Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly
Prince Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly was a Russian Field Marshal and Minister of War during Napoleons invasion in 1812 and War of the Sixth Coalition. Barclay implemented a number of reforms during this time that improved supply system in the army, doubled the number of army troops and he was the Governor-General of Finland. He was born in a German-speaking noble family from Livonia that were members of the Scottish Clan Barclay and his father was the first of his family to be accepted into the Russian nobility. Barclay joined the Imperial Russian Army at an age in 1776. For his role in the capture of Ochakov in 1788 from the Ottomans, afterwards he participated in Catherine IIs Swedish War. In 1794, he took part in putting down the Kościuszko Uprising in Poland and was decorated for role in the capture of Vilnius. In 1806, Barclay began commanding in the Napoleonic Wars, distinguishing himself at the Battle of Pułtusk that same year and he was wounded at the Battle of Eylau in 1807 while his troops were covering the retreat of the Russian army.
Because of his wounds, he was forced to leave command, the following year, he carried out successful operations in the Finnish War against Sweden. Barclay led a number of Russian troops approximately 100km across the frozen Gulf of Bothnia in winter during a snowstorm. For his accomplishments, Barclay de Tolly was appointed Governor-General of Grand Duchy of Finland, from 20 January 1810 to September 1812 he was the Minister of War of the Russian Empire. When the French invasion of Russia began in 1812, Barclay de Tolly was commander of the 1st Army of the West, Barclay was appointed Commander-in-Chief and initiated a scorched earth policy from the beginning of the campaign, though this made him unpopular among Russians. However, Kutuzov continued the scorched earth retreat up to Moscow where the Battle of Borodino took place nearby. Barclay commanded the wing and center of the Russian army for the battle. After Napoleons retreat, the success of Barclays tactics made him a hero among Russians.
He became Commander-in-Chief once again in 1813 after the death of Kutuzov led the taking of Paris and his health declined and he died on a visit to Germany in 1818. Barclay de Tolly, a member of the Scottish Clan Barclay with roots in Towie in Aberdeenshire, was born in Pamūšis, Courland and Semigallia and raised in Jõgeveste, Russian Empire. The commonly accepted date of 27 December 1761 is actually the day of his baptism in the Lutheran church of the town Žeimelis. He was a German-speaking descendant of a Scottish family which had settled in Livonia in the 17th century, de Tolly grew up in St. Petersburg and was raised by his aunt
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until it was overthrown by the short-lived February Revolution in 1917. One of the largest empires in history, stretching over three continents, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires. The rise of the Russian Empire happened in association with the decline of neighboring powers, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Persia. It played a role in 1812–14 in defeating Napoleons ambitions to control Europe. The House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, and its German-descended cadet branch, with 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics, there were numerous dissident elements, who launched numerous rebellions and assassination attempts, they were closely watched by the secret police, with thousands exiled to Siberia.
Economically, the empire had an agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs. The economy slowly industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways, the land was ruled by a nobility from the 10th through the 17th centuries, and subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III laid the groundwork for the empire that emerged and he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, and laid the foundations of the Russian state. Tsar Peter the Great fought numerous wars and expanded an already huge empire into a major European power, Catherine the Great presided over a golden age. She expanded the state by conquest and diplomacy, continuing Peter the Greats policy of modernisation along West European lines, Tsar Alexander II promoted numerous reforms, most dramatically the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861. His policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and that connection by 1914 led to Russias entry into the First World War on the side of France and Serbia, against the German and Ottoman empires.
The Russian Empire functioned as a monarchy until the Revolution of 1905. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917, largely as a result of failures in its participation in the First World War. Perhaps the latter was done to make Europe recognize Russia as more of a European country, Poland was divided in the 1790-1815 era, with much of the land and population going to Russia. Most of the 19th century growth came from adding territory in Asia, Peter I the Great introduced autocracy in Russia and played a major role in introducing his country to the European state system. However, this vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West, compelling nearly the entire population to farm. Only a small percentage lived in towns, the class of kholops, close to the one of slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter I converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them in poll taxation
Battle of Nivelle
The Battle of Nivelle took place in front of the River Nivelle near the end of the Peninsular War. After the Allied siege of San Sebastian, Wellingtons 80,000 British, after the Light Division, the main British army was ordered to attack and the 3rd Division split Soults army into two. By 2 oclock, Soult was in retreat and the British in an offensive position. Soult had lost 4,351 men to Wellingtons 2,450, in the Siege of San Sebastian, the Anglo-Portuguese stormed and captured the port at the beginning of September 1813. In the Battle of San Marcial on 31 August, Soult failed to break through the Spanish defences in his attempt to relieve the siege. The French army fell back to defend the Bidassoa River, at dawn on 7 October the Anglo-Allied army overran the French river defences in the Battle of the Bidassoa in a surprise crossing. During this action, the allies captured several fortified positions in the area of La Rhune mountain, both sides lost about 1,600 men in these actions. Soults lines stretched from the shores of the Atlantic on the French right flank to the pass of Roncesvalles on the left.
