By population, Spain is the sixth largest in Europe and the fifth in the European Union. Spains capital and largest city is Madrid, other urban areas include Barcelona, Seville, Bilbao. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago, in the Middle Ages, the area was conquered by Germanic tribes and by the Moors. Spain is a democracy organised in the form of a government under a constitutional monarchy. It is a power and a major developed country with the worlds fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP. Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the span is the Phoenician word spy. Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean the land where metals are forged, two 15th-century Spanish Jewish scholars, Don Isaac Abravanel and Solomon ibn Verga, gave an explanation now considered folkloric. Both men wrote in two different published works that the first Jews to reach Spain were brought by ship by Phiros who was confederate with the king of Babylon when he laid siege to Jerusalem.
This man was a Grecian by birth, but who had given a kingdom in Spain. He became related by marriage to Espan, the nephew of king Heracles, Heracles renounced his throne in preference for his native Greece, leaving his kingdom to his nephew, from whom the country of España took its name. Based upon their testimonies, this eponym would have already been in use in Spain by c.350 BCE, Iberia enters written records as a land populated largely by the Iberians and Celts. Early on its coastal areas were settled by Phoenicians who founded Western Europe´s most ancient cities Cadiz, Phoenician influence expanded as much of the Peninsula was eventually incorporated into the Carthaginian Empire, becoming a major theater of the Punic Wars against the expanding Roman Empire. After an arduous conquest, the peninsula came fully under Roman Rule, during the early Middle Ages it came under Germanic rule but later, much of it was conquered by Moorish invaders from North Africa. In a process took centuries, the small Christian kingdoms in the north gradually regained control of the peninsula.
The last Moorish kingdom fell in the same year Columbus reached the Americas, a global empire began which saw Spain become the strongest kingdom in Europe, the leading world power for a century and a half, and the largest overseas empire for three centuries. Continued wars and other problems led to a diminished status. The Napoleonic invasions of Spain led to chaos, triggering independence movements that tore apart most of the empire, eventually democracy was peacefully restored in the form of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Spain joined the European Union, experiencing a renaissance and steady economic growth
The wars resulted from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and the Revolutionary Wars, which had raged on for years before concluding with the Treaty of Amiens in 1802. Napoleon became the First Consul of France in 1799, Emperor five years later, inheriting the political and military struggles of the Revolution, he created a state with stable finances, a strong central bureaucracy, and a well-trained army. The British frequently financed the European coalitions intended to thwart French ambitions, by 1805, they had managed to convince the Austrians and the Russians to wage another war against France. At sea, the Royal Navy destroyed a combined Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar in October 1805, Prussian worries about increasing French power led to the formation of the Fourth Coalition in 1806. France forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July, although Tilsit signified the high watermark of the French Empire, it did not bring a lasting peace for Europe.
Hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, Napoleon invaded Iberia, the Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, the Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia. Unwilling to bear the consequences of reduced trade, the Russians routinely violated the Continental System. The French launched an invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The resulting campaign witnessed the collapse and retreat of the Grand Army along with the destruction of Russian lands. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in a Sixth Coalition against France, a lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813. The Allies invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814 and he was exiled to the island of Elba near Rome and the Bourbons were 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 Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in June. The Congress of Vienna, which started in 1814 and concluded in 1815, established the new borders of Europe and laid out the terms, Napoleon seized power in 1799, creating a de facto military dictatorship. The Napoleonic Wars began with the War of the Third Coalition, Kagan argues that Britain was irritated in particular by Napoleons assertion of control over Switzerland. Furthermore, Britons felt insulted when Napoleon stated that their country deserved no voice in European affairs, for its part, Russia decided that the intervention in Switzerland indicated that Napoleon was not looking toward a peaceful resolution of his differences with the other European powers. The British quickly enforced a blockade of France to starve it of resources. Napoleon responded with economic embargoes against Britain, and sought to eliminate Britains Continental allies to break the coalitions arrayed against him, the so-called Continental System formed a league of armed neutrality to disrupt the blockade and enforce free trade with France
French invasion of Russia
Napoleon hoped to compel Tsar Alexander I of Russia to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace. The official political aim of the campaign was to liberate Poland from the threat of Russia, Napoleon named the campaign the Second Polish War to gain favor with the Poles and provide a political pretext for his actions. The Grande Armée was a large force, numbering 680,000 soldiers. Napoleon hoped the battle would mean an end of the march into Russia, plans Napoleon had made to quarter at Smolensk were abandoned, and he pressed his army on after the Russians. As the Russian army fell back, Cossacks were given the task of burning villages and this was intended to deny the invaders the option of living off the land. The actions forced the French to rely on a system that was incapable of feeding the large army in the field. Starvation and privation compelled French soldiers to leave their camps at night in search of food and these men were frequently confronted by parties of Cossacks, who captured or killed them.
