|Emperor of the French|
|Empereur des Français|
Last to reign
2 December 1852 – 4 September 1870
|Style||His Imperial Majesty|
|First monarch||Napoleon I|
|Last monarch||Napoleon III|
|Formation||18 May 1804|
2 December 1852
|Abolition||22 June 1815|
4 September 1870
|Residence||Tuileries Palace, Paris|
A title and office used by the House of Bonaparte starting when Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor on 18 May 1804 by the French Senate and was crowned emperor of the French on 2 December 1804 at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, in Paris, with the Crown of Napoleon.
The title emphasized that the emperor ruled over "the French people" (the nation) and not over France (the state). The old formula of "King of France" indicated that the king owned France as a personal possession. The new term indicated a constitutional monarchy. The title was purposely created to preserve the appearance of the French Republic and to show that after the French Revolution, the feudal system was abandoned and a nation state was created, with equal citizens as the subjects of their emperor. (After 1 January 1809, the state was officially referred to as the French Empire.)
The title of "Emperor of the French" was supposed to demonstrate that Napoleon's coronation was not a restoration of monarchy, but an introduction of a new political system: the French Empire. Napoleon's reign lasted until 22 June 1815, when he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, exiled and imprisoned on the island of Saint Helena, where he died on 5 May 1821. His reign was interrupted by the Bourbon Restoration of 1814 and his own exile to Elba, from where he escaped less than a year later to reclaim the throne, reigning as Emperor for another 94 days before his defeat and final exile.
Less than a year after the French coup d'état of 1851 by Napoleon's nephew Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, which ended in the successful dissolution of the French National Assembly, the Second French Republic was transformed into the Second French Empire, established by a referendum on 7 November 1852. President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, elected by the French people, officially became Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, from the symbolic and historic date of 2 December 1852. His reign continued until 4 September 1870, after he was captured at the Battle of Sedan during the Franco-Prussian War. He subsequently went into exile in England, where he died on 9 January 1873.
Since the early death in 1879 of Napoleon III's only son, Louis Napoléon, the House of Bonaparte has had a number of claimants to the French throne. The current claimant is Charles, Prince Napoléon, who became head of the House of Bonaparte on 3 May 1997. His position is challenged by his son, Jean-Christophe, Prince Napoléon, who was named as heir in his late grandfather's testament.
The Emperors of the French had various titles and claims that reflected the geographic expanse and diversity of the lands ruled by the House of Bonaparte.
His Imperial and Royal Majesty Napoleon I, By the Grace of God and the Constitution of the Republic, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, Mediator of the Swiss Confederation and Co-Prince of Andorra.
|Name||Lifespan||Reign start||Reign end||Notes||Family||Image|
|Napoleon I||15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821 (aged 51)||18 May 1804||11 April 1814||—||Bonaparte|
Regarded as a continuation of the First French Empire despite the brief exile of the Emperor Napoleon I
|Name||Lifespan||Reign start||Reign end||Notes||Family||Image|
|Napoleon I||15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821 (aged 51)||20 March 1815||22 June 1815||Bonaparte|
|20 March 1811 – 22 July 1832 (aged 21)||22 June 1815||7 July 1815||Son of Napoleon I||Bonaparte|
|Name||Lifespan||Reign start||Reign end||Notes||Family||Image|
|Napoleon III||20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873 (aged 64)||2 December 1852||4 September 1870||Nephew of Napoleon I|
Cousin of Napoleon II
A referendum concerning the establishment of the French Empire was held in France in November 1804. The officially announced result showed a nearly unanimous French electorate approving the change in Napoleon Bonaparte's status from First Consul to Emperor of the French. About seven million voters were called to participate, of which 52.80% abstained.1852 in France
Events from the year 1852 in France.Carlo Buonaparte
Nob. Carlo Maria Buonaparte or Carlo Maria di Buonaparte (27 March 1746 – 24 February 1785) was an Genoese lawyer and diplomat who is best known as the father of Napoleon Bonaparte.
He served briefly as a personal assistant of the revolutionary leader Pasquale Paoli and eventually rose to become Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI. It was well after his death that his second surviving son, Napoleon, became Emperor of the French; subsequently, several of Buonaparte's other children received royal titles from their brother, and married into royalty.Congress of Erfurt
The Congress of Erfurt was the meeting between Napoleon, Emperor of the French, and Alexander I, Emperor of All Russia, from 27 September to 14 October 1808 intended to reaffirm the alliance concluded the previous year with the Treaties of Tilsit which followed the end of the War of the Fourth Coalition.Constitution of the Year XII
The Constitution of the Year XII was a national constitution of France adopted during the Year XII of the French Revolutionary Calendar (1804 in the Gregorian calendar).