With only 60,000 men, Soult was stretched to an almost impossible point and this means that he could not hold troops back as reserves, something which may have turned the tide of the battle. As Soult moved back to his base at Bayonne, his position strengthened but he was not quick enough, the French position was dominated by the Greater Rhune, a gorse-covered, craggy mountain nearly 3,000 feet high. Separated from the Greater Rhune by a ravine, roughly 700 yards below it, is the Lesser Rhune along the precipitous crest of which the French had constructed three defensive positions. If the French defences on La Rhune could be taken Soults position would become dangerous as it would open him to attack from all elements of the British three point pincer plan. Wellingtons plan was to distribute troops along the whole of Soults line, any breakthrough in the centre or the French left flank would enable the British to cut off the French right Flank. So, Wellington ordered that the British left would be led by Sir John Hope and would involve the 1st, Wellington decided to attack on the 10th of November.
The battle started just before dawn as the Light Division headed towards the plateau on the summit of the Greater Rhune, the objective of the division was to sweep the three defensive forts the French had constructed out of the battle. They moved down into the ravine in front of the Lesser Rhune and were ordered to lie down, after the signal from a battery of cannon, the offensive began. It started with the men of the 43rd, 52nd and 95th - with the 17th Portuguese Caçadores in support - storming the redoubts on the crest of the Rhune. Despite this being a move and the men being almost exhausted
Battle of Hanau
The Battle of Hanau was fought on between Karl Philipp von Wrede’s Austro-Bavarian corps and Napoleons retreating French during the War of the Sixth Coalition. Following Napoleons defeat at the Battle of Leipzig earlier in October, Napoleon began to retreat from Germany into France, Wrede attempted to block Napoleon’s line of retreat at Hanau on 30 October. Napoleon arrived at Hanau with reinforcements and defeated Wrede’s forces, on 31 October Hanau was in French control, opening Napoleon’s line of retreat. The Battle of Hanau was a battle, but an important tactical victory allowing Napoleon’s army to retreat onto French soil to recover. The Battle of Leipzig, the largest and bloodiest encounter of the Napoleonic Wars, began on 16 October 1813, Napoleon was forced to abandon central Germany to the coalition and hastily retreated westwards. His strategy was to all his available forces on the shores of the Rhine. The Emperors concern was that his battered army might be forced to fight against superior forces again.
With military action confined to secondary rearguard actions, Napoleon was able to install his headquarters at Erfurt on 23 October, on 26 October, he sent orders to the various corps, directing them to Frankfurt via Eisenach and Fulda. Their assigned destination was the city of Mainz, by the Rhine river, the coalition was buoyed by the news that Bavaria, a former French ally, agreed to join the Sixth Coalition according to the Treaty of Ried concluded just before the Battle of Leipzig. From Würzburg, Wrede moved towards the city of Hanau. Wrede’s advance guard reached Hanau on 28 October and took possession of the city and they were under the overall command of Bavarian General Karl Philipp von Wrede. The Austrian Corps, under the command of Field-Marshal-Lieutenant Baron Fresnet and these men were organised in three divisions, the 1st division under General Bach, the 2nd division under General Trautenberg, and the 3rd division under General Spleny. The Bavarian Corps, under Wredes direct command, numbered 18,000 men,15,000 infantrymen,3,000 cavalrymen, the French Grande Armée had suffered horrendous casualties at the battle of Leipzig, which left the French Corps at a fraction of its prior strength.
