HOME

TheInfoList




The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, also known as the Napoleonic Empire, was the
empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...

empire
ruled by
Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) r ...

Napoleon Bonaparte
, who established French
hegemony Hegemony (, , ) is the political, economic, and military predominance of one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (new ...
over much of
continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical region ...

continental Europe
at the beginning of the 19th century. It lasted from 18 May 1804 to 11 April 1814 and again briefly from 20 March 1815 to 7 July 1815. (; ), Although France had already established a
colonial empire A colonial empire is a collective of territories (often called colony, colonies), either contiguous with the imperial center or located overseas territory, overseas, Plantation (settlement or colony), settled by the population of a certain Sovereig ...
overseas since the early 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
after the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consi ...

French Revolution
. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the ''First Empire'' to distinguish it from the restorationist ''
Second Empire
Second Empire
'' (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew
Napoleon III Napoleon III (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte; 20 April 18089 January 1873) was the first President of France The president of France, officially the President of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is t ...

Napoleon III
. On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was granted the title
Emperor of the French Emperor of the French (French: ''Empereur des Français'') was the title of the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foake ...
(', ) by the French and was crowned on 2 December 1804, signifying the end of the
French Consulate The Consulate (French: ''Le Consulat'') was the top-level Government of France from the fall of the Directory in the coup of Brumaire on 10 November 1799 until the start of the Napoleonic Empire on 18 May 1804. By extension, the term ''The C ...
and of the
French First Republic In the history of France, the First Republic (French: ''Première République''), officially the French Republic (''République française''), was founded on 21 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the dec ...
. Despite his coronation, the empire continued to be called the "French Republic" until 1809. The French Empire achieved military supremacy in mainland Europe through notable victories in the
War of the Third Coalition The War of the Third Coalition) * In French historiography, it is known as the Austrian campaign of 1805 (french: Campagne d'Autriche de 1805) or the German campaign of 1805 (french: Campagne d'Allemagne de 1805) was a European conflict spanning ...
against
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...
,
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...
,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...
,
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United ...

Britain
and allied nations, notably at the
Battle of Austerlitz The Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805/11 Frimaire An XIV French Republican Calendar, FRC), also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. In what is widely regard ...

Battle of Austerlitz
in 1805. French dominance was reaffirmed during the
War of the Fourth Coalition The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers t ...
, at the
Battle of Jena–Auerstedt The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt (; older spelling: ''Auerstädt'') were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale in today's Germany, between the forces of Napoleon, Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III o ...
in 1806 and the
Battle of Friedland The Battle of Friedland (June 14, 1807) was a major engagement of the Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array ...

Battle of Friedland
in 1807, before Napoleon's final defeat at the
Battle of Waterloo The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo Waterloo most commonly refers to: * Battle of Waterloo, a battle on 18 June 1815 in which Napoleon met his final defeat :* Waterloo, Belgium, a municipality in Belgium fr ...

Battle of Waterloo
in 1815. A series of wars, known collectively as the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
, extended French influence to much of Western Europe and into Poland. At its height in 1812, the French Empire had 130 departments and a population of 44 million people, it ruled over 90 million subjects, maintained an extensive military presence in
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city l ...
,
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...

Italy
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...
, and
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...
, and counted Austria and Prussia as nominal allies. Early French victories exported many ideological features of the Revolution throughout Europe: the introduction of the
Napoleonic Code The Napoleonic Code (, lit. "Code Napoleon"), officially the Civil Code of the French (; simply referred to as ) is the French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), of ...
throughout the continent increased legal equality, established jury systems and legalized divorce, and seigneurial dues and seigneurial justice were abolished, as were
aristocratic Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government that places strength in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class, the aristocrats. The term derives from the Greek ''aristokrat ...
privileges in all places except Poland. France's defeat in 1814 (and then again in 1815), marked the end of the First French Empire and the beginning of the
Bourbon RestorationBourbon Restoration may refer to: * Bourbon Restoration in France The Bourbon Restoration was the period of French history The first written records for the history of France appeared in the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the ...
.