It amended the earlier Constitution of the Year VIII and Constitution of the Year X, establishing the First French Empire with Napoleon Bonaparte — previously First Consul for Life, with wide-ranging powers — as Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. The Constitution established the House of Bonaparte as France's imperial dynasty, making the throne hereditary in Napoleon's family. The Constitution of the Year XII was later itself extensively amended by the Additional Act and definitively abolished with the final return of the Bourbons in 1815.Coronation of Napoleon I
The coronation of Napoleon as Emperor of the French took place on Sunday December 2, 1804 (11 Frimaire, Year XIII according to the French Republican Calendar) at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It marked "the instantiation of modern empire" and was a "transparently masterminded piece of modern propaganda".
Napoleon wanted to establish the legitimacy of his imperial reign, with its new royal family and new nobility. To this end, he designed a new coronation ceremony unlike that for the kings of France, which had emphasized the king's consecration (sacre) and anointment and was conferred by the archbishop of Reims in Reims Cathedral. Napoleon's was a sacred ceremony held in the great cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris in the presence of Pope Pius VII. Napoleon brought together various rites and customs, incorporating ceremonies of Carolingian tradition, the ancien régime and the French Revolution, all presented in sumptuous luxury.On May 18, 1804, the Sénat conservateur vested the Republican government of the French First Republic in an Emperor, and preparations for a coronation followed. Napoleon's elevation to Emperor was overwhelmingly approved by the French citizens in the French constitutional referendum of 1804. Among Napoleon's motivations for being crowned were to gain prestige in international royalist and Catholic circles and to lay the foundation for a future dynasty.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.French coup d'état of 1851
The French coup d'état of 2 December 1851 was a self-coup staged by Prince Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (at the time President of the French Second Republic). It ended in the successful dissolution of the French National Assembly and the subsequent re-establishment of the French Empire the next year. When he faced the prospect of having to leave office in 1852, Louis-Napoléon (nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte) staged the coup in order to stay in office and implement his reform programs; these included the restoration of universal male suffrage (previously abolished by the legislature). His political measures, and the extension of his mandate for 10 years, were popularly endorsed by constitutional referendum. A mere year later, the Prince-President reclaimed his uncle's throne as Emperor of the French under the regnal name Napoleon III.French monarchs family tree (simple)
This is a simplified family tree of all Frankish and French monarchs, from Chlodio to Napoleon III.Hortense de Beauharnais
Hortense Eugénie Cécile Bonaparte (French pronunciation: [ɔʁtɑ̃s øʒeni sesil bɔnɑpaʁt]; née de Beauharnais, pronounced [də boaʁnɛ]; 10 April 1783 – 5 October 1837), Queen consort of Holland, was the stepdaughter of Emperor Napoléon I, being the daughter of his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais. She later became the wife of the former's brother, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland, and the mother of Napoléon III, Emperor of the French. She had also an illegitimate son, The 1st Duc de Morny, by her lover, the Comte de Flahaut.House of Bonaparte
The House of Bonaparte (originally Buonaparte) was an imperial and royal European dynasty of Italian origin. It was founded in 1804 by Napoleon I, the son of Genoese nobleman Carlo Buonaparte. Napoleon was a French military leader who had risen to power during the French Revolution and who in 1804 transformed the First French Republic into the First French Empire, five years after his coup d'état of November 1799. Napoleon turned the Grande Armée against every major European power and dominated continental Europe through a series of military victories during the Napoleonic Wars. He installed members of his family on the thrones of client states, extending the power of the dynasty.
The House of Bonaparte formed the Imperial House of France during the French Empire, together with some non-Bonaparte family members. In addition to holding the title of Emperor of the French, the Bonaparte dynasty held various other titles and territories during the Napoleonic Wars, including the Kingdom of Italy, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Westphalia, the Kingdom of Holland, and the Kingdom of Naples. The dynasty held power for around a decade until the Napoleonic Wars began to take their toll. Making very powerful enemies, such as Austria, Britain, Russia, and Prussia, as well as royalist (particularly Bourbon) restorational movements in France, Spain, the Two Sicilies, and Sardinia, the dynasty eventually collapsed due to the final defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo and the restoration of former dynasties by the Congress of Vienna.
