Maps, Central Europe and History

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How did mosques and Ottoman-built bridges get into South East Europe? Why is it that Austrians brought the glorious architecture to Prague?

This short trip through Europe´s maps explains how borders moved and cultures moved with them.

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As Napoleon's France surrendered at the battle of Waterloo, the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna of 1815 was redrawing the political map of Europe. The Congress of Vienna created what is known as the balance-of-power system, which despite imminent crisis would persist until the start of World War I in 1914.


 Progressively growing in size and power in the 19th Century, Prussia unified the numerous German states under the aegis of Emperor Wilhelm I of Prussia to create the German Empire at the beginning of 1871.


In 1867, following the 1866 defeat in the Austro-Prussian war, the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria signed the Austro-Hungarian compromise creating the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. Frustrated in its hope to unify  the  German States by Prussia's victory; the Austro-Hugarian Emperor hence  focused his attention on the Balkans.


Despite its great status, and its victory over the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans in 1878, the Russian Empire lagged economically behind other powers during the 19th Century.


Lasting from 1300 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire at its peak encompassed most of Eastern and Southeastern Europe as well as parts of the Maghreb and the Mashriq. (Read more about the history, culture and heritage of the largest and longest lasting Empire in history.)


On the June 28, 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in Sarajevo, sparking World War I. (See the film footage of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's July 1914 funeral.)

There are innumerable events, which caused World War I.


The Great Depression, the worldwide economic crisis that started in the US on October 29, 1929 known as Black Tuesday, amplified Europe's difficulties and struggle for recovery after War World I. Among the European states, the Great Depression hit the Weimar Republic particularly harshly.


Triggered by the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, World War II would end in Europe on May 8, 1945 when Germany surrendered. Unlike World War I, World War II battlefields extended across the world. (See more here about how the War goes global, June 1941 - 1942). The battles were particularly fierce in Central and Eastern Europe.


Following the end of World War II a new war began - the Cold War - which lasted for the next forty years. The Cold War can be described as the state of political conflict and military tensions between the Soviet Union along with its satellite states- the East and the United States and its allies - the West.

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