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Treaty of London
Treaty of London 1867 Art VII and signatures.jpg
Signatures on the 1867 Treaty of London.
Type multilateral treaty
Signed 11 May 1867 (1867-05-11)
Location London, United Kingdom
Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Prussia, Russia, United Kingdom
Ratifiers Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Prussia, Russia, United Kingdom

The Treaty of London (French language: Traité de Londres), often called the Second Treaty of London after the 1839 Treaty, was an international treaty signed on 11 May 1867. Agreed to in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War and the Luxembourg Crisis, it had wide-reaching consequences for Luxembourg and for relations between Europe's Great Powers.

Effects[edit | edit source]

The immediate effect of the treaty, established in Article I, was the reaffirmation of the personal union between the Netherlands and Luxembourg under the House of Orange-Nassau.[1] It lasted until 1890, when a woman (Queen Wilhelmina) ascended to the Dutch throne. As at that time the Salic law was still in effect in Luxembourg, she could not become Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.

It was the older branch of the House of Nassau (Nassau-Weilburg, now called Luxembourg-Nassau) that inherited that dignity, giving Luxembourg its own exclusive dynasty. The Luxembourg Crisis had erupted after French Emperor Napoleon III attempted to buy Luxembourg from the Dutch King William III. Consequently, maintaining Dutch dominance over the de jure independent Luxembourg, free from French interference, was of paramount importance to Prussia.

The neutrality of Luxembourg, established by the First Treaty of London, was also reaffirmed. The parties that did not sign the earlier treaty were to become guarantors of Luxembourg's neutrality (an exception was Belgium, which was, itself, bound to neutrality).[2]

To ensure Luxembourg's neutrality, the (westward) fortifications of Luxembourg City, known as the "Gibraltar of the North", were to be demolished and never to be rebuilt.[3] To the east, the city was protected by a deep river valley and medieval fortifications that still exist. Dismantling the westward and underground fortifications took sixteen years at a cost of 1.5 million gold francs and required the destruction of over 24 km (15 mi) of underground defences and 4 hectares (9.9 acres) of casemates, batteries, barracks, etc.[4] The still very large residual fortifications of Luxembourg City are now part of the World Heritage List of the UNESCO.

Furthermore, the Prussian garrison, which had been sited in Luxembourg since 1815 in accordance with the decisions of the Congress of Vienna, was to be withdrawn.[5]

The Austro-Prussian War had led to the collapse of the German Confederation. Two former members, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Duchy of Limburg, had the Dutch king as their head of state (as Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Duke of Limburg). To clarify the position in the wake of the death of the Confederation further, the Treaty of London affirmed the end of the Confederation and stated that Limburg was henceforth to be considered with all its "territories" an "integral part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands".[6] The independent Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, still linked to the Netherlands by a personal union, would rejoin the newly re-established German customs union, the Zollverein, in which it would remain until 1 January 1919, long after the personal union had ended (1890).

Signatories[edit | edit source]

The treaty was signed by representatives of all of the Great Powers of Europe:

Italy was originally not invited, but King Victor Emmanuel II persuaded the other kings and emperors to invite his representative. Italy had little relation to Luxembourg, and the treaty did not directly affect Italy in any appreciable manner. However, it marked the first occasion on which Italy was invited to partake in an international conference on the basis of being a Great Power, and, therefore, was of symbolic value to the fledgling Italian kingdom.

See also[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. Treaty of London, Article I
  2. Treaty of London, Article II
  3. Treaty of London, Article V
  4. World Heritage List - Luxembourg. UNESCO, 1 October 1993. Retrieved on 2 July 2006.
  5. Treaty of London, Article IV
  6. Treaty of London, Article VI

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