Emperor Napoleon I was in command of the French forces in the battle. Guard units aside, many of the French battalions at Hanau were only 100-man strong, and the cavalry squadrons were much smaller. Of these men, only one division of Marshal Claude Victor-Perrins IInd Corps, Cavalry support came from Sébastianis IInd Cavalry Corps, some 3,000 sabres, and Nansoutys Imperial Guard cavalry, some 4,000 sabres. The entirety of the Imperial Guard infantry and artillery, some 6,000 men and 52 cannons, were committed, Napoleon thus commanded a total of about 20,000 men at the battle of Hanau. On 29 October, having correctly reckoned that his force was enough to block the retreat of a disorganised enemy army
Louis Alexandre Andrault de Langeron
Count Louis Alexandre Andrault de Langeron, born in Paris, was a French soldier in the service of, the Kingdom of France, and the Russian Empire. He entered the French army at age 15 as a Sous-Lieutenant in the Gardes Françaises Regiment and was dispatched to Caracas, promoted to captain in the Condé-Dragons Regiment, he took part in the American Revolutionary War. In 1786, Langeron was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in the Médoc Regiment, a Royalist, Langeron left France at the beginning of the French Revolution and entered Russian service in 1790 as a colonel in the Siberian Grenadier Regiment. He distinguished himself in battle against Sweden and in the Russo-Turkish War and he was given leave of absence in order to serve in an émigré army against revolutionary France, and after his return to Russia was sent to the Austrian army in the Netherlands as an observer. He was promoted to command in 1796 and became a major general in 1797. He commanded the column of the Austro-Russian army in the battle of Austerlitz.
In 1815 he became governor of New Russia, from 1806 to 1811, Langeron participated in the Russo-Turkish War and served in the Army of Moldavia against the Ottomans. He fought at Giurgiu, Frasin and Ruse, in 1812, Langeron was given command of a corps in the Army of the Danube with which he fought at Brest-Litovsk and on the Berezina. In 1813, Langeron was put in charge of the blockade of Thorn, and year he commanded a corps at Koenigswarte, Siebeneichen, Katzbach. The next year he participated in the French campaign, during which he fought at the battles of Soissons, Laon, Rheims, La Fère-Champenoise, in late 1814, Langeron was given command of the 4th and 6th Corps in Volhynia. During the Hundred Days, he and his troops were marching to France, exports continued to grow under his rule, to 40 million rubles in 1817. In Odessa, Langeron opened the Richelieu Lyceum for the elite, only the children of merchants, during Langerons tenure, the construction of the Odessa Botanical Gardens and Primorsky Boulevard began.
The most far-reaching legislation in Langerons term was that the port of Odessa was pronounced a free port in 1819, today Odessa has a street and a beach named after Langeron. In 1823 Langeron was relieved of duties because of poor health. After the Decembrist revolt, Langeron was appointed a member of the sentencing panel, called up with the start of the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829 he fought against the Turks in a number of battles until he was replaced by Hans Karl von Diebitsch. Langeron died during an epidemic in 1831
Battle of Kulm
The Battle of Kulm was a battle near the town Kulm and the village Přestanov in northern Bohemia. It was fought on 29–30 August 1813, during the War of the Sixth Coalition, following the French victory at Dresden, Vandamme pursued the retreating allies. Napoleon sent Marshals Gouvion Saint Cyr and Auguste Marmont to support Vandammes corps, with Vandamme in advance, Saint Cyrs and Marmonts corps brought up the rear. Vandamme caught up with Alexander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoys forces near the town of Kulm, the situation was very dangerous for the allies, if Vandamme won the battle, the French would take the passes in the mountain, and the retreating Coalition army could be trapped by Napoleon. However, Ostermann-Tolstoy rallied all of his troops for a stiff defense, Vandammes situation changed the next day. A Prussian corps commanded by Friedrich von Kleist attacked Vandammes rear guard, Kleist received help from a combined Russian and Austrian attack on his front, under the command of Generals Ostermann-Tolstoy and von Colloredo-Mansfeld.
In an attempt to repulse attacks on his front and rear. The inexperienced French troops were unable to fend off the allies, the allies lost approximately 13,000 soldiers killed or wounded. In Vandammes corps there were two Polish regiments of Uhlans, part of cavalry divisions under the command of General Jean Corbineau and these regiments were used by Vandamme to defend against enemy cavalry charges. One regiment, commanded by Colonel Maximilian Fredro, was attacked after withdrawing to a defile, the other regiment of Uhlans, under the command of Count Tomasz Łubieński successfully withdrew. Thus, by winning this battle, Ostermann-Tolstoy and his troops succeeded in buying much needed time for the Coalition armies to regroup after the Battle of Dresden. According to a French anecdote, after the battle Vandamme was brought to and accused by Emperor Alexander I of Russia of being a brigand and plunderer. He retorted, I am neither a plunderer nor a brigand and this statement apparently hinted at the widespread belief that Alexander I was implicated in the murder of his father, Emperor Paul I.
