Notes on ‘Countries of Europe: 1721’

I hope you enjoyed ‘Countries of Europe: 1721.’ The date may seem to have been chosen somewhat randomly, but in fact 1721 was a key point of stability in Europe that made it possible to convert the map into a quiz for that date. To begin, the War of Spanish Succession had ended within the decade and the Treaties of Utrecht in 1713. In those agreements much formerly Spanish land changed hands and Phillip V was recognized as the rightful King of Spain. The French war with the Holy Roman Empire would end the following year with Treaty of Baden and the French war with Austria ended that same year with the Treaty of Rastatt.
Then, in 1721, the Great Northern War finally came to an end with the Treaty of Nystad between Sweden and Russia. In it, most of Sweden’s Baltic possessions (Estonia, Livonia, parts of Finland) were transferred to Russia. Swedish colonialism was largely over and Russian power expanded. These treaties mark a stable and peaceful point at which the borders of European powers can be clearly seen and thus a good point in time for a historical map quiz.
Some notes on the choice of correct and alternate names;

1. Kingdom of Great Britain (alternates: Great Britain, United Kingdom of Great Britain)- The Union of Scotland, England and Wales with the Acts of Union in 1707 created the Kingdom of Great Britain. The sticky issue remaining is whether to consider Ireland a separate nation in this time period or a unified nation with Great Britain. Of the various historical maps of Europe in 1721 that I could find, all but one show the Isles as a unified nation including Ireland. The distinction falls depending on whether you consider independence at that time to be based on governance or monarchy.
In 1721, Ireland had a separate Irish parliament which ruled the island until the Act of Union of 1800. However, following the death of Oliver Cromwell, Charles II was restored to the title of King of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1660. He was succeed by James (who was James II of Ireland England and James VII of Scotland), William (the III of England, Ireland and the Netherlands and the II of Scotland) who co-reigned with Queen Mary II, Anne and then finally George I, who was reigning in 1721 over England, Scotland and Ireland.
Ultimately, I’ve made the determination to differ from what the most of the maps show and list Great Britain and Ireland separately on the quiz. The reason is simple- the distinction on the quiz is not monarchy but sovereignty (i.e. a ‘personal union’ doth not a federation make)- and until the Act of Union of 1800 Ireland and Great Britain and separate sovereign realms, albeit ruled by the same monarchs.#
Note that while there are several variations of accepted answers, ‘United Kingdom’ (without ‘of Great Britain’) is not accepted. The use of ‘United Kingdom’ as a country name dates to the Act of Union of 1800.#
2. Kingdom of Ireland (Ireland)- See notes and references on Great Britain, above.
3. Kingdom of Portugal (Portugal)- In another instance of ‘personal union’, King Philip II of Spain had become Phillip I of Portugal in 1580. However, the Ireland/Great Britain quandary does not repeat itself here as the Portuguese Restoration War of 1640 led to the House of Braganza and the reign of John V from 1706 to 1750.#
4. Kingdom of Spain (Spain)- As noted above, the 1721 borders of Spain were set by the Treaties of Utrecht in 1713 which also established that Phillip V was the rightful King of Spain.#
5. Kingdom of France (France)- France was early in the 58 year reign of Louis IV (and still under the regency of Phillip of Orleans) in 1721. Having established itself as a dominant power on mainland Europe it would remain a kingdom until the French Revolution (1789) and the creation of the first French Republic (1792).#
6. Switzerland (Swiss Confederation, Old Swiss Confederacy, Swiss Confederacy)- The time period for this quiz falls just after the Toggenberg War (the 2nd Battle of Villmergen) a victory for protestant forces over Catholic ones in the Swiss Confederation. Some sources cease the use of the phrase ‘Old Swiss Confederacy’ nearly 200 years prior to the date of this quiz. Others continue to use it into the 18th Century. I have allowed it as an alternate to the country’s present-day formal name: Swiss Confederation.#
7. The United Netherlands (Netherlands, The Dutch Republic, Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, The Seven United Netherlands, Republic of the Seven United Provinces, The Seven United Provinces, United Provinces)- Charles V’s Pragmatic Sanction in 1549 was the first step toward unification of the Netherlands. United in defense by the Union of Utrecht (1579), the Netherlands declared its sovereignty with the Act of Abjuration in 1581.#
8. Kingdom of Denmark (Denmark, Denmark-Norway)- The period of 1536-1814 saw a unification of Denmark and Norway including the modern Danish territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland and the modern nation of Iceland. The seat of power was Copenhagen, under the Danish monarchy and so the displayed answer is “Kingdom of Denmark.” The Treaty of Kiel dissolved the union in 1814.#
9. Kingdom of Sweden (Sweden, Swedish Empire)- As mentioned above, the Treaty of Nystad in 1721 set the borders of Sweden and cost the Empire a great deal of land.#
10. Holy Roman Empire- Technically ‘The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation’, the HRE was the central unifying power in what is now Germany for nearly nine and a half centuries until the formation of the German Confederation after the Napoleonic wars. It may be rightly argued that after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 the individual constituencies of the Empire were essentially autonomous. Here, history and game play come make the decision easy.

