The Latin word confoederatio came to our language as a confederation. The concept may refer to a grouping of individuals or associations or to the alliance established by different sovereign States to jointly defend common interests.
For example: “The Pan American Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Establishments has a new president”, “The governor promised to meet with leaders of the Regional Confederation of Education Workers”, “The Copa América is a tournament organized by the South American Confederation of Soccer ”.
For international law, confederations are alliances between States that are created through constitutions or common treaties, which allow their members to complement each other on issues related to trade and defense, to name two possibilities.
In this sense we can name Serbia and Montenegro, a confederation established in 2003 by the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Montenegro. This union was maintained until 2006.
According to DigoPaul, confederations can also be alliances of non-governmental civil institutions. The General Confederation of Labor (CGT) of Argentina is an entity that groups together numerous unions, such as the Union Railroad, the Union of Truck Drivers, the Union of Metal Workers, the Union of Mechanics and Allied Automotive Transport and the Union of Workers of the Construction of the Argentine Republic.
In the field of sport, it is common for clubs and regional or national associations to meet in confederations. Such is the case of the Brazilian Basketball Confederation (made up of more than 700 clubs) and the African Soccer Confederation (which has more than 50 members).
Former Swiss Confederation
In Swiss the term Eidgenossenschaft is used to speak of the confederation, which was the forerunner of what the Swiss Republic represents today. It was a federation of weak unions between small, practically independent states, which took place between the last stage of the 13th century and the year 1798, when Napoleon I invaded it and made it the Helvetic Republic.
The Old Swiss Confederation was, in essence, an alliance formed by the communities of the central Alpine valleys that had the objective of simplifying the pursuit of common interests, such as free trade, and also of guaranteeing the peace of the trade routes of great importance that crossed the roads between the mountains.
In 1291, the rural communities of Unterwalden, Schwyz and Uri signed a Federal Charter that is considered the document that led to the founding of the Old Confederacy, although it is possible that a few decades earlier alliances with quite similar characteristics had existed.
Confederation of the Rhine
Emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte created the Confederation of the Rhine, uniting the States of the First French Empire, in the context of the so-called Napoleonic Wars. At first, it had sixteen German states, after the defeat suffered by Russia and Austria at the Battle of Austerlitz, although it took its final form in 1806 with the Treaty of Pressburg, and lasted until 1813.
Previously, given certain family impositions, the former states of Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden had already been transformed into absolutist kingdoms, although the Napoleonic code was forcibly adopted in all the states created by Napoleon.
In the year 1815 the Congress of Vienna established a union that grouped 39 states in a confederation presided over by the House of Austria. Its predecessor was the Confederation of the Rhine, founded nine years earlier by Napoleon I to replace the Holy Roman Empire.
The German Confederation was created so that the small States of the Empire could enjoy security, and not to support German nationalism, which at that time was in full growth, since Vienna did not support it.