Origin

In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte was confronted by
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès (3 May 174820 June 1836), usually known as the abbé Sieyès (), was a French Roman Catholic ''abbé'', clergyman, and political writer who was a chief political theorist of the French Revolution (1789–1799); he also held ...
—one of five Directors constituting the executive branch of the French government—who sought his support for a ''coup d'état'' to overthrow the
Constitution of the Year III The Constitution of the Year III was the constitution of the that established the . Adopted by the convention on 5 Year III (22 August 1795) and approved by on 6 September. Its preamble is the Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man an ...
. The plot included Bonaparte's brother
Lucien Lucien is a male given name A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a quoted in that identifies a person, potentially with a as well, and differentiates that person from the other members of a group (typically ...

Lucien
, then serving as speaker of the
Council of Five Hundred The Council of Five Hundred (''Conseil des Cinq-Cents''), or simply the Five Hundred, was the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers Cou ...
,
Roger Ducos Pierre Roger Ducos (25 July 174716 March 1816), better known as Roger Ducos, was a French political figure during the Revolution and First French Empire, First Empire, a member of the National Convention, and of the French Directory, Directory. ...
, another Director, and Talleyrand. On 9 November 1799 (
18 Brumaire The Coup of 18 Brumaire brought General Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence dur ...
VIII under the
French Republican Calendar The French Republican calendar (french: calendrier républicain français), also commonly called the French Revolutionary calendar (), was a calendar A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of ...
) and the following day, troops led by Bonaparte seized control. They dispersed the legislative councils, leaving a rump legislature to name Bonaparte, Sieyès and Ducos as provisional Consuls to administer the government. Although Sieyès expected to dominate the new regime, the
Consulate A consulate is the office of a consul (representative), consul. A type of diplomatic mission, it is usually subordinate to the state's main representation in the capital of that foreign country (host state), usually an ''embassy'' or – betw ...
, he was outmaneuvered by Bonaparte, who drafted the
Constitution of the Year VIII The Constitution of the Year VIII (french: Constitution de l'an VIII or french: Constitution du 22 frimaire an VIII) was a national constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that const ...
and secured his own election as First Consul. He thus became the most powerful person in France, a power that was increased by the
Constitution of the Year X The Constitution of the Year X was a national constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or organisat ...

Constitution of the Year X
, which made him First Consul for life. The
Battle of Marengo The Battle of Marengo was fought on 14 June 1800 between French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République fran ...

Battle of Marengo
(14 June 1800) inaugurated the political idea that was to continue its development until Napoleon's Moscow campaign. Napoleon planned only to keep the
Duchy of Milan The Duchy of Milan was an Italian state located in northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none, it, Alta Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, label=none) is a geographical and cultural region in th ...
for France, setting aside Austria, and was thought to prepare a new campaign in the East. The
Peace of Amiens The Treaty of Amiens (French language, French: ''la paix d'Amiens'') temporarily ended hostilities between French First Republic, France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, United Kingdom at the end of the War of the Second Coa ...
, which cost him control of
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
, was a temporary truce. He gradually extended his authority in Italy by annexing the
Piedmont Piedmont ( ; it, Piemonte, ; Piedmontese language, Piedmontese, Lombard language, Lombard, Occitan language, Occitan and frp, Piemont, , , french: Piémont) is a region in northwest Italy, one of the regions of Italy, 20 regions of the country. ...
and by acquiring
Genoa Genoa ( ; it, Genova ; locally ; lij, Zêna ; English, historically, and la, Genua) is the capital of the Regions of Italy, Italian region of Liguria and the List of cities in Italy, sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived ...

Genoa
,
Parma Parma (; egl, Pärma, ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. Londo ...

Parma
, Tuscany and
Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ), from grc, Νεάπολις, Neápolis, lit=new city. is the regional capital of and the third-largest city of , after and , with a population of 967,069 within the city's administrative limits as of ...

