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French Empire Main article: First French Empire Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres,

1806See als o: Coronation of Napoleon I and Napoleonic Wars Napoleon faced royalist and Jacobin plots as France's ruler, including the Consp iration des poignards [Daggers conspiracy] in October 1800 and the Plot of the R ue Saint-Nicaise two months later.[70] In January 1804, his police uncovered an assassination plot against him which involved Moreau and which was ostensibly sp onsored by the Bourbon former rulers of France. On the advice of Talleyrand, Nap oleon ordered the kidnapping of the Duke of Enghien, in violation of neighbourin g Baden's sovereignty. After a secret trial the Duke was executed, even though h e had not been involved in the plot.[71] Napoleon used the plot to justify the re-creation of a hereditary monarchy in Fr ance, with himself as Emperor, as a Bourbon restoration would be more difficult if the Bonapartist succession was entrenched in the constitution.[72] Napoleon c rowned himself Emperor Napoleon I on 2 December 1804 at Notre Dame de Paris and then crowned Josphine Empress. Claims that he seized the crown out of the hands o f Pope Pius VII during the ceremony to avoid his subjugation to the authority of t he pontiff are apocryphal; the coronation procedure had been agreed in advance.[no te 8] At Milan Cathedral on 26 May 1805, Napoleon was crowned King of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy. He created eighteen Marshals of the Empire from amo ngst his top generals, to secure the allegiance of the army. Ludwig van Beethove n, a long-time admirer, was disappointed at this turn towards imperialism, and s cratched his dedication to Napoleon from his 3rd Symphony.[72] War of the Third Coalition Main article: War of the Third Coalition By 1805, Britain had convinced Austria and Russia to join a Third Coalition agai nst France. Napoleon knew the French fleet could not defeat the Royal Navy in a head-to-head battle and planned to lure it away from the English Channel. The Fr ench Navy would escape from the British blockades of Toulon and Brest and threat en to attack the West Indies, thus drawing off the British defence of the Wester n Approaches, in the hope a Franco-Spanish fleet could take control of the Chann el long enough for French armies to cross from Boulogne and invade England.[73] However, after defeat at the naval Battle of Cape Finisterre in July 1805 and Ad miral Villeneuve's retreat to Cadiz, invasion was never again a realistic option for Napoleon.[74] Instead, he ordered the army stationed at Boulogne, his Grande Arme, to march to Germany secretly in a turning movement - the Ulm Campaign. This encircled the Au strian forces about to attack France and severed their lines of communication. O n 20 October 1805, the French captured 30,000 prisoners at Ulm, though the next day Britain's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar meant the Royal Navy gained con trol of the seas. Six weeks later, on the first anniversary of his coronation, N apoleon defeated Austria and Russia at Austerlitz. This ended the Third Coalitio n and he commissioned the Arc de Triomphe to commemorate the victory. Austria ha d to concede territory; the Peace of Pressburg led to the dissolution of the Hol y Roman Empire and creation of the Confederation of the Rhine with Napoleon name d as its Protector.[75] Napoleon would go on to say that "The battle of Austerlitz is the finest of all I have fought."[76] Frank McLynn suggests Napoleon was so successful at Austerli tz he lost touch with reality, and what used to be French foreign policy became a "personal Napoleonic one".[77] Vincent Cronin disagrees, stating Napoleon was not overly ambitious for himself, that "he embodied the ambitions of thirty mill ion Frenchmen".[78] Middle-Eastern alliances

Main articles: Franco-Ottoman alliance and Franco-Persian alliance The Persian Envoy Mirza Mohammed Reza-Qazvini meets with Napoleon I at the Finke nstein castle, 27 April 1807, by Franois MulardEven after the failed campaign in Egypt, Napoleon continued to entertain a grand scheme to establish a French pres ence in the Middle East.[43] An alliance with Middle-Eastern powers would have t he strategic advantage of pressuring Russia on its southern border. From 1803, N apoleon went to considerable lengths to try to convince the Ottoman Empire to fi ght against Russia in the Balkans and join his anti-Russian coalition.[79] Napol eon sent General Horace Sebastiani as envoy extraordinary, promising to help the Ottoman Empire recover lost territories.[79] In February 1806, following Napole on's victory at Austerlitz and the ensuing dismemberment of the Habsburg Empire, the Ottoman Emperor Selim III finally recognized Napoleon as Emperor, formally opting for an alliance with France "our sincere and natural ally", and war with Russia and England.