Imágenes de página

The Elbe, before leaving the kingdom of Bohemia, in which it rises, receives the river Moldau ; it then crosses Saxony, watering its capital, Dresden ; next it traverses part of the Prussian territory, watering Magdeburg. The principal rivers which it receives in this part of its course are the Saale, which washes Halle, and the Havel, which passes Potsdam and Brandenburg. In the last part of its course the Elbe is the boundary between Hanover on the south, and the Duchies of Holstein and Mecklenburg on the north. It joins the sea at Cuxhaven, about 70 miles below Hamburg, The Elbe may be navigated, in lighters, as far as the confluence of the Moldau. Its mouth is much encumbered by shoals and sandbanks.

The Oder is now wholly a Prussian river.

The Weser, situated midway between the Elbe and Rhine, runs parallel to them; passing Minden, it falls into the German Ocean. The Ems runs past Munster and Embden,

CLIMATE. The extent of its latitude and the diversity of its elevation cause a considerable variety in the climate of its various regions. The northern part is exposed to the winds from the North Sea and Baltic, which render the climate moist and variable. The middle is, from its elevation, colder than its latitude would indicate, but it is protected by the Hercynian and Carpathian chains from the blasts of the north ; the seasons are regular, and in the valleys the summer's heat is powerful, and the vine flourishes. The lofty heights of the Alps bring into contiguity, in the southern territories of Austria, the regions of eternal snow, and of the vine, fig-tree, and olive.

PRODUCTIONS. Germany is rich in minerals; the mountains between Bohemia and Saxony are peculiarly so, they contain the richest silver mines in Europe, tin mines scarcely inferior to those of Cornwall, and mines of copper, lead, iron, &c. This region chiefly furnishes Europe with arsenic and cobalt. The quicksilver mines of Idria (north of Trieste) are the richest in Europe, excepting those of Almaden in Spain. Rock-salt is abundant in various places. The

topaz of Saxony, and the garnet of Bohemia are highly valued. The opal is peculiar to Hungary.

The forests of Germany are of great extent, and yield an important article of export. The oak abounds in the central regions; the firs, which are not so hard and lofty as those of northern Europe, follow the course of the rivers.

The art of agriculture in Germany, especially in the south, is in a very imperfect state; yet a larger quantity of grain is raised than is required for home consumption. Hemp and flax are generally cultivated. The wines of Tokay, and of the Moselle and the Rhine are celebrated. Numerous herds of cattle form part of the riches of Ger. many. The hog of Westphalia is much esteemed.

COMMERCE. Germany has few sea-ports, but its rivers greatly facilitate commerce. Its numerous territorial divisions, each exacting duties on the passage of commodities, long restricted its internal trade; a recent commercial alliance amongst the several states has entirely removed this barrier. The exports consist chiefly of native produce, particularly corn, timber, and wool. Besides colonial goods, it imports cotton, hardware, and other manufactured articles from Britain. The staple manufacture of Germany is linen, of which much is exported: the woollen and cotton manufactures are inadequate to the local demand. German porcelain is celebrated; paper, leather, glass, and hardware are made, and much ingenuity is displayed in fabricating various small works in metals, glass, wood, and ivory.

STATES. The states of the Germanic confederacy have been divided into four classes, according to their territorial extent and importance.

The first class consists of the kingdoms of Austria, Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, and Wirtemburg.

· The second class contains the grand duchies of Baden, HesseDarmstadt, and Luxemburg, and the electorate of Hesse-Cassel.

The third class comprehends Brunswick, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and Nassau,

The most important of the fourth class, which in all contains twentyfive states, are Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Gotha, Saxe-Coburg, Saxe-Meiningen, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and the free cities Hamburgh, Bremen, Frankfort, and Lubeck.

POPULATION. Thirty-nine millions ; exclusive of those provinces of Austria and Prussia which are not included in the German confederacy.

CHARACTER. The Germans are regarded as a frank and hospitable people, and are in general both sincere and faithful. The higher orders are much attached to titles and show, and all are extremely fond of music. They are sluggish and inert; yet persevering industry, which has been carried to a great extent in the mechanical arts, is a decided trait in the national character.

GOVERNMENT, RELIGION, AND LITERATURE. The affairs of the Germanic confederacy are managed by the Diet, which is formed by plenipotentiaries from the different states, and meets at Frankfort on the Maine. The Diet has a right, as a collective power, to declare war, to make peace, and to contract alliances. Each state is independent as respects internal legislation.

