May 13th, 1861 – Queen Victoria’s Proclamation on the US Civil War

Today-In-History

The Confederate States of America (CSA or C.S.), commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized confederation of secessionist American states existing from 1861 to 1865. It was originally formed by seven slave states in the Lower South region of the United States whose regional economy was mostly dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system of production which in turn largely relied upon slave labor.

Seal_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America.svgEach state had declared its secession from the United States following the November 1860 election of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln to the U.S. presidency on a platform which opposed the expansion of slavery. A new Confederate government was proclaimed in February 1861 before Lincoln took office in March, but was considered illegal by the government of the United States. After war began in April, four states of the Upper South also declared their secession and joined the Confederacy. The Confederacy later accepted Missouri and Kentucky as members, although neither officially declared secession nor were they ever controlled by Confederate forces.

The government of the United States (the Union) rejected the claims of secession and considered the Confederacy to be illegitimate. The American Civil War began with the April 12th, 1861 Confederate attack upon Fort Sumter, a Union fort in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.

Queen VictoriaA month later, on May 13th, 1861, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom issued a “proclamation of neutrality” which recognized these breakaway states as having belligerent rights. France also granted the Confederacy belligerent status, but no sovereign foreign state officially recognized the Confederacy as an independent country.


 

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