Detailed Timeline of
Napoleonic Wars (1789 - 1816)
Beginning of French Revolution (1789): A meeting of the First Estate (the clergy), Second Estate (nobility) and Third Estate (everyone else) failed to produce any reform, leading to riots throughout Paris. An angry mob marched on the King’s palace, essentially making him a prisoner of the Revolutionary Government (National Constituent Assembly), which became the ruling force in France after anarchy replaced royal rule.
(Timeline Continued Below)
New French Constitution (1791): The Revolutionaries succeeded in creating a new constitution that limited monarch powers to the point where the king was primarily a figurehead.
Haiti Revolution Against French Rule (1791–1804): The French Revolution, and particularly the ideals regarding individual rights and abolitionism, spark revolution in the French Caribbean colony of Haiti. The black African slaves won independence, the only slave revolt in history to result in a sovereign nation. The loss caused Napoleon to reconsider the importance of France's American colonies.
End of French Monarchy (1792): The National Convention replaced the National Constituent Assembly, declaring France a republic, dissolving the monarchy altogether.
Beginning of French Revolutionary Wars (1792): Revolutionary France declared war on Austria, beginning the French Revolutionary Wars. Austria's emperor and other monarchs (cooperating with French nobles) threatened severe consequences if the king was not restored. Other kings and emperors throughout Europe were alarmed at the potential implications the movement could have in their own lands if left unchecked. This was seen as seen as a direct threat against France and its new government by extremist revolutionaries, many of whom desired to spread the revolution beyond the borders of France. France unsuccessfully attempted to invade the Austrian Netherlands, due to an untrained and disorganized army. Prussia invaded in response, galvanizing the French as they withstood the Prussians. This invasion strengthened the resolve of the army, which would quickly develop into an unstoppable fighting force, conquering most of Europe by 1812.
Further Understanding: Causes of the French Revolution
Bankruptcy: French kings had engaged France in a variety of
expensive wars and conflicts, some of which proved to be ill-conceived,
such as the French & Indian War (1754–63), which was devastating to the
French colonial empire, its national psyche and its economy. The role of
the French in the American Revolutionary War was also financially
crippling. Plus, the king and his court continued to spend lavishly.
Even during times of economic crisis, the spending continued. Especially
in the years preceding the Revolution, France was no longer a trading
power, compared to UK, Netherlands, Spain or Portugal, since it had lost
most of its colonial empire. It had to rely on generating revenues
internally, so it had to increase taxation. The non-aristocratic class
(peasants, bourgeoisie, those in un-inheritable positions) carried the
tax burden, as nobles/aristocrats had generally purchased their
positions of privilege, and could not be legally taxed under their
then-current system. The king was unwilling and unable to reform the
system which heavily taxed the poor majority, while ensuring privilege
for the aristocrats. As a result of this limited tax base, the
government became bankrupt, and could no longer secure loans, as it had
defaulted several times in recent decades.
France Invades Spain (1792): France invades Spain, gaining control of nearly the entire kingdom by 1796. Portugal remains independent at this time.
United Kingdom Naval Successes Against France (1792-1816): France overwhelmed its enemies on the mainland, capturing Spain, Italy, all of the Netherlands, and most of Western/Central Europe. Great Britain remains unharmed, while achieving victories against France at sea and abroad. But through 1812, most of Britain's allies were forced to drop out of the war, due to repeated defeats at the hands of the French. Therefore, despite Britain's victories at sea and along the coasts, they were not able to impede France's expansion and dominance on the continent.
Reign of Terror in France (1793): The French Revolutionary government slayed thousands by guillotine without due process. Victims were primarily suspected of counter-revolutionary activity. King Louis XVI and his wife were executed for high treason against the state.
2nd and 3rd Partitions of Poland (1793 & 1795): Russia had been in control of Poland since 1725, but Prussia and Austria also laid claim to parts of Poland near their respective borders, knowing Russia could not defend all of Poland. Russia was forced to concede parts of Poland to Prussia and Austria in three separate partitions (also annexing land for itself each time). A weakened Poland attempted to revolt, but was repressed. The final partition in 1795 resulted in the complete annexation of Poland to foreign powers.