Naples
, and added this Italian territory to his
Cisalpine Republic The Cisalpine Republic ( it, Repubblica Cisalpina) was a sister republic of France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metrop ...
. Then he laid siege to the Roman state and initiated the
Concordat of 1801 Image:FrenchChurchOathConcordat.jpg, 250px, Leaders of the Catholic Church taking the civil oath required by the Concordat. The Concordat of 1801 was an agreementAgreement may refer to: Agreements between people and organizations * Gentlemen' ...
to control the material claims of the
pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

pope
. When he recognised his error of raising the authority of the pope from that of a figurehead, Napoleon produced the '' Articles Organiques'' (1802) with the goal of becoming the legal protector of the papacy, like
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
. To conceal his plans before their actual execution, he aroused French colonial aspirations against Britain and the memory of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, exacerbating British envy of France, whose borders now extended to the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many si ...

Rhine
and beyond, to
Hanover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German States of Germany, state of Lower Saxony. Its 534,049 (2020) inhabitants make it the List of cities in Germany by population, 13th-largest city in Germa ...
, Hamburg and
Cuxhaven Cuxhaven ( , ; ) is an independent town and seat of the Cuxhaven district, in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern Ge ...

Cuxhaven
. Napoleon would have ruling elites from a fusion of the new bourgeoisie and the old aristocracy. On 12 May 1802, the French
Tribunat The Tribunat was one of the four assemblies set up in France by the Constitution of Year VIII (the other three were the Council of State (France), Council of State, the Corps législatif (Consulate), Corps législatif and the Sénat conservateur). ...
voted unanimously, with the exception of
Carnot
Carnot
, in favour of the Life Consulship for the leader of France. This action was confirmed by the
Corps Législatif 250px, The scene outside the ''Palais du Corps Législatif'' after its final sitting, 1870, by Jacques Guiaud. The Corps législatif was a part of the French legislature during the French Revolution and beyond. It is also the generic French term ...

Corps Législatif
. A general
plebiscite A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct and universal vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal and can have nationwide or local forms. This may result in the adoption of a ...
followed thereafter resulting in 3,653,600 votes aye and 8,272 votes nay. On 2 August 1802 (14 Thermidor, An X), Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Consul for life. Pro-revolutionary sentiment swept through Germany aided by the "Recess of 1803", which brought
Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German and Bavarian language, Bavarian: ''Bayern'' ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: ''Freistaat Bayern''; ), is a Landlocked country, landlocked Federated state, state (''States of Germany ...
,
Württemberg Württemberg ( ; ) is a historical German territory roughly corresponding to the cultural and linguistic region of Swabia upThe coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg shows the three lions passant of the arms of the Duchy of Swabia, in origin th ...
and
Baden__notoc__ Baden (; ) is a historical territory in South Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the hi ...
to France's side.
William Pitt the Younger William Pitt the Younger (28 May 175923 January 1806) was a prominent Tory A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy known as Toryism, based on a British version of Traditionalist conservatism, traditionalism and conservatism ...

William Pitt the Younger
, back in power over Britain, appealed once more for an Anglo-Austro-Russian
coalition The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership to achieve a common goal. The word coalition connotes a co ...
against Napoleon to stop the ideals of revolutionary France from spreading. On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was given the title of "
Emperor of the French Emperor of the French (French: ''Empereur des Français'') was the title of the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foake ...
" by the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
; finally, on 2 December 1804, he was solemnly crowned, after receiving the
Iron Crown The Iron Crown ( it, Corona Ferrea; la, Corona Ferrea) is a relic, reliquary and may be one of the oldest royal insignia of Christendom. It was made in the Early Middle Ages, consisting of a circlet of gold and jewels fitted around a central si ...
of the
Lombard kings Image:Iron_Crown.JPG, The Iron Crown of Lombardy, displayed in the Cathedral of Monza The Kings of the Lombards or ''reges Langobardorum'' (singular ''rex Langobardorum'') were the monarchs of the Lombards, Lombard people from the early 6th centu ...
, and was consecrated by
Pope Pius VII Pope Pius VII (14 August 1742 – 20 August 1823), born Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 14 March 1800 to his death in 1823. Chiaramonti was also a monk of the Order of Sa ...

