Revolutions of 1830

 France, Belgium, Poland & Central Italy: The July Revolution in France expelled Charles X and replaced him as King with Louis-Philippe. The Austrian Netherlands belonging to Belgium were united with Holland at the Congress of Vienna (1815), to form the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. But Roman Catholic Belgians (mostly French-speaking) resented the dominance of the Protestant Dutch (Flemish-speaking) in this new state.

After the expulsion of Charles in the July Revolution, there were riots in Brussels, exacerbated by the sending in of Dutch troops in an attempt to restore order. By September most of Belgium was in a state of revolt and Dutch King William asked the Great Powers for help. As Prussia, Russia and Austria were by their nature opposed to revolution and also fans of the monarchy, they were cautious to the extent of being un-cooperative, because if they sent soldiers to help the Dutch, French pressures would be inclined to compel Louis-Philippe to send aid to the Belgians.

Louis-Philippe /

Louis-Philippe /

Prussia accepted a French proposal for non-intervention in October, after the Belgians had declared independence. In London a Conference of Ambassadors accepted Belgian independence but both the French army and the British navy were required to force the Dutch out of Belgium. In fact Belgium was simply invaded in 1831, but not until 1839 did the King of Holland at last accept Belgian independence. Then, the Great Powers guaranteed Belgium’s permanent neutrality.

   Meanwhile, in Poland the garrison at Warsaw revolted against Russian rule. The Polish troops had some success, as they outnumbered the Russians in Poland, but they lacked essential support. Peasants suffered (as usual) from the demands and impositions of Polish landowners, who were leading the revolution against Russia – and refused to join up to fight. The Poles had rather optimistically expected the Western Powers to support them, but they were whistling in the wind, as no-one appeared ready to listen. In 1831 Russia crushed the revolution with the usual brutality. In the harsh repression that followed the Polish Diet, universities and a separate Polish Army were abolished, and the Poles had to accept the beginning of a new ‘Russification’ of their way of life.

And in Italy, revolts in Parma, Modena and the Papal States broke out but these sparks were easily stamped out by Austrian troops within a couple of months.

About the Author:

‘Dean Swift’ is a pen name: the author has been a soldier; he has worked in sales, TV, the making of films, as a teacher of English and history and a journalist. He is married with three grown-up children. They live in Spain.

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