France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion and the arts; the City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €681 billion in 2016, accounting for 31 percent of the GDP of France, was the 5th largest region by GDP in the world. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong-Kong, in 2018; the city is a major rail and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly.
Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015. Paris is known for its museums and architectural landmarks: the Louvre was the most visited art museum in the world in 2018, with 10.2 million visitors. The Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie are noted for their collections of French Impressionist art, the Pompidou Centre Musée National d'Art Moderne has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe; the historical district along the Seine in the city centre is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Popular landmarks in the centre of the city include the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and the Gothic royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, both on the Île de la Cité. Paris received 23 million visitors in 2017, measured by hotel stays, with the largest numbers of foreign visitors coming from the United States, the UK, Germany and China.
It was ranked as the third most visited travel destination in the world in 2017, after Bangkok and London. The football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are based in Paris; the 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located just north of Paris in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympics; the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the 1960, 1984, 2016 UEFA European Championships were held in the city and, every July, the Tour de France bicycle race finishes there. The name "Paris" is derived from the Celtic Parisii tribe; the city's name is not related to the Paris of Greek mythology. Paris is referred to as the City of Light, both because of its leading role during the Age of Enlightenment and more because Paris was one of the first large European cities to use gas street lighting on a grand scale on its boulevards and monuments.
Gas lights were installed on the Place du Carousel, Rue de Rivoli and Place Vendome in 1829. By 1857, the Grand boulevards were lit. By the 1860s, the boulevards and streets of Paris were illuminated by 56,000 gas lamps. Since the late 19th century, Paris has been known as Panam in French slang. Inhabitants are known in French as Parisiens, they are pejoratively called Parigots. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the Paris area from around the middle of the 3rd century BC. One of the area's major north–south trade routes crossed the Seine on the île de la Cité; the Parisii minted their own coins for that purpose. The Romans began their settlement on Paris' Left Bank; the Roman town was called Lutetia. It became a prosperous city with a forum, temples, an amphitheatre. By the end of the Western Roman Empire, the town was known as Parisius, a Latin name that would become Paris in French. Christianity was introduced in the middle of the 3rd century AD by Saint Denis, the first Bishop of Paris: according to legend, when he refused to renounce his faith before the Roman occupiers, he was beheaded on the hill which became known as Mons Martyrum "Montmartre", from where he walked headless to the north of the city.
Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. As the Frankish domination of Gaul began, there was a gradual immigration by the Franks to Paris and the Parisian Francien dialects were born. Fortification of the Île-de-la-Citie failed to avert sacking by Vikings in 845, but Paris' strategic importance—with its bridges prevent
Belluno, is a town and province in the Veneto region of northern Italy. Located about 100 kilometres north of Venice, Belluno is the capital of the province of Belluno and the most important city in the Eastern Dolomites region. With its 36,000 inhabitants, it is the largest populated area of Valbelluna, it is one of the 15 municipalities of the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park. The ancient city of Belluno rises above a cliff spur near the confluence of the Torrente Ardo and the Piave River. To the north is the imposing Schiara range of the Dolomites, with the famous Gusela del Vescovà, Mounts Serva and Talvena rising above the city. To the south, the foothills of the Alps separate Belluno from the Venetian plain. Further to the south is the Nevegal, in the Castionese area, well known for its skiing resorts; the average annual temperature in Belluno is 9 °C, the average annual precipitation is 137 cm. The name of the city is derived from Celtic belo-dunum which means "splendid hill." The name was inspired by the favorable position within the valley.
It is conjectured that the population of the area that became Belluno was Venetic with a strong Celtic minority. However, as the Romans expanded northward into the Alps, the Celtic either emigrated or were absorbed; the people of the area swore friendship to Rome in the 225 BC conflict with the Gauls and again during the invasion by Hannibal in the Second Punic War. Founded around 220-200 BC the initial influence of Rome was military and commercial. Strategically located, the town protected cities to the south. Belluno became a supplier of iron and copper. Within the Roman sphere of influence, the town was juridically and politically incorporated into the Roman Republic by the second century BC. Sometime between the death of Julius Caesar and the ascent of Augustus, Bellunum became a Roman municipium and its people were ascribed to the Roman tribe Papiria; the town was ruled by quattorviri juri dicendo, by quattorviri aedilicia potestate, by a Council of Elders. Under Augustus, it became part of Regio X Histria.
