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The North German Confederation (Norddeutscher Bund) was a federal state. It united all German states north of the Main River under Prussian leadership. It was the historical precursor of the Prussian-dominated solution to the German question, which was realised with the founding of the German Reich, to the exclusion of Austria. Founded as a military alliance in August 1866, the Confederation acquired the quality of a state through a constitution of 1 July 1867.
The hope of soon being able to admit the southern German states of Baden, Bavaria, Württemberg and Hesse-Darmstadt into the Confederation was not fulfilled.
With the so-called founding of the Reich and the entry into force of the new constitution on 1 January 1871, the Confederation and the independend southern German states were absorbed into the German Empire.
In the north, the Kingdom of Prussia formed the North German Confederation as a new German federal state.
The hope that the southern German states of Baden, Bavaria, Württemberg and Hesse-Darmstadt would soon be able to join the Confederation was not fulfilled.
A South German Confederation was merely the idea of the above mentioned South German states forming a confederation. This did not happen and they remained de jure independent nation states.
The founding of the Reich on January 1, 1871 was nothing other than the entry of the southern German states into the North German Confederation.
The establishment of the North German Confederation caused a number of states to fall out of the process of forming a German nation-state. These were
The latter was only a Dutch province in the first place, which had belonged to the German Confederation for historical-political reasons. Luxembourg's independence was confirmed by the Great Powers in the course of the Luxembourg Crisis in 1867.