World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
The franc commonly distinguished as the French franc, was a currency of France. Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money, it was reintroduced in 1795. After two centuries of inflation, it was revalued in 1960, with each new franc being worth 100 old francs; the NF designation was continued for a few years before the currency returned to being the franc. The French franc was a held international reserve currency of reference in the 19th and 20th centuries; the first franc was a gold coin introduced in 1360 to pay the Ransom of King John II of France. This coin secured the king's freedom and showed him on a richly decorated horse earning it the name franc à cheval; the obverse legend, like other French coins, gives the king's title as Francorum Rex and provides another reason to call the coin a franc. Its value was set as one livre tournois. John's son, Charles V, continued this type, it was copied at Brabant and Cambrai and, with the arms on the horse cloth changed, at Flanders.
Conquests led by Joan of Arc allowed Charles VII to return to sound coinage and he revived the franc à cheval. John II, was not able to strike enough francs to pay his ransom and he voluntarily returned to English captivity. John II died as a prisoner in England and his son, Charles V was left to pick up the pieces, and so he did. Charles V pursued a policy of reform, including stable coinage. An edict dated 20 April 1365 established the centerpiece of this policy, a gold coin called the denier d’or aux fleurs de lis which had a standing figure of the king on its obverse, pictured under a canopy, its value in money of account was one livre tournois, just like the franc à cheval, this coin is universally known as a franc à pied. In accordance with the theories of the mathematician and royal advisor Nicolas Oresme, Charles struck fewer coins of better gold than his predecessors. In the accompanying deflation both prices and wages fell, but wages fell faster and debtors had to settle up in better money than they had borrowed.
The Mayor of Paris, Étienne Marcel, exploited their discontent to lead a revolt which forced Charles V out of the city. The franc fared better, it became associated with money stable at one livre tournoisHenry III exploited the association of the franc as sound money worth one livre tournois when he sought to stabilize French currency in 1577. By this time, inflows of gold and silver from Spanish America had caused inflation throughout the world economy and the kings of France, who weren't getting much of this wealth, only made things worse by manipulating the values assigned to their coins; the States General which met at Blois in 1577 added to the public pressure to stop currency manipulation. Henry III agreed to do this and he revived the franc, now as a silver coin valued at one livre tournois; this coin and its fractions circulated until 1641 when Louis XIII of France replaced it with the silver écu. The name "franc" continued in accounting as a synonym for the livre tournois; the decimal "franc" was established as the national currency by the French Revolutionary Convention in 1795 as a decimal unit of 4.5 g of fine silver.
This was less than the livre of 4.505 g, but the franc was set in 1796 at 1.0125 livres, reflecting in part the past minting of sub-standard coins. Silver coins now had their denomination marked as "5 FRANCS" and it was made obligatory to quote prices in francs; this ended the ancien régime's practice of striking coins with no stated denomination, such as the Louis d'or, periodically issuing royal edicts to manipulate their value in terms of money of account, i.e. the Livre tournois. The franc became the official currency of France in 1799. Coinage with explicit denominations in decimal fractions of the franc began in 1795. Decimalization of the franc was mandated by an act of 7 April 1795, which dealt with of weights and measures. France led the world in adopting the metric system and it was the second country to convert from a non-decimal to a decimal currency, following Russia's conversion in 1704, the third country to adopt a decimal coinage following the United States in 1787. France's first decimal coinage used allegorical figures symbolizing revolutionary principles, like the coinage designs the United States had adopted in 1793.
The circulation of this metallic currency declined during the Republic: the old gold and silver coins were taken out of circulation and exchanged for printed assignats issued as bonds backed by the value of the confiscated goods of churches, but declared as legal tender currency. The withdrawn gold and silver coins were used to finance wars and to import food, in short supply; as during the "Mississippi Bubble" in 1715–1720, too many assignats were put in circulation, exceeding the value of the "national properties", the coins, due to military requisitioning and hoarding, rarefied to pay foreign suppliers. With national government debt remaining unpaid, a shortage of silver and brass to mint coins, confidence in the new currency declined, leading to hyperinflation, more food riots, severe political instability and termination of the First French Republic and the political fall of the French Convention. Followed the economic failure of the Directoire
Bradbury Wilkinson and Company
Bradbury Wilkinson & Co were an English engraver and printer of banknotes, postage stamps and share certificates. The original company was established in the 1850s by Henry Bradbury and begin printing banknotes in 1856. Bradbury died in 1860. In 1873–74, the firm built an imposing six-storey workshop, for engraving printing plates, in Holborn, London at 25 and 27 Farringdon Road, now a Grade II-listed building; the company printed the first series of the Imperial Bank of Persia banknotes that were issued in 1890. In 1903, the company was acquired by the American Bank Note Company. In 1917, it moved to New Malden in Surrey still operating as Bradbury-Wilkinson as a wholly owned subsidiary of ABNC. In 1983, Bradbury Wilkinson created. In 1986 it was acquired by De La Rue; the site is now occupied by the Shannon Corner Tesco supermarket. The last Bradbury-Wilkinson plant was shut down by De La Rue in 1990. In 2015 a Seychelles 50 rupee banknote issued between 1968 and 1973, featuring Queen Elizabeth II and covertly depicting the word "sex" was sold at auction in the UK for £336.
