Continental System

The Continental System or Continental Blockade (known in French as Blocus continental) was the foreign policy of Napoleon I of France against the United Kingdom during the Napoleonic Wars. As a response to the naval blockade of the French coasts enacted by the British government on 16 May 1806, Napoleon issued the Berlin Decree on 21 November 1806, which brought into effect a large-scale embargo against British trade.[1][2] The embargo was applied intermittently, ending on 11 April 1814 after Napoleon's first abdication. The blockade caused little economic damage to the UK, although British exports to the continent (as a proportion of the UK's total trade) dropped from 55% to 25% between 1802 and 1806.[3] As Napoleon realized that extensive trade was going through Spain and Russia, he invaded those two countries. His forces were tied down in Spain—in which the Spanish War of Independence was occurring simultaneously—and suffered severely in, and ultimately retreated from, Russia in 1812.

The Berlin Decree forbade the import of British goods into any European countries allied with or dependent upon France, and it installed the Continental System in Europe. All connections with Britain were to be cut, even the mail. British merchants smuggled in many goods and the Continental System was not a powerful weapon of economic war.[4] There was some damage to British trade, especially in 1808 and 1812, but British control of the oceans led to replacement trade with North and South America, as well as large scale smuggling in Europe. The loss of Britain as a trading partner also hit the economies of France and its allies.[5] Angry governments gained an incentive to ignore the Continental System, which led to the weakening of Napoleon's coalition.[6]

Continental Blockade (1812)
The French Empire in 1812.
  Continental System

Background

The United Kingdom was the central important force in encouraging and financing alliances against Napoleonic France. In addition, the British government enacted a naval blockade of the French and French-allied coasts, on 16 May 1806. As France lacked the naval strength to invade Britain or to decisively defeat the Royal Navy at sea, Napoleon resorted instead to economic warfare. Britain was Europe's manufacturing and business center as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Napoleon believed it would be easy to take advantage of an embargo on trade with the European nations under his control, causing inflation and great debt to undermine the British strength.

In November 1806, having recently conquered or allied with every major power on the European continent, Napoleon, in retaliation to the British Order-in-Council of 17 May 1806 blockading all ports from Brest to the Elbe, issued the Berlin Decree forbidding his allies and conquests from trading with the British.[7] The UK responded with further Orders in Council issued on 10 January and 11 November 1807.[8] These forbade French trade with the UK, its allies or neutrals, and instructed the Royal Navy to blockade all French and allied ports, and to prevent all shipping whether neutral or not. Napoleon responded again with the Milan Decree of 1807, declaring that all neutral shipping using British ports or paying British tariffs were to be regarded as British and seized.

Napoleon's plan to defeat Britain was to destroy its ability to trade. As an island nation, trade was its most vital lifeline. Napoleon believed that if he could isolate Britain economically, he would be able to invade the nation after its economic collapse. Napoleon decreed that all commerce ships wishing to do business in Europe must first stop at a French port in order to ensure that there could be no trade with Britain. He also ordered all European nations and French allies to stop trading with Britain, and he threatened Russia with an invasion if they did not comply as well. His orders backfired in the Iberian Peninsula, especially in Portugal (being allied to Britain), setting off the Peninsular War. He pushed Russia too hard, both in terms of the Continental System, and in his demands for control over part of Poland. His attempted punishment of Russia through a massive invasion 1812 was one of the famous military disasters in world history, and set the stage for Napoleon's final downfall.

Effects

United Kingdom

The embargo encouraged British merchants to seek out new markets aggressively and to engage in smuggling with continental Europe. Napoleon's exclusively land-based customs enforcers could not stop British smugglers, especially as these operated with the connivance of Napoleon's chosen rulers of Spain, Westphalia and other German states. The System had mixed effects on British trade, with British exports to the Continent falling between 25% to 55% compared to pre-1806 levels. However, trade sharply increased with the rest of the world, covering much of the decline.[9]

USS Constitution vs Guerriere
USS Constitution defeats HMS Guerriere in the 1812 war

Britain, by Orders in Council (1807), prohibited its trade partners from trading with France. The British countered the Continental system by threatening to sink any ship that did not come to a British port or chose to comply with France. This double threat created a difficult time for neutral nations like the United States. In response to this prohibition, compounded by the Chesapeake Incident, the U.S. government adopted the Embargo Act of 1807 and eventually Macon's Bill No. 2. This embargo was designed as an economic counterattack to hurt Britain, but it proved even more damaging to American merchants. Together with the issues of the impressment of foreign seamen, and British support for Indian raids in the American west, tensions led to a declaration of war by the U.S. in the War of 1812. This war, not Napoleon's blockade, sharply reduced British trade with the United States.