The Russian army retreated into Russia for almost three months, the continual retreat and the loss of lands to the French upset the Russian nobility. They pressured Alexander I to relieve the commander of the Russian army, Alexander I complied, appointing an old veteran, Prince Mikhail Kutuzov, to take over command of the army. However, for two more weeks Kutuzov continued to retreat as his predecessor had done, on 7 September, the French caught up with the Russian army which had dug itself in on hillsides before a small town called Borodino, seventy miles west of Moscow. The battle that followed was the bloodiest single-day action of the Napoleonic Wars until that point, involving more than 250,000 soldiers, the French gained a tactical victory, but at the cost of 49 general officers and thousands of men. The Russian army was able to extricate itself and withdrew the following day, Napoleon entered Moscow a week later. In another turn of events the French found puzzling, there was no delegation to meet the Emperor, the Russians had evacuated the city, and the citys governor, Count Fyodor Rostopchin, ordered several strategic points in Moscow set ablaze.
Napoleons hopes had been set upon an end to his campaign. The loss of Moscow did not compel Alexander I to sue for peace, Napoleon stayed on in Moscow looking to negotiate a peace, his hopes fed in part by a disinformation campaign informing the Emperor of supposed discontent and fading morale in the Russian camp. After staying a month Napoleon moved his army out southwest toward Kaluga, the French advance toward Kaluga was checked by a Russian corps. Napoleon tried once more to engage the Russian army for an action at the Battle of Maloyaroslavets. Despite holding a position, the Russians retreated following a sharp engagement
Siege of Roses (1808)
The Siege of Roses or Siege of Rosas from 7 November to 5 December 1808 saw an Imperial French corps led by Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr invest a Catalan and Spanish garrison commanded by Peter ODaly. Roses is located 43 kilometres northeast of Girona, the action occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. In the summer and fall of 1808, an Imperial French corps under Guillaume Philibert Duhesme was isolated in Barcelona by a 24, with 23,000 men, Gouvion Saint-Cyr moved from the French border to relieve Duhesmes troops. The first obstacle to Gouvion Saint-Cyrs mission was the haven of Rosas defended by a citadel with sea approaches defended by a headland castle. The 3,500 Catalan and Spanish defenders of Roses were mostly local miquelets stiffened by a unit of regulars from the Fija de Roses garrison. Gouvion Saint-Cyr still faced the problem of getting past Girona in order to succor Duhesmes soldiers, the French general made a bold but risky maneuver and the result was the Battle of Cardadeu on 16 December.
Emperor Napoleon I plotted to replace the family of the Kingdom of Spain. Pursuant to his design, he ordered several key points, including Barcelona, on 29 February, General of Division Giuseppe Lechis Imperial French troops were marching through Barcelona, ostensibly to help fight Portugal. Lechi staged a review, but it was a cover for gaining control of the citadel. As the soldiers marched past the gate of the fortress, they suddenly turned left. Without spilling a drop of blood, the Imperial troops herded the baffled Spanish garrison out of the fortifications, among other key points, the French grabbed San Sebastian and Figueras. On 2 May 1808, the infuriated Spanish people rose in rebellion against their French occupiers, a 12, 710-man Franco-Italian corps commanded by General of Division Guillaume Philibert Duhesme guarded Barcelona in June 1808. General of Division Joseph Chabrans 1st Division consisted of 6,050 soldiers in eight battalions, generals of Brigade Bertrand Bessières and François Xavier de Schwarz led 1,700 cavalrymen in nine squadrons, and there were 360 artillerists.
