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Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815)


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The Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, primarily led and financed by the United Kingdom. The wars resulted from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and the Revolutionary Wars, which had raged on for years before concluding with the Treaty of Amiens in 1802.

The resumption of hostilities the following year paved the way for more than a decade of constant warfare often categorized into five conflicts: the War of the Third Coalition (1805), the War of the Fourth Coalition (1806-7), the War of the Fifth Coalition (1809), the War of the Sixth Coalition (1813), and the War of the Seventh Coalition (1815). The Napoleonic Wars had profound consequences for global and European history, leading to the spread of nationalism and liberalism, the rise of the British Empire as the world's premier power, the independence movements in Latin America and the collapse of the Spanish Empire, the fundamental reorganization of German and Italian territories into larger states, and the establishment of radically new methods in warfare.

Napoléon at the Battle of Austerlitz, by François Gérard
Napoléon at the Battle of Austerlitz, by François Gérard
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NapoleonNapoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814, and again in 1815. Napoleon Bonaparte »Napoleon became the First Consul of France in 1799, then Emperor five years later. Inheriting the political and military struggles of the Revolution, he created a state with stable finances, a strong central bureaucracy, and a well-trained army. The British frequently financed the European coalitions intended to thwart French ambitions in Europe. By 1805, they had managed to convince the Austrians and the Russians to wage another war against France. In response, Napoleon rapidly marched the Grand Army into the heart of Central Europe, demolishing the isolated Austrian forces during the Ulm Campaign before scoring a historic victory against the Allies at the Battle of Austerlitz in December 1805. At sea, the Royal Navy destroyed a combined Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar in October 1805, securing British control of the seas for the remainder of the wars.

Prussian worries about increasing French power led to the formation of the Fourth Coalition in 1806. The French quickly defeated the Prussians at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, then Napoleon marched the Grand Army deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France then forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Although Tilsit signified the high watermark of the French Empire, it did not bring a lasting peace for Europe. Two years later, the Austrians and the British challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram in July 1809.

Hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, Napoleon invaded Iberia and declared his brother Joseph the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, and ended in victory for the Allies. The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia. Unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade, the Russians routinely violated the Continental System and enticed NapoleonNapoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814, and again in 1815. Napoleon Bonaparte »Napoleon into another war. The French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The resulting campaign witnessed the collapse and retreat of the Grand Army along with the widespread destruction of Russian lands and cities.

In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in a Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813. The Allies then invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba near Rome and the Bourbons were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again.

The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition, which defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in June. The Congress of Vienna, which started in 1814 and concluded in 1815, established the new borders of Europe and laid out the terms and conditions that ended the wars.

Battle of Waterloo 1815
Battle of Waterloo 1815
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    Napoleonic Wars | Stories Preschool
    HISTORIC BATTLES

    Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815)

    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 of European powers formed into various coalitions, primarily led and financed by the United Kingdom. View Historic Battle »

    Overview: Britain ended the Treaty of Amiens and declared war on France in May 1803; one reason for this was Napoleon's changes to the international system in Western Europe, especially in Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

    Political Effects: In most European countries, subjugation in the French Empire brought with it many liberal features of the French Revolution including democracy, due process in courts, abolition of serfdom, reduction of the power of the Catholic Church, and a demand for constitutional limits on monarchs.

    Military Legacy: The scale of warfare dramatically enlarged during the Revolutionary and subsequent Napoleonic Wars.

    Britain and France 1803–1814: Britain ended the uneasy truce created by the Treaty of Amiens when it declared war on France in May 1803.

    Third Coalition 1805: In response, Napoleon seriously considered an invasion of Great Britain, and massed 180,000 troops at Boulogne.

    Fourth Coalition 1806–1807: In July 1806, Napoleon formed the Confederation of the Rhine out of the many tiny German states which constituted the Rhineland and most other western parts of Germany.

    Fifth Coalition 1809: During the time of the Fifth Coalition, the Royal Navy won a succession of victories in the French colonies.

    Invasion of Russia 1812: But Franco-Russian relations became progressively worse after 1810, and the Russian war with Britain effectively ended. In April 1812, Britain, Russia and Sweden signed secret agreements directed against Napoleon.

    Sixth Coalition 1812–1814: Seeing an opportunity in Napoleon's historic defeat, Prussia, Sweden, Austria, and several German states re-entered the war.

    Seventh Coalition 1815: The Seventh Coalition (1815) pitted Britain, Russia, Prussia, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and several German states against France.

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Napoleonic Wars | Stories Preschool

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 of European powers formed into various coalitions, primarily led and financed by the United Kingdom

Napoleonic Wars | Stories Preschool Napoleonic Wars | Stories Preschool
Napoleonic Wars | Stories Preschool

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Napoleonic Wars", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.




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