The battlefield is mostly built over, there is a large monument topped with a lion next door to the Hotel Napoleon. Jadwiga Nadzieja Lipsk 1813 historical battles serie published in Warsaw by Bellona 1998 ISBN 83-11-08826-8 pp. 57–59, Battle of Kulm Memoirs of the Duke Rovigo
The Austrian Empire was an empire in Central Europe created out of the realms of the Habsburgs by proclamation in 1804. It was an empire and one of Europes great powers. Geographically it was the second largest country in Europe after the Russian Empire and it was the third most populous after Russia and France, as well as the largest and strongest country in the German Confederation. Proclaimed in response to the First French Empire, it overlapped with the Holy Roman Empire until the dissolution in 1806. The Ausgleich of 1867 elevated Hungarys status and it became a separate entity from the Empire entirely, joining with it in the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. Changes shaping the nature of the Holy Roman Empire took place during conferences in Rastatt, on 24 March 1803, the Imperial Recess was declared, which reduced the number of ecclesiastical states from 81 to only 3 and the free imperial cities from 51 to 6. This measure was aimed at replacing the old constitution of the Holy Roman Empire, taking this significant change into consideration, the German Emperor Francis II created the title Emperor of Austria, for himself and his successors.
In 1804 the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, who was ruler of the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy, founded the Empire of Austria. In doing so he created a formal overarching structure for the Habsburg Monarchy, to safeguard his dynastys imperial status he adopted the additional hereditary title of Emperor of Austria. Hungarys affairs remained administered by its own institutions as they had been beforehand, thus under the new arrangements no Imperial institutions were involved in its internal government. The fall and dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire was accelerated by French intervention in the Empire in September 1805, on 20 October 1805, an Austrian army led by general Karl Mack von Leiberich was defeated by French armies near the town of Ulm. The French victory resulted in the capture of 20,000 Austrian soldiers, Napoleons army won another victory at Austerlitz on 2 December 1805. Francis was forced into negotiations with the French from 4 to 6 December 1805, the French victories encouraged rulers of certain imperial territories to assert their formal independence from the Empire.
On 10 December 1805, the prince-elector Duke of Bavaria proclaimed himself King, finally, on 12 December, the Margrave of Baden was given the title of Grand Duke. In addition, each of these new countries signed a treaty with France, the Treaty of Pressburg between France and Austria, signed in Pressburg on 26 December, enlarged the territory of Napoleons German allies at the expense of defeated Austria. Certain Austrian holdings in Germany were passed to French allies—the King of Bavaria, the King of Württemberg, Austrian claims on those German states were renounced without exception. On 12 July 1806, the Confederation of the Rhine was established, comprising 16 sovereigns and this confederation, under French influence, put an end to the Holy Roman Empire. On 6 August 1806, even Francis recognized the new state of things and proclaimed the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, as he did not want Napoleon to succeed him
War of the Sixth Coalition
After the disastrous French invasion of Russia of 1812, the continental powers joined Russia, the United Kingdom and the rebels in Spain who were already at war with France. The War of the Sixth Coalition saw major battles at Lützen, the even larger Battle of Leipzig was the largest battle in European history before World War I. Ultimately, Napoleons earlier setbacks in Russia and Germany proved to be the seeds of his undoing, with their armies reorganized, the allies drove Napoleon out of Germany in 1813 and invaded France in 1814. The Allies defeated the remaining French armies, occupied Paris, and forced Napoleon to abdicate, the French monarchy was revived by the allies, who handed rule to the heir of the House of Bourbon in the Bourbon Restoration. This was not however the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon subsequently escaped from his captivity and returned to power in France, sparking the War of the Seventh Coalition in 1815. In 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia to compel Emperor Alexander I to remain in the Continental System, the Grande Armée, consisting of as many as 650,000 men, crossed the Neman River on 23 June 1812.
Russia proclaimed a Patriotic War, while Napoleon proclaimed a Second Polish War, but against the expectations of the Poles, who supplied almost 100,000 troops for the invasion force, and having in mind further negotiations with Russia, he avoided any concessions toward Poland. Russian forces fell back, destroying everything potentially of use to the invaders until giving battle at Borodino where the two armies fought a devastating but inconclusive battle. Following the battle the Russians withdrew, thus opening the road to Moscow, by 14 September the French had occupied Moscow but found the city practically empty. Alexander I refused to capitulate, leaving the French in the city of Moscow with little food or shelter and winter approaching. In these circumstances, and with no path to victory. Total losses of the Grand Army were at least 370,000 casualties as a result of fighting and the weather conditions. By November, only 27,000 fit soldiers re-crossed the Berezina River, Napoleon now left his army to return to Paris and prepare a defence of Poland against the advancing Russians.
