1799 in France

Events from the year 1799 in France

Years in France: 1796 1797 1798 1799 1800 1801 1802
Centuries: 17th century · 18th century · 19th century
Decades: 1760s 1770s 1780s 1790s 1800s 1810s 1820s
Years: 1796 1797 1798 1799 1800 1801 1802
Bouchot - Le general Bonaparte au Conseil des Cinq-Cents
Napoleon Bonaparte seizes power during the Coup of 18 Brumaire.




Oscar I of Sweden & Norway as child c 1806 by Jean-Baptiste Isabey
Oscar I of Sweden was born in Paris.


Guillaume Voiriot
Self portrait, Guillaume Voiriot.


  1. ^ Carlquist, G (1924). "Oskar I". In Blangstrup, Chr. Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon (in Danish). 18 (2 ed.). Copenhagen: J.H. Schultz Forlagsboghandel. pp. 647–649. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
Battle of Abukir (1799)

The Battle of Abukir (or Aboukir or Abu Qir) was a battle in which Napoleon Bonaparte defeated Seid Mustafa Pasha's Ottoman army on July 25, 1799, during the French campaign in Egypt. It is considered the first pitched battle with this name, as there already was a naval battle on August 1, 1798 (a second pitched battle followed on March 8, 1801). No sooner had the French forces returned from a campaign to Syria, than the Ottoman forces were transported to Egypt by Sidney Smith's British fleet to put an end to French rule in Egypt.Seid Mustafa Pasha was an experienced commander who had fought against the Russians. He knew that cavalry charges against the French squares were futile. So, he sought to avoid them by fortifying his beachhead with two defensive lines. From this beachhead Mustafa could carry out the invasion of Egypt. However, Napoleon immediately saw the flaw in the tactic as it meant that the Turks had nowhere to run if routed.The French attacked the Ottoman positions and quickly broke through the first defensive line before it was fully completed. The second line, however, proved tougher to defeat and the French withdrew for a while. At this point, cavalry general Murat saw his opportunity and attacked with his cavalry, quickly routing the exposed Turks.Murat's charge was so rapid that he burst inside Mustafa's tent and captured the Turkish commander, severing two of the Turk's fingers with his sabre. In return, Mustafa shot Murat in the jaw. Immediately, Murat was operated on and resumed his duties the next day.

The Turkish army fled in panic. Some Ottomans drowned trying to swim to the British ships two miles away from shore, while others fled to Abukir castle, but they surrendered shortly thereafter. The Turks suffered about 8,000 casualties and the French only 1,000. News of the victory reached France before Napoleon arrived in October and this made him even more popular, an important asset considering the troubles brewing in the French Directory. This battle temporarily secured France's control over Egypt.

Battle of Cassano (1799)

The Battle of Cassano d'Adda was fought on 27 April 1799 near Cassano d'Adda, about 28 km (17 mi) ENE of Milan. It resulted in a victory for the Austrians and Russians under Alexander Suvorov over Jean Moreau's French army. The action took place during the War of the Second Coalition during the larger conflict known as the French Revolutionary Wars.

Battle of Novi (1799)

The Battle of Novi (15 August 1799) saw a combined army of Habsburg Austrians and Imperial Russians under Field Marshal Alexander Suvorov attack a Republican French army under General Barthélemy Catherine Joubert. After a prolonged and bloody struggle, the Austro-Russians broke through the French defenses and drove their enemies into a disorderly retreat. Joubert was killed while French division commanders Catherine-Dominique de Pérignon and Emmanuel Grouchy were captured. Novi Ligure is in the province of Piedmont in Italy a distance of 58 kilometres (36 mi) north of Genoa. The battle occurred during the War of the Second Coalition which was part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

In 1799, Russian and Austrian forces swept across the Po River valley, recapturing lands taken by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796. The French troops in Italy were badly defeated at the major battles of Magnano, Cassano and the Trebbia. Subsequently, French and Cisalpine Italian troops retreated into Genoa and the Ligurian Republic. A new French government placed Joubert in command of the reformed Army of Italy and ordered him to take the offensive. Accordingly, the French army moved north across the mountain crests and assembled on high ground at Novi Ligure on 14 August. To Joubert's dismay, it was clear that large Coalition forces were nearby. The next morning Paul Kray's Austrian corps assaulted the French left flank and the battle was on. After a delay, Suvorov committed a Russian corps to attack the center and Michael von Melas' Austrian corps to attack the French right flank. Kray's troops suffered heavy losses but by evening the French army was badly beaten and the French hold on the Italian Riviera was gravely weakened. However, the Coalition planners proceeded to throw away their advantage by sending Suvorov's Russians to Switzerland, a change of strategy that ended badly.

Battle of Oberwald

Battle of Oberwald occurred on 13–14 August 1799 between French forces commanded by General of Division Jean Victor Tharreau and elements of Prince Rohan's corps in southern Switzerland. The Austrian regiment was commanded by Colonel Gottfried von Strauch. Both sides engaged approximately 6,000 men. The French lost 500 killed, wounded or missing, and the Austrians lost 3,000 men and two guns. Oberwald is a village in Canton Valais, at the source of the Rhône River, between Grimsel and Furka passes.