Pope Pius VII
in
Notre-Dame de Paris Notre-Dame de Paris (; meaning "Our Lady of Paris"), referred to simply as Notre-Dame, is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and prese ...

Notre-Dame de Paris
. In four campaigns, the Emperor transformed his "
Carolingian The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historic ...

Carolingian
"
feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society ...
republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
and
federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies *Federation, or ''Federal state'' (federal system), a type of government characterized by both a central (federal) government and states or ...

federal
empire into one modelled on the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. The memories of imperial Rome were for a third time, after
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
and
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
, used to modify the historical evolution of France. Though the vague plan for an invasion of Great Britain was never executed, the
Battle of Ulm The Battle of Ulm on 16–19 October 1805 was a series of skirmishes, at the end of the Ulm Campaign The Ulm campaign was a series of French and Bavarian military maneuvers and battles to outflank and capture an Austrian army in 1805 during ...
and the
Battle of Austerlitz The Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805/11 Frimaire An XIV French Republican Calendar, FRC), also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. In what is widely regard ...

Battle of Austerlitz
overshadowed the defeat of
Trafalgar
Trafalgar
, and the camp at
Boulogne Boulogne-sur-Mer (; pcd, Boulonne-su-Mér; nl, Bonen; la, Gesoriacum or ''Bononia''), often called just Boulogne (, ), is a coastal city in Hauts-de-France, Northern France. It is a Subprefectures in France, sub-prefecture of the Departments ...

Boulogne
put at Napoleon's disposal the best military resources he had commanded, in the form of ''
La Grande Armée La, LA, or L.A. may refer to: Arts and entertainment Music * La, a musical note In music, a note is a symbol denoting a musical sound. In English usage, a note is also the sound itself. Notes can represent the Pitch (music), pitch and Durat ...
''.


Early victories

In the
War of the Third Coalition The War of the Third Coalition) * In French historiography, it is known as the Austrian campaign of 1805 (french: Campagne d'Autriche de 1805) or the German campaign of 1805 (french: Campagne d'Allemagne de 1805) was a European conflict spanning ...
, Napoleon swept away the remnants of the old
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
and created in
southern Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the historical stem duchies of Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German ...
the
vassal state A vassal state is any state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
s of
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...
,
Baden__notoc__ Baden (; ) is a historical territory in South Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the hi ...
,
Württemberg Württemberg ( ; ) is a historical German territory roughly corresponding to the cultural and linguistic region of Swabia upThe coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg shows the three lions passant of the arms of the Duchy of Swabia, in origin th ...
,
Hesse-Darmstadt The Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt (german: Landgrafschaft Hessen-Darmstadt) was a State State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The St ...

Hesse-Darmstadt
and
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...
, which were reorganized into the
Confederation of the Rhine The Confederated States of the Rhine, simply known as the Confederation of the Rhine, was a confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common acti ...
. The Treaty of Pressburg, signed on 26 December 1805, extracted extensive territorial concessions from Austria, on top of a large financial indemnity. Napoleon's creation of the
Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II en, Victor Emmanuel Mario Albert Eugene Ferdinand Thomas , house = House of Savoy, Savoy , father = Charles Albert o ...

Kingdom of Italy
, the occupation of
Ancona Ancona (, also , ; ) is a city and a seaport in the Marche region in central Italy, with a population of around 101,997 . Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region. The city is located northeast of Rome, on the Adriatic ...

