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Single schwerin
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However, the main purpose of the Continental System was military, not economic.

Napoleon wanted a trade embargo against Britain, through which he hoped to wreck the British economy.

After the founding of the German Empire in 1871, the Empire assumed the control of the customs union.

However, its foundations had been in development from 1818 with the creation of a variety of custom unions among the German states.By 1866, the Zollverein included most of the German states.) or German Customs Union was a coalition of German states formed to manage tariffs and economic policies within their territories.Organized by the 1833 Zollverein treaties, the Zollverein formally came into existence on 1 January 1834.Conversely, although it was not a state in the German Reich, Luxembourg remained in the Zollverein until 1919.

The splintering of territory and states over generations meant that by the 1790s in the German-speaking Holy Roman Empire in Central Europe, there were approximately 1800 customs barriers.The combination of war and isolation from Britain's trading system destroyed markets for external raw materials and for manufactured goods and resulted in the near ruin of the Central European economy.Especially hard hit were the trading economies of the Lowlands and Rhineland states, which had relied heavily upon imports of raw materials from throughout the world, and on the ability to export finished products.This last piece of major legislation enacted by the Holy Roman Empire re-arranged the map of Central Europe, especially in the southwestern territories.The Reichshauptschluss resulted in the secularization of many ecclesiastical territories, and the so-called mediatization, i.e.The German states themselves remained autonomous; however, the old imperial institution of the Reichstag was reinvented in the form of a Confederation Diet that would meet in Frankfurt.