The Concert of Europe and the Congress System The great powers hoped that the Concert of Europe would lead to the preservation of the balance of power and of the conservative order established at Vienna.
The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle
In 1818, meeting in the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, the members of the Quadruple Alliance decided that France, which had paid its indemnity, should be freed of occupation. France rejoined the ranks of the great powers, and the Quadruple Alliance now became the Quintuple Alliance. Tsar Alexander I proposed that the great powers support existing governments and frontiers in Europe. Viscount Castlereagh, the British foreign secretary, rejected the proposal, marking the first break in the accord among the major powers.
The Congresses of Troppau and Laibach
In early 1820, a revolution broke out in Spain, where the army forced King Ferdinand VII (r. 1808-1833) to agree to rule in accordance with the liberal constitution of 1812, which he bad previously ignored. In July 1820, a revolution also broke out in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, where the army compelled King Ferdinand I (r. 1816-1825) to accept a constitution.
These revolutions were high on the agendas of the Congresses of Troppau and Laibach in 1820-1821. In the Protocol of Troppau, Russia, Prussia, and Austria asserted their right to intervene in other countries to oppose revolutions. Once again, the British objected to this interventionist policy.
The breach between the British and the three conservative powers widened at the Congress of Laibach, which authorized Austria to suppress the revolution in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which it did in 1821.
The Congress of Verona
In 1822, the last of the congresses, the Congress of Verona, authorized France to intervene in Spain. With French support, King Ferdinand VII reestablished his absolute power. George Canning (1770-1827), who became British foreign secretary in 1822, continued Britain's opposition to the policy of intervention. This opposition resulted, in effect, in Britain's withdrawal from the Quintuple Alliance.
British Opposition to Intervention and the Monroe Doctrine
British opposition to intervention made it impossible for the conservative powers of Europe to suppress the revolts in Spanish America, because they could not act effectively without the support of Britain's naval power. The British opposed intervention both because of principle and because they did not want any interference with their profitable trade with Latin America. Canning proposed that Great Britain and the United States join in a declaration against any European intervention in the Western Hemisphere.
The Americans, however, preferred to act independently. In the Monroe Doctrine, issued by President James Monroe in December 1823, the United States announced its opposition to intervention and any further colonization by the European powers in the Western Hemisphere. The British endorsed the Monroe Doctrine, United States and Great Britain began to grant formal diplomatic recognition to the new Latin American republics.
Independence Movements Greek Independence Revolution against Turkish rule broke out in Greece in 1821, and often brutal fighting continued for several years. By 1825, the Turks had almost crushed the revolt.
In Western Europe, sympathy for the Greeks mounted, in large part because of a sentimental regard for the contribution of the ancient Greeks to the development of Western civilization.
The Treaty of London (1827) Great Britain, France, and Russia agreed in the Treaty of London of 1927 to demand that the Ottoman Empire recognize Greek independence and to use force, if necessary, to end the fighting. An allied fleet defeated a Turkish and Egyptian force at Navarino in October 1827.
The Treaties of Adrianople and London In 1928, Russia declared war on Turkey, and Russian forces moved into the Turkish-controlled Danubian provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia (modem Rumania). Under the terms of the Treaty of Adrianople (1829), the Danubian provinces gained autonomy, as did Serbia, which the Turks had also ruled. Russia acquired territory at the mouth of the Danube River and in the Caucasus on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. The Turks agreed to permit Russia, France, and Great Britain to determine the future of Greece. In the Treaty of London (1830), the three powers recognized Greek independence. In 1832, Otto I (r. 18321862), the son of the king of Bavaria, was chosen as king of Greece.
Belgian Independence In late August 1830, a revolt against Dutch rule broke out in Belgium. In November, a national congress declared Belgium's independence, and a liberal constitution was adopted in 1831. A German prince, Leopold of Saxe-Coberg, became Leopold I, the first king of the Belgians. In 1938, the Netherlands formally recognized the independence of Belgium. Under the terms of the Convention of 1839, the major powers of Europe agreed to guarantee Belgian neutrality.