Ancona
, and his annexation of Venetia (region), Venetia and its former Adriatic territories marked a new stage in the French Empire's progress. To create satellite states, Napoleon installed his relatives as rulers of many European states. The House of Bonaparte, Bonapartes began to marry into old European monarchies, gaining sovereignty over many nations. Older brother Joseph Bonaparte replaced the dispossessed House of Bourbon, Bourbons in Naples; younger brother Louis Bonaparte was installed on the throne of the Kingdom of Holland, formed from the Batavian Republic; brother-in-law Joachim Murat became Grand Duchy of Berg, Grand-Duke of Berg; youngest brother Jérôme Bonaparte was made son-in-law to the King of Württemberg and Kingdom of Westphalia, King of Westphalia, adopted son Eugène de Beauharnais was appointed Viceroy of Italy; and adopted daughter and second cousin Stéphanie de Beauharnais married Karl, Grand Duke of Baden, Karl (Charles), the son of the Grand Duke of Baden. In addition to the vassal titles, Napoleon's closest relatives were also granted the title of Nobility of the First French Empire, French Prince and formed the Imperial House of France (First French Empire), Imperial House of France. Met with opposition, Napoleon would not tolerate any neutral power. On 6 August 1806 the House of Habsburg, Habsburgs abdicated their title of Holy Roman Emperor in order to prevent Napoleon from becoming the next Emperor, ending a political power which had endured for over a thousand years.
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...
had been offered the territory of Hannover, Hanover to stay out of the Third Coalition. With the diplomatic situation changing, Napoleon offered Great Britain the province as part of a peace proposal. To this, combined with growing tensions in Germany over French hegemony, Prussia responded by forming an alliance with Russia and sending troops into Bavaria on 1 October 1806. During the
War of the Fourth Coalition The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers t ...
, Napoleon destroyed the Prussian armies at Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, Jena and Auerstedt. Successive victories at Battle of Eylau, Eylau and Battle of Friedland, Friedland against the Russians finally ruined Frederick II of Prussia, Frederick the Great's formerly mighty kingdom, obliging
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...
and Prussia to make peace with France at Treaties of Tilsit, Tilsit.


