Napoleon Bonaparte, French military commander, was at the apex of his power in 1809 after successful campaigns against various European coalitions. Napoleon or members of his family ruled much of Europe. France’s expansion into an imperial power began in 1796 when General Napoleon’s Italian Campaigns expelled the Austrian Habsburgs from the Italian peninsula. An advance on Vienna was halted by Austria ceding substantial territories to the French. By 1801, the French drove the Austrians from northern Italy in a battle south of Turin (the Marengo Campaign). Napoleon was de facto ruler of the nascent French Empire and the French army became the Grande Armée. In 1804, Napoleon, now emperor, defeated an Austrian-Russian coalition in the Ulm-Austerlitz Campaign (1805), Prussia in the Battle of Jena (1806) and the Russians in the Friedland Campaign (1807). Napoleon occupied Spain in 1808 and Austria ceded more territories, after further defeat, in 1809.
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