[80] A Franco-Persian alliance was also formed, from 1807 to 1809, between Napoleon and the Persian Empire of Fath Ali Shah, against Russia a nd Great Britain. The alliance ended when France allied with Russia and turned i ts focus to European campaigns.[43] War of the Fourth Coalition Main article: War of the Fourth Coalition Napoleon reviews his troops shortly before the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt (14 Octo ber 1806), as painted by Horace VernetThe Fourth Coalition was assembled in 1806 , and Napoleon defeated Prussia at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt in October.[81] He marched against advancing Russian armies through Poland, and was involved in the bloody stalemate of the Battle of Eylau on 6 February 1807.[82] After a decisive victory at Friedland, he signed the Treaties of Tilsit; one wit h Tsar Alexander I of Russia which divided the continent between the two powers; the other with Prussia which stripped that country of half its territory. Napol eon placed puppet rulers on the thrones of German states, including his brother Jrme as king of the new Kingdom of Westphalia. In the French-controlled part of Po land, he established the Duchy of Warsaw with King Frederick Augustus I of Saxon y as ruler.[83] With his Milan and Berlin Decrees, Napoleon attempted to enforce a Europe-wide c ommercial boycott of Britain called the Continental System. This act of economic warfare did not succeed, as it encouraged British merchants to smuggle into con tinental Europe and Napoleon's exclusively land-based customs enforcers could no t stop them.[84] Peninsular War Main article: Peninsular War Portugal did not comply with the Continental System so, in 1807, Napoleon invade d with the support of Spain. Under the pretext of a reinforcement of the FrancoSpanish army occupying Portugal, Napoleon invaded Spain as well, replaced Charle s IV with his brother Joseph and placed his brother-in-law Joachim Murat in Jose ph's stead at Naples. This led to resistance from the Spanish army and civilians in the Dos de Mayo Uprising.[85] Following a French retreat from much of the co untry, Napoleon took command and defeated the Spanish Army. He retook Madrid, th en outmanoeuvred a British army sent to support the Spanish and drove it to the coast.[86] Before the Spanish population had been fully subdued, Austria again t hreatened war and Napoleon returned to France.[87] The Duke of Wellington in 1814 by Sir Thomas LawrenceThe costly and often brutal Peninsular War continued in Napoleon's absence; in the second Siege of Saragoss a most of the city was destroyed and over 50,000 people perished.[88] Although N apoleon left 300,000 of his finest troops to battle Spanish guerrillas as well a

s British and Portuguese forces commanded by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Welli ngton, French control over the peninsula again deteriorated.[89] Following sever al allied victories, the war concluded after Napoleon's abdication in 1814.[90] Napoleon later described the Peninsular War as central to his final defeat, writ ing in his memoirs That unfortunate war destroyed me... All... my disasters are bound up in that fatal knot.[91] War of the Fifth Coalition and remarriage Main article: War of the Fifth Coalition In April 1809, Austria abruptly broke its alliance with France and Napoleon was forced to assume command of forces on the Danube and German fronts. After early successes, the French faced difficulties in crossing the Danube and suffered a d efeat in May at the Battle of Aspern-Essling near Vienna. The Austrians failed t o capitalise on the situation and allowed Napoleon's forces to regroup. He defea ted the Austrians again at Wagram and a new peace, the Treaty of Schnbrunn, was s igned between Austria and France.[92] Britain was the other member of the coalition. In addition to the Iberian Penins ula, the British planned to open another front in mainland Europe. However, Napo leon was able to rush reinforcements to Antwerp, owing to Britain's inadequately organised Walcheren Campaign.[93] He concurrently annexed the Papal States beca use of the Church's refusal to support the Continental System; Pope Pius VII res ponded by excommunicating the emperor. The Pope was then abducted by Napoleon's officers, and though Napoleon had not ordered his abduction, he did not order Pi us' release. The Pope was moved throughout Napoleon's territories, sometimes whi le ill, and Napoleon sent delegations to pressure him on issues including agreem ent to a new concordat with France, which Pius refused. In 1810 Napoleon married the Austrian Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, following his divorce of Josphine; this further strained his relations with the Church and thirteen cardinals were imprisoned for non-attendance at the marriage ceremony.