France and Continental Europe

The embargo also affected France itself. Shipbuilding, and its trades such as rope-making, declined, as did many other industries that relied on overseas markets, such as the linen industries. With few exports and lost profits, many industries were closed down. Southern France, especially the port cities of Marseille and Bordeaux, as well as the city of La Rochelle, suffered from the reduction in trade. Moreover, the prices of staple foods rose in most of continental Europe.

Napoleon's St. Cloud Decree in July 1810 opened the southwest of France and the Spanish frontier to limited British trade, and reopened French trade to the United States. It was an admission that his blockade had hurt his own economy more than the British. It had also failed to reduce British financial support for its allies.[10] The industrialized north and east of France, and Wallonia (the south of today's Belgium) saw significantly increased profits due to the lack of competition from British goods (particularly textiles, which were produced much more cheaply in Britain).

In Italy, the agricultural sector flourished;[11] but the Dutch economy, predicated on trade, suffered greatly as a result of the embargo. Napoleon's economic warfare was much to the chagrin of his own brother, King Louis I of Holland.

Scandinavia and the Baltic region

Vice-Admiral James Saumarez
Vice-Admiral James Saumarez was the commander of the Royal Navy in the Baltic campaign of 1808–1814 that secured British trade to the region

Britain's first response to the Continental system was to launch a major naval attack on the weakest link in Napoleon's coalition, Denmark. Although ostensibly neutral, Denmark was under heavy French and Russian pressure to pledge its fleet to Napoleon. London could not take the chance of ignoring the Danish threat. In the Second battle of Copenhagen in August–September 1807, the Royal Navy bombarded Copenhagen, seized the Danish fleet, and assured control of the sea lanes in the North Sea and Baltic Sea for the British merchant fleet.[12][13] The island of Heligoland off the west coast of Denmark was occupied in September 1807. This base made it easier for Britain to control trade to North Sea ports and to facilitate smuggling. The attacks against Copenhagen and Heligoland started the Gunboat War against Denmark, which lasted until 1814.

Sweden, Britain's ally in the Third Coalition, refused to comply with French demands and was attacked by Russia in February and by Denmark/Norway in March 1808. At the same time, a French force threatened to invade southern Sweden, but the plan was stopped as the Royal Navy controlled the Danish straits. The Royal Navy set up a base outside the port of Gothenburg in 1808 to simplify operations into the Baltic Sea. The Baltic campaign was under the command of admiral James Saumarez. In November 1810 France demanded that Sweden should declare war upon the United Kingdom and stop all trade. The result was a phoney war between Sweden and Britain. A second navy base was set up on the island of Hanö in the south of Sweden in 1810. These two bases were used to support convoys from Britain to Gothenburg, then through the Danish straits to Hanö. From Hanö the goods were smuggled to the many ports around the Baltic Sea. To further support the convoys, the small Danish island of Anholt was occupied in May 1809. A lighthouse on the island simplified navigation through the Danish straits.

Russia also chafed under the embargo, and in 1810 reopened trade with Britain. Russia's withdrawal from the system was a motivating factor behind Napoleon's decision to invade Russia in 1812, which proved the turning point of the war.

Portugal and Spain

Portugal openly refused to join the Continental System. In 1793, Portugal signed a treaty of mutual assistance with Britain.[14] After the Treaty of Tilsit of July 1807, Napoleon attempted to capture the Portuguese Fleet and the House of Braganza, and to occupy the Portuguese ports. He failed, as king John VI of Portugal took his fleet and transferred the Portuguese Court to Brazil with a Royal Navy escort. The Portuguese population rose in revolt against the French invaders, with the help of the British Army under Arthur Wellesley, later 1st Duke of Wellington. Napoleon intervened, and the Peninsular War began in 1808. Napoleon also forced the Spanish royal family to resign their throne in favor of Napoleon's brother, Joseph.

