and it remained so after the Congress of Vienna. King Maximilian II was on the throne in 1860. His son would become Ludwig II in 1864 and would gain fame as the beloved "Dream King", the eccentric builder of fabulous castles like Neuschwanstein and the patron of composer Richard Wagner.
In the near continuous struggles between Austria and Prussia, Bavaria tended to support Austria, but it joined the German Empire in 1871.
In the 19th Century, Bavaria included the separate part called the Palatinate as part of its territory. It no longer belongs to Bavaria, but Bavaraia is the largest of the modern German states even without it.
Bremen was originally a missionary city from the times of Charlemagne. It was a member of the Hanseatic League, the medieval alliance formed among German towns to promote trade. After the Thirty Years War, it was a Swedish possession, but its citizens revolted from Sweden in 1666, and became completely autonomous in 1741. The city was declared one of four "free cities" by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. It gained territory in 1826, and founded the town of Bremerhaven within its new boundaries in 1827.
During the 19th century, Bremen had a large trans-Atlantic trade.
Bremen is now one of the smallest states in Germany, including basically only the old city of Bremen, and the separate enclave of Bremerhaven.
In the 19th Century, the area of Brunswick was the grand duchy of Brunswick (In German, Braunschweig). Brunswick had been a duchy since the Holy Roman Emperor made it so in 1235. Many branches of the ruling families argued of succession rights, and often partitioned the state. Napoleon made Brunswick part of the kingdom of Westphalia in 1807, but it became an independent duchy again after the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
Brunswick is now part of the state of Lower Saxony.
See also:Lower Saxony
Frankfurt Am Main
The English name Frankfort refers to the city that the Germans call Frankfurt am Main, because of its location on the Main River. (This German name distinguishes it from the other city known as Frankfurt which lies on the Oder River.) Frankfort was the unofficial capital of the German Confederation from 1815 to 1866.
Frankfort was probably established as a Roman settlement in the 1st Century AD, and it became the seat of the imperial elections for the Holy Roman Empire in 1356. It was made subordinate to the Confederation on the Rhine in 1806, but became a free city again in 1815. It would later be siezed by Prussia during the Seven Weeks' War.
The palace of the princes of Thurn and Taxis still exists today, and was used as the meeting place for the diet of the German Confederation from 1816-1866. Saint Paul's Church was the site where the Frankfort Parliament met from 1848-1849, as the first German national assembly. Also in existence is the 13th Century Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew, which was the seat of the elections of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Another notable landmark is the house where Goethe spent his youth.
Currently, Frankfort is in the state of Hesse.
Charlemagne originally established the fortress of "Hammaburg" in 808 on the Elbe and Alster rivers in Northern Germany. It was to be a center for Christianity in Northern Europe. In the 13th Century, Hamburg was one of the founding members of the Hanseatic League. This organiztion was a protective trade alliance for German towns and helped make Hamburg an important commercial center. In the 19th Century, the port city was one of four "free cities" in the German Confederation. Hamburg had become a trade giant and sent many ships to the United States. (Hamburg experienced its share of problems during those years too. Napoleonic occupation and the "Continental System" cut off the lucrative trade it had with the United States, a four day fire swept through the city in 1842, and a cholera epidemic hit the city in 1892.) Hamburg is noted as being a city of many bridges, and was the birthplace of composers Felix Mendelssohn and Johannes Brahms.
Today, "The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg" retains its independent status in the sense that both the city and the state of Hamburg are one in the same.
Hannover was originally formed in 1692 as the electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg, but it was popularly known by the name of its capital city-Hannover. It gained importance in English history when its electors became kings of England (From George I in 1714 to George III). In fact, it ceased to exist when Napoleon split it up and incorporated part of it into the kingdom of Westphalia and part of it into France, at the same time that George III of the House of Hannover was ruling England. George III was restored as its elector in 1813. Hannover became a kingdom after the Congress of Vienna in 1815, and gained territory from the agreement.
Hannover became a province of the Prussian Kingdom after the Seven Weeks' War in 1866. It is now part of the state of Lower Saxony.
See also: Lower Saxony
Originally part of Thuringia, Hesse was established as a separate landgravate in 1247. Hesse was divided along family lines, and thus there became two Hessens by the 19th Century. These were merged in 1946 to form the modern state of Hesse. In German, Hesse is Hessen. See also: Hesse-Darmstadt
The original landgraviate of Hesse was eventually divided amongst family lines, and thus there were two Hessens during the 19th Century: Hesse-Darmstadt, centered around the city of Darmstadt, and Hesse-Kassel, centered around the city of Kassel. Hesse-Darmstadt became a grand duchy in 1806.
After being defeated in the Seven Weeks' War, Hesse-Darmstadt was forced to cede a large portion of its territory to Prussia, and this area became part of the new Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. The rest of Hesse-Darmstadt remained a grand duchy. In 1946, it was merged with other territory to form the modern state of Hesse.
The original landgraviate of Hesse was eventually divided amongst family lines, and thus there came to be two Hessens by the 19th Century: Hessen-Darmstadt, centered around the city of Darmstadt, and Hesse-Kassel, centered around the city of Kassel. The famous Hessian trooops that fought for the English during the American Revolution came from Hesse-Kassel. Hesse-Kassel became and electorate in 1803.
