Continental System The Continental System refers to Napoleon's attempt,
beginning in 1806 with the Berlin Decree, to strangle Britain's
economy by closing off all European ports. This would prevent
the British from exporting their manufactured goods to Europe.
The Continental System was largely a failure. It created discontent
throughout Europe, and, as Napoleon tried to enforce it in Spain, he
touched off the Peninsular War.
Confederation of the Rhine Early in 1806, Napoleon dissolved the old Holy Roman
Empire to which the German states had belonged, and created in
its place the Confederation of the Rhine, the name for Napoleon-dominated
Corsica The fourth-largest island in the Mediterranean. Corsica
rebelled against Genoa in 1729, and was independent for a time,
until Genoa ceded its rights in the island to France in 1768, which took
the island over by force. Napoleon was born on Corsica in 1769,
the same year that it became a French province.
Directory The Directory was the name for the French revolutionary government
from 1795 to 1799. It had a bicameral legislature consisting of
the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of the Ancients. Five
Directors made up the weak executive branch. This government was
created to remedy the excesses of Robespierre's government.
Elba An island off the west coast of Italy. Napoleon was
exiled to Elba from 1814 until his escape in 1815.
Jacobin An extreme revolutionary group during the French Revolution.
The Jacobins' equalitarian vision was very liberal, but they were also
very violent. The Jacobin stereotype was epitomized by the figure
Hundred Days The Hundred Days refer to the days from March 20 to
July 8, 1815, which saw Napoleon's escape from exile Elba, his
raising of a new army, and his last campaign to dominate Europe.
The combined forces of the British and Prussian armies finally brought
the campaign to a stop in the battle of Waterloo.
Napoleonic Code The system of laws, especially the civil code, which
Napoleon announced in 1804. This code remains a basis of European continental
law to this day, but differs somewhat from the Anglo-American "Common
Law" tradition at the root of the U.S. legal system. (The Napoleonic
Code did have some influence, however, in forming the legal system
of the state of Louisiana, however, which was settled by the French.)
Saint Helena A British colony in the South Atlantic. Napoleon was
exiled there from 1815 to his death in 1821.
Tuileries The Palais des Tuileries was a French
palace next to the Louvre, which French Royalty and Napoleon often
inhabited. The palace burned down in 1871.
In this 1802 the British and French agreed not to fight.
Of the entire Napoleonic era, 1802 was the only year during which
no European power was officially at war with another European power.
In this battle, fought on December 2, 1805, Napoleon's
army defeated the Russian and Austrian armies. The Russian army limped
back to Poland while the Austrians surrendered their Italian territory,
Venetia, to the French.
The French Revolution had treated the Catholic Church
in France very badly, and the government had confiscated much Church
property. By signing the Concordat on July 15, 1801, the French
government and the Church agreed to a reconciliation. Napoleon
could now forge ahead in his regime without opposition from the
Treaty of Campo Formio
This treaty with Austria ended Napoleon's Italian campaign
and secured his victory. Because he negotiated the details of
the treaty on his own authority, Napoleon incurred the severe annoyance
of the Directory; however, the military triumph cemented by the
treaty propelled Napoleon to the height of popularity among the
Treaty of Fontainebleau
This 1814 treaty called for the exile of Napoleon to
Elba, promising him a stipend of 2 million francs a year (which
he never received). The treaty also allowed Napoleon to keep the title
In this battle, fought in October 1813 and also known
as the Battle of Nations, Napoleon's army of raw recruits was defeated by
a four-nation alliance. Up to that time, no single battle had involved
so many soldiers.
Treaty of Luneville
In this February 1800 treaty, the Austrians and French
renewed the conditions of the Treaty of Campo Formio.
In this war, fought in the Iberian Peninsula from 1808-1814,
the Portuguese, Spanish, and British (under Wellington) struggled against
the French, who were trying to impose the Continental System on
Treaty of Tilsit
This treaty, signed in 1807, required both Russia and
Prussia to join the Continental System. Russia, Prussia, and Austria declared
war on Britain following the treaty.
This naval battle was fought October 21, 1805 off the
coast of Spain. In it, Napoleon's navy of 33 French and Spanish
ships was decimated by the British fleet of 27 ships. Admiral
Horatio Nelson commanded the British fleet, and lost his life in
the battle. The battle firmly established Britain's naval supremacy
for the rest of the 19th century.
In this June 18, 1815 battle, Napoleon was finally defeated
by the British (under Wellington) and the Prussians (under Blucher).
The loss was partially due to a crucial mistake of Napoleon's: Prior
to the arrival of the Prussians on the scene, Napoleon had had
a chance to attach the British forces, but decided to wait for the
muddy ground to dry before attacking.