References

  1. ^ David Stephen Heidler; Jteanne T. Heidler (2004). Encyclopedia of the War of 1812. Naval Institute Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-59114-362-8.
  2. ^ Jean Tulard, Napoléon, Hachette, 2008, p. 207
  3. ^ Alfred Fierro; André Palluel-Guillard; Jean Tulard. Histoire et dictionnaire du Consulat et de l'Empire. Robert Laffont. ISBN 2-221-05858-5.
  4. ^ Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics 1763–1858 (1999) pp. 305–10
  5. ^ Alexander Grab, Napoleon and the Transformation of Europe (2003) pp. 29–33
  6. ^ François Crouzet, "Wars, blockade, and economic change in Europe, 1792–1815." Journal of Economic History (1964) 24#4 pp. 567–88 JSTOR 2115762.
  7. ^ "Documents upon the ContinentaI System 1806". www.napoleon-series.org.
  8. ^ Holberg, Tom. The Acts, Orders in Council, &c. of Great Britain (on Trade), 1793–1812
  9. ^ J.M. Thompson, Napoleon Bonaparte: His rise and fall (1951) pp. 235–40
  10. ^ Eric A. Arnold, Jr. "Napoleon's St. Cloud Decree, 3 July 1810: Text and Analysis," Proceedings of the Western Society for French History (1998), Vol. 25, pp. 49–54
  11. ^ Alexander Grab and Charles F. Delzell, "The Kingdom of Italy and Napoleon's Continental Blockade," Consortium on Revolutionary Europe 1750–1850: Proceedings (1988), Vol. 18, pp. 587–604.
  12. ^ A. N. Ryan, "The Causes of the British Attack upon Copenhagen in 1807." English Historical Review (1953): 37–55. in JSTOR
  13. ^ Thomas Munch-Petersen, Defying Napoleon: How Britain Bombarded Copenhagen and Seized the Danish Fleet in 1807 (2007)
  14. ^ Portugal; José Ferreira Borges de Castro (Visconde de); Julio Firmino Judice Biker (1857). Supplemeto á Collecção dos tratados, convenções, contratos e actos publicos celebrados entre a corôa de Portugal e as mais potencias desde 1640. Imprensa nacional. Portugal. Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros. pp. 19–25.

Sources

  • Cavindish, Richard. "The Treaty of Tilsit." History Today 57.7 (2007): 62–63. World History Collection. Web. 14 Nov. 2012.
  • Wild, Antony. Coffee: A Dark History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2005. 144-47. Print.

Further reading

  • Aaslestad, Katherine B., and Johan Joor, eds. Revisiting Napoleon's Continental System: Local, Regional and European Experiences (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Wide-ranging essays by experts excerpt
  • Breunig, Charles. The Age of Revolution and Reaction 1789–1850 (1970), Chapter 2
  • Broers, Michael. Europe Under Napoleon (IB Tauris, 2014).
  • Crouzet, François. "Wars, blockade, and economic change in Europe, 1792–1815." Journal of Economic History 24#4 (1964): 567–588. in JSTOR
  • Heckscher, Eli. The continental system: an economic interpretation (1922), the only global survey of the Continental System
  • Ruppenthal, Roland. "Denmark and the Continental System." Journal of Modern History 15.1 (1943): 7–23. in JSTOR

External links

Alexander I of Russia

Alexander I (Russian: Александр Павлович, Aleksandr Pavlovich; 23 December [O.S. 12 December] 1777 – 1 December [O.S. 19 November] 1825) reigned as Emperor of Russia between 1801 and 1825. He was the eldest son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Alexander was the first Russian King of partitioned Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland, reigning from 1809 to 1825.

He was born in Saint Petersburg to Grand Duke Paul Petrovich, later Emperor Paul I, and succeeded to the throne after his father was murdered. He ruled Russia during the chaotic period of the Napoleonic Wars. As prince and during the early years of his reign, Alexander often used liberal rhetoric, but continued Russia's absolutist policies in practice. In the first years of his reign, he initiated some minor social reforms and (in 1803–04) major, liberal educational reforms, such as building more universities. Alexander appointed Mikhail Speransky, the son of a village priest, as one of his closest advisors. The Collegia was abolished and replaced by the State Council, which was created to improve legislation. Plans were also made to set up a parliament and sign a constitution.

