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The First French Empire[1][2] (French: Empire Franais), also known as the Greater French

Empire orNapoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the
dominant power in much ofcontinental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century.
On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was granted the title Emperor of the French (L'Empereur des
Franais,pronounced: [l .p d f .s]) by the French Snat and was crowned on 2 December
1804,[7] ending the period of the French Consulate and of the French First Republic. The French
Empire won early military victories in the War of the Third
Coalition against Austria, Prussia, Russia, Portugal and allied nations, notably at theBattle of
Austerlitz in 1805[8] and, during the War of the Fourth Coalition, at the Battle of Friedland[9] in
A series of wars, known collectively as the Napoleonic Wars, extended French influence over
much of Western Europe and into Poland. At its height in 1812, the French Empire had
130 departments, ruled over 44 million subjects, maintained an extensive military presence
in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Duchy of Warsaw, and could count Prussia and Austria as
nominal allies.[10] 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 with the
exception of Poland.[11] Despite this, Napoleon placed relatives on the thrones of several
European countries and granted many noble titles, most of which were not recognised after the
Empire fell.
Historians have estimated the death toll from the Napoleonic Wars to be 6.5 million people. In
particular, French losses in the Peninsular War in Spain severely weakened the Empire. After
victory over the Austrian Empire in the War of the Fifth Coalition in 1809, Napoleon deployed
over 600,000 troops to attack Russia [12] in theFrench invasion of the Russian Empire in 1812. In
1813, the War of the Sixth Coalition saw the expulsion of French forces from Germany and on 11
April 1814 the Treaty of Fontainebleau saw Napoleon's abdication and exile to Elba.[13]
The Empire was briefly restored during the Hundred Days period, beginning in March 1815, but
fell once again after Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in July of that same year.[14] It
was followed by the restorationof the House of Bourbon.[15]

1 Origin

2 Early victories

3 Height of the Empire

4 Intrigues and unrest

5 The Fall

6 Nature of Bonaparte's rule

7 Maps

8 See also

9 Notes and references

10 Further reading

10.1 Surveys

10.2 Napoleon

10.3 Military
11 External links

Main articles: 18 Brumaire and French Consulate
In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte was confronted by Emmanuel-Joseph Sieys one of
five Directors who constituted the executive branch of the French governmentwho sought his
support for a coup d'tat to overthrow the French Constitution of 1795. The plot included
Bonaparte's brother Lucien, then serving as speaker of the Council of Five Hundred, Roger
Ducos, another Director, and Talleyrand. On 9 November 1799 (18 Brumaire, An VIII under
the French Republican Calendar), and the following day, troops led by Bonaparte seized control.
They dispersed the legislative councils, leaving a rump legislature to name Bonaparte, Sieys
and Ducos as provisional Consuls to administer the government. Although Sieys expected to
dominate the new regime, the Consulate, he was outmanoeuvred by Bonaparte, who drafted
the Constitution of the Year VIIIand secured his own election as First Consul. This made him the
most powerful person in France, a power that was increased by the Constitution of the Year X,
which made him First Consul for life.
The Battle of Marengo (14 June 1800) inaugurated the political idea that was to continue its
development until Napoleon's Moscow campaign. Napoleon planned only to keep the Duchy of
Milan for France, setting aside Austria, and was thought to prepare a new campaign in the East.
The Peace of Amiens, which cost him control of Egypt, was a temporary truce. He gradually
extended his authority in Italy by annexing the Piedmont and by acquiring Genoa, Parma,
Tuscany and Naples and added this Italian territory to his Cisalpine Republic. Then he laid siege
to the Roman state and initiated the Concordat of 1801 to control the material claims of the pope.
When he recognised his error of raising the authority of the pope from that of a figurehead,
Napoleon produced the Articles Organiques (1802) wanting, like Charlemagne, to be the legal
protector of the papacy. To conceal his plans before their actual execution, he aroused French
colonial aspirations against Britain and the memory of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, exacerbating
British envy of France, whose borders now extended to the Rhineand beyond, to Hanover,
Hamburg and Cuxhaven.
On 12 May 1802, the French Tribunat voted unanimously, with exception of Carnot, in favour of
the Life Consulship for the leader of France. This action was confirmed by the Corps Lgislatif. A

general plebiscitefollowed thereafter resulting in 3,653,600 votes aye and 8,272 votes nay.[16] On
2 August 1802 (14 Thermidor, An X), Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Consul for life.
An overwhelming tide of pro-revolutionary sentiment swept through Germany by the "Recess of
1803", which brought Bavaria, Wrttemberg and Baden to France's side. William Pitt the
Younger, back in power in Britain, appealed once more for an Anglo-AustroRussian coalition against Napoleon to stop the ideals of revolutionary France from spreading.
On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was given the title of emperor by the Senate; finally, on 2 December
1804, he wassolemnly crowned, after receiving the Iron Crown of the Lombard kings, and was
consecrated by Pope Pius VIIin Notre-Dame de Paris.[17]
After this, in four campaigns, the Emperor transformed his
"Carolingian" feudal and federal empire into one modelled on the Roman Empire. The memories
of imperial Rome were for a third time, after Julius Caesar andCharlemagne, to modify the
historical evolution of France. Though the vague plan for an invasion of Britain was never
executed, the Battle of Ulm and the Battle of Austerlitz overshadowed the defeat of Trafalgar,
and the camp at Boulogne put at Napoleon's disposal the best military resources he had
commanded, in the form of La Grande Arme.