Battle of Port Louis

The Battle of Port Louis was a minor naval engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars, fought on 11 December 1799 at the mouth of the Tombeau River near Port Louis on the French Indian Ocean island of Île de France, later known as Mauritius. Preneuse had originally been part of a powerful squadron of six frigates sent to the Indian Ocean in 1796 under the command of Contre-amiral Pierre César Charles de Sercey, but the squadron dispersed in 1798 and by the summer of 1799 Preneuse was the only significant French warship remaining in the region. The battle was the culmination of a three-month raiding cruise by the 40-gun French Navy frigate Preneuse, commanded by Captain Jean-Matthieu-Adrien Lhermitte. Ordered to raid British commerce in the Mozambique Channel, Lhermitte's cruise had been eventful, with an inconclusive encounter with a squadron of small British warships in Algoa Bay on 20 September and an engagement with the 50-gun HMS Jupiter during heavy weather on 9–11 October.

Returning to Île de France in December, Lhermitte steered for Port Louis but was intercepted by the British blockade squadron, comprising the 74-gun ship of the line HMS Tremendous and the 50-gun HMS Adamant. Unable to reach safety, Lhermitte evaded pursuit long enough to drive Preneuse onto a beach at the mouth of the Tombeau. After a brief exchange of fire the wrecked frigate was surrendered and British boarding parties in ship's boats rowed inshore to Preneuse, removed the survivors and burnt the remains. Watching from the shore as the last of his command burned on the beach, Sercey subsequently retired from military service.

Cabinet of the French Consulate

The Cabinet of the French Consulate was formed following the Coup of 18 Brumaire which replaced the Directory with the Consulate. The new regime was ratified by the adoption of the Constitution of the Year VIII on 24 December 1799 and headed by Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul, with Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès and Charles-François Lebrun serving as Second and Third Consuls respectively.

Campaigns of 1799 in the French Revolutionary Wars

By 1799, the French Revolutionary Wars had resumed after a period of relative peace in 1798. The Second Coalition had organized against France, with Great Britain allying with Russia, Austria, the Ottoman Empire, and several of the German and Italian states. While Napoleon's army was still embroiled in Egypt, the allies prepared campaigns in Italy, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Convention of Alkmaar

The Convention of Alkmaar was a 1799 agreement concluded between the commanders of the expeditionary forces of Great Britain and Russia on the one hand, and of those of the First French Republic and the Batavian Republic on the other, in the Dutch city of Alkmaar, by which the British and Russians agreed to withdraw their forces from the Batavian Republic following the failed Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland. The Russian and British forces under the Duke of York were transported back to Britain in the weeks after the Convention was signed.

Coup of 18 Brumaire

The Coup of 18 Brumaire brought General Napoleon Bonaparte to power as First Consul of France and in the view of most historians ended the French Revolution. This bloodless coup d'état overthrew the Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate. This occurred on 9 November 1799, which was 18 Brumaire, Year VIII under the French Republican Calendar.

Coup of 30 Prairial VII

The Coup of 30 Prairial Year VII (Coup d'État du 30 prairial an VII), also known as the Revenge of the Councils (revanche des conseils) was a bloodless coup in France that occurred on 18 June 1799—30 Prairial Year VII by the French Republican Calendar. It left Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès as the dominant figure of the French government, and prefigured the coup of 18 Brumaire that brought Napoleon Bonaparte to power.

Directorial system

A directorial republic is a country ruled by a college of several people who jointly exercise the powers of a head of state or a head of government.

In political history, the term directory, in French directoire, is applied to high collegial institutions of state composed of members styled director. The most important of these by far was the Directory of 1795–1799 in France. The system was inspired by the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, which prominently featured a collegial 12-member Supreme Executive Council with a primus inter pares President. Variants of this form of government, based on the French model, were also established in the European regions conquered by France during the French Revolutionary Wars.

In the past, Uruguay, Yugoslavia (after 1974), Ukraine, and other countries were ruled by directories. The government of the Soviet Union could in some ways be characterized as a directory, but it developed in a much different pattern discussed in the article on Communist states.

The sole country now using this form of government is Switzerland (and to a lesser extent, San Marino), where directories rule all levels of administration, federal, cantonal and municipal. The Swiss Federal Council is elected by the Parliament for four years (its members cannot be dismissed), and is composed of seven members, among whom one is President and one is Vice-President, although these are completely symbolic. There is no relationship of confidence between Parliament and the Federal Council. It is a shared system of government that reflects and represents the heterogeneity and multiethnicity of the Swiss people. Direct popular elections are used at the local level.

First Battle of Zurich

In the First Battle of Zurich on 4 – 7 June 1799, French general André Masséna was forced to yield the city to the Austrians under Archduke Charles and retreat beyond the Limmat, where he managed to fortify his positions, resulting in a stalemate.