During the reign of Napoleon I, the Imperial Family consisted of the Emperor's immediate relations – his wife, son, siblings, and some other close relatives, namely his brother-in-law Joachim Murat, his uncle Joseph Fesch, and Eugène de Beauharnais his stepson.
Between 1852 and 1870, there was a Second French Empire, when a member of the Bonaparte dynasty again ruled France: Napoleon III, the youngest son of Louis Bonaparte. However, during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871, the dynasty was again ousted from the Imperial Throne. Since that time, there has been a series of pretenders. Supporters of the Bonaparte family's claim to the throne of France are known as Bonapartists. Current head Jean-Christophe, Prince Napoléon, has a Bourbon mother.List of French monarchs
The monarchs of the Kingdom of France and its predecessors (and successor monarchies) ruled from the establishment of the Kingdom of the Franks in 486 until the fall of the Second French Empire in 1870, with several interruptions.
Sometimes included as 'Kings of France' are the kings of the Franks of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled from 486 until 751, and of the Carolingians, who ruled until 987 (with some interruptions).
The Capetian dynasty, the male-line descendants of Hugh Capet, included the first rulers to adopt the title of 'King of France' for the first time with Philip II (r. 1180–1223).
The Capetians ruled continuously from 987 to 1792 and again from 1814 to 1848. The branches of the dynasty which ruled after 1328, however, are generally given the specific branch names of Valois (until 1589) and Bourbon (until 1848).
During the brief period when the French Constitution of 1791 was in effect (1791–92) and after the July Revolution in 1830, the style of "King of the French" was used instead of "King of France (and Navarre)". It was a constitutional innovation known as popular monarchy, which linked the monarch's title to the French people rather than to the possession of the territory of France.With the House of Bonaparte, "Emperors of the French" ruled in 19th-century France between 1804 and 1814, again in 1815, and between 1852 and 1870.Louis Bonaparte
Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (born Luigi Buonaparte; 2 September 1778 – 25 July 1846) was a younger brother of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. He was a monarch in his own right from 1806 to 1810, ruling over the Kingdom of Holland (a French client state roughly corresponding to the current Netherlands). In that capacity he was known as Louis I (Dutch: Lodewijk I; Dutch pronunciation: [ˈloːdəʋɛik]).
Louis was the fifth surviving child and fourth surviving son of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino, out of eight children who lived past infancy. He and his siblings were all born on Corsica, which had been conquered by France less than a decade before his birth. Louis followed his older brothers into the French Army, where he benefited from Napoleon's patronage. In 1802, he married his step-niece Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter of Empress Joséphine (Napoleon's wife).
In 1806, Napoleon established the Kingdom of Holland in place of the Batavian Republic, appointing Louis as the new king. Napoleon had intended for Holland to be little more than a puppet state, but Louis was determined to be as independent as possible, and in fact became quite popular amongst his new people. Growing tired of his brother's wilfulness, Napoleon annexed Holland into the French Empire in 1810. Louis fled into exile in Austria, where he spent the rest of his life. His son Louis-Napoléon established the Second French Empire, taking the throne as Napoleon III.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".Napoleon II
Napoléon François Charles Joseph Bonaparte (20 March 1811 – 22 July 1832), Prince Imperial, King of Rome, known in the Austrian court as Franz from 1814 onward, Duke of Reichstadt from 1818, was the son of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, and his second wife, Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria.
By Title III, article 9 of the French Constitution of the time, he was Prince Imperial, but he was also known from birth as the King of Rome, which Napoleon I declared was the courtesy title of the heir apparent. His nickname of L'Aiglon ("the Eaglet") was awarded posthumously and was popularized by the Edmond Rostand play, L'Aiglon.
When Napoleon I tried to abdicate on 4 April 1814, he said that his son would rule as Emperor. However, the coalition victors refused to acknowledge his son as successor, and Napoleon I was forced to abdicate unconditionally some days later. Although Napoleon II never actually ruled France, he was briefly the titular Emperor of the French in 1815 after the second fall of his father. When his cousin Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte became the next emperor by founding the Second French Empire in 1852, he called himself Napoleon III to acknowledge Napoleon II and his brief reign.Napoleon III
Napoleon III (born Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte; 20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873) was the first elected President of France from 1848 to 1852. When he could not constitutionally be re-elected, he seized power in 1851 and became the Emperor of the French from 1852 to 1870. He founded the Second French Empire and was its only emperor until the defeat of the French army and his capture by Prussia and its allies in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. He worked to modernize the French economy, rebuilt the center of Paris, expanded the overseas empire, and engaged in the Crimean War and the war for Italian unification. After his defeat and downfall he went into exile and died in England in 1873.