In foreign policy, he changed Russia's position relative to France four times between 1804 and 1812 among neutrality, opposition, and alliance. In 1805 he joined Britain in the War of the Third Coalition against Napoleon, but after the massive defeat at the Battle of Austerlitz he switched and formed an alliance with Napoleon by the Treaty of Tilsit (1807) and joined Napoleon's Continental System. He fought a small-scale naval war against Britain between 1807 and 1812 as well as a short war against Sweden (1808–09) after Sweden's refusal to join the Continental System. Alexander and Napoleon hardly agreed, especially regarding Poland, and the alliance collapsed by 1810. The tsar's greatest triumph came in 1812 as Napoleon's invasion of Russia proved a total disaster for the French. As part of the winning coalition against Napoleon he gained some spoils in Finland and Poland. He formed the Holy Alliance to suppress revolutionary movements in Europe that he saw as immoral threats to legitimate Christian monarchs. He helped Austria's Klemens von Metternich in suppressing all national and liberal movements.

In the second half of his reign he was increasingly arbitrary, reactionary and fearful of plots against him; he ended many earlier reforms. He purged schools of foreign teachers, as education became more religiously oriented as well as politically conservative. Speransky was replaced as advisor with the strict artillery inspector Aleksey Arakcheyev, who oversaw the creation of military settlements. Alexander died of typhus in December 1825 while on a trip to southern Russia. He left no children, as his two daughters died in childhood. Both of his brothers wanted the other to become emperor. After a period of great confusion (that presaged the failed Decembrist revolt of liberal army officers in the weeks after his death), he was succeeded by his younger brother, Nicholas I.

Anglo-Russian War (1807–1812)

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Anglo-Russian War (2 September 1807– 18 July 1812) was the phase of hostilities between the United Kingdom and Russia after the latter signed the Treaty of Tilsit that ended its war with France. Anglo-Russian hostilities were limited primarily to minor naval actions in the Baltic and Barents Seas.

Battle of Copenhagen (1807)

The Second Battle of Copenhagen (or the Bombardment of Copenhagen) (16 August – 5 September 1807) was a British bombardment of the Danish capital, Copenhagen in order to capture or destroy the Dano-Norwegian fleet, during the Napoleonic Wars. The incident led to the outbreak of the Anglo-Russian War of 1807, which ended with the Treaty of Örebro in 1812.

Britain's first response to Napoleon's Continental system was to launch a major naval attack on the weakest link in Napoleon's coalition, Denmark. Although ostensibly neutral, Denmark was under heavy French and Russian pressure to pledge its fleet to Napoleon. In September 1807, the Royal Navy bombarded Copenhagen, seizing the Danish fleet, and assured use of the sea lanes in the North Sea and Baltic Sea for the British merchant fleet. A consequence of the attack was that Denmark did join the war on the side of France, but without a fleet it had little to offer.The attack gave rise to the term to Copenhagenize.

Battle of Friedland

The Battle of Friedland (June 14, 1807) was a major engagement of the Napoleonic Wars between the armies of the French Empire commanded by Napoleon I and the armies of the Russian Empire led by Count von Bennigsen. Napoleon and the French obtained a decisive victory that routed much of the Russian army, which retreated chaotically over the Alle River by the end of the fighting. The battlefield is located in modern-day Kaliningrad Oblast, near the town of Pravdinsk, Russia.