[94] The Pope remained co nfined for 5 years, and did not return to Rome until May 1814.[95] First French Empire at its greatest extent in 1811 French Empire Conquered "rebellious" states Allied statesNapoleon consented to the ascent to the Swedish throne of Bern adotte, one of his marshals and a long-term rival of Napoleon's, in November 181 0. Napoleon had indulged Bernadotte's indiscretions because he was married to Dsi re Clary, but came to regret sparing his life when Bernadotte later allied Sweden with France's enemies.[96] Invasion of Russia Main article: French invasion of Russia Gold 20 Franc Coin of Napoleon I, struck 1808 Known as Napoleon Gold, the French began to simply call these coins, "Napoleons. " Obverse: (French) NAPOLEON EMPERERUR, or in English, "Napoleon, Emperor"" Reve rse: (French) REPUBLIQUE FRANAISE, 1808, 20 FRANCS, or in English, "French Republ ic, 1808, 20 Francs." The Congress of Erfurt sought to preserve the Russo-French alliance and the lead ers had a friendly personal relationship after their first meeting at Tilsit in 1807.[97] By 1811, however, tensions between the two nations had increased and A lexander was under pressure from the Russian nobility to break off the alliance. The first clear sign the alliance had deteriorated was the relaxation of the Co ntinental System in Russia, which angered Napoleon.[98] By 1812, advisers to Ale xander suggested the possibility of an invasion of the French Empire and the rec apture of Poland. On receipt of intelligence reports on Russia's war preparation s, Napoleon expanded his Grande Arme to more than 450,000 men. He ignored repeate d advice against an invasion of the vast Russian heartland and prepared for an o

ffensive campaign; on 23 June 1812, his invasion of Russia commenced.[99] In an attempt to gain increased support from Polish nationalists and patriots, N apoleon termed the war the Second Polish War the First Polish War had been the Bar Confederation uprising by Polish nobles against Russia in 1768. Polish patriots wanted the Russian part of Poland to be joined with the Duchy of Warsaw and an independent Poland created. This was rejected by Napoleon, who stated he had pro mised his ally Austria this would not happen. Napoleon refused to manumit the Ru ssian serfs, because of concerns this might provoke a reaction in his army's rea r. The serfs would later commit atrocities against French soldiers during France 's retreat.[100] The Russians avoided Napoleon's objective of a decisive engagement and instead r etreated deeper into Russia. A brief attempt at resistance was made at Smolensk in August; the Russians were defeated in a series of battles and Napoleon resume d his advance. The Russians again avoided battle, although in a few cases this w as only achieved because Napoleon uncharacteristically hesitated to attack when the opportunity arose. Owing to the Russian army's scorched earth tactics, the F rench found it increasingly difficult to forage food for themselves and their ho rses.[101] Charles Joseph Minard's graph shows the decreasing size of the Grande Arme as it marched to Moscow and backThe Russians eventually offered battle outside Moscow on 7 September: the Battle of Borodino resulted in approximately 44,000 Russian and 35,000 French, dead, wounded or captured, and may have been the bloodiest da y of battle in history up to that point.[102] Although the French had won, the R ussian army had accepted, and withstood, the major battle Napoleon had hoped wou ld be decisive. Napoleon's own account was: "The most terrible of all my battles was the one before Moscow. The French showed themselves to be worthy of victory , but the Russians showed themselves worthy of being invincible."[103] The Russian army withdrew and retreated past Moscow. Napoleon entered the city, assuming its fall would end the war and Alexander would negotiate peace. However , on orders of the city's governor Fyodor Rostopchin, rather than capitulation, Moscow was ordered burned. After a month, concerned about loss of control back i n France, Napoleon and his army left.[104] The French suffered greatly in the course of a ruinous retreat, including from t he harshness of the Russian Winter. The Arme had begun as over 400,000 frontline troops, but in the end fewer than 40,000 crossed the Berezina River in November 1812, to escape.[105] The Russians had lost 150,000 in battle and hundreds of th ousands of civilians.[106] War of the Sixth Coalition Main article: War of the Sixth Coalition British etching from 1814 in celebration of Napoleon's first exile to Elba at th e close of the War of the Sixth CoalitionThere was a lull in fighting over the w inter of 1812 13 while both the Russians and the French rebuilt their forces; Napo leon was then able to field 350,000 troops.