Hesse-Kassel was annexed by Prussia after the Seven Week' War. It became part of the new Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. In 1946, Hesse-Nassau was merged with Hesse-Darmstadt to form the modern state of Hesse.
Holstein is the "base" of the Jutland Peninsula, the peninsula that is dominated by Denmark. In 1860, Holstein was a duchy, and has always been closely asssociated with the duchy of Schleswig to its immediate north. Holstein was settled by Germans, but Schleswig was settled mainly by Danes. Both were allied with Denmark as early as 1460, but they remained separate from it. In 1848, Frederick VII of Denmark began a campaign to incorporate both Schleswig and Holstein into Denmark, but he failed when Prussia sent aid to the two duchies. In 1849, he tried again, this time with the support of Britain, Russia, and France. Prussia withdrew support.
In 1864, the conflict over Schleswig and Holstein would heat up again, as Prussia and Austria attacked together. Holstein would end up being ceded to Austria, and Schleswig to Prussia. After Prussia defeated Austria in the Seven Weeks' War, both areas would be combined to form the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein.
Today, Holstein is in the modern state of Schleswig-Holstein. Of course, Holstein may best known to Americans because of the popular black and white dairy cattle which bear its name. Dairying has long been important to the area.
In the 19th Century, the area that is now the modern state of Lower Saxony (in German, Niedersachsen) was made up of several different states, including Brunswick, Hannover, Oldenburg, and Schuamburg-Lippe.
LübeckThe city of Lübeck was a free city in the 19th century. It was originally settled as a fortified city in the 11th Century, became a free imperial city in 1226, and became the capital of the Hanseatic League in 1358. The Hanseatic League was an organization to promote trade and protection among nothern German towns, and as its capital, Lübeck gained a position as an important trade center. The trade in the city began to decline when the league collapsed in the 17th Century, and was declining further in the 19th Century because of competition from the Prussian Baltic port of Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland).
Today, the city of Lübeck is in the province of Schleswig-Holstein.
See also: Schleswig-Holstein.
Today, Luxembourg is an independent political entity, but in the mid-19th Century, it was certainly well within the sphere of the Prussian influence. Luxembourg had been established as a grand duchy by the Congress of Vienna, and placed under the rule of King William I of the Netherlands, but Belgium revolted in 1831, and became a nation independent of the Netherlands. Luxembourg was initially part of the new nation of Belgium, but after ceding its western portion to Belgium in 1839, Luxembourg became a sovereign and independent state. In 1842, it became a member of the Zolleverein, the German customs union, and came under the Prussian hegemony.
Napoleon III, emperor of France, opened negotiations in 1866 with William III, king of the Netherlands (who was still nominally the Grand Duke of Luxembourg) for the purchase of Luxembourg, but the proposal opened a sore-spot in Franco-Prussian relations. War was averted by an international conference held in London in May 1867, which abopted a treay guaranteeing the independence of the grand duchy and providing for its perpetual neutrality.
Originally a separate state, Oldenburg was centered around the city of Oldenburg. The counts of Oldenburg controlled the area until 1667, when it came under Danish control. The state was later made a duchy.
Today, Oldenburg is lcoated in the state of Lower Saxony.
See also:Lower Saxony
Schaumburg-Lippe was a separate state in the 19th century. The area is now a part of Lower Saxony.
See Also: Lower Saxony
Since it is located at the base of the Jutland Peninsula, which also contains Denmark, the modern state of Schleswig-Holstein is the one of the easiest to learn to locate on a map. In 1860, the modern state of Schleswig-Holstein was two separate duchies- Schleswig and Holstein. While Holstein, the southern one, was very German, Schleswig had a Danish population. From 1460 on, the two duchies were allied with Denmark, but they remained separate from it. In 1848, Frederick VII of Denmark announced his intention of incorporating both Schleswig and Holstein into Denmark. The people of the duchies appealed to Germans for help, and Prussia sent troops that helped to drive the Danish forces back. In 1849, Denmark tried again, with the support of Britain, Russia, and France. This time, Prussia backed down.
In 1864, Prussian and Austrian forces worked together to advance into Schleswig. As a result, Christian IX of Denmark ceded Schleswig to Prussia, and Holstein to Austria. After defeating Austria in the Seven Weeks' War in 1866, Prussia incorporated Schleswig-Holstein as a new Prussian province. (The new Schleswig-Holstein province also included the former duchy of Lauenburg.) Except for the northern part of Schleswig, which voted to become part of Denmark after World War I, the state of Schleswig-Holstein remains part of Germany today. Kiel is its capital and largest city. A number of islands are part of the state as well.
Thuringia lies in central Germany, and was named for the Thuringians, Germanic tribe from the 5th Century AD. During the Reformation in the early 16th Century, the Saxon duchies and principalities were separated, and they would not merge to form the state of Thuringia again until after world War I. Thuringia was a state in the former East Germany, and is currently a state in the Reunified Germany.
Thuringia is the setting for the castle of wartburg, where the contests of the minnesingers were held. This medieval singing contest was immortalized by Richard Wagner in his 1845 opera Tannhäuser.