The engagement at Friedland was a strategic necessity after the Battle of Eylau earlier in 1807 had failed to yield a decisive verdict for either side. The battle began when Bennigsen noticed the seemingly isolated corps of Marshal Lannes at the town of Friedland. Bennigsen, who planned only to secure his march northward to Wehlau and never intended to risk an engagement against Napoleon's numerically-superior forces, thought he had a good chance of destroying these isolated French units and ordered his entire army over the Alle River. Lannes held his ground against determined Russian attacks until Napoleon could bring additional forces onto the field. Bennigsen could have recalled the Russian forces, numbering about 50,000–60,000 men, and retreated across the river before the arrival of Napoleon's entire army but, being in poor health, decided to stay at Friedland and took no measures to protect his exposed and exhausted army. By late afternoon, the French had amassed a force of 80,000 troops on the battlefield. Relying on superior numbers, Napoleon concluded that the moment had come and ordered a massive assault against the Russian left flank. The sustained French attack pushed back the Russian army and pressed them against the river behind. Unable to withstand the pressure, the Russians broke and started escaping across the Alle, where an unknown number of them died from drowning. The Russian army suffered horrific casualties at Friedland–losing over 40% of its soldiers on the battlefield.Napoleon's overwhelming victory was enough to convince the Russian political establishment that peace was necessary. Friedland effectively ended the War of the Fourth Coalition, as Emperor Alexander I reluctantly entered peace negotiations with Napoleon. These discussions eventually culminated in the Treaties of Tilsit, by which Russia agreed to join the Continental System against Great Britain and by which Prussia lost almost half of its territories. The lands lost by Prussia were converted into the new Kingdom of Westphalia, which was governed by Napoleon's brother, Jérôme. Tilsit also gave France control of the Ionian Islands, a vital and strategic entry point into the Mediterranean Sea. Some historians regard the political settlements at Tilsit as the height of Napoleon's empire because there was no longer any continental power challenging the French domination of Europe.

Berlin Decree

The Berlin Decree was issued in Berlin by Napoleon on November 21, 1806, following the French success against Prussia at the Battle of Jena and in response to the British Order-in-Council of 16 May 1806, by which the Royal Navy instituted a blockade of all ports from Brest to the Elbe.The decree proclaimed that "the British Isles are declared to be in a state of blockade", and forbade all correspondence or commerce with Great Britain. All British subjects found in French territory or that of France's allies were to be arrested as prisoners of war, and all British goods or merchandise seized. Any vessel found contravening the decree and landing in a continental port from a British or British-colonial port was to be treated as if it were British property and therefore liable to confiscation along with all its cargo.The goal of this so-called Continental System was to force Britain to the peace table by starving her of trade with Europe and thereby wrecking her economy. However, the Napoleonic blockade's effectiveness was difficult to enforce over so vast an area and was generally unpopular among French subjects and allies. Historian Paul Schroeder considers it to have proved an ineffective method of economic warfare.The Continental System eventually led to economic ruin for France and its allies. Less damage was done to the economy of Britain, which had control of the Atlantic Ocean trade. Other European nations removed themselves from the Continental System, which led in part to the downfall of Napoleon.The Milan decree for the same purpose was issued the following year.

English Wars (Scandinavia)

The English Wars (Danish: Englandskrigene, Swedish: Englandskrigen) were a series of conflicts between England and Sweden with Denmark-Norway as part of the Napoleonic Wars. It is named after the most prominent region of its other main participant, the United Kingdom, which declared war on Denmark-Norway due to disagreements over the neutrality of Danish trade and to prevent the Danish fleet falling into the hands of the First French Empire. It began with the first battle of Copenhagen in 1801 and its latter stage from 1807 onwards was followed by the Gunboat War, the Dano-Swedish War of 1808-1809 and the Swedish invasion of Holstein in 1814.

First French Empire

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire (French: Empire Français),Note 1 was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852-1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was granted the title Emperor of the French (L'Empereur des Français, pronounced [lɑ̃.pʁœʁ de fʁɑ̃.sɛ]) by the French Sénat and was crowned on 2 December 1804, signifying the end of the French Consulate and of the French First Republic. The French Empire achieved military supremacy in mainland Europe through notable victories in the War of the Third Coalition against Austria, Prussia, Russia, and allied nations, notably at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805. French dominance was reaffirmed during the War of the Fourth Coalition, at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt in 1806 and the Battle of Friedland in 1807.A series of wars, known collectively as the Napoleonic Wars, extended French influence to much of Western Europe and into Poland. At its height in 1812, the French Empire had 130 departments, ruled over 70 million subjects, maintained an extensive military presence in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Duchy of Warsaw, and counted Prussia and Austria as nominal allies. Early French victories exported many ideological features of the French Revolution throughout Europe: the introduction of the Napoleonic Code throughout the continent increased legal equality, established jury systems and legalised divorce, and seigneurial dues and seigneurial justice were abolished, as were aristocratic privileges in all places except Poland. France's defeat in 1814 (and then again in 1815), marked the end of the Empire.