The Helvetic Republic in 1798 became a battlefield of the French Revolutionary Wars. During the summer, Russian troops under general Korsakov replaced the Austrian troops, and in the Second Battle of Zurich, the French regained control of the city, along with the rest of Switzerland.

Law of Hostages

The Law of Hostages was a 1799 law enacted by the French Directory, during the final stages of the French Revolution in July-October 1799, in order to strengthen its power in regions that the Directory viewed as problematic. The law allowed local authorities to draw up lists of "hostages" who would be held responsible for certain criminal offences, and was particularly intended to be used against notables suspected of threatening the Directory's authority. Since local authorities were responsible for the law's execution, it was not always effective since local authorities often sympathized with those it was intended to be used against or they refrained because they did not want to cause strife in their community.

The law was repealed in November 1799 after Napoleon took power in the Coup of 18 Brumaire.


The Quasi-War (French: Quasi-guerre) was an undeclared war fought almost entirely at sea between the United States and France from 1798 to 1800, which broke out during the beginning of John Adams's presidency. After the French Monarchy was abolished in September 1792 the United States refused to continue repaying its large debt to France which had supported it during its own War for Independence. It claimed that the debt had been owed to a previous regime. France was also outraged over the Jay Treaty and that the United States was actively trading with Britain, with whom they were at war. In response France authorized privateers to conduct attacks on American shipping, seizing numerous merchant ships, and ultimately leading the U.S. to retaliate.

The war was called "quasi" because it was undeclared. It involved two years of hostilities at sea, in which both navies and privateers attacked the other's shipping in the West Indies. Many of the battles involved famous naval officers such as Stephen Decatur, Silas Talbot and William Bainbridge. The unexpected fighting ability of the newly re-established U.S. Navy, which concentrated on attacking the French West Indian privateers, together with the growing weaknesses and final overthrow of the ruling French Directory, led Foreign Minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (known as Talleyrand) to reopen negotiations with the US. At the same time, President John Adams feuded with Alexander Hamilton over control of the Adams administration. Adams took sudden and unexpected action, rejecting the anti-French hawks in his own party and offering peace to France. In 1800 he sent William Vans Murray to France to negotiate peace; the Federalists cried betrayal. Hostilities ended with the signing of the Convention of 1800.

Second Battle of Zurich

The Second Battle of Zurich (25–26 September 1799) was a key victory by the Republican French army in Switzerland led by André Masséna over an Austrian and Russian force commanded by Alexander Korsakov near Zürich. It broke the stalemate that had resulted from the First Battle of Zurich three months earlier and led to the withdrawal of Russia from the Second Coalition. Most of the fighting took place on both banks of the river Limmat up to the gates of Zürich, and within the city itself.

Siege of Acre (1799)

The Siege of Acre of 1799 was an unsuccessful French siege of the Ottoman-defended, walled city of Acre (now Akko in modern Israel) and was the turning point of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and Syria. It was Napoleon`s first strategic defeat as three years previously he had been tactically defeated at the Second Battle of Bassano.

Siege of El Arish

In the Siege of El Arish French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte defeated Ottoman forces in the fortress in an eleven-day siege. It fell on February 19, 1799.

Siege of Mantua (1799)

The Siege of Mantua (1799) was a four-month effort by the Austrian army to regain a presence in northern Italy after being excluded from that region by Napoleon Bonaparte through the successful French Siege of Mantua in 1797. In April 1799, the Austrians placed a military blockade around Mantua as part of the War of the Second Coalition with the intent of withering the French by attrition. While the diminishing food supplies and losses weakened the French army, the Austrians received reinforcements and attacked on 4 July 1799. By the end of the month, the French agreed to surrender.

USS Constellation vs L'Insurgente

USS Constellation vs L'Insurgente, or the Action of 9 February 1799, was a single-ship action fought between frigates of the French Navy and the United States Navy during the Quasi-War, an undeclared war that lasted from 1798 to 1800. The battle resulted in USS Constellation's capture of L'Insurgente, after an intense firefight in which both sides exchanged heavy broadsides and musket fire.

French privateering attacks against American vessels, begun a year prior, caused the conflict between the United States and France. An American squadron under Commodore Thomas Truxtun had been sent to patrol the Caribbean waters between Puerto Rico and Saint Kitts with orders to engage any French forces they found in the area. While Truxtun was sailing independently of his squadron in Constellation, his flagship, he met and engaged L'Insurgente. After chasing the French ship through a storm, Constellation forced L'Insurgente into an engagement that lasted an hour and fourteen minutes before the French frigate surrendered. The French sustained heavy casualties in the action, while the numbers of American dead and wounded were low.

After the action, L'Insurgente was taken to Saint Kitts and commissioned into the United States Navy as USS Insurgent. With this and later victories, American morale soared, and Truxtun returned home to honor and praise from the American government and the public at large.

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