Many think the engraver Brian Fox of Bradbury & Wilkinson the printers put it in. Duggleby, Vincent. English Paper Money: Treasury and Bank of England Notes 1694-2002. Pam West. ISBN 978-0954345709. Byatt, Derrick. Promises to Pay: First Three Hundred Years of Bank of England Notes. Spink & Son Ltd. ISBN 978-0907605508
The euro is the official currency of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area, counts about 343 million citizens as of 2019; the euro is the second largest and second most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar. The euro is subdivided into 100 cents; the currency is used by the institutions of the European Union, by four European microstates that are not EU members, as well as unilaterally by Montenegro and Kosovo. Outside Europe, a number of special territories of EU members use the euro as their currency. Additionally, 240 million people worldwide as of 2018 use currencies pegged to the euro; the euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar. As of August 2018, with more than €1.2 trillion in circulation, the euro has one of the highest combined values of banknotes and coins in circulation in the world, having surpassed the U.
S. dollar. The name euro was adopted on 16 December 1995 in Madrid; the euro was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting currency on 1 January 1999, replacing the former European Currency Unit at a ratio of 1:1. Physical euro coins and banknotes entered into circulation on 1 January 2002, making it the day-to-day operating currency of its original members, by March 2002 it had replaced the former currencies. While the euro dropped subsequently to US$0.83 within two years, it has traded above the U. S. dollar since the end of 2002, peaking at US$1.60 on 18 July 2008. In late 2009, the euro became immersed in the European sovereign-debt crisis, which led to the creation of the European Financial Stability Facility as well as other reforms aimed at stabilising and strengthening the currency; the euro is managed and administered by the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank and the Eurosystem. As an independent central bank, the ECB has sole authority to set monetary policy; the Eurosystem participates in the printing and distribution of notes and coins in all member states, the operation of the eurozone payment systems.
The 1992 Maastricht Treaty obliges most EU member states to adopt the euro upon meeting certain monetary and budgetary convergence criteria, although not all states have done so. The United Kingdom and Denmark negotiated exemptions, while Sweden turned down the euro in a 2003 referendum, has circumvented the obligation to adopt the euro by not meeting the monetary and budgetary requirements. All nations that have joined the EU since 1993 have pledged to adopt the euro in due course. Since 1 January 2002, the national central banks and the ECB have issued euro banknotes on a joint basis. Euro banknotes do not show. Eurosystem NCBs are required to accept euro banknotes put into circulation by other Eurosystem members and these banknotes are not repatriated; the ECB issues 8% of the total value of banknotes issued by the Eurosystem. In practice, the ECB's banknotes are put into circulation by the NCBs, thereby incurring matching liabilities vis-à-vis the ECB; these liabilities carry interest at the main refinancing rate of the ECB.
The other 92% of euro banknotes are issued by the NCBs in proportion to their respective shares of the ECB capital key, calculated using national share of European Union population and national share of EU GDP weighted. The euro is divided into 100 cents. In Community legislative acts the plural forms of euro and cent are spelled without the s, notwithstanding normal English usage. Otherwise, normal English plurals are sometimes used, with many local variations such as centime in France. All circulating coins have a common side showing the denomination or value, a map in the background. Due to the linguistic plurality in the European Union, the Latin alphabet version of euro is used and Arabic numerals. For the denominations except the 1-, 2- and 5-cent coins, the map only showed the 15 member states which were members when the euro was introduced. Beginning in 2007 or 2008 the old map is being replaced by a map of Europe showing countries outside the Union like Norway, Belarus, Russia or Turkey.