The situation was not as dire as it might at first have seemed, on 9 January 1812, French troops occupied Swedish Pomerania to end the illegal trade with the United Kingdom from Sweden, which was in violation of the Continental System. Swedish estates were confiscated and Swedish officers and soldiers were taken as prisoners, in response, Sweden declared neutrality and signed the secret Treaty of Saint Petersburg with Russia against France and Denmark–Norway on 5 April. On 18 July, the Treaty of Örebro formally ended the wars between Britain and Sweden and Britain and Russia, forming an alliance between Russia and Sweden. However, when Napoleon marched on Moscow, neither Britain nor Sweden would give any support to Russia. The alliance existed only on paper, according to the Treaty of Tilsit, Prussia had to support Napoleons invasion of Russia
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I reigned as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825. He was the son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg, Alexander was the first Russian King of Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland. He was sometimes called Alexander the Blessed and he was born in Saint Petersburg to Grand Duke Paul Petrovich, Emperor Paul I, and succeeded to the throne after his father was murdered. He ruled Russia during the period of the Napoleonic Wars. As prince and emperor, Alexander often used liberal rhetoric, in the first years of his reign, he initiated some minor social reforms and major, liberal educational reforms, such as building more universities. He promised constitutional reforms and a desperately needed reform of serfdom in Russia, Alexander appointed Mikhail Speransky, the son of a village priest, as one of his closest advisors. The Collegia was abolished and replaced by the The State Council, plans were made to set up a parliament and sign a constitution.
In foreign policy, he changed Russias position relative to France four times between 1804 and 1812 among neutrality and alliance and he fought a small-scale naval war against Britain between 1807 and 1812. He and Napoleon could never agree, especially about Poland, the tsars greatest triumph came in 1812 as Napoleons invasion of Russia proved a total disaster for the French. As part of the coalition against Napoleon he gained some spoils in Finland and Poland. He formed the Holy Alliance to suppress revolutionary movements in Europe that he saw as threats to legitimate Christian monarchs. He helped Austrias Klemens von Metternich in suppressing all national and liberal movements, in the second half of his reign he was increasingly arbitrary and fearful of plots against him, he ended many earlier reforms. He purged schools of teachers, as education became more religiously oriented as well as politically conservative. Speransky was replaced as advisor with the artillery inspector Aleksey Arakcheyev.
Alexander died of typhus in December 1825 while on a trip to southern Russia and he left no children as heirs and both of his brothers wanted the other to become emperor. After a period of confusion that included the failed Decembrist revolt of liberal army officers, he was succeeded by his younger brother. Alexander and his younger brother Constantine were raised by their grandmother, some sources allege that she planned to remove her son Paul I from the succession altogether. From the free-thinking atmosphere of the court of Catherine and his Swiss tutor, Frédéric-César de La Harpe, but from his military governor, Nikolay Saltykov, he imbibed the traditions of Russian autocracy
Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814)
The Treaty of Fontainebleau was an agreement established in Fontainebleau, France, on 11 April 1814, between Napoleon I and representatives from the Austrian Empire and Prussia. The treaty was signed at Paris on 11 April, by the plenipotentiaries of both sides, and ratified by Napoleon on 13 April, with this treaty, the allies ended Napoleons rule as emperor of France and sent him into exile on Elba. In the War of the Sixth Coalition, a coalition of Austria, Russia, the United Kingdom and a number of German states, drove Napoleon out of Germany in 1813. On 31 March, the Coalition powers issued a declaration to the French nation, The allied powers having occupied Paris, the intentions which I have just expressed are common to me with all the allied powers. Alexander, Paris, 31st March 1814, Three P. M, the next day the French Senate agreed to the Coalitions terms and passed a resolution deposing Napoleon. They passed a decree dated 5 April, justifying their actions, Napoleon Buonaparte is cast down from the throne, and the right of succession in his family is abolished.