France Conquers the Netherlands (1795): Napoleon overruns the Austrian Netherlands (south) and the sovereign nation of the Dutch Netherlands (north). Forms the two Netherlands into the Batavian Republic. France encounters little resistance since most of the Dutch (northern and southern) favor revolutionary ideals. France forms the two Netherlands into the Batavian Republic.
France conquers Northern Italy from Austria (1796).
Kingdom of Italy Established by France (1796): Milan & Venice Republic are conquered from Austria, reorganized into a France puppet state.
France Annexes the Papal States (1796): France conquers the Papal States and subjects them to direct rule under Napoleon.
Military Overthrow of New French Republic Government (1797): Revolutionaries became alarmed that many royalists were being elected to office. Under Napoleon's leadership, they overthrew the newly-elected government. Ironically, the new government became more of a police state and military society. This did not cause a serious uproar, as most were pleased with the turn of events in France (greater equality, military successes). It would change the spirit of the revolution, which was now showing characteristics of an authoritarian government.
End of War of the First Coalition Against France (1797): Republic of Venice comes to an end, split between France (Illyrian Provinces) and Austria. France firmly in control over Spain, Netherlands, Northern Italy, Switzerland, large parts of Germany, but not Prussia, or Austria. Only Great Britain continues to fight, but without much consequence.
Illyrian Provinces (1797): France conquers coastal lands along eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea from Venice and Austria, setting up the Illyrian Provinces.
Invasion of Egypt & Syria (1798-1801): To offset British dominance of the Asian trade, Napoleon invades Egypt and Syria in an attempt to establish and protect alternative trade routes. Local resistance and British naval power forces Napoleon to withdraw back to Paris to focus on the continental wars.
France conquers Switzerland, setting it up as the Helvetic Republic (1798).
Roman Republic (1798): Rome finally falls to France, which sets it up as separate from the rest of the Papal States.
War of Second Coalition Against France (1799): Austria joins Great Britain in hopes of regaining territory lost to France, without success. France unsuccessfully invades Egypt and Syria.
Napoleon Overthrows Revolutionary Government to Become Dictator of France (1799): Napoleon was disenchanted that he was not invited by fellow revolutionaries to serve in the executive branch of the new government he installed by coup. In a second coup, he installed himself as First Consul (essentially dictator for life). Napoleon was able to do this since he had the undying loyalty of the military, and the support of the general public, who worshipped him for his military triumphs. Napoleon instituted several revolutionary reforms that the masses were eager to see come to fruition, including legal/tax code reform (centralized coded law that applied to everyone, removing aristocratic privilege), and building more equality into the system. He created a central bank, made higher education more attainable for the average person, infrastructure improvements including road and sewer, and religious freedom. He created a code for civil law (Napoleonic Code). Not the first to do so, but by far the most successful, and influential (adopted by several nations, still in place today). However, France was somewhat of a police state, as certain liberties were reigned in, such as freedom of press. Security was fairly tight, to keep control over the populace. However, it created stability which had not been realized since the Revolution began.
Galvanization Under Threat of Foreign Invasion. Foreign powers
such as Prussia and Austria consolidated to oppose France, as these
monarch-led nations were more than uneasy with the precedence a
Revolutionary France might set. This led to military conflict. France's
Revolutionary government represented a cause that the bulk of French
could rally behind, enabling it to raise a massive army. Once France
drove foreign powers from its own soil, while conquering hostile states
and territories in its immediate vicinity, it realized it had almost by
accident created an army unequaled by any throughout Europe, since a
high percentage of males of fighting age had joined the army.
(Timeline Continued Below)
Napoleon Establishes Equality for Jews (1800): Napoleon gives Jews equal rights, which spreads throughout most of Europe. They are still persecuted heavily throughout much of Europe.
United Kingdom Absorbs Ireland (1801): Act of Unions of 1801. Formation of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (UK). Great Britain wanted stability, while Irish nobles were heavily bribed in order to collaborate.
France Sells Louisiana to the U.S. (1803): The territory of Louisiana, covering much of the modern U.S. midwest, was taken away from France during the French & Indian War. Great Britain later gave it to Spain in exchange for Florida. During the Napoleonic Wars, France gained control of Spain, and forced Spain to sign Louisiana back to France. France then sold the expansive territory to the U.S. for about $18 per square mile in order to finance the war, emblematic of its focus on the European continent at the expense of its overseas empire. The transaction was monumental for the U.S., helping to propel it toward becoming a super power, enabling it to expand westward, while gaining control over important trade routes, most notably the Mississippi River.