Some parts of the Empire (the Swiss Confederation, for example) made a clean break and clean break and the quiz should recognize that distinction. Further, the Empire itself, though loosened in control over its individual parts, was not yet dead. Two things tip the quiz decidedly in the direction of showing the HRE and not each individual part. First, the map clearly shows the HRE as a single entity. Persons with knowledge of the Baroque history of Europe would certainly look at that map and conclude that the large blob in the middle of Europe is the HRE. Second, having to name dozens of sometimes tiny kingdoms, duchies, empires and city states will, for most quiz takers, detract from game play. Thus, Holy Roman Empire it is.#

11. Kingdom of Poland (Poland, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth)- Joined by the Union of Lublin in 1569, the Commonwealth was unlike its Western European counterparts in that it was an elective monarchy in which the noblemen had a greater degree of power. By 1715 the nobles and the monarchy had come to war, opening the door to greater and greater Russian influence and the eventual absorption of the Commonwealth as a Russian protectorate in 1768.#

12. Kingdom of Hungary- The alternate answer ‘Royal Hungary’ is not accepted as the Reign of Charles VI in 1711 brought an end to the use of that terminology with the Treaty of Szatmar. Another instance of ‘personal union’ (as Charles was also the Holy Roman Emperor), Hungary never the less maintained its separate sovereign status with a separate parliament and constitution.#

13. Ottoman Empire (Sublime Ottoman State)- Like much of the rest of Europe, the Ottoman Empire became embroiled in the Great Northern War, concluding in 1721. For the Ottoman’s the turning point was the Treaty of Passarowtiz in 1718 ending war with the HRE and the Republic of Venice.#

14. Russian Empire (Russia)- Though Peter the Great had ruled since 1672, it was the Treaty of Nystad in 1721 that truly turned the Russian Tsardom into the Russian Empire, again making 1721 a clear line of demarcation and an appropriate date for a map quiz of Europe.#

15. Kingdom of Prussia (Prussia)- Having gone on a long exposition about why I chose to include the Holy Roman Empire rather than its constituent parts, it might seem odd that the Kingdom of Prussia is listed separately. After all, it was part of the German Confederation and a good deal of its possessions were within the territorial borders of the Holy Roman Empire. There are two simple reasons why Prussia is listed separately.

First, and most importantly, not all of the territory of Prussia was within the HRE. The easternmost portion, surrounded entirely by Poland, was not a part of the Empire. Including Prussia with the HRE would therefore be ignoring a portion of the continent that would not be included in any answer. In fact, Frederick II was permitted to call himself ‘King of Prussia’ only because part of the territory was outside of the HRE. Second, the German duality of the day had Prussia in conflict with Austria, then part of the HRE. Prussia is therefore listed separately with the answer displaying over the portion of Prussia that is not contained in the HRE.#

16. States of Savoy (Savoy, House of Savoy, Kingdom of Sardinia/Sardinia)- Previously part of the Holy Roman Empire, Savoy had been separated from the Empire by the War of the Great Alliance, ending in 1713. By way of the Treaty of London, Duke Victor Amadeus II traded the isle of Sicily for the isle of Sardinia forming the new, independent, ‘States of Savoy’ (also known as the ‘Kingdom of Sardinia’).#

17. Republic of Venice (Venice, Venetian Republic, Most Serene Republic of Venice)- Originally a city-state, the Republic came to control territory in what is now modern-day Serbia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Crete. A slow decline was hastened by the Turkish-Venetian War of 1714-1718 and the terms of the Treaty of Passarowitz, mentioned above. The Republic ceased to exist in 1797 with France and Austria splitting its territory.#

18. Republic of Genoa (Genoa, Most Serene Republic of Genoa)- Long allied with the Spanish (and particularly known for its banking industry), the decline of the Spanish empire and Spanish influence, the Republic saw a decline in its power as well. As an interesting historical side note, the newly independent United States was formally recognized by the Republic of Genoa in 1791 before it was annexed by the French 14 years later.#

19. Grand Duchy of Tuscany (Tuscany)- Created by Papal Bull in 1569 (replacing the Republic of Florence), the establishment of Tuscany angered by the Holy Roman Emperor and the King of Spain. Power was eventually transferred to Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor.#

20. Papal States (Papal State, States of the Church, Pontifical States)- The Papal States were a sovereign nation under the direct rule of the Vatican. The modern term ‘Vatican City’ applies only to the current small territory ruled by the Pope and is therefore inapplicable to the larger territory present in 1721.#

21. Kingdom of Naples (Naples)- Originally part of the Kingdom of Sicily, the two separated in 1282. Later reunified as the ‘Kingdom of the Two Sicilies’ it was actually ruled by Charles the VI in 1720 in yet another example of a personal union.#

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