The French people and army are absolved from their oath of fidelity to him, the present decree shall be transmitted to the departments and armies, and proclaimed immediately in all the quarters of the capital. During 3 April 1814, word reached Napoleon who was at the Palace of Fontainebleau that the French Senate had dethroned him. While the plenipotentiaries were travelling to deliver their message, Napoleon heard that Auguste Marmont had placed his corps in a hopeless position and that their surrender was inevitable. The Coalition sovereigns were in no mood to compromise and rejected Napoleons offer, A regency with the Empress and her son, sounds well, I admit, in vain will he promise to remain quiet in the retreat which will be assigned to him. You know even better than I his devouring activity, his ambition, some fine morning he will put himself at the head of the regency, or in its place, the war will recommence, and all Europe will be on fire. The very dread of such an occurrence will oblige the Allies to keep their armies on foot, and thus frustrate all their intentions in making peace.
Over the next few days with his reign over France now at an end, the treaty was negotiated and signed by the plenipotentiaries in Paris on 11 April. The agreement contained a total of twenty-one articles, all of Napoleons successors and family members were prohibited from attaining power in France. The treaty established the island of Elba as a principality to be ruled by Napoleon. Elbas sovereignty and flag were guaranteed recognition by foreign powers in the accord, in another tenet of the agreement, the Duchy of Parma, the Duchy of Placentia, and the Duchy of Guastalla were ceded to Empress Marie-Louise. Moreover, a male descendant of Empress Marie-Louise would be known as the Prince of Parma, Placentia. He was permitted to take with him 400 men to serve as his personal guard, the signatories were Caulaincourt, Duke of Vicenza, Marshal MacDonald, Duke of Tarentum, Marshal Ney, Duke of Elchingen, Prince Metternich, Count Nesselrode, and Baron Hardenberg
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte was a French diplomat and nobleman, the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily, and King of Spain. After the fall of Napoleon, Joseph styled himself Comte de Survilliers, Joseph was born in 1768 to Carlo Buonaparte and Maria Letizia Ramolino at Corte, the capital of the Corsican Republic. In the year of his birth, Corsica was invaded by France and his father was originally a follower of the Corsican Patriot leader, Pasquale Paoli, but became a supporter of French rule. As a lawyer and diplomat, Joseph served in the Cinq-Cents and was the French ambassador to Rome, in 1795 Joseph was a member of the Council of Ancients, where he used his position to help his brother overthrow the Directory four years later. The Château de Villandry had been seized by the French Revolutionary government, in 1806, Joseph was given military command of Naples, and shortly afterward was made king by Napoleon, to be replaced two years by his sisters husband, Joachim Murat.
Joseph was made King of Spain in August 1808, soon after the French invasion, Joseph somewhat reluctantly left Naples, where he was popular, and arrived in Spain where he was extremely unpopular. His arrival sparked the legitimate Spanish revolt against French rule, Joseph temporarily retreated with much of the French Army to northern Spain. Joseph and his supporters never established complete control over the country, King Josephs Spanish supporters were called josefinos or afrancesados. During his reign, he ended the Spanish Inquisition, partly because Napoleon was at odds with Pope Pius VII at the time, during Josephs rule of Spain and Venezuela declared independence from Spain. King Joseph abdicated and returned to France after the main French forces were defeated by a British-led coalition at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813. He was seen by Bonapartists as the rightful Emperor of the French after the death of Napoleons own son Napoleon II in 1832, Josephs home was located near the confluence of Crosswicks Creek and the Delaware River.
He considerably expanded Sayres home and created extensive gardens in the picturesque style, when his first home was destroyed by fire in January 1820 he converted his stables into a second grand house. At Point Breeze, Joseph entertained many of the leading intellectuals, reputedly some Mexican revolutionaries offered to crown him Emperor of Mexico in 1820, but he declined. Joseph Bonaparte returned to Europe, where he died in Florence, Italy and he married Marie Julie Clary daughter of François Clary on 1 August 1794 in Cuges-les-Pins, France. They had three daughters, Julie Joséphine Bonaparte, zénaïde Laetitia Julie Bonaparte, married, in 1822 to Charles Lucien Bonaparte. Charlotte Napoléone Bonaparte, married, in 1826 to Napoleon Louis Bonaparte and he claimed the two surviving daughters as his heirs. He sired two children with Maria Giulia, the Countess of Atri, Giulio Teresa, Joseph had two American daughters born at Point Breeze, his estate in Bordentown, New Jersey, by his mistress, Annette Savage, Pauline Anne, died young.
He was asked by his brother Napoleon to monitor freemasonry as Grand Master of the Grand Orient of France, with Cambacérès he managed the post-revolution rebirth of the Order in France