War of Third Coalition Against France (1805): United Kingdom, Russia, Sweden, Austria and German states (Holy Roman Empire) combine to fight France. France defeats the Holy Roman Empire states other than Austria and Prussia, forming the Confederation of the Rhine, ending the Holy Roman Empire.
Netherlands Lose South Africa to United Kingdom (1805): United Kingdom takes control over Cape Colony from the Dutch to prevent French from doing so, since the Netherlands were now firmly under French control.
France Establishes Kingdom of Holland Under Its Rule (1806): When the two Netherlands fail to gel, resulting in political turmoil, the Southern Netherlands are annexed directly into France, while the Dutch are formed into the Kingdom of Holland.
France Dissolves Holy Roman Empire (1806): Napoleon's army conquers the Holy Roman Empire, bringing it to an end. The two largest states within the Holy Roman Empire (Prussia and Austria) resist France's advances, remaining sovereign nations. Parts of Prussia and Austria are captured by Napoleon though. France organizes its newly-acquired German territories into the Confederation of the Rhine.
France Establishes the Kingdom of Naples (1806): Conquered from Spain.
War of Fourth Coalition Against France (1807): France conquers Prussian and Austrian Poland possessions, establishing the Duchy of Warsaw. Already in control of Spain, France invades Lisbon, beginning Peninsula War, which would drain France. Portuguese move gov't to Brazil.
Napoleon Ends Feudalism (1807): France would abolish the serfdom/feudal systems that still existed in much of eastern Europe, such as large parts of Poland, Austria and Hungary, making them freer societies.
Peninsula War Between France and Portugal/Spain (1807): France invaded Lisbon (Portugal), beginning a protracted guerilla resistance by Portuguese and Spanish, which would drain the French Empire, contributing to its eventual downfall. Portugal moved their government to Brazil. UK invaded Spanish South America with the purpose to prevent these colonies from falling into the hands of the French, who still controlled Spain. Also, it presented an opportunity for the UK to add to its overseas empire at the expense of a crippled Spain. The colonies successfully defended themselves, contributing to their eventual independence movement, as they realized they did not need to be reliant on the Spanish mother land.
French-Ruled Duchy of Warsaw - Poland (1807): France conquers large parts of Prussian and Austrian territories annexed in 1795, but Russia retains all the lands it annexed. The conquered portion of Poland is organized into the French puppet state of the Duchy of Warsaw.
Failed UK Invasion of Spanish South America (1807): As part of the Napoleonic Wars, UK invaded Spanish South America. UK wanted to prevent France from gaining control, since France controlled Spain. It also presented UK with an opportunity to add to its empire, with Spain in such a weakened and compromised state (being occupied by France). The colonies successfully defended themselves against the British.
Note: Austria and Prussia Resist French Conquest. Napoleon conquers most of the Holy Roman Empire, including some Prussian and Austrian lands. However, Prussia and Austria manage to resist complete conquest, and remain sovereign. Both Prussia and Austria continue to fight the French throughout the Napoleonic Wars, despite continued defeats at the hands of the French.
Finland Territory Conquered by Russia from Sweden (1809): Russia gains Finland from weakened Sweden in Finnish War. Russia suggested to Napoleon that Sweden be forced to join the French-imposed Continental System (forcing other nations to cease trade with UK). When Sweden refuses, Russia has an excuse to invade with Napoleon’s blessing, gaining all of Sweden’s Finnish territories.
Ottoman Empire Loses Bessarabia to Russia (1812): The Ottomans ally with France, in hopes of gaining back some of the territory it lost to Russia in the previous century. The Ottoman Empire went to war with Russia in 1806. Russia gained the upper hand, conquering the territory of Bessarabia (the majority of modern Moldova).
France's Disastrous Invasion of Russia (1812): Russia shows signs of defying Napoleon, causing France to invade. A horrific disaster for France, marking the turning point in the Napoleonic Wars when it appeared France could not be stopped. A massive French army penetrates deep into Russia during the harsh winter. Running out of supplies, they withdraw, with the majority dying due to harsh conditions and guerilla-style attacks of their back end by the Russians. Marks the beginning of the end of Napoleon's French Empire, as other nations are emboldened to attack the severely weakened French army.
