Europe 1849: May Uprisings
In Germany, the National Assembly in Frankfurt had produced a constitution for a new German Empire with King Frederick William IV of Prussia as its Emperor. However Frederick William rejected the role while only the smaller German states proved willing to adopt the constitution, provoking a new wave of revolutions in support of the National Assembly.
25 Apr 1849 French landing at Civitavecchia▲
In April 1849 about ten thousand French Republican troops under General Charles Oudinot landed at Civitavecchia, north-west of Rome, in an invasion of Roman Republic. Simultaneously, some four thousand Spanish troops were landed at Gaeta, in the Kingdom of Naples, where Pope Pius IX remained in refuge. Although disconcerted at being attacked by their fellow republicans, Roman Republicans were encouraged in their resolve when the popular Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi made his long-awaited triumphal entry into Rome two days later.
26 Apr–25 May 1849 Austrian intervention in Tuscany▲
Acknowledging the request of the municipal council of Florence in April 1849, Grand Duke Leopold II agreed to return to Tuscany to resume his rule but at the same time secretly invited Austrian military intervention. Towards the end of the month, fifteen thousand troops of Austrian Empire entered the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, occupying Lucca and Livorno at the beginning of May and capturing Florence on the 25th. With the Grand Duchy secured, Leopold returned to rule at the end of July.
2 May 1849 Palatine Uprising▲
In December 1848 leftists gained the majority of the seats in the first parliamentary elections held in the Kingdom of Bavaria, including all nineteen seats in the Rhenish province of the Palatinate. Pushing back against this new leftist influence in his government, King Maximilian II of Bavaria dismissed a bill of rights passed by parliament in January 1849, then completely rejected the Frankfurt Constitution in April. Enraged by the king’s measures, in early May people’s associations in Kaiserslautern established a “State Committee for the Defense and Implementation of the Constitution” and quickly gained control of the Palatinate.
3–9 May 1849 May Uprising in Dresden▲
In early May 1849 a popular uprising broke out in Dresden, capital of the Kingdom of Saxony, when King Frederick Augustus II refused to accept the Frankfurt Constitution and called on Prussian troops to support his rule. The king and his government were soon forced to flee to the fortress of Königstein, leaving the capital in the hands of the revolutionaries. However, the rebel victory was short-lived and within a week the Saxon army, supported by Prussian troops, retook Dresden and restored the king’s rule in Saxony.
4–21 May 1849 Siege of Buda▲
Learning of the Hungarian victory at Nagysalló in April 1849, the Austrians evacuated Buda and Pest—which were immediately occupied by the Hungarians Revolutionary Army—but left a 5,000-strong garrison in Buda Castle under Heinrich Hentzi. The Hungarian general Artúr Görgei led some 34,000 troops to besiege them in early May and on the 21st captured the castle by assault. The fall of Buda to the Hungarians restored their capital and marked the end of the Spring Campaign.
4 May 1849 Frankfurt Resolution▲
On 28 April 1849 King Frederick William IV of Prussia finally rejected the role of “Emperor of the Germans” that had been offered to him by the German National Assembly (Frankfurt Parliament) one month earlier. In response, the National Assembly issued a resolution instructing all the German states to accept the Frankfurt Constitution, that elections for the lower house would be held on 15 July, and that if the King of Prussia continued to reject the Imperial Crown, it would be offered to another ruler. Rather than back down, Prussia and a number of other German states ordered their delegates to boycott the Frankfurt Parliament.
7–18 May 1849 May Uprising in Rhenish Prussia▲
In late April 1849 Frederick William IV of Prussia rejected the title of German Emperor offered by the Frankfurt Parliament and dissolved the Second Chamber of the Prussian Government for recognizing the Frankfurt Constitution. In response, militia around Elberfeld, Dusseldorf, Solingen, and other towns in the Prussian Rhineland mutinied in support of the constitution in early May. Despite significant popular support, they were swiftly suppressed by troops of the Kingdom of Prussia.