Following Napoleon’s creation of the Confederation of the Rhine from former Austrian territories, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II renounced his throne, thereby dissolving the Holy Roman Empire, which had been in continuous existence since the year 962. The loss of many of the western states that came under the loose formation of the Holy Roman Empire to a new political body, which was fundamentally subservient to France, caused Francis to abdicate on 18 August 1806, although he did retain his title as Emperor Francis I of the Austrian Empire. Following Napoleon’s victory at the Battle of Friedland on 14 June 1807 and the signing of the Treaties of Tilsit in July, Prussia and Russia ceded former Polish territories, which had been lost under the partitions of Poland, to create the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. Unsurprisingly, the local Polish population was eager to pledge allegiance to France.
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