The Napoleonic Wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) were a series of global military conflicts fought by the French Empire under the leadership of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte against various European coalitions. The wars, which followed the French Revolution, saw the rise of Napoleon and the defeat of major powers such as Prussia and Austria in battles like Austerlitz, Jena and Wargram. However, the rise of the French Empire began to decline with the disastrous Russian campaign. In the end Napoleon was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, leading to the Congress of Vienna. This international conference redrew the map of Europe and restored the old order.

Events

Start of The Napoleonic Wars
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The Breakdown of the Treaty of Amiens
May 18, 1803

The Peace of Amiens was signed on March 25, 1802, in an attempt to end the hostilities between Britain and France that had arisen during the French Revolutionary Wars. However, this peace agreement was short-lived. The British government refused to return some of France's colonial possessions, which was stipulated in the treaty, causing deep-seated tensions between the two countries. Additionally, Britain was alarmed by France's and especially Napoleons' ambitions and behaviour, further escalating the tension. This eventually led to the start of the Napoleonic Wars around May 18th, 1803.

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The Battle of Trafalgar
Nov 21, 1805

On November 21, 1805, the British Royal Navy and the Franco-Spanish fleet engaged in a battle near Cape Trafalgar, off the southwest coast of Spain. The battle resulted in a decisive victory for Britain and thwarted Napoleon's plans to invade Britain.

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Location: Cape Trafalgar
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The Battle of Austerlitz
Dec 12, 1805

The Battle of Austerlitz took place on December 12, 1805, between the French army and the combined forces of Austria and Russia. This battle was one of Napoleon's greatest victories and resulted in the defeat of the Austrian and Russian armies. As a consequence, the Treaty of Pressburg was signed and the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved.

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Location: Austerlitz
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The Treaty of Pressburg
Dec 26, 1805

The Treaty of Pressburg was signed on December 26, 1805, after the Austrian and Russian forces were defeated by the French Empire, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, in the Battle of Austerlitz. As a result of the treaty, Austria lost some of its territories and was significantly weakened. Additionally, the Holy Roman Empire lost its influence over Italy and power over Europe.

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Location: Pressburg
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The Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
Oct 14, 1806

The Battle of Jena-Auerstedt was a critical engagement during the Napoleonic Wars. The French army fought against the Prussian forces near Jena and Auersted on October 14, 1806. It was another victory for the French Empire, led by Napoleon Bonaparte and a significant defeat for the Prussian army, following a quick occupation of Prussia. It led to the Treaty of Tilsit, which significantly decreased the territory of Prussia.

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Location: Jena and Auerstedt
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The Battle of Friedland
Jun 14, 1807

On June 14, 1807, there was a battle near the town of Friedland between the French army and the Russian forces. The French emerged victorious once again, defeating the Russian army led by Tsar Alexander I of Russia. Following this defeat, the Tsar sought peace between Russia and France, which led to the signing of the Treaty of Tilsit and the creation of a new alliance between the two countries.

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Location: Friedland
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The Treaty of Tilsit
Jul 7, 1807

In the town of Tilsit, a treaty was signed on July 7, 1807, between the French Empire, Russia, and Prussia following the Battle of Jena - Auerstedt and the Battle of Friedland, resulting in territorial losses for Prussia, a new alliance between France and Russia, and an increase in French power in Europe.

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Location: Tilsit
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Battle of Wagram
Jun 5, 1809

The Battle of Wagram was fought on July 5-6, 1809, near the village of Wagram between the French and Austrian armies. It was one of the deadliest battles of the Napoleonic Wars. Even though Napoleon emerged victorious, his army suffered heavy losses as well.

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Location: Wagram
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The Treaty of Schönbrunn
Oct 14, 1809

The Treaty of Schönbrunn was signed on October 14, 1809, between the French and Austrian empires, which resulted in Austria losing more of its territories, paying a large indemnity, and facing limitations on its army. As a consequence, the French Empire became even more powerful than before.

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Location: Schönbrunn
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The Invasion of Russia
Jun 24, 1812

On June 24, 1812 the army of France led by Napoleon started their Russian campaign and invaded the country. From the start they had an enormous success, due to their large army and scorched earth strategy, forcing the Russian army to retreat deeper into Russia.