Napoleon III commissioned the grand reconstruction of Paris, carried out by his prefect of the Seine, Baron Haussmann. He launched similar public works projects in Marseille, Lyon and other French cities. Napoleon III modernized the French banking system, greatly expanded and consolidated the French railway system and made the French merchant marine the second largest in the world. He promoted the building of the Suez Canal and established modern agriculture, which ended famines in France and made France an agricultural exporter. Napoleon III negotiated the 1860 Cobden–Chevalier free trade agreement with Britain and similar agreements with France's other European trading partners. Social reforms included giving French workers the right to strike and the right to organize. The first women students were admitted at the Sorbonne, and women's education greatly expanded as did the list of required subjects in public schools.
In foreign policy, Napoleon III aimed to reassert French influence in Europe and around the world. He was a supporter of popular sovereignty and of nationalism. In Europe, he allied with Britain and defeated Russia in the Crimean War (1853–56). His regime assisted Italian unification and in doing so annexed Savoy and the County of Nice to France—at the same time, his forces defended the Papal States against annexation by Italy. Napoleon III doubled the area of the French overseas empire in Asia, the Pacific and Africa, however his army's intervention in Mexico, which aimed to create a Second Mexican Empire under French protection, ended in total failure.
From 1866, Napoleon had to face the mounting power of Prussia as its Chancellor Otto von Bismarck sought German unification under Prussian leadership. In July 1870, Napoleon entered the Franco-Prussian War without allies and with inferior military forces. The French army was rapidly defeated and Napoleon III was captured at the Battle of Sedan. The Third Republic was proclaimed in Paris and Napoleon went into exile in England, where he died in 1873.Nobility of the First French Empire
As Emperor of the French, Napoleon I created titles of nobility to institute a stable elite in the First French Empire, after the instability resulting from the French Revolution.
Like many others, both before and since, Napoleon found that the ability to confer titles was also a useful tool of patronage which cost the state little treasure. In all, about 2,200 titles were created by Napoleon:
Princes and Dukes:
Princes of the Imperial family
The Imperial Prince (Napoleon's son, Napoleon II)
Princes of France (8 close family members)
sovereign princes (3)
duchies grand fiefs (20)
victory princes (4)
victory dukedoms (10)
other dukedoms (3)
Knights (385)Napoleon also established a new knightly order in 1802, the Légion d'honneur, which is still in existence today. The Grand Dignitaries of the French Empire ranked, regardless of noble title, immediately behind the Princes of France.Pauline Bonaparte
Pauline Bonaparte (20 October 1780 – 9 June 1825) was an Italian noblewoman, the first sovereign Duchess of Guastalla in Italy, an imperial French Princess and the Princess consort of Sulmona and Rossano. She was the sixth child of Letizia Ramolino and Carlo Buonaparte, Corsica's representative to the court of King Louis XVI of France. Her elder brother, Napoleon, was the first Emperor of the French. She married Charles Leclerc, a French general, a union ended by his death in 1802. Later, she married Camillo Borghese, 6th Prince of Sulmona. Her only child, Dermide Leclerc, born from her first marriage, died in childhood. She was the only Bonaparte sibling to visit Napoleon in exile on his principality, Elba.Style of the French sovereign
The precise style of French Sovereigns varied over the years. Currently, there is no French sovereign; three distinct traditions (the Legitimist, the Orleanist, and the Bonapartist) exist, each claiming different forms of title.
The three styles laid claim to by pretenders to the French throne are:
Legitimist: "Most high, most potent and most excellent Prince, X, by the Grace of God, King of France and of Navarre, Most Christian Majesty." (Très haut, très puissant et très excellent Prince, X, par la grâce de Dieu, Roi de France et de Navarre, Roi Très-chrétien)
Orleanist: "X, by the Grace of God and by the constitutional law of the State, King of the French." (X, par la grâce de Dieu et par la loi constitutionnelle de l'État, Roi des Français)
Bonapartist: "X, By the Grace of God and the Constitutions of the Republic, Emperor of the French." (X, par la grâce de Dieu et les Constitutions de la République, Empereur des Français.)