The North German Confederation (German: Norddeutscher Bund) was a federation of 22 independent states of northern Germany, with nearly 30 million inhabitants. It was the first modern German nation state and the basis for the later German Empire (1870/1871), when several south German states such as Bavaria joined. According to modern scholars the Confederation and the Empire are identical as a state, although technically the Empire was a new foundation.
After several unsuccessful proposals from several sides, to reform the German Confederation (founded in 1815), the North German major power Prussia left the German Confederation with some allies. It came to war between those states on one hand and states such as Austria on the other. After a quick decision in that Austro-Prussian War of July 1866, Prussia and its allies founded the North German Federation. First it was a military alliance between independent states (August-Bündnis), but already with the intention to form later a federation or confederation with a constitution. This was realised in 1867. The North German Confederation is historically important for the economic and judicial unification of Germany, many of its laws were taken over by the German Empire.