Height of the Empire

The Treaties of Tilsit ended the war between Russia and France and began an alliance between the two empires that held as much power as the rest of Europe. The two empires secretly agreed to aid each other in disputes. France pledged to aid Russia against the Ottoman Empire, while Russia agreed to join the Continental System against United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Britain. Napoleon also forced Alexander to enter the Anglo-Russian War (1807–12), Anglo-Russian War and to instigate the Finnish War against Sweden in order to force Sweden to join the Continental System. More specifically, Alexander agreed to evacuate Wallachia and Moldavia, which had been occupied by Russian forces as part of the Russo-Turkish War (1806–12), Russo-Turkish War. The Ionian Islands and Cattaro, which had been captured by Russian admirals Fyodor Ushakov, Ushakov and Dmitry Senyavin, Senyavin, were to be handed over to the French. In recompense, Napoleon guaranteed the sovereignty of the Duchy of Oldenburg and several other small states ruled by the Russian emperor's German relatives. The treaty removed about half of Prussia's territory: Cottbus was given to Saxony, the left bank of the Elbe was awarded to the newly created Kingdom of Westphalia, Białystok was given to Russia, and the rest of the Polish lands in Prussian possession were set up as the Duchy of Warsaw. Prussia was ordered to reduce its army to 40,000 men and to pay an indemnity of 100,000,000 francs. Observers in Prussia viewed the treaty as unfair and as a national humiliation. Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Talleyrand had advised Napoleon to pursue milder terms; the treaties marked an important stage in his estrangement from the emperor. After Tilsit, instead of trying to reconcile Europe, as Talleyrand had advised, Napoleon wanted to defeat Britain and complete his Italian dominion. To the coalition of the northern powers, he added the league of the Baltic Sea, Baltic and Mediterranean ports, and to the bombardment of Copenhagen by the Royal Navy he responded with a second decree of blockade, dated from Milan on 17 December 1807. The application of the Concordat and the taking of Naples led to Napoleon's first struggles with the Pope, centered around Pope Pius VII, Pius VII renewing the theocratic affirmations of Pope Gregory VII. The emperor's Roman ambition was made more visible by the occupation of the Kingdom of Naples and of the Marches, and by the entry of Sextius Alexandre François de Miollis, Miollis into Rome; while General Jean-Andoche Junot, Junot invaded Portugal, Marshal Joachim Murat, Murat Peninsular War, took control of formerly Roman Spain as Regent. Soon after, Napoleon had his brother, Joseph, crowned King of Spain and sent him there to take control. Napoleon tried to succeed in the Iberian Peninsula as he had done in Italy, in the Netherlands, and in Hesse. However, the exile of the Spanish Royal Family to Bayonne, together with the enthroning of Joseph Bonaparte, turned the Spanish against Napoleon. After the ''Dos de Mayo Uprising, Dos de Mayo'' riots and subsequent reprisals, the Spanish government began an effective guerrilla campaign, under the oversight of local ''Juntas''. The Iberian Peninsula became a war zone from the Pyrenees to the Straits of Gibraltar and saw the Grande Armée facing the remnants of the Spanish Army, as well as British and Portuguese forces. General Pierre Dupont de l'Étang, Dupont capitulated at Battle of Bailén, Bailén to Francisco Javier Castaños, 1st Duke of Bailén, General Castaños, and Junot at Convention of Cintra, Cintra, Portugal to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, General Wellesley. Spain used up the soldiers needed for Napoleon's other fields of battle, and they had to be replaced by conscripts. Spanish resistance affected Austria, and indicated the potential of national resistance. The provocations of Talleyrand and Britain strengthened the idea that the Austrians could emulate the Spanish. On 10 April 1809, Austria invaded France's ally, Bavaria. The campaign of 1809, however, would not be nearly as long and troublesome for France as the one in Spain and Portugal. Following a short and decisive action in Bavaria, Napoleon opened up the road to the Austrian capital of Vienna for a second time. At Battle of Aspern-Essling, Aspern, Napoleon suffered his first serious tactical defeat, along with the death of Jean Lannes, an able Marshal and dear friend of the emperor. The victory at Battle of Wagram, Wagram, however, forced Austria to sue for peace. The Treaty of Schönbrunn, signed on 14 December 1809, resulted in the annexation of the Illyrian Provinces and recognized past French conquests. The Pope was forcibly deported to Savona, and his domains were incorporated into the French Empire. The Senate's decision on 17 February 1810 created the title "King of Rome", and made Rome the capital of Italy. Between 1810 and 1812 Napoleon's divorce of Empress Joséphine, Joséphine, and his marriage with Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, followed by the birth of Napoleon II, his son, shed light upon his future policy. He gradually withdrew power from his siblings and concentrated his affection and ambition on his son, the guarantee of the continuance of his dynasty, marking the high point of the Empire.