The French authorities in Madrid confidently expected that Duhesmes corps would quickly stamp out the rebellion in Catalonia, the miquelets, the Catalan militia, turned out in large numbers to harass their enemies. In June and Chabran were beaten at the Battles of the Bruch, finally awakening to reality, Napoleon ordered General of Division Honoré Charles Reille and a division of reinforcements to Duhesmes assistance. The troops were of low quality and scattered throughout southern France, joined by more of his division, he next marched on the port of Roses. Reille commanded 4,000 men and two cannons, Roses was held by about 800 men of the Fija de Roses regiment and 400 miquelets, the Catalan militia, with 5,000 more miquelets under Colonel Juan Clarós in the nearby hills. The defenders were given a boost when the British warship HMS Montagu, under Captain Robert Otway, appeared off the port, Reille launched an attack on 11 July 1808, but his troops were driven off with 200 casualties
Cantabria is a historic Spanish community and autonomous community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community, on the south by Castile and León, on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea. The most significant site for cave paintings is that in the cave of Altamira, dating from about 37,000 BC and declared, along with nine other Cantabrian caves, the modern Province of Cantabria was constituted on 28 July 1778 at Bárcena la Puente, Reocín. The Organic Law of the Autonomy Statute of Cantabria was approved on 30 December 1981, numerous authors, including Isidore of Seville, Julio Caro Baroja, Aureliano Fernández Guerra and Adolf Schulten, have explored the etymology of the name Cantabria, yet its origins remain uncertain. It is generally accepted that the root cant- comes from Celtic for rock or stone, Cantabrian could mean people who live in the rocks or highlanders, a reference to the steep and mountainous territory of Cantabria.
Cantabria is a mountainous and coastal region, with important natural resources and it has two distinct areas which are well differentiated morphologically, Coast. Santander Bay is the most prominent indentation in the coastline, to the south, the coastal strip rises to meet the mountains. This is a barrier made up of abruptly rising mountains parallel to the sea. The mountains are made of limestone with karst topography. They form deep valleys running north-south, the torrential rivers are short, fast flowing and of great eroding power, so the slopes are steep. The valleys define different natural regions, delimited physically by the mountain ranges, Liébana, Saja-Nansa, Pas-Pisueña, Miera, Asón-Gándara. To the mountain region belongs the Escudo Range, a range of 600 to 1,000 metres high that covers 15 or 20 km in a parallel line to the coast in the West part of Cantabria. Towards the south are higher mountains, the tops of which form the watershed between the basins of the Rivers Ebro and the rivers that flow into the Bay of Biscay.
The great limestone masses of Picos de Europa stand out in the southwest of the region, most of their summits exceed 2,500 m, and their topography is shaped by the former presence of glaciers. Due to the stream, Cantabria, as well as the rest of Green Spain, has a much more temperate climate than might be expected for its latitude. The region has a oceanic climate, with warm summers. Annual precipitation is around 1,200 mm at the coasts, the mean temperature is about 14 °C. Snow is frequent in higher zones of Cantabria between the months of October and March, some zones of Picos de Europa, over 2,500 metres high, have an alpine climate with snow persisting year round
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic)
The Kingdom of Italy was a French client state founded in Northern Italy by Napoleon I, fully influenced by revolutionary France, that ended with his defeat and fall. Napoleon I was crowned at the Duomo di Milano, Milan on May 26 and his title was Emperor of the French and King of Italy, showing the importance of this Italian Kingdom for him. Even though the republican Constitution was never abolished, a series of Constitutional Statutes completely altered it. The second one, dating from March 29, and regulated the regency, the Great Officials of the kingdom, the Consulta, Legislative Council, and Speakers, were all merged in a Council of State, whose opinions became only optional and not binding for the king. The Legislative Body, the old parliament, remained in theory, but it never summoned after 1805, the fourth Statute, decided on February 16,1806, indicated Beauharnais as the heir to the throne. The seventh Statute, on September 21, created a new nobility of dukes and barons, the eighth, in 1812, a Court of Accounts was added.
The Duchy of Guastalla was annexed on May 24, with the Convention of Fontainebleau with Austria of October 10,1807, Italy ceded Monfalcone to Austria and gained Gradisca, putting the new border on the Isonzo River. The conquered Republic of Ragusa was annexed in spring 1808 by general Marmont and that was the only time in modern history that Ragusa was united to Italy. On April 2,1808, following the dissolution of the Papal States, at its maximum extent, the Kingdom had 6,700,000 inhabitants and was composed by 2,155 communes. Small changes to the borders between Italy and France in Garfagnana and Friuli came in act on August 5,1811, in practice, the Kingdom was a dependency of the French Empire. The Kingdom served as a theater in Napoleons operations against Austria during the wars of the various coalitions, trading with the United Kingdom was forbidden. The kingdom was given a new currency, replacing the local coins circulating in the country, the Italian lira, of the same size, weight. Mintage being decided by Napoleon with a decree on March 21,1806.