Among its citizens were Caius Flavius Hostilius and his wife Domitia, whose 3rd century sarcophagus lies next to the church of San Stefano. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it was ruled by the Lombards and the Carolingians. From the late 9th century it was ruled by a count-bishop and it received a castle and a line of walls, it was a possession of the Ghibelline family of the Ezzelino. After having longly contended the nearby territory with Treviso, in the end Belluno gave itself to the Republic of Venice; the city was thenceforth an important hub for the transport of lumber from the Cadore through the Piave river. It remained Venetian until 1797. After the fall of the Republic, Belluno was an Austrian possession, until it was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1866; the cathedral was much damaged by the earthquake of 1873, which destroyed a considerable portion of the town, though the campanile stood firm. The Duomo, with the 18th-century bell tower designed by Filippo Juvarra; the church's plan is attributed to the Venetian architect Tullio Lombardo Palazzo dei Rettori The red edifice of the Communal Palace The Bishop's Palace, erected in 1190 by the count-bishop Gerardo de' Taccoli The Fountain of Piazza del Duomo Baroque church of San Pietro in Gothic style.
It includes five paintings by three by Sebastiano Ricci. Palazzo del Capitano The 16th-century church of San Rocco Santo Stefano church, housing several 15th-century paintings by local masters, it includes an Adoration of the Magi, from Tiziano's workshop. The Romanesque church of San Biagio Porta Dojona and Porta Rugo: gates in the ancient walls Santa Maria dei Battuti: 16th-century church Antole, Bolzano Bellunese, Caleipo-Sossai, Castoi, Cavarzano, Chiesurazza, Col di Piana, Col di Salce, Cusighe, Fiammoi, Giazzoi, Madeago, Miér, Orzes, Pra de Luni, Safforze, Salce, San Pietro in Campo, Sois, Sossai, Tisoi, Vignole, Visome. Baldenich, Borgo Garibaldi, Borgo Piave, Borgo Prà, Lambioi, Quartier Cadore, San Lorenzo, San Pellegrino, San Francesco, Via Cairoli, Via Feltre-Maraga, Via Montegrappa. State roads lead from Belluno to Feltre, Ponte nelle Alpi and Vittorio Veneto. Belluno railway station, at Piazzale della Stazione, forms part of the Calalzo–Padua railway, it was opened in 1912, replaced an earlier station opened in 1886.
Its passenger building, designed by the architect Roberto Narducci, was constructed in 1928. The bus station is at the Piazzale della Stazione, next to the railway station. Marco Paolini, stage actor Dino Buzzati and journalist, born in Belluno Pope Gregory XVI Andrea Brustolon, sculptor Ippolito Caffi, painter Sebastiano Ricci, painter Marco Ricci, painter Luigi Luca Cavalli Sforza, human geneticist, pioneer of human genome project Pope John Paul I Bernardino Vitulini, painter Belluno is twinned with: Cervia, Italy Bend, United States Province of Belluno Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park Bellunovirtuale Adorable Belluno: official tourism website of Belluno
Battle of Friedland
The Battle of Friedland was a major engagement of the Napoleonic Wars between the armies of the French Empire commanded by Napoleon I and the armies of the Russian Empire led by Count von Bennigsen. Napoleon and the French obtained a decisive victory that routed much of the Russian army, which retreated chaotically over the Alle River by the end of the fighting; the battlefield is located near the town of Pravdinsk, Russia. The engagement at Friedland was a strategic necessity after the Battle of Eylau earlier in 1807 had failed to yield a decisive verdict for either side; the battle began when Bennigsen noticed the isolated corps of Marshal Lannes at the town of Friedland. Bennigsen, who planned only to secure his march northward to Wehlau and never intended to risk an engagement against Napoleon's numerically-superior forces, thought he had a good chance of destroying these isolated French units and ordered his entire army over the Alle River. Lannes held his ground against determined Russian attacks until Napoleon could bring additional forces onto the field.
Bennigsen could have recalled the Russian forces, numbering about 50,000–60,000 men, retreated across the river before the arrival of Napoleon's entire army but, being in poor health, decided to stay at Friedland and took no measures to protect his exposed and exhausted army. By late afternoon, the French had amassed a force of 80,000 troops on the battlefield. Relying on superior numbers, Napoleon concluded that the moment had come and ordered a massive assault against the Russian left flank; the sustained French attack pressed them against the river behind. Unable to withstand the pressure, the Russians broke and started escaping across the Alle, where an unknown number of them died from drowning; the Russian army suffered horrific casualties at Friedland–losing over 40% of its soldiers on the battlefield. Napoleon's overwhelming victory was enough to convince the Russian political establishment that peace was necessary. Friedland ended the War of the Fourth Coalition, as Emperor Alexander I reluctantly entered peace negotiations with Napoleon.
