War of the Third Coalition lasted from about 1803 to 1806. Following defeat at the
Austerlitz by the French under
Napoleon in December 1805, Holy Roman Emperor
Francis II abdicated, and the
Empire was dissolved on 6 August 1806. The resulting
Pressburg established the
Confederation of the Rhine in July 1806, joining together sixteen of France's allies among the German states (including Bavaria and Württemberg). After the
Jena–Auerstedt of October 1806 in the
War of the Fourth Coalition, various other German states, including Saxony and Westphalia, also joined the Confederation. Only Austria, Prussia, Danish Holstein,
Swedish Pomerania, and the French-occupied
Principality of Erfurt stayed outside the Confederation of the Rhine. These nations would later join in the
War of the Sixth Coalition from 1812 to 1814.
The German Confederation was created by the
9th Act of the
Congress of Vienna on 8 June 1815 after being alluded to in
Article 6 of the 1814
Treaty of Paris, ending the War of the Sixth Coalition.
The Confederation was formally created by a second treaty, the Final Act of the Ministerial Conference to Complete and Consolidate the Organization of the German Confederation. This treaty was not concluded and signed by the parties until 15 May 1820. States joined the German Confederation by becoming parties to the second treaty. The states designated for inclusion in the Confederation in the 1815 treaty were:
Anhalt-Bernburg (inherited by the Duke of
Anhalt-Köthen (inherited by the Duke of
Austrian Empire (including
Crown of Bohemia –
Austrian Silesia – and Austrian lands –
Electorate of Hesse (also known as Hesse-Kassel)
Grand Duchy of Hesse (also known as Hesse-Darmstadt)
Hohenzollern-Hechingen (became part of Prussia in 1850)
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (became part of Prussia in 1850)
Lauenburg, held by
Luxembourg, held by the
Reuss, elder line
Reuss, younger line
Saxe-Coburg (ruler became Duke of
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 1826)
Saxe-Gotha (partitioned 1826)
Saxe-Hildburghausen (ruler became Duke of
When the 1820 treaty was concluded, the following states were also included:
Hesse-Homburg (inherited by the grand-duke of
In 1839, as compensation for the loss of the
Luxemburg to Belgium, the
Duchy of Limburg (held by the Netherlands) was created and it was a member of the German Confederation until its dissolution in 1866. The city of Maastricht was not included in the Confederation.
Dissolution and Empire
The German Confederation ended as a result of the
Austro-Prussian War of 1866 between
Austrian Empire and its allies on one side and the
Kingdom of Prussia and its allies on the other. In the
Prague peace treaty, on 23 August 1866, Austria had to accept that the Confederation was considered to be dissolved.
 The following day, the remaining member states confirmed the dissolution. The treaty allowed Prussia to create a new Bundesverhältnis (a new kind of federation) in the North of Germany. The South German states were proposed to create a South German Confederation but this did not come into existence.
Prussia and its allies created the
North German Confederation in 1867. Because of French intervention it had to exclude, besides Austria, the South German states Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden, and Hesse-Darmstadt. During November 1870, the four southern states joined the North German Confederation by treaty.
The North German Confederation Reichstag and Bundesrat accepted to rename the North German Confederation as the
German Empire and give the title of
German Emperor to the
King of Prussia.
 The new constitution of the state, the
Constitution of the German Confederation, introduced the new name (in spite of its title) and title on 1 January 1871.