Intrigues and unrest

Undermining forces, however, had already begun to impinge on the faults inherent in Napoleon's achievements. Britain, protected by the English Channel and its navy, was Golden Cavalry of St George, persistently active, and rebellion of both the governing and of the governed broke out everywhere. Napoleon, though he underrated it, soon felt his failure in coping with the Peninsular War. Men like Heinrich Friedrich Karl, baron von und zum Stein, Baron von Stein, Karl August von Hardenberg, August von Hardenberg and Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst, Johann von Scharnhorst had begun secretly preparing Prussia's retaliation. The alliance arranged at Tilsit was seriously shaken by the Austrian marriage, the threat of Polish restoration to Russia, and the Continental System. The very persons whom he had placed in power were counteracting his plans. With many of his siblings and relations performing unsuccessfully or even betraying him, Napoleon found himself obliged to revoke their power. Caroline Bonaparte conspired against her brother and against her husband Murat; the hypochondriac Louis, now Dutch in his sympathies, found the supervision of the blockade taken from him, and also the defense of the Scheldt, which he had refused to ensure. Jérôme Bonaparte lost control of the blockade on the North Sea shores. The very nature of things was against the new dynasties, as it had been against the old. After national insurrections and family recriminations came treachery from Napoleon's ministers. Talleyrand betrayed his designs to Klemens von Metternich, Metternich and suffered dismissal. Joseph Fouché, corresponding with Austria in 1809 and 1810, entered into an understanding with Louis and also with Britain, while Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne, Bourrienne was convicted of speculation. By consequence of the spirit of conquest Napoleon had aroused, many of his marshals and officials, having tasted victory, dreamed of sovereign power: Charles XIV John of Sweden, Bernadotte, who had helped him to the
Consulate A consulate is the office of a consul (representative), consul. A type of diplomatic mission, it is usually subordinate to the state's main representation in the capital of that foreign country (host state), usually an ''embassy'' or – betw ...
, played Napoleon false to win the crown of Sweden. Jean-de-Dieu Soult, Soult, like Murat, coveted the Spanish throne after that of Portugal, thus anticipating the treason of 1812. The country itself, though flattered by conquests, was tired of self-sacrifice. The unpopularity of conscription gradually turned many of Napoleon's subjects against him. Amidst profound silence from the press and the assemblies, a protest was raised against imperial power by the literary world, against the excommunicated sovereign by Catholicism, and against the author of the continental blockade by the discontented bourgeoisie, ruined by the crisis of 1811. Even as he lost his military principles, Napoleon maintained his gift for brilliance. His Six Days' Campaign, which took place at the very end of the War of the Sixth Coalition, is often regarded as his greatest display of leadership and military prowess. But by then it was the end (or "the finish"), and it was during the years before when the nations of Europe conspired against France. While Napoleon and his holdings idled and worsened, the rest of Europe agreed to avenge the revolutionary events of 1792.


Fall

Napoleon had hardly succeeded in putting down the revolt in Germany when the emperor of Russia himself headed a European insurrection against Napoleon. To put an end to this, to ensure his own access to the Mediterranean and exclude his chief rival, Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812. Despite his victorious advance, the Battle of Smolensk (1812), taking of Smolensk, the victory on the Battle of Borodino, Moskva, and the entry into Moscow, he was defeated by the country and the climate, and by Alexander's refusal to make terms. After this came the terrible retreat in the harsh Russian winter, while all of Europe was turning against him. Pushed back, as he had been in Spain, from bastion to bastion, after the action on the Battle of Berezina, Berezina, Napoleon had to fall back upon the frontiers of 1809, and then—having refused the peace offered to him by Austria at the Congress of Prague (4 June – 10 August 1813), from fear of losing Italy, where each of his victories had marked a stage in the accomplishment of his dream—on those of 1805, despite the victories at Battle of Lützen (1813), Lützen and Battle of Bautzen (1813), Bautzen, and on those of 1802 after his disastrous defeat at Battle of Leipzig, Leipzig, when Bernadotte—now Crown Prince of Sweden—turned upon him, Jean Victor Marie Moreau, General Moreau also joined the Allies, and longstanding allied nations, such as Saxony and Bavaria, forsook him as well. Following his retreat from Russia, Napoleon continued to retreat, this time from Germany. After the loss of Spain, reconquered by an Allied army led by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Wellington, the uprising in the Netherlands preliminary to the invasion and the manifesto of Frankfurt (1 December 1813)The Frankfort Declaration, 1 December 1813: http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/government/diplomatic/c_frankfort.html which proclaimed it, he was forced to fall back upon the frontiers of 1795; and was later driven further back upon those of 1792—despite the forceful Campaign in north-east France (1814), campaign of 1814 against the invaders. Paris capitulated on 30 March 1814, and the ''Carthago delenda est, Delenda Carthago'', pronounced against Britain, was spoken of Napoleon. The Empire briefly fell with Napoleon's abdication at Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814), Fontainebleau on 11 April 1814. After less than a year's exile on the island of Principality of Elba, Elba, Napoleon escaped to France with a thousand men and four cannons. King Louis XVIII of France, Louis XVIII sent Marshal Ney to arrest him. Upon meeting Ney's army, Napoleon dismounted and walked into firing range, saying "If one of you wishes to kill his emperor, here I am!" But instead of firing, the soldiers went to join Napoleon's side shouting "Vive l'Empereur!" Napoleon retook the throne temporarily in 1815, reviving the Empire in the "Hundred Days." However, he was defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the
Battle of Waterloo The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo Waterloo most commonly refers to: * Battle of Waterloo, a battle on 18 June 1815 in which Napoleon met his final defeat :* Waterloo, Belgium, a municipality in Belgium fr ...