Further Understanding: Failed French Invasion of Russia: The Turning Point of the Napoleonic Wars
France's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812 truly turned the tide of the Napoleonic Wars. By 1812, Napoleon's French Empire had reached its peak, and appeared to be unstoppable in its desire of even further expansion. France's motivation for invading Russia was to send a strong signal that it was intolerable to undermine its Continental System. which prohibited its client states and allies from trading with the United Kingdom. The UK was France's most formidable rival, since it was not capable of invading the UK due to the unmatched naval power of the British. The British were also responsible (financial, naval, military support) for much of the resistance France still encountered throughout Europe, and dominated France overseas. When Russia resumed trade with the UK, Napoleon was prepared to demonstrate a harsh reaction. Conquering Russia requires covering a large amount of land, and submitting a large yet spread out population. As Napoleon's armies marched into the heart of Russia with little resistance, Russia resorted to scorched-earch tactics, making the task all the more difficult. As a result, France was unable to maintain sufficient supply lines, meaning there was no way to sustain the large army necessary to control Russia. Napoleon entered Moscow with little military resistance, but the city was in ruins, and the Russians were prepared to mount a protracted insurrection. Without supplies, a hope for victory, along with the soon-arriving winter, the French began their retreat. Lacking sufficient supplies as the harsh winter conditions fell upon them, many lives were claimed by disease, desertion, starvation and exposure. Plus, the Russians were attacking the rear of the French retreat as it marched west. France entered Russia with 600-690,000 troops. A startling 558,000 died during the campaign. Russian military losses were comparable in terms of total casualties, compounded by as many as one million civilian losses. So the cost of victory was devastating for Russia, but not as strategically crippling as the cost of defeat was for France, which would not recover. The debacle encouraged enemies, allies and client states alike to strike against France in its weakened state. Due to its drastic losses, and destroyed morale, the military losses piled up after its disastrous retreat from Russia. After sitting in a seemingly invulnerable position in 1812, the French Empire would completely collapse a mere three years later, primarily due to one of the most ill-advised military campaigns in history.
War of 1812 Between United Kingdom and USA (1812): For the UK, this was an extension of the Napoleonic Wars. The primary causes were that the UK was blockading trade between the US and France. Also, the British were stopping and searching US merchant ships for British deserters (impressment), since it was difficult to adequately man all the ships in its naval fleet. British and naturalized US citizens were being forced into naval service for the Royal Navy. This provoked the US to declare war. It ended in 1814, with no territorial gains/losses, nor any agreements on the matters of trade restrictions or impressment. But by this time, the two major issues were a moot point, since Napoleon was on the verge of complete defeat.
War of Sixth Coalition - End of French Empire (1813-15): As Napoleon's army retreated from Russia, they faced attacks from all directions, as coalition nations sensed France's severe vulnerability. France lost everything gained through 1812, all between 1813 and 1814. France was forced to sue for peace, with Napoleon surrendering to the coalition in 1814. He escaped for one last battle in 1815 (Battle of Waterloo), leading to the final defeat of Napoleon and the French Empire.
Papal States Restored (1814): The Papal States are restored with the defeat of Napoleon.
Battle of Waterloo - Final Defeat of Napoleon (1815): After Napoleon escapes custody of the Coalition forces, he quickly raises an army, but is defeated for the last time at Waterloo, in Belgium, ending the French Empire for good.
German Confederation Created (1815): The German states previously under the Holy Roman Empire, before being conquered by Napoleon, were organized into the German Confederation after the war. This was a loosely-affiliated collection of German states, similar to the Holy Roman Empire before. Prussia and Austria were the dominant components of this new confederation, engaging a rivalry for the status as the leading German state.
Austrian Netherlands Added to Independent Netherlands (1815): The Austrian Netherlands lost during the Napoleon Wars were not restored to Austria. Instead, the "Southern Dutch" convinced the powers of Europe to allow them to be consolidated with the Dutch of the "northern" Netherlands (constituting the independent nation of Netherlands before the wars). They combine to form the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Northern Italy Regained by Austria (1815): After the fall of Napoleon’s empire, Austria gained control over most of Northern Italy. Italian nationalism was on the rise, while Austria naturally attempted to suppress it to maintain control. Revolutionary groups such as Carbonari originated.
