First French Empire

From Metapedia

Jump to: navigation, search

The French Empire[1][2] (1804–1814), also known as the Greater French Empire, First French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I in France. It was the dominant power of much of continental Europe during the early 19th Century.

Napoleon became Emperor of the French ("L'Empereur des Français") on 18 May 1804 and crowned Emperor December 2, 1804, ending the period of the French Consulate, and won early military victories in the War of the Third Coalition against Austria, Prussia, Russia, Portugal, and allied nations, notably at the Battle of Austerlitz (1805) and the Battle of Friedland (1807). The Treaty of Tilsit in July 1807 ended two years of bloodshed on the European continent.

Subsequent years of military victories known collectively as the Napoleonic Wars extended French influence over much of Western Europe and into Poland. At its height in 1812, the French Empire had 130 départements, ruled over 44 million subjects, maintained an extensive military presence in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Duchy of Warsaw, and could count Prussia and Austria as nominal allies.[3] Early French victories exported many ideological features of the French Revolution throughout Europe. Seigneurial dues and seigneurial justice were abolished, aristocratic privileges were eliminated in all places except Poland, and the introduction of the Napoleonic Code throughout the continent increased legal equality, established jury systems, and legalized divorce.[4] Napoleon placed relatives on the thrones of several European countries and granted many noble titles, most of which were not recognized after the empire fell. Historians have estimated the death toll from the Napoleonic Wars to be 6.5 million people, or 15% of the French Empire's subjects.

In particular, French losses in the Peninsular War in Iberia severely weakened the Empire; after victory over the Austrian Empire in the War of the Fifth Coalition (1809) Napoleon deployed over 600,000 troops to attack Russia,[5] in a catastrophic French invasion of that country in 1812. The War of the Sixth Coalition saw the expulsion of French forces from Germany in 1813.

Napoleon abdicated in 1814. The Empire was briefly restored during the Hundred Days period in 1815 until Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. It was followed by the restored monarchy of the House of Bourbon.

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.

References

  1. But still domestically styled as French Republic until 1808: compare the French franc minted in 1808 [1] and in 1809 [2].
  2. The official bulletin of laws of the French Empire
  3. Martyn Lyons, Napoleon Bonaparte and the Legacy of the French Revolution. p. 232
  4. Martyn Lyons p. 234-236
  5. Todd Fisher & Gregory Fremont-Barnes, The Napoleonic Wars: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. p. 146. Additionally, with 300,000 troops in Spain and 200,000 scattered throughout Central Europe, the Empire had an army whose numbers exceeded a million.
Personal tools