The 1-, 2- and 5-cent coins, keep their old design, showing a geographical map of Europe with the 15 member states of 2002 raised somewhat above the rest of the map. All common sides were designed by Luc Luycx; the coins have a national side showing an image chosen by the country that issued the coin. Euro coins from any member state may be used in any nation that has adopted the euro; the coins are issued in denominations of €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c, 1c. To avoid the use of the two smallest coins, some cash transactions are rounded to the nearest five cents in the Netherlands and Ireland and in Finland; this practice is discouraged by the Commission, as is the practice of certain shops of refusing to accept high-value euro notes. Commemorative coins with €2 face value have been issued with changes to the design of the national side of the coin; these include both issued coins, such as the €2 commemorative coin for the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, nationally i
De La Rue
De La Rue plc is a British banknote manufacturing, security printing of passports and tax stamps, brand authentication and paper-making company with headquarters in Basingstoke, England. It has a factory on the Team Valley Trading Estate in Gateshead, other facilities in Loughton and Bathford. There are overseas offices in Sri Lanka and Malta, it is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The company was founded by Thomas de la Rue, who moved from Guernsey to London in 1821 and set up in business as a'Leghorn' straw hat maker as a stationer and printer. In 1831 he secured his business a Royal Warrant to produce playing cards. In 1855 it started printing postage stamps and in 1860 banknotes. In 1896, the family partnership was converted into a private company. In 1921, the de la Rue family sold their interests; the company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1947. Called Thomas De La Rue & Company, Limited, it changed its name in 1958 to The De La Rue Company Limited. A takeover bid for De La Rue was made by the Rank Organisation in 1968, but this was rejected by the Monopolies commission as being against the public interest.
In 1991 the company's name was changed again – this time to De La Rue plc. In 1965 De La Rue established a joint venture with the Italian printer and inventor Gualtiero Giori called De La Rue Giori. Based in Switzerland, the company specialized in building banknote printing equipment; the company printed banknotes for the Central Bank of Iran during the 1960s. In 1995, the company acquired Portals Limited, listed on the London stock market since 1904. For 300 years Portals had been regarded as the leading banknote paper manufacturer in the world, having manufactured banknote paper for the Bank of England since 1724. In 1997, De La Rue acquired Harrison and Sons, the stamp and banknote printers based in High Wycombe; the factory closed permanently in 2003. In early 2002, De La Rue purchased Smurfit Diamond Packaging Corporation of Sequoia Voting Systems, a California based company, a large provider of electronic voting systems in the United States, for $23 million. After losing money for three years in a business way out of the company's traditional lines, on March 2005 Sequoia was sold to Smartmatic, a multi-national technology company which had developed advanced election systems, voting machines included.
In 2003, the company acquired the Debden based banknote printing operations of the Bank of England. In 2003 and 2004 the company supplied banknotes to Iraq; the company was recognised by Hermann Simon as a role model for other small- to medium-sized businesses in his book Hidden Champions. The Highest Perfection, a history of De La Rue was published in 2011. Written by Peter Pugh for De La Rue, it covered the years 1712–2003. In August 2014, the company announced the appointment of Martin Sutherland as chief executive officer. In 2016, the Cash Handling division was sold to Privet Capital. In September 2016, the Bank of England issued its polymer five pound note, the first note from the bank to be printed on polymer. In December 2016, the company announced. In March 2018, the company sold the paper business. De La Rue retained a 10 % share in Portals. In April 2018, the company decided to appeal against the decision of the British government to manufacture passports in France, it subsequently decided against appealing.
De La Rue sells high-security printing technology for over 150 national currencies. De La Rue produces a wide range of other secure documents, including: Bank cheques Driving licences Passports Postage stamps Tax stamps Traveller's cheques Vouchers In 1843 De La Rue established its first overseas trade, as de la Rue's brother Paul travelled to Russia to advise on the making of playing cards. Thomas de la Rue's designs for playing cards are the basis for the modern standard design; the playing card business was sold to John Waddington in 1969. The company has printed postage stamps for the United Kingdom and some of its colonies, for Italy and for the Confederate States of America; some famous stamps such as the Cape of Good Hope triangulars were printed by De La Rue & Co. after Perkins Bacon fell out of favour with the postal authorities of the time. The first 50 years of postage stamp production were chronicled in John Easton's The De La Rue History of British and Foreign Postage Stamps 1855–1901.