These discussions culminated in the Treaties of Tilsit, by which Russia agreed to join the Continental System against Great Britain and by which Prussia lost half of its territories. The lands lost by Prussia were converted into the new Kingdom of Westphalia, governed by Napoleon's brother, Jérôme. Tilsit gave France control of the Ionian Islands, a vital and strategic entry point into the Mediterranean Sea; some historians regard the political settlements at Tilsit as the height of Napoleon's empire because there was no longer any continental power challenging the French domination of Europe. Prior to Friedland, Europe had become embroiled in the War of the Third Coalition in 1805. Following the French victory at the Battle of Austerlitz in December 1805, Prussia went to war in 1806 to recover her position as the leading power of Central Europe. Franco-Prussian tensions increased after Austerlitz. Napoleon insisted; this adversely affected the German merchant class. Napoleon ordered a raid to seize a subversive, anti-Napoleonic bookseller named Johann Philipp Palm in August 1806, made a final attempt to secure terms with Britain by offering her Hanover, which infuriated Prussia.
The Prussians began to mobilize on August 9, 1806, issued an ultimatum on August 26: they required French troops to withdraw to the west bank of the Rhine by October 8 on pain of war between the two nations. Napoleon aimed to win the war by destroying the Prussian armies before the Russians could arrive. 180,000 French troops began to cross the Franconian forest on October 2, 1806, deployed in a bataillon-carré system designed to meet threats from any possible direction. On October 14 the French won decisively at the large double-battle of Jena-Auerstedt. A famous pursuit followed, by the end of the campaign the Prussians had lost 25,000 killed and wounded, 140,000 prisoners, more than 2,000 cannon. A few Prussian units managed to cross the Oder River into Poland, but Prussia lost the vast majority of its army. Russia now had to face France alone. By November 18 French forces under Louis Nicolas Davout had covered half the distance to Warsaw, Augereau's men had neared Bromberg, Jérôme Bonaparte's troops had reached the approaches of Kalisz.
When the French arrived in Poland, the local people hailed them as liberators. The Russian general Bennigsen worried that French forces might cut him off from Buxhoevden's army, so he abandoned Warsaw and retreated to the right bank of the Vistula. On November 28, 1806, French troops under Murat entered Warsaw; the French pursued the fleeing Russians and a significant battle developed around Pułtusk on December 26. The result remained in doubt, but Bennigsen wrote to the Tsar that he had defeated 60,000 French troops, as a result he gained overall command of the Russian armies in Poland. At this point, Marshal Ney began to extend his forces to procure food supplies. Bennigsen noticed a good opportunity to strike at an isolated French corps, but he abandoned his plans once he realized Napoléon's maneuvers intended to trap his army; the Russians withdrew towards Allenstein, to Eylau. On February 7 the Russians fought Soult's corps for possession of Eylau. Daybreak on February 8 saw 44,500 French troops on the field against 67,000 Russians, but after receiving reinforcements the French had 75,000 men against 76,000.
Napoleon hoped to pin Bennigsen's army long enough to allow Ney's and Davout's troops to outflank the Russians. A fierce struggle ensued; the Frenc
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions and led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict; the wars are categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Sixth, the Seventh. Napoleon, upon ascending to First Consul of France in 1799, had inherited a chaotic republic. In 1805, Austria and Russia waged war against France. In response, Napoleon defeated the allied Russo-Austrian army at Austerlitz in December 1805, considered his greatest victory. At sea, the British defeated the joint Franco-Spanish navy in the Battle of Trafalgar on October 1805; this victory prevented the invasion of Britain itself. Concerned about the increasing French power, Prussia led the creation of the Fourth Coalition with Russia and Sweden, the resumption of war in October 1806.
Napoleon defeated the Prussians in Jena and the Russians in Friedland, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. The peace failed, though, as war broke out in 1809, when the badly prepared Fifth Coalition, led by Austria, was defeated in Wagram. Hoping to isolate Britain economically, Napoleon launched an invasion of Portugal, the only remaining British ally in continental Europe. After occupying Lisbon in November 1807, with the bulk of French troops present in Spain, Napoleon seized the opportunity to turn against his former ally, depose the reigning Spanish Bourbon family and declare his brother King of Spain in 1808 as Joseph I; the Spanish and Portuguese revolted with British support, after six years of fighting, expelled the French from Iberia in 1814. Concurrently, unwilling to bear economic consequences of reduced trade violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon to launch a massive invasion of Russia in 1812; the resulting campaign ended with the dissolution and disastrous withdrawal of the French Grande Armée.