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Location: Russia
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The Battle of Borodino
Sep 7, 1812

On September 7, 1812, a few months after France invaded Russia, the Battle of Borodino took place. It was one of the bloodiest single-day battles in the war and ended inconclusively. This marked a turning point for France as they had been victorious in most of their previous battles. Due to the onset of the Russian Winter, shortage of supplies, and no sign of Russian capitulation, the French army retreated from Russia.

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Location: Borodino
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The Battle of Leipzig
Oct 16, 1813

The Battle of Leipzig, also known as the Battle of Nations, was fought from October 16th to 19th in 1813 near the city of Leipzig. After the retreat of the French army from Russia, a new coalition was formed, consisting of Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Sweden, to defeat the French. This battle marked a crucial turning point in the Napoleonic Wars as the coalition emerged victorious, forcing the French army to retreat back to France and losing power in Germany and Poland.

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Location: Leipzig
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The Capture of Paris
Mar 31, 1814

After the Battle of Leipzig, the French army led by Napoleon was pushed back into France. The coalition, consisting of Austria, Prussia, Russia and Sweden, advanced towards the French capital of Paris. The French forces were outnumbered and defeated, leading to the capture and surrender of Paris by the coalition on March 31st, 1814.

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Location: Paris
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Abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte
Apr 6, 1814

Following his loss at the Battle of Leipzig and the takeover of Paris by the coalition consisting of Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Sweden, Napoleon was compelled to give up his throne. He was exiled to the Island of Elba, while Louis XVIII, brother of the executed King Louis XVI, was reinstated as the ruler of France.

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The Treaty of Fontainebleau
Apr 11, 1814

The Treaty of Fontainebleau (Treaty of Paris) was signed on April 11, 1814, and marked the end of Napoleon's reign as the Emperor of France. The treaty was an agreement between Napoleon and the allies, which included Austria, Russia, and Prussia. As part of the agreement, the Bourbon family with Louis XVIII was restored to the throne.

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Location: Fontainebleau
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Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from Elba
Mar 1, 1815

On March 1, 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte managed to escape from the island of Elba, where he was exiled after his defeat by the allies. He sailed with a ship carrying about 1000 men, consisting of his loyal soldiers from the Elba garrison, and headed to France. Napoleon then started his march towards Paris. King Louis XVIII sent an army to intercept him, but the army decided to join Napoleon instead. He regained control without firing a single shot.

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Location: Elba
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The Congress of Vienna
Jun 9, 1815

On June 9, 1815, the Congress of Vienna signed its final act, which played a crucial role in establishing a lasting peace and redrawing the map of Europe. As part of the agreement, France was restored to its 1792 borders, while the Austrian Netherlands, Dutch Republic, and former Prince-Bishopric of Liège were unified to form the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. The German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) was also created as a replacement for the Holy Roman Empire, which had been dissolved. Additionally, Prussia gained significant territories, Austria was compensated with Lombardy and Venetia, regained control of Tyrol and Salzburg, and various Italian states were resolved. Poland was reconstructed as an independent kingdom, although it remained under Russian influence. Lastly, the Scandinavian borders were redrawn, and Norway entered into a union with Sweden.

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Location: Vienna
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The Battle of Waterloo
Jun 18, 1815

On July 18, 1815, Napoleon escaped from his exile on the island of Elba and regained control of France. He formulated a plan to attack the coalition forces in Belgium before they could unite and fight back. The coalition consisted of Allied Britain, with mainly British and Dutch troops, and Prussia. On the 18th of June 1815, Napoleon engaged in a battle with the coalition. Unfortunately, the coalition proved to be too strong and Napoleon was defeated once again.

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Location: Waterloo
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The Second Abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte
Jun 22, 1815

On June 22, 1815, Napoleon abdicated for the second time. He wanted his son, Napoleon II, to succeed him, but instead the Bourbons were reinstated to the throne. Napoleon was then exiled to Saint Helena.

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The Treaty of Paris
Nov 20, 1815

Following Napoleon Bonaparte's second abdication, the second Treaty of Paris (after the first Treaty of Fontainebleau) was signed on November 20, 1815. The Congress of Vienna was called to put an end to the Napoleonic Wars, but Napoleon managed to escape from his exile and regain power. However, he was eventually defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, which marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The Second Treaty of Paris played a definite role in bringing an end to this era of conflict.

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Location: Paris
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