The Emperor of Austria no longer bears the title of Emperor of Germany; but the extent of his dominions gives him a decided preponderance in the Diet; indeed the affairs of Germany may be said to be almost entirely at the disposal of Austria and Prussia.

The Reformation early made good progress in Germany; it began at Wittenberg, a city of Prussian Saxony, in the university at which place Luther was a professor of philosophy. The Protestant religion is the most prevalent in the north ; the Roman Catholic in the south, Literature is much cultivated in Germany; it has upwards of twenty universities. In Germany, where the art of printing had its rise, the press is peculiarly prolific.

Henne Gænsfleisch, commonly called John Gutenburg, a native of Mentz, in the Duchy of Hesse, was the inventor of this wonderful art. The first printed book, the Latin Bible, was produced at Mentz, between the years 1450 and 1455.

ANIMALS. The bison is numerous in the Carpathian forests; the bear, the wolf, the lynx, the chamois, and marmot are also common, nor is the beaver entirely unknown.

This country was anciently called Germania.

The Latin denomination of the country which we have adopted is supposed to be derived from the Roman manner of pronouncing the word Wehrmann, which signifies soldier, the character in which the Germans were mostly known to the Romans. The Germans call their country Deutschland, the French call it Allemagne.


BOUNDARIES. N. by Russian Poland, Prussia, and Saxony.-E. by Russia and Turkey. — S. by Turkey and the Gulf of Venice.-W. by Bavaria, Switzerland, and Sardinia.

EXTENT. From 42° to 51° N. lat., and from go to 26° E. long. Length 800 miles, breadth 400, and contains about 258,000 square miles.

The empire of Austria comprehends nearly one-twelfth of the entire surface of Europe, ranking third amongst the countries of Europe for extent of territory. It is a compact country, and well defended by natural boundaries. Its most exposed frontier is on the N.E. The possession of Dalmatia and Venice gives it a coast line on the Adriatic of 600 miles.

PROVINCES. The component parts of the empire are :- Six countries, bearing each the name of kingdom, viz. Hungary, Bohemia, Galicia, Lombardy and Venice, Illyria and Dalmatia; one archduchy, Austria; one principality, Transylvania; one duchy, Styria; one margraviate, Moravia and one county, Tyrol.


Vienna, the capital of the empire, on the Danube, where the small river Vien falls into it; its manufactures are considerable. It was

taken by the French in 1806 and 1809. Pop. 358,000. Prague, on the Moldau, the capital of Bohemia; an ancient university.

Huss and Jerome, the precursors of the Reformation in Germany,

resided here. Tycho Brahe died at Prague in 1601. Pop. 120,000. Pesth and Buda, two towns separated by the Danube, but connected

by a bridge of boats 300 yards long; Buda is the capital of Hungary. Presburg, on the Danube, formerly the capital of Hungary, and here

the Diet still meets and the kings are crowned. Lemberg, the capital of Galicia or Austrian Poland; a place of great trade : the Jews, who are very numerous here, as in other parts of

Poland, possess a synagogue capable of holding 10,000 persons. Trieste, at the head of the Gulf of Venice, is the principal sea-port of

the Austrian dominions. Venice; the earliest, and long the most flourishing sea-port of Europe, Brunn, in Moravia ; woollen manufactures : it has been denominated

the Leeds of Austria. Debretzin, in the east of Hungary; Schemnitz, in the mining district

in the north-west of that country; Szegedin, at the confluence of the Maros with the Theiss; and Gratz, the capital of Styria, are towns of

some importance. Toplitz, in Bohemia, is celebrated for its hot springs. Mantua, the birth-place of Virgil; Verona, noted for its ancient amphitheatre; Padua, the seat of a university, and the birth-place of Livy; and Trent, in which the celebrated ecclesiastical council was held between 1545 and 1563, are in the Austrian territories in Italy.

POPULATION. The people are chiefly composed of three racesSlavonians, Germans and Italians. The whole population amounts to thirty-six millions.

GOVERNMENT, ETC. In all the provinces except Hungary and Transylvania the emperor possesses absolute authority. The present emperor is Ferdinand, who being incapacitated for his high duties by mental and bodily weakness, the government is managed by a council, at the head of which is his brother and heir presumptive, the Archduke Francis.

« AnteriorContinuar »