The First Empire under Napoleon 1811


Map Code: Ax02303

In the aftermath of the French Revolution, having quelled the Royalist uprising of 13 Vendémiaire (5 October) in 1795, the young General Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) rose rapidly through the ranks of the French army to become one of the most successful military commanders in world history. In 1799 he orchestrated a coup and proclaimed himself First Consul of the New Republic, wielding supreme political power. He at once took control of a large area of northern Italy, and with the peace treaty of Amiens (1802) he for a brief while secured British acquiescence in French expansion. In 1805 he achieved a historic military victory at Austerlitz over a ‘Third Coalition’ of British, Russian and Austrian forces. He then defeated the Prussians at Jena and Auerstedt (1806), the Russians at Friedland (1807), and the Austrians and British at Wagram (1809). In 1808 he declared his brother Joseph King of Spain. At sea he was less successful, losing the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, which saved Britain from invasion. But on land, by its zenith in 1811 his First Empire and its dependencies included virtually the whole of mainland Europe.

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