Battle of Waterloo
. He surrendered himself to the British and was exiled to Saint Helena, a remote island in the South Atlantic, where he remained until his death in 1821. After the Hundred Days, the Bourbon Restoration in France, Bourbon monarchy was restored, with Louis XVIII regaining the French throne, while the rest of Napoleon's conquests were disposed of in the Congress of Vienna.


Nature of Napoleon Bonaparte's rule

Napoleon gained support by appealing to some common concerns of the French people. These included dislike of the emigrant nobility who had escaped persecution, fear by some of a restoration of the ''Ancien Régime'', a dislike and suspicion of foreign countries that had tried to reverse the Revolution—and a wish by Jacobins to extend France's revolutionary ideals. Napoleon attracted power and imperial status and gathered support for his changes of French institutions, such as the
Concordat of 1801 Image:FrenchChurchOathConcordat.jpg, 250px, Leaders of the Catholic Church taking the civil oath required by the Concordat. The Concordat of 1801 was an agreementAgreement may refer to: Agreements between people and organizations * Gentlemen' ...
which confirmed the Catholic Church as the majority church of France and restored some of its civil status. Napoleon by this time, however, thought himself more of an enlightened despot. He preserved numerous social gains of the Revolution while suppressing political liberty. He admired efficiency and strength and hated feudalism, religious intolerance, and civil inequality. Although a supporter of the political radicalism, radical Jacobins during the early days of the Revolution out of pragmatism, Napoleon became increasingly autocratic as his political career progressed, and once in power embraced certain aspects of both liberalism and authoritarianism—for example, state school, public education, a generally liberal restructuring of the French list of national legal systems, legal system, and the emancipation of the Jews—while rejecting representative democracy, electoral democracy and freedom of the press.


Maps

France Departement 1801.svg, 130 departments of the First French Empire, French ''départements'' in 1801 during the Consulate France L-2 (1812)-fr.svg, French ''départements'' in 1812 File:Carte de l'Empire Français 1812.jpg, Map of the First French Empire in 1812, divided into 130 departments of the First French Empire, 133 départements, with the kingdoms of
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...
, Kingdom of Portugal, Portugal,
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...

Italy
and Kingdom of Naples, Naples, and the
Confederation of the Rhine The Confederated States of the Rhine, simply known as the Confederation of the Rhine, was a confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common acti ...
and Illyrian Provinces, Illyria and Dalmatia File:Europe 1812 map en.png, Europe in 1812, with the French Empire at its peak before the French invasion of Russia, Russian Campaign


See also

* Armorial of the First French Empire *
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consi ...

French Revolution
* History of France * List of Napoleonic battles * Military career of Napoleon Bonaparte * Paris under Napoleon * Succession of the Roman Empire


Notes


References


Further reading


Primary sources

*


Surveys

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Napoleon

* * * * * * * * *


Military

* * * * * * * * *


External links


Napoleon, His Armies and Battles
{{Authority control First French Empire, Former countries in French history, Empire 1 Former empires in Europe, France 1 Modern history of France French Revolution Former monarchies of Europe, France, Empire 1 Government of France, Empire 1 1800s in France 1810s in France 1804 establishments in France 1815 disestablishments in France States and territories established in 1804 States and territories disestablished in 1815 Historical transcontinental empires