[107] Heartened by France's loss in R ussia, Prussia joined with Austria, Sweden, Russia, Great Britain, Spain, and Po rtugal in a new coalition. Napoleon assumed command in Germany and inflicted a s eries of defeats on the Coalition culminating in the Battle of Dresden in August 1813.[108] Despite these successes, the numbers continued to mount against Napo leon and the French army was pinned down by a force twice its size and lost at t he Battle of Leipzig. This was by far the largest battle of the Napoleonic Wars and cost more than 90,000 casualties in total.[109] Napoleon withdrew back into France, his army reduced to 70,000 soldiers and 40,0

00 stragglers, against more than three times as many Allied troops.[110] The Fre nch were surrounded: British armies pressed from the south, and other Coalition forces positioned to attack from the German states. Napoleon won a series of vic tories in the Six Days Campaign, though these were not significant enough to tur n the tide and Paris was captured by the Coalition in March 1814.[111] When Napoleon proposed the army march on the capital, his marshals decided to mu tiny.[112] On 4 April, led by Ney, they confronted Napoleon. Napoleon asserted t he army would follow him and Ney replied the army would follow its generals. Nap oleon had no choice but to abdicate. He did so in favour of his son; however, th e Allies refused to accept this and Napoleon was forced to abdicate unconditiona lly on 11 April. Napoleon's Villa Mulini on ElbaThe Allied Powers having declared that Emperor Na poleon was the sole obstacle to the restoration of peace in Europe, Emperor Napo leon, faithful to his oath, declares that he renounces, for himself and his heir s, the thrones of France and Italy, and that there is no personal sacrifice, eve n that of his life, which he is not ready to do in the interests of France. Done in the palace of Fontainebleau, 11 April 1814. Act of abdication of Napoleon[113] In the Treaty of Fontainebleau the victors exiled him to Elba, an island of 12,0 00 inhabitants in the Mediterranean, 20 km off the Tuscan coast. They gave him s overeignty over the island and allowed him to retain his title of Emperor. Napol eon attempted suicide with a pill he had carried since a near-capture by Russian s on the retreat from Moscow. Its potency had weakened with age and he survived to be exiled, while his wife and son took refuge in Vienna.[114] In the first fe w months on Elba he created a small navy and army, developed the iron mines, and issued decrees on modern agricultural methods.[115] Hundred Days Main article: Hundred Days Separated from his wife and son, who had come under Austrian control, cut off fr om the allowance guaranteed to him by the Treaty of Fontainebleau, and aware of rumours he was about to be banished to a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean, Na poleon escaped from Elba on 26 February 1815. He landed at Golfe-Juan on the Fre nch mainland, two days later.[116] The 5th Regiment was sent to intercept him an d made contact just south of Grenoble on 7 March 1815. Napoleon approached the r egiment alone, dismounted his horse and, when he was within gunshot range, shout ed, "Here I am. Kill your Emperor, if you wish."[117] The soldiers responded wit h, "Vive L'Empereur!" and marched with Napoleon to Paris; Louis XVIII fled. On 1 3 March, the powers at the Congress of Vienna declared Napoleon an outlaw and fo ur days later Great Britain, the Netherlands, Russia, Austria and Prussia bound themselves to put 150,000 men into the field to end his rule.[118] Battle of Waterloo, painted by William Sadler (1782 1839)Napoleon arrived in Paris on 20 March and governed for a period now called the Hundred Days. By the start of June the armed forces available to him had reached 200,000 and he decided to go on the offensive to attempt to drive a wedge between the oncoming British an d Prussian armies. The French Army of the North crossed the frontier into the Un ited Kingdom of the Netherlands, in modern-day Belgium.[119] Napoleon's forces fought the allies, led by Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blcher, at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815. Wellington's army withstood r epeated attacks by the French and drove them from the field while the Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon's right flank. The French army left the battlefield in disorder, which allowed Coalition forces to enter France and restore Louis XVIII to the French throne. Off the port of Rochefort, Charente-Ma ritime, after consideration of an escape to the United States, Napoleon formally

demanded political asylum from the British Captain Frederick Maitland on HMS Be llerophon on 15 July 1815.[120]