By 1797 the First French Republic, which had been established as a result of the French Revolution in 1789, had begun its territorial expansion into neighbouring states. Many other states within Europe, including Spain, Britain, the Dutch Republic and the Habsburg Monarchy had come together under the First Coalition from 1792 onwards to act against France’s new expansionist behaviour. The trend away from the numerous smaller states and kingdoms that had previously dominated the landscape of central Europe continued when France defeated Austria in 1797 and Austria ceded various territories to France under the Treaty of Campo Formio. Under Frederick II ‘the Great’ Prussia had become to dominate northern-central Europe, conquering Silesia and becoming Austria’s main rival. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was subjected to second and third partitions between its more powerful neighbours Prussia and Russia in 1793 and 1795, after which it completely dissolved as a political entity.
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