Franco-Swedish War

The Franco-Swedish War or Pomeranian War was the first involvement by Sweden in the Napoleonic Wars. The country joined the Third Coalition in an effort to defeat France under Napoleon Bonaparte.

Gianduja (chocolate)

Gianduja or gianduia (Italian: [dʒanˈduːja]; Piedmontese: giandoja [dʒaŋˈdʊja]) is a sweet chocolate spread containing about 30 % hazelnut paste, invented in Turin during Napoléon's regency (1796–1814).

International sanctions

International sanctions are political and economic decisions that are part of diplomatic efforts by countries, multilateral or regional organizations against states or organizations either to protect national security interests, or to protect international law, and defend against threats to international peace and security. These decisions principally include the temporary imposition on a target of economic, trade, diplomatic, cultural or other restrictions (sanctions measures) that are lifted when the motivating security concerns no longer apply, or when no new threats have arisen.

According to the Charter of the United Nations, only the UN Security Council has a mandate by the international community to apply sanctions (Article 41) that must be complied with by all UN member states (Article 2,2). They serve as the international community's most powerful peaceful means to prevent threats to international peace and security or to settle them. Sanctions do not include the use of military force. However, if sanctions do not lead to the diplomatic settlement of a conflict, the use of force can be authorized by the Security Council separately under Article 42.

UN sanctions should not be confused with unilateral sanctions that are imposed by individual countries in furtherance of their strategic interests. Typically intended as strong economic coercion, measures applied under unilateral sanctions can range between coercive diplomatic efforts, economic warfare, or as preludes to war.

There are several types of sanctions.

Economic sanctions – typically a ban on trade, possibly limited to certain sectors such as armaments, or with certain exceptions (such as food and medicine)

Diplomatic sanctions – the reduction or removal of diplomatic ties, such as embassies.

Military sanctions – military intervention

Sport sanctions – preventing one country's people and teams from competing in international events.

Sanctions on Environment – since the declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, international environmental protection efforts have been increased gradually.Economic sanctions are distinguished from trade sanctions, which are applied for purely economic reasons, and typically take the form of tariffs or similar measures, rather than bans on trade.

Milan Decree

Napoleon I of France issued the Milan Decree on 17 December 1807 to enforce the Berlin Decree of 1806, which had initiated the Continental System. This system was the basis for his plan to defeat the British by waging economic warfare. The Milan Decree stated that no European country was to trade with the United Kingdom.

Napoleon

Napoléon Bonaparte (, French: [napɔleɔ̃ bɔnɑpaʁt]; Italian: Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.He was born Napoleone di Buonaparte (Italian: [napoleˈoːne di ˌbwɔnaˈparte]) in Corsica to a relatively modest family of Italian origin from minor nobility. He was serving as an artillery officer in the French army when the French Revolution erupted in 1789. He rapidly rose through the ranks of the military, seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution and becoming a general at age 24. The French Directory eventually gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents. At age 26, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and the Italian monarchs aligned with the Habsburgs—winning virtually every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year while establishing "sister republics" with local support, and becoming a war hero in France. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power. He orchestrated a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic. His ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, and he became the first Emperor of the French in 1804. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the Ulm Campaign and a historic triumph over the Russian Empire and Austrian Empire at the Battle of Austerlitz which led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon quickly defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, then marched his Grande Armée deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France then forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high-water mark of the French Empire. In 1809, the Austrians and the British challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram in July.

Napoleon then invaded the Iberian Peninsula, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, and declared his brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, and ended in victory for the Allies against Napoleon. The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia. The Russians were unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade and routinely violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon into another war. The French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The campaign destroyed Russian cities, but did not yield the decisive victory Napoleon wanted. It resulted in the collapse of the Grande Armée and inspired a renewed push against Napoleon by his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in the War of the Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, but his tactical victory at the minor Battle of Hanau allowed retreat onto French soil. The Allies then invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany, and the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition which defeated him at the Battle of Waterloo in June. The British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years later at the age of 51.

Napoleon's influence on the modern world brought liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, such as the Low Countries, Switzerland, and large parts of modern Italy and Germany. He implemented fundamental liberal policies in France and throughout Western Europe. His Napoleonic Code has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world. British historian Andrew Roberts states: "The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, and so on—were championed, consolidated, codified and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire".

