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The Napoleonic Wars were wars which were fought during the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte over France. They started after the French Revolution ended and Napoleon Bonaparte became powerful in France in November 1799. War began between the United Kingdom and France in 1803. This happened when the Treaty of Amiens ended in 1802.
These wars changed European military systems. Cannons became lighter and moved faster. Armies were much larger, yet had better food and supplies. They were very big and destructive, mainly because of compulsory conscription. The French became powerful very fast, and conquered most of Europe. The French then lost quickly. The French invasion of Russia failed. The Napoleonic Wars ended with the Second Treaty of Paris on 20 November 1815. This was just after the Battle of Waterloo, a big battle that Napoleon lost. Napoleon's empire lost the wars. The Bourbon Dynasty ruled France again.
Some people call the time between April 20 1792 and November 20 1815 "the Great French War". On one side was the First Empire of France, Kingdom of Italy, and others. On the other side was Great Britain, Prussia, Austria, Russia, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Sicily, and others.
1805-1812: Napoleonic Conquest of Europe[change | change source]
On 18 May 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of the French at Notre Dame de Paris. The following year, the Third Coalition started. In response, Napoleon crowned himself King of Italy. The Austrian Emperor, Franz I, angrily declared war on Napoleon, beginning the War of the Third Coalition. The British destroyed the French navy at the Battle of Trafalgar in October. In December the Austrians and the Russians allied, and fought the French at the Battle of Austerlitz. The Russo-Austrian army suffered a devastating defeat and had to sign a treaty with Napoleon.
In 1806, the War of the Fourth Coalition started. The Kingdom of Prussia declared war on France first but was crushed by Napoleon's troops at the Battle of Jena. Napoleon captured Berlin before the Russians could help. In 1807, Napoleon defeated the Russian army at the Battle of Friedland, ending the Fourth Coalition.
In 1809, the War of the Fifth Coalition began when Austria declared war on Napoleon. In the early phases of the war, the Austrians had advantage of the war, but later the French captured Vienna, ending the Fifth Coalition. At the height of his power in 1810, Napoleon had controlled France, Spain, northern Italy, Germany, all the way to Russia. In 1808, the Peninsular War began when Napoleon crowned his brother Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain and fought British, Spanish, and Portuguese troops. In 1809, the Finnish War began between Russia and Sweden when Sweden and Portugal did make peace with France. This led to the annexation of Finland by Russia and decisive failure for Sweden. In 1811, France and Russia made disagreements again and Napoleon allied with Prussia and Austria and invaded Russia.
1812: Invasion of Russia/The War of 1812[change | change source]
Napoleon staged a French invasion of Russia in 1812 just as the United States and Britain started the War of 1812. It was in Russia that Napoleon was first checked in his conquest of Europe, at the huge Battle of Borodino. However, the Russians had to retreat and abandon the capital, Moscow, to the advancing French troops. Napoleon found Moscow empty and burning. The cold winter along with starvation from scorched earth tactics devastated Napoleon's army.
Napoleon's weakened ''Grande Armee'' had to retreat to Paris through the Russian freezing winter, but was finally defeated by the Russians. Prussia and Austria declared war after Napoleon's failure, beginning the War of the Sixth Coalition. In the latter 19th century, Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's music piece 1812 Overture depicted the Patriotic war and celebrated the resistance and liberation of Russia.
Meanwhile, the much smaller War of 1812 started between Britain and the United States over maritime issues. It continued until 1815, neither side gaining anything. Revolutions in Latin America made independent states of most of the Spanish Empire in America.
1813-1814: Battle of Leipzig and First Restoration[change | change source]
The British, Spanish, and Portuguese had pushed Napoleon's forces out of Spain following the Battle of Vitoria. The Allies (consisting of Great Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Austria) defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig and captured Paris in 1814. The brother of King Louis XVI had already proclaimed himself French king, Louis XVIII, and was sent by the Prussian forces to Paris and crowned Bourbon king. Napoleon was forced to abdicate.
1815: Battle of Waterloo and Hundred Days[change | change source]
Napoleon was later exiled to Elba and was nearly assassinated. But then he and 200 other men escaped back to Paris and forced Louis XVIII off the throne, beginning Hundred Days. The former Coalition members formed the Seventh Coalition and the Duke of Wellington of Great Britain defeated Napoleon again at the Battle of Waterloo with the help of the Prussians in 1815. Louis XVIII was returned to the throne again, and the Second Restoration began.
References[change | change source]
- Hanover was in a Personal Union with Great Britain
- The term "Austrian Empire" came into use after Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French in 1804, whereby Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor took the title Emperor of Austria (Kaiser von Österreich) in response. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in 1806, and consequently "Emperor of Austria" became Francis' primary title. For this reason, "Austrian Empire" is often used instead of "Holy Roman Empire" for brevity's sake when speaking of the Napoleonic Wars, even though the two entities are not synonymous.
- Both Austria and Prussia briefly became allies of France and contributed forces to the French Invasion of Russia in 1812.
- Russia became an ally of France following the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807. The alliance broke down in 1810, which led to the French invasion in 1812. During that time Russia waged war against Sweden (1808–1809) and the Ottoman Empire (1806–1812), and nominally against Britain (1807–1812).
