Napoleonic Wars

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The Napoleonic Wars, a series of wars fought during Napoleon Bonaparte's rule over France (1799 - 1815), took place mainly in Europe but also involved some other parts of the world. They continued to some extent the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789. These wars revolutionized European armies and artillery, as well as other military systems, and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to the application of modern mass conscription. French power rose quickly, conquering most of Europe, but collapsed rapidly after France's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. Napoleon's empire ultimately suffered complete military defeat, resulting in the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in France. Meanwhile the Spanish Empire began to unravel as French occupation of Spain weakened the Spanish hold over its colonies, providing an opening for nationalist revolutions in Latin America.

No consensus exists as to when the French Revolutionary Wars ended and the Napoleonic Wars began. Possible dates include November 9, 1799, when Bonaparte seized power in France; May 18, 1803, when Britain and France ended the only period of peace in Europe between 1792 and 1814, and December 2, 1804, when Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor.

The Napoleonic Wars ended following Napoleon's final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo (June 18, 1815) and the Second Treaty of Paris. Some sources (chiefly in the United Kingdom) occasionally refer to the nearly continuous period of warfare from 1792 to 1815 as the Great French War, or as the final phase of the Anglo-French Second Hundred Years' War, spanning the period 1689 to 1815.

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