The monetary unit was the silver lira, which was 5 grams heavy, there were multiples of £2 and £5, and precious coins of £20 and £40. The army of the kingdom, inserted into the Grande Armée, in the course of its existence from 1805 to 1814 the Kingdom of Italy provided Napoleon I with roughly around 200,000 soldiers. In 1805 Italian troops served on duty along the English Channel, during 1806-1807 they took part in the sieges of Kolberg and Danzig. From 1808 to 1813 whole Italian divisions served in Spain, especially distinguishing themselves under Suchet at Tarragona and Saguntum. In 1809, Eugènes Army of Italy formed the wing of Napoleon Is invasion of the Austrian Empire, winning a considerable victory at Raab
The Cantabrian Mountains or Cantabrian Range are one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain. They stretch for over 300 km across northern Spain, from the limit of the Pyrenees to the Galician Massif in Galicia. Their easternmost end meets the Sistema Ibérico and these mountains are a distinct physiographic province of the larger Alpine System physiographic division. The Cantabrian Mountains offer a range of trails for hiking. Skiing is possible in the ski resorts of Alto Campoo, Valgrande-Pajares, the Cantabrian Mountains stretch east-west, nearly parallel to the sea, as far as the pass of Leitariegos, extending south between León and Galicia. The ranges western boundary is marked by the valley of the river Miño, by the lower Sil, which flows into the Miño, and by the Cabrera River, Cantabrian mountains reach its south-western limit in Portugal. In some parts the coastal range rises sheer above the sea, the descent from the southern range to the high plateaux of Castile is more gradual, and several large rivers, notably the Ebro, rise here and flow to the south or west.
The breadth of the Cantabrian chain, with all its ramifications, increases from about 60 mi, many peaks are over 6000 ft high, but the greatest altitudes are attained in the central ridges on the borders of León, Asturias and Cantabria. A conspicuous feature of the chain, as of the adjacent tableland, is the number of its parameras, the Cantabrian Mountains make a sharp divide between Green Spain to the north, and the dry central plateau. The north facing slopes receive heavy rainfall from the Bay of Biscay. The Cantabrian Range has three distinct sections from west to east, The Asturian Massif and its foothills. Geologically it is a prolongation of the Galician Massif with Paleozoic folds. It is cut by deep east-west oriented canyons such as the Cares River valley, highest point Torre de Cerredo 2,648 m. They are composed of Carboniferous limestone and marl, the Paramo de Masa and La Lora grasslands are located in the south crossed by the Rudrón Valley. Other animals associated with the range include the Iberian wolf and the rebeco, some of the sites are included in the European Unions Natura 2000 network and Special Protection Areas for the Conservation of Wild Birds
Battle of Corunna
The Battle of Corunna took place on 16 January 1809, when a French corps under Marshal of the Empire Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult attacked a British army under Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore. The battle took place amidst the Peninsular War, which was a part of the wider Napoleonic Wars, doggedly pursued by the French under Soult, the British made a retreat across northern Spain while their rearguard fought off repeated French attacks. Both armies suffered extremely from the winter conditions. Much of the British army, excluding the elite Light Brigade under Robert Craufurd, suffered from a loss of order and discipline during the retreat. When the British eventually reached the port of Corunna on the northern coast of Galicia in Spain a few days ahead of the French they found their transport ships had not arrived. During the battle, Sir John Moore, the British commander, was mortally wounded, dying after hearing all the French attacks had been repulsed. In addition, Sir David Baird in command of an expedition of reinforcements out of Falmouth consisting of 150 transports carrying between 12,000 and 13,000 men, convoyed by H. M. S.
Louie and Champion, entered Corunna Harbour on the 13 October, by November 1808 the British army, led by Moore, advanced into Spain with orders to assist the Spanish armies in their struggle against the invading forces of Napoleon. After the surrender of a French army corps at Bailén and the loss of Portugal Napoleon was convinced of the peril he faced in Spain, deeply disturbed by news of Sintra, the Emperor remarked, I see that everybody has lost their head since the infamous capitulation of Bailén. I realise that I must go there myself to get the machine working again, the French, all but masters of Spain in June, stood with their backs to the Pyrenees, clutching at Navarre and Catalonia. It was not known if even these two footholds could be maintained in the face of a Spanish attack, by October French strength in Spain, including garrisons, was about 75,000 soldiers. They were facing 86,000 Spanish troops with Spains 35,000 British allies en route, with the fall of the monarchy, constitutional power devolved to local juntas.