Napoleonic Wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), Fifth (1809), Sixth (1813), and the Seventh and final (1815).

Napoleon, upon ascending to First Consul of France in 1799, had inherited a chaotic republic; he subsequently created a state with stable finances, a strong bureaucracy, and a well-trained army. In 1805, Austria and Russia waged war against France. In response, Napoleon defeated the allied Russo-Austrian army at Austerlitz in December 1805, which is considered his greatest victory. At sea, the British severely defeated the joint Franco-Spanish navy in the Battle of Trafalgar on October 1805.

This victory secured British control of the seas and prevented the invasion of Britain itself. Prussian concerns about increasing French power led to a resumption of war in October 1806. Napoleon quickly defeated the Prussians, and defeated Russia in June 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. The peace failed, though, as war broke out in 1809, and a new coalition was soon defeated.

Hoping to isolate Britain economically, Napoleon invaded Iberia, declaring his brother Joseph king of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and Portuguese revolted with British support, and, after six years of fighting, expelled the French from Iberia in 1814. Concurrently, Russia, unwilling to bear economic consequences of reduced trade, routinely violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon to launch a massive invasion of Russia in 1812. The resulting campaign ended with the dissolution and withdrawal of the French Grande Armée. Encouraged by the defeat, Prussia, Austria, and Russia began a new campaign against France, decisively defeating Napoleon at Leipzig in October 1813 after several inconclusive engagements. The Allies then invaded France, capturing Paris at the end of March 1814 and forcing Napoleon to abdicate in early April. He was exiled to the island of Elba, and the Bourbons were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped in February 1815, and reassumed control of France. The Allies responded with the Seventh Coalition, defeating Napoleon permanently at Waterloo in June 1815 and exiling him to St Helena, a British territory midway between Africa and Brazil, where he died six years later.The Congress of Vienna redrew the borders of Europe, and brought a lasting peace to the continent. The wars had profound consequences on global history, including the spread of nationalism and liberalism, the rise of the British Empire as the world's foremost power, the appearance of independence movements in Latin America and subsequent collapse of the Spanish Empire, the fundamental reorganisation of German and Italian territories into larger states, and the establishment of radically new methods of conducting warfare.

Postage stamps and postal history of Lübeck

Soon after the German Hanseatic League (1241) was founded, regulated messenger routes were developed. In Lübeck, the conveyance of correspondence by letter was supervised by the mercantile council of the Scania Market (Schonenfahrer), which also appointed the messenger master (postmaster) and the remainder of the personnel.

Around 1579, the Reichspost of Thurn und Taxis arrived in Lübeck. It existed beside the Hanseatic post, which led to minor tensions. In 1683, they were joined by the post offices of Platen, later Hannover (until 1844), and Wismar. Together with the Danish post, these were merged into the Schütting-post.

During the French era, Napoleon united the three Hanseatic cities and northwestern Germany with France under the name Bouches-de-l'Elbe by the decree of December 13, 1810. It was the era of the Continental System against Great Britain.

The Scanian merchants took over the postal system again. However the postal administration now worked for the city treasury. The Scanian merchants received an annual payment of 2,000 Lübeck Courantmarks.

In 1848 apart from the city post office, there were a Taxis letter post, riding and errant posts of Mecklenburg, Hannover (until 1845), and Denmark, as well as a Prussian post office.

When the job of a deputy of the postal department had to be newly filled, the choice was made for the Mecklenburg-Strelitz grand ducal postmaster Carl Hermann Lebrecht Lingnau, who received the title of postal director on April 1, 1851. The lower officials were called the "Litzenbrüder".

At the postal congress in Berlin (1851), a treaty between Lübeck and Thurn und Taxis was signed for January 1, 1852, which exactly established the responsibilities. The Danish post was dealt with in a similar way. The construction of the Lübeck-Büchener Railway was permitted and in return, the Royal Danish Chief Post Office was allowed in Lübeck.

During the transition of the postal administration to the North German Confederation on January 1, 1868, the city post office became the chief post office of the North German postal district and Mr. Lingnau became chief postal director. The Danish post office, as well as Thurn und Taxis, closed their posts. There were two stable post offices and seven letter collections in Lübeck for 50,339 inhabitants. The currency was the Lübeck Courant = 16 Shilling, where 1 shilling was equivalent to 2 Sechsling.