- Spain was an ally of France until a stealthy French invasion in 1808, then fought France in the Peninsular War.
- Nominally, Sweden declared war against Great Britain after its defeat by Russia in the Finnish War (1808–1809).
- The Ottoman Empire fought against Napoleon in the French Campaign in Egypt and Syria as part of the French Revolutionary Wars. During the Napoleonic era of 1803 to 1815, the Empire participated in two wars against the Allies: against Britain in the Anglo-Turkish War (1807–1809) and against Russia in the Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812). Russia was allied with Napoleon 1807–1810.
- Qajar dynasty fought against Russia from 1804 to 1813; the Russians were allied with Napoleon 1807–1812.
- Sicily remained in personal union with Naples until Naples became a French client-republic following the Battle of Campo Tenese in 1806.
- The Kingdom of Hungary participated in the war with separate Hungarian regiments in the Imperial and Royal Army, and also by a traditional army ("insurrectio"). The Hungarian Diet voted to join in war and agreed to pay one third of the war expenses.
- Napoleon established the Duchy of Warsaw, ruled by the Kingdom of Saxony in 1807. Polish Legions had already been serving in the French armies beforehand.
- The French Empire annexed the Kingdom of Holland in 1810. Dutch troops fought against Napoleon during the Hundred Days in 1815.
- The French Empire annexed the Kingdom of Etruria in 1807.
- The Kingdom of Naples, briefly allied with Austria in 1814, allied with France again and fought against Austria during the Neapolitan War in 1815.
- Sixteen of France's allies among the German states (including Bavaria and Württemberg) established the Confederation of the Rhine in July 1806 following the Battle of Austerlitz (December 1805). Following the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt (October 1806), various other German states that had previously fought alongside the anti-French allies, including Saxony and Westphalia, also allied with France and joined the Confederation. Saxony changed sides again in 1813 during the Battle of Leipzig, causing most other member-states to quickly follow suit and declare war on France.
- These four states[which?] were the leading nations of the Confederation, but the Confederation was made up of a total of 43 principalities, kingdoms, and duchies.
- Denmark-Norway remained neutral until the Battle of Copenhagen (1807). Denmark was compelled to cede Norway to Sweden by the Treaty of Kiel in 1814. Following a brief Swedish campaign against Norway, Norway entered a personal union with Sweden.
- James R. Arnold: Napoleon Conquers Austria: The 1809 Campaign for Vienna, ABC-Clio, 2003 
- The Austrian Imperial-Royal Army (Kaiserliche-Königliche Heer) 1805 – 1809: The Hungarian Royal Army 
- Todd Fisher: The Napoleonic Wars: The Empires Fight Back 1808–1812, Oshray Publishing, 2001 
- John Sainsbury (1842). Sketch of the Napoleon Museum. London. p. 15.
- Reich 1905, p. 622
- "Denmark". World Statesmen. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- "Norway". World Statesmen. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Cite error: The named reference
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- Schäfer, Anton (2002). Zeittafel der Rechtsgeschichte. Von den Anfängen über Rom bis 1919. Mit Schwerpunkt Österreich und zeitgenössischen Bezügen (in German) (3 ed.). Edition Europa Verlag. ISBN 3-9500616-8-1. p. 137
- Edward et al., pp. 522–524
- "De Grondwet van 1815". Parlement & Politiek (in Dutch). Retrieved 26 June 2014.
- "The Rise of Prussia 1700–1830".
- Collier, Martin (2003). Italian unification, 1820–71. Heinemann Advanced History (First ed.). Oxford: Heinemann. p. 2. ISBN 0-435-32754-2.
The Risorgimento is the name given to the process that ended with the political unification of Italy in 1871
- Riall, Lucy (1994). The Italian Risorgimento: state, society, and national unification (First ed.). London: Routledge. p. 1. ISBN 0-203-41234-6.
The functional importance of the Risorgimento to both Italian politics and Italian historiography has made this short period (1815–60) one of the most contested and controversial in modern Italian history
- Jakob Walter, and Marc Raeff. The diary of a Napoleonic foot soldier. Princeton, N.J., 1996.
- Martyn Lyons p. 234–36
- Payne 1973, pp. 432–433.
- Esdaile 2008, p. [page needed].
- Riehn 1991, p. 50.
- Chandler & Beckett, p. 132
- Blücher, scourge of Napoleon, Leggiere
- John France (2011). Perilous Glory: The Rise of Western Military Power. Yale UP. p. 351.
- Correspondance générale – Tome 12: La campagne de Russie, 1812 Par Fondation Napoléon – https://books.google.com/books/about/Correspondance_g%C3%A9n%C3%A9rale_Tome_12.html?id=toua1U8uORQC&redir_esc=y
- White 2014, Napoleonic Wars cites Urlanis 1971
- Canales 2004.
- White 2014 cites Payne
- White 2014 cites Dumas 1923 citing Hodge
- White 2014 cites Danzer
- White 2014 cites Clodfelter
- White 2014 cites Bodart 1916
- Philo 2010.