The British army in Portugal, was immobilized by logistical problems and bogged down in administrative disputes. Months of inaction had passed at the front, the revolution having temporarily crippled Patriot Spain at the moment when decisive action could have changed the whole course of the war. Certainly not your wretched Spanish troops who do not know how to fight, I shall conquer Spain in two months and acquire the rights of a conqueror. Starting in October 1808 Napoleon led the French on a brilliant offensive involving a double envelopment of the Spanish lines. The attack began in November and has described as an avalanche of fire. The main army, under Moore, had advanced to Salamanca and were joined by Hopes detachment on 3 December when Moore received news that the Spanish forces had suffered several defeats and he considered that to avoid disaster he must give up and retreat back to Portugal
War of the Fifth Coalition
The War of the Fifth Coalition was fought in the year 1809 by a coalition of the Austrian Empire and the United Kingdom against Napoleons French Empire and Bavaria. Major engagements between France and Austria, the participants, unfolded over much of Central Europe from April to July. After much campaigning in Bavaria and across the Danube valley, the war ended favourably for the French after the struggle at Wagram in early July. The resulting Treaty of Schönbrunn was the harshest that France had imposed on Austria in recent memory, Austria lost over three million subjects, about one-fifth of her total population, as a result of these territorial changes. Although the Fifth Coalition ended, Britain and Portugal remained at war with France in the ongoing Peninsular War, there was peace in central and eastern Europe until Napoleons invasion of Russia in 1812, which led to the formation of the Sixth Coalition in 1813. Europe had been embroiled in warfare, pitting revolutionary France against a series of coalitions, after five years of war, the French Republic subdued the First Coalition in 1797.
A Second Coalition was formed in 1798, only to be defeated, in March 1802, France and Great Britain, its one remaining enemy, agreed to end hostilities under the Treaty of Amiens. For the first time in ten years, all of Europe was at peace, many disagreements between the two sides remained unresolved, and implementing the agreements they had reached at Amiens seemed to be a growing challenge. Britain resented having to turn all of its colonial conquests since 1793 when France was permitted to retain most of its conquered territory in Europe. France, was upset that British troops had not evacuated the island of Malta, in May 1803, Britain declared war on France. With the resumption of hostilities, Napoleon planned an invasion of England, in December 1804, an Anglo-Swedish agreement led to the creation of the Third Coalition. British Prime Minister William Pitt spent 1804 and 1805 in a flurry of diplomatic activity geared towards forming a new coalition against France and neutralising the threat of invasion.
Mutual suspicion between the British and the Russians eased in the face of several French political mistakes, and by April 1805, in August 1805, the French Grande Armée invaded the German states in hopes of knocking Austria out of the war before Russian forces could intervene. On 25 September, after great secrecy and feverish marching,200,000 French troops began to cross the Rhine on a front of 160 miles, Mack had gathered the greater part of the Austrian army at the fortress of Ulm in Bavaria. Napoleon hoped to swing his forces northward and perform a movement that would find the French at the Austrian rear. The Ulm Maneuver was well executed, and on 20 October Mack and 23,000 Austrian troops surrendered at Ulm, the French captured Vienna in November and went on to inflict a decisive defeat on a Russo-Austrian army at Austerlitz in early December. Austerlitz led to the expulsion of Russian troops from Central Europe and the humiliation of Austria, Austerlitz incited a major shift in the European balance of power.
Prussia felt threatened about her security in the region and, alongside Russia, a vigorous French pursuit through Northern Germany finished off the remnants of the Prussian army
War of the Third Coalition
The War of the Third Coalition was a European conflict spanning the years 1803 to 1806. During the war and its client states under Napoleon I, defeated an alliance, from 1803–05, Britain stood under constant threat of a French invasion. The Royal Navy, secured mastery of the seas, the Third Coalition itself came to full fruition in 1804–05 as Napoleons actions in Italy and Germany spurred Austria and Russia into joining Britain against France. Victory at Austerlitz permitted the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine, a collection of German states intended as a buffer zone between France and central Europe. As a direct consequence of events, the Holy Roman Empire ceased to exist when, in 1806, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II abdicated the Imperial throne, emerging as Francis I. These achievements, did not establish a peace on the continent. Austerlitz had driven neither Russia nor Britain, whose armies protected Sicily from a French invasion, Prussian worries about growing French influence in Central Europe sparked the War of the Fourth Coalition in 1806.