Regiment

A regiment is a military unit. Their role and size varies markedly, depending on the country and the arm of service.

In Medieval Europe, the term "regiment" denoted any large body of front-line soldiers, recruited or conscripted in one geographical area, by a leader who was often also the feudal lord of the soldiers.

By the end of the 17th century, regiments in most European armies were permanent units, numbering about 1,000 men and under the command of a colonel.

Treaties of Tilsit

The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Neman River. The second was signed with Prussia on 9 July. The treaties were made at the expense of the Prussian king, who had already agreed to a truce on 25 June after the Grande Armée had pursued him to the easternmost frontier of his realm. In Tilsit, he ceded about half of his pre-war territories.

From those territories, Napoleon had created French sister republics, which were formalized and recognized at Tilsit: the Kingdom of Westphalia, the Duchy of Warsaw and the Free City of Danzig; the other ceded territories were awarded to existing French client states and to Russia.

Napoleon not only cemented his control of Central Europe but also had Russia and the truncated Prussia ally with him against his two remaining enemies, Great Britain and Sweden, triggering the Anglo-Russian and Finnish War. Tilsit also freed French forces for the Peninsular War. Central Europe became a battlefield again in 1809, when Austria and Great Britain engaged France in the War of the Fifth Coalition. Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the Congress of Vienna would restore many Prussian territories.

Treaty of Paris (1810)

The Treaty of Paris, signed on 6 January 1810, ended the war between France and Sweden after Sweden's defeat by Russia, an ally of France, in the Finnish War of 1808-1809. Russia had previously been an ally of Sweden in the Third and Fourth Coalitions against France, but after Russia's defeat at Friedland, she joined France and attacked Sweden so as to compel her to join Napoleon's Continental System. The primary result of the treaty was Sweden's agreement to join the Continental System, so that Sweden would not trade with the United Kingdom. Shortly after the treaty was signed, on 21 August 1810, one of Napoleon's marshals, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, was elected crown prince of Sweden, and he went on to found the House of Bernadotte, which remains the Royal House of Sweden. The peace resulting from the treaty lasted until Napoleon's refusal to permit Sweden to annex Norway, which was then under the sovereignty of Denmark, an ally of France. This was followed in January 1812 by French occupation of Swedish Pomerania for violation of the Continental System, since Sweden was still trading with the United Kingdom, and, in April, Sweden's conclusion of the Treaty of Petersburg with Russia against France.

War of the Fourth Coalition

The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain. Several members of the coalition had previously been fighting France as part of the Third Coalition, and there was no intervening period of general peace. On 9 October 1806, Prussia joined a renewed coalition, fearing the rise in French power after the defeat of Austria and establishment of the French-sponsored Confederation of the Rhine. Prussia and Russia mobilized for a fresh campaign, and Prussian troops massed in Saxony.

Napoleon decisively defeated the Prussians in an expeditious campaign that culminated at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt on 14 October 1806. French forces under Napoleon occupied Prussia, pursued the remnants of the shattered Prussian Army, and captured Berlin. They then advanced all the way to East Prussia, Poland and the Russian frontier, where they fought an inconclusive battle against the Russians at the Battle of Eylau on 7–8 February 1807. Napoleon's advance on the Russian frontier was briefly checked during the spring as he revitalized his army with fresh supplies. Russian forces were finally crushed by the French at the Battle of Friedland on 14 June 1807, and three days later Russia asked for a truce.

By the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, France made peace with Russia, which agreed to join the Continental System. The treaty was particularly harsh on Prussia, however, as Napoleon demanded much of the Prussian territory along the lower Rhine west of the Elbe and in what was part of the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Respectively, these acquisitions were incorporated into the new Kingdom of Westphalia, led by his brother Jérôme Bonaparte, and established the Duchy of Warsaw, ruled by his new ally the king of Saxony. At the end of the war Napoleon was master of almost all of western and central continental Europe, except for Spain, Portugal, Austria and several other smaller states.

Despite the end of the Fourth Coalition, Britain remained at war with France. Hostilities on land resumed later in 1807, when a Franco-Spanish force invaded Britain's ally Portugal, beginning the Peninsular War. A further Fifth Coalition would be assembled when Austria re-joined the conflict in 1809.

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