Kingdom of Sardinia Restored (1815): With the defeat of Napoleon, Sardinia becomes a sovereign kingdom once again, regaining Savoy on mainland Italy, while also adding the former Rep. of Genoa.
United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815): United Provinces (Dutch) and the former Austrian Netherlands (modern Belgium, Luxembourg) became independent from France in 1813. They decided to join together into a single kingdom, to increase their collective strength, which was deemed critical in the event of another overly-aggressive and ambitious superpower, a lesson learned during the Napoleonic Wars. However, the northern and southern Dutch never gelled, and political divisions between the two resulted in a separation in 1830. The Dutch had lost the majority of their colonial empire to the British during the Napoleonic Wars, as they signed most of it over to them. Some territories were returned in 1824. Only the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia primarily), Netherlands Antilles, and Suriname were retained. South Africa and its India colonies were not. As a result the Netherlands were no longer a world power.
Russian-Ruled Kingdom of Poland (1815): Kingdom of Poland, ruled by the Russian Tsar (Emperor) was established in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars.
Old Swiss Confederacy Restored (1815): The sovereignty of the Old Swiss Confederacy was restored by the powers of Europe in the Congress of Vienna (not yet known as Switzerland). The Swiss gained a little territory, but most importantly, its neutrality was permanently recognized by other nations. Switzerland is still well-known for its continuing persistence of neutrality.
Congress of Vienna (1815): The Congress of Vienna was the conference where the major powers of Europe (responsible for the defeat of Napoleon/France) convened to address unresolved issues in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. The Good: It restored the balance of power, which helped maintain relative peace for a century, until WWI. There were several small-scale wars and multiple wars of independence during this era, but were very mild compared to the massive loss of life and destruction suffered during the Napoleonic Wars. The Bad: It discarded revolutionary ideals, attempting to suppress and enforce the pre-war status quo, where monarchist governments maintained control throughout most of Europe. However, revolutionary ideals had become too widespread and influential to be vanquished. As a result, constitutional monarchies became the most popular form of government in the 19th century after the wars, since they represented a hybrid between the old-guard kingdoms typified by absolute rule, and the new, universal demand for democratic rule. However, this tug of war between entitled elite and freedom-loving masses would result in multiple wars throughout the remainder of the 19th century. The Congress of Vienna also placed traditional "nations" under foreign rule (Italy and Poland in particular), resulting in major revolts and wars of independence.
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies Under Spanish Influence (1816): Spain joins its two Italian properties (Naples and Sicily) into a single kingdom upon regaining these territories after the final defeat of Napoleonic France. However, Spain was forced by a treaty with Austria to give up direct control, as Spain was substantially weakened during the wars, enabling Austria to enforce its will and maintain dominance of Italy. Therefore, the Kingdom of Two Sicilies was technically a sovereign kingdom, independent of Spain. But the Bourbon king installed by Spain was of the same dynastic family as the King of Spain, therefore susceptible to Spain's influence. This would be the cause of multiple revolts culminating in the unification of Italy in 1860.
Mexico Gains Independence From Spain (1810-21): Mexico took advantage of Spain's compromised state (being occupied by the French) to assert independence. They were followed by other Central/South America Spanish colonies soon after. After Spain was freed from French control in 1814, it attempted to restore order by force. But the movement of independence had gained too much steam to be reversed. All mainland colonies in the Amerricas would achieve independence from Spain by 1824.
France never conquered Portugal. Your map is wrong.
#1 - Stami - 03/24/2013 - 19:24
This is pseudo-history. So wrong and fictional. Reading this bullsh*t is like putting a Tolkien book in "History" shelve.
#2 - Observer - 09/26/2013 - 11:22
Is this correct?
#3 - Shoelace_Untied - 11/03/2013 - 21:50
Is this a good site for a Essay?
:| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :|
#4 - Observer # 2 - 11/22/2013 - 01:27
Who is the author and publisher of this site ????
#5 - Free - 12/19/2013 - 10:14
um... i dont trust this
#6 - Bystander - 12/20/2013 - 01:57
a Few maps are rong
#7 - Brotist - 01/31/2014 - 20:52
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You got a coupe with a sad ho cause she wanna come with me
#9 - LONGDICKMANDINGO - 02/07/2014 - 13:28