Europe had been embroiled in the French Revolutionary Wars since 1792, after five years of war, the French Republic subdued the armies of the First Coalition in 1797. A Second Coalition was formed in 1798, but this too was defeated by 1801, in March 1802, France and Britain agreed to end hostilities under the Treaty of Amiens. For the first time in ten years all of Europe was at peace, many problems persisted between the two sides making implementation of the treaty increasingly difficult. Bonaparte was angry that British troops had not evacuated the island of Malta, the tension only worsened when Bonaparte sent an expeditionary force to re-establish control over Haiti. Prolonged intransigence on these issues led Britain to declare war on France on 18 May 1803, Bonaparte had already revived plans for an invasion of England in March 1803. Bonapartes expeditionary army was destroyed by disease in Haiti, and subsequently swayed the First Consul to abandon his plans to rebuild Frances New World empire, without sufficient revenues from sugar colonies in the Caribbean, the vast territory of Louisiana in North America had little value to him.
Though Spain had not yet completed the transfer of Louisiana to France per the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, the Louisiana Purchase Treaty was signed on 30 April 1803. Despite issuing orders that the over 60 million francs were to be spent on the construction of five new canals in France, Bonaparte spent the whole amount on his planned invasion of England. The execution of Enghien shocked the aristocrats of Europe, who remembered the bloodletting of the Revolution. The statement is sometimes attributed to French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord. Sometimes the quote is given as, It was worse than a crime, pitt scored a significant coup by securing a burgeoning rival as an ally
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814, 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, one of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleons political and cultural legacy has ensured his status as one of the most celebrated and he was born Napoleone di Buonaparte in Corsica to a relatively modest family from the minor nobility. When the Revolution broke out in 1789, Napoleon was serving as an officer in the French army. Seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution, he rose through the ranks of the military. The Directory eventually gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents, in 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power.
He engineered a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic and his ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, and in 1804 he became the first Emperor of the French. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805, 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, marched the Grand Army deep into Eastern Europe, France 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 watermark of the French Empire, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, Napoleon invaded Iberia and declared his brother Joseph 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.
The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia, unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade, the Russians routinely violated the Continental System and enticed Napoleon into another war. The French launched an invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The resulting campaign witnessed the collapse of the Grand Army, the destruction of Russian cities, in 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in a Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, the Allies invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba near Rome and the Bourbons were restored to power, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition, which defeated Napoleon 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 at the age of 51
Battle of Molins de Rei
Saint-Cyr outmaneuvered his opponents, distracting them with a false attack in front while sending the bulk of his force across Llobregat River in a turning movement around the Spanish right flank. The Spanish defensive lines crumbled and the French captured 1,200 soldiers, all the Spanish artillery, the Peninsular War engagement was fought near Molins de Rei, located 15 kilometres west of Barcelona, Spain. In the second week of December, Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr arrived before the fortress of Girona with 17,000 troops and his object was the relief of Barcelona where a force under Guillaume Philibert Duhesme was surrounded by 24,000 Spanish troops under Juan Miguel de Vives y Feliu. Saint-Cyr sent away his artillery and his wagon trains and boldly slipped past Girona, marching through the hills, Saint-Cyr completely outfoxed Vives and arrived near the village of Cardadeu to find Vives and Theodor von Reding facing him with only 9,100 soldiers and seven cannons. In the Battle of Cardadeu on 16 December the French smashed their way through the Spanish lines, Saint-Cyr relieved Barcelona on 17 December while the Spanish forces fell back behind the Llobregat River.
The French commander quickly moved to challenge the 15,000 Spanish troops under the Conde de Caldagues, Saint-Cyr sent Joseph Chabrans division to mount a diversionary attack on Molins de Rey bridge, while the rest of his strength was directed at the Spanish right flank. The Spanish position was easily rolled up though the French missed a chance to win a significant victory when Chabran failed to pin down his outmaneuvered enemies in front. Even so, the French captured 1,200 prisoners including Caldagues and 25 guns, the French lost 400 killed and wounded out of a total of 18,000 men and 48 guns. Aside from the prisoners, the Spanish lost 1,000 soldiers killed and wounded, after the battle, Vives was sacked and Reding was appointed to lead the Spanish army, which was reinforced by 6,000 soldiers from the Balearic Islands and other places. The Spanish Ulcer, A History of the Peninsular War, a History of the Peninsular War Volume II. Rickard, J. Battle of Cardadeu,16 December 1808, rickard, J.
Battle of Molins del Rey,21 December 1808. Rickard, J. Siege of Barcelona,1 August-17 December 1808