De La Rue claims to have developed the first practical fountain pen in 1881 and was a leading manufacturer of fountain pens in Britain. Products were marketed under the "Onoto" brand. Production of fountain pens by De La Rue ceased in Britain in 1958 but continued for a few more years in Australia. During the 1930s De La Rue created a number of board games; these included a cricket game, produced in a number of different editions, Round The Horn, a game which re-created the annual race of grain-laden, square-rigged sailing cargo ships from Australia to London. The games used playing cards as part of the component set. List of mints Banknotes of the pound sterling Commonwealth banknote-issuing institutions Gemalto - a competitor Giesecke & Devrient – a competitor based in Munich Hong Kong Note Printing – founded in 1984 by Thomas De La Rue Official website History of De La Rue’s playing cards A research website with more detail of De La Rue company history Article and images of 1930s De La Rue Board Game, Stumpz
A currency, in the most specific sense is money in any form when in use or circulation as a medium of exchange circulating banknotes and coins. A more general definition is that a currency is a system of money in common use for people in a nation. Under this definition, US dollars, pounds sterling, Australian dollars, European euros, Russian rubles and Indian Rupees are examples of currency; these various currencies are recognized as stores of value and are traded between nations in foreign exchange markets, which determine the relative values of the different currencies. Currencies in this sense are defined by governments, each type has limited boundaries of acceptance. Other definitions of the term "currency" are discussed in their respective synonymous articles banknote and money; the latter definition, pertaining to the currency systems of nations, is the topic of this article. Currencies can be classified into two monetary systems: fiat money and commodity money, depending on what guarantees the currency's value.
Some currencies are legal tender in certain political jurisdictions. Others are traded for their economic value. Digital currency has arisen with the popularity of the Internet. Money was a form of receipt, representing grain stored in temple granaries in Sumer in ancient Mesopotamia and in Ancient Egypt. In this first stage of currency, metals were used as symbols to represent value stored in the form of commodities; this formed the basis of trade in the Fertile Crescent for over 1500 years. However, the collapse of the Near Eastern trading system pointed to a flaw: in an era where there was no place, safe to store value, the value of a circulating medium could only be as sound as the forces that defended that store. A trade could only reach as far as the credibility of that military. By the late Bronze Age, however, a series of treaties had established safe passage for merchants around the Eastern Mediterranean, spreading from Minoan Crete and Mycenae in the northwest to Elam and Bahrain in the southeast.
It is not known what was used as a currency for these exchanges, but it is thought that ox-hide shaped ingots of copper, produced in Cyprus, may have functioned as a currency. It is thought that the increase in piracy and raiding associated with the Bronze Age collapse produced by the Peoples of the Sea, brought the trading system of oxhide ingots to an end, it was only the recovery of Phoenician trade in the 10th and 9th centuries BC that led to a return to prosperity, the appearance of real coinage first in Anatolia with Croesus of Lydia and subsequently with the Greeks and Persians. In Africa, many forms of value store have been used, including beads, ivory, various forms of weapons, the manilla currency, ochre and other earth oxides; the manilla rings of West Africa were one of the currencies used from the 15th century onwards to sell slaves. African currency is still notable for its variety, in many places, various forms of barter still apply; these factors led to the metal itself being the store of value: first silver both silver and gold, at one point bronze.
Now we have other non-precious metals as coins. Metals were mined and stamped into coins; this was to assure the individual accepting the coin that he was getting a certain known weight of precious metal. Coins could be counterfeited, but the existence of standard coins created a new unit of account, which helped lead to banking. Archimedes' principle provided the next link: coins could now be tested for their fine weight of metal, thus the value of a coin could be determined if it had been shaved, debased or otherwise tampered with. Most major economies using coinage had several tiers of coins of different values, made of copper and gold. Gold coins were the most valuable and were used for large purchases, payment of the military and backing of state activities. Units of account were defined as the value of a particular type of gold coin. Silver coins were used for midsized transactions, sometimes defined a unit of account, while coins of copper or silver, or some mixture of them, might be used for everyday transactions.
This system had been used in ancient India since the time of the Mahajanapadas. The exact ratios between the values of the three metals varied between different eras and places. However, the rarity of gold made it more valuable than silver, silver was worth more than copper. In premodern China, the need for credit and for a medium of exchange, less physically cumbersome than large numbers of copper coins led to the introduction of paper money, i.e. banknotes. Their introduction was a gradual process which lasted from the late Tang dynasty into the Song dynasty, it began as a means for merchants to exchange heavy coinage for receipts of deposit issued as promissory notes by wholesalers' shops. These notes were valid for temporary use in a small regional territory. In the 10th century, the Song dynasty government began to circulate these notes amongst the traders in its monopolized salt industry; the Song government granted several shops the right to issue banknotes, in the early 12th century the government took over these shops to produce state-issued currency.
