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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of conflicts declared against Napoleon's French Empire and changing sets of European allies by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionized European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to the application of modern mass conscription. French power rose quickly, conquering most of Europe, but collapsed rapidly after France's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. Napoleon's empire ultimately suffered complete military defeat resulting in the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in France. The wars resulted in the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and sowed the seeds of nascent nationalism in Germany and Italy that would lead to the two nations' consolidation later in the century. Meanwhile the Spanish Empire began to unravel as French occupation of Spain weakened Spain's hold over its colonies, providing an opening for nationalist revolutions in Spanish America. As a direct result of the Napoleonic wars the British Empire became the foremost world power for the next century, thus beginning Pax Britannica.
No consensus exists as to when the French Revolutionary Wars ended and the Napoleonic Wars began. One possible date is 9 November 1799, when Bonaparte seized power in France with the coup of 18 Brumaire. 18 May 1803 is probably the most commonly used date, as this was when a renewed declaration of war between Britain and France (resulting from the collapse of the Treaty of Amiens), ended the only period of general peace in Europe between 1792 and 1814. The latest proposed date is 2 December 1804, when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor.
The Napoleonic Wars ended following Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo on 18 June 1815 and the Second Treaty of Paris.
1 Background 1789–1802
1.1 Start date and nomenclature
2 War between Britain and France, 1803–1814
3 War of the Third Coalition 1805
4 War of the Fourth Coalition 1806–1807
5 War of the Fifth Coalition 1809
6 The Invasion of Russia 1812
7 War of the Sixth Coalition 1812–1814
8 Gunboat War 1807–1814
9 War of 1812
10 War of the Seventh Coalition 1815
11 Political effects
12 Military legacy
13 Last veterans
14 In fiction
15 See also
18 External links
The Napoleonic Wars also had a profound military impact. Until the time of Napoleon, European states employed relatively small armies, made up of both national soldiers and mercenaries. However, military innovators in the mid-18th century began to recognize the potential of an entire nation at war: a "nation in arms".
The initial stages of the Industrial Revolution had much to do with larger military forces—it became easy to mass-produce weapons and thus to equip significantly larger forces. The UK served as the largest single manufacturer of armaments in this period, supplying most of the weapons used by the Coalition powers throughout the conflicts (although using relatively few itself). France produced the second-largest total of armaments, equipping its own huge forces as well as those of the Confederation of the Rhine and other allies.