Yet the banknotes issued w
The Zollverein, or German Customs Union, was a coalition of German states formed to manage tariffs and economic policies within their territories. Organized by the 1833 Zollverein treaties, it formally started on 1 January 1834. However, its foundations had been in development from 1818 with the creation of a variety of custom unions among the German states. By 1866, the Zollverein included most of the German states; the foundation of the Zollverein was the first instance in history in which independent states had consummated a full economic union without the simultaneous creation of a political federation or union. Prussia was the primary driver behind the creation of the customs union. Austria was excluded from the Zollverein because of its protected industry and because Prince von Metternich was against the idea. By the founding of the North German Confederation in 1867, the Zollverein covered states of 425,000 square kilometres, had produced economic agreements with several non-German states, including Sweden-Norway.
After the founding of the German Empire in 1871, the Empire assumed the control of the customs union. However, not all states within the Empire were part of the Zollverein until 1888. Conversely, Luxembourg was independent and not a state in the German Reich, it remained in the Zollverein until 1919; the splintering of territory and states over generations meant that by the 1790s in the German-speaking Holy Roman Empire in Central Europe, there were 1800 customs barriers. Within the Prussian state itself, there were, at the beginning of the 19th century, more than 67 local customs and tariffs, with as many customs borders. To travel from Königsberg in East Prussia to Cologne, for example, a shipment was inspected and taxed 18 times; each customs inspection at each border slowed the shipment's progress from source to destination, each assessment on the shipment reduced profit and increased the price of goods stifling trade. When France defeated the Second Coalition, made up of Russian and German forces, annexed territories up to the Rhine, there was a general consolidation of the myriad of tiny states in Germany in the Mediatization of 1803.
This was called the Principal Conclusion of the Extraordinary Imperial Delegation. This last piece of major legislation enacted by the Holy Roman Empire re-arranged the map of Central Europe in the southwestern territories; the Reichshauptschluss resulted in the secularization of many ecclesiastical territories, the so-called mediatization, i.e. the annexation to larger neighboring territories, of many of the free imperial territories, including most of the imperial cities. Considerable portions of the Habsburg family territories in southwestern Central Europe were "mediatized", or given as compensation, to the princes and dukes who had lost territories in the French expansion. Most of the imperial cities, imperial abbeys, ecclesiastical states and cities were mediatized or secularized in 1803. With the final dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, most of the remaining tiny principalities were annexed by larger neighbors. Historians have analyzed three Prussian goals in the development of the Zollverein: first, as a political tool to eliminate Austrian influence in Germany.
The Zollverein created a larger market for German-made farm and handicraft products and promoted commercial unification under fiscally sound economic parameters. While the Union sought to limit trade and commercial barriers between and among member states, it continued to uphold the protectionist barriers against outsiders. During the Napoleonic Era, efforts in the Rhineland toward economic unity had mixed success; the Confederation of the Rhine, the other satellite creations of Napoleonic France, sought to establish economic autarky in European trade. By 1806, as Napoleon I sought to secure his hegemony in Europe, the Continental System offered a semblance of unified effort toward a widespread domestic market for European goods. However, the main purpose of the Continental System was military, not economic. Napoleon wanted a trade embargo against Britain, through which he hoped to wreck the British economy; the combination of war and isolation from Britain's trading system destroyed markets for external raw materials and for manufactured goods, resulting in the near ruin of the Central European economy.
Hard hit were the trading economies of the Lowlands and Rhineland states, which had relied upon imports of raw materials from throughout the world, on the export of finished products. The domestic markets in Central Europe were not large enough to sustain consumption of their own production; these problems were exacerbated by the numerous excise taxes and tolls which were the main source of state income. Reduction in trade meant the near bankruptcy of the smaller states. At the Congress of Vienna in 1814 and 1815, diplomats – principally those from the Great Powers – confirmed the remapping of Europe, broadly, the rest of the world, into spheres of influence. Central Europe, or German-speaking Europe, remained within the influence of the Austrian Habsburgs, balanced at the periphery by the Russian empire in the east, the French in the west. Prussia was expected to play some role in these spheres of influence, but the ambiguities of the Austrian and Prussian relationship were unresolved; the German states retained autonomy.