Encouraged by the defeat, Prussia and Russia formed the Sixth Coalition and began a new campaign against France, decisively defeating Napoleon at Leipzig in October 1813 after several inconclusive engagements. The Allies invaded France from the East, while the Peninsular War spilled over southwestern French territory. Coalition troops captured Paris at the end of March 1814 and forced Napoleon to abdicate in early April, he was exiled to the island of Elba, the Bourbons were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped in February 1815, reassumed control of France; the Allies responded with the Seventh Coalition, defeating Napoleon permanently at Waterloo in June 1815 and exiling him to St Helena where he died six years later. The Congress of Vienna redrew the borders of Europe, brought a lasting peace to the continent; the wars had profound consequences on global history, including the spread of nationalism and liberalism, the rise of the British Empire as the world's foremost power, the appearance of independence movements in Latin America and subsequent collapse of the Spanish Empire, the fundamental reorganisation of German and Italian territories into larger states, the establishment of radically new methods of conducting warfare.
Napoleon seized power in 1799. There are a number of opinions on the date to use as the formal beginning of the Napoleonic Wars; the Napoleonic Wars began with the War of the Third Coalition, the first of the Coalition Wars against the First French Republic after Napoleon's accession as leader of France. Britain ended the Treaty of Amiens and declared war on France in May 1803. Among the reasons were Napoleon's changes to the international system in Western Europe in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Kagan argues that Britain was irritated in particular by Napoleon's assertion of control over Switzerland. Furthermore, Britons felt insulted when Napoleon stated that their country deserved no voice in European affairs though King George III was an elector of the Holy Roman Empire. 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 enforced a naval blockade of France to starve it of resources.
Napoleon responded with economic embargoes against Britain, sought to eliminate Britain's 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; the British responded by capturing the Danish fleet, breaking up the league, secured dominance over the seas, allowing it to continue its strategy. Napoleon won the War of the Third Coalition at Austerlitz, forcing the Austrian Empire out of the war and formally dissolving the Holy Roman Empire. Within months, Prussia declared war; this war ended disastrously for Prussia and occupied within 19 days of the beginning of the campaign. Napoleon subsequently defeated the Russian Empire at Friedland, creating powerful client states in Eastern Europe and ending the fourth coalition. Concurrently, the refusal of Portugal to commit to the Con
French invasion of Russia
The French invasion of Russia, known in Russia as the Patriotic War of 1812 and in France as the Russian Campaign, began on 24 June 1812 when Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed the Neman River in an attempt to engage and defeat the Russian army. 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. At the start of the invasion, the Grande Armée numbered 680,000 soldiers, it was the largest army known to have been assembled in the history of warfare up to that point. Through a series of long marches Napoleon pushed the army through Western Russia in an attempt to engage and destroy the Russian army, winning a number of minor engagements and a major battle at Smolensk in August.
Napoleon hoped the battle would win the war for him, but the Russian army slipped away and continued the retreat, leaving Smolensk to burn. As the Russian army fell back, scorched-earth tactics were employed, resulting in villages and crops being destroyed and forcing the French to rely on a supply system, incapable of feeding their large army in the field. 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, with 72,000 casualties, a narrow French victory. The Russian army withdrew the following day, leaving the French again without the decisive victory Napoleon sought. A week Napoleon entered Moscow, which the Russians had abandoned and burned; the loss of Moscow did not compel Alexander I to enter into negotiations, Napoleon stayed on in Moscow for a month, waiting for a peace offer that never came.
On 19 October and his army left Moscow and marched southwest toward Kaluga, where Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov was encamped with the Russian army. After an inconclusive battle at Maloyaroslavets, Napoleon began to retreat back to the Polish border. In the following weeks, the Grande Armée suffered from the onset of the Russian Winter. Lack of food and fodder for the horses, hypothermia from the bitter cold and persistent attacks upon isolated troops from Russian peasants and Cossacks led to great losses in men, a breakdown of discipline and cohesion in the army. More fighting at Vyazma and Krasnoi resulted in further losses for the French; when the remnants of Napoleon's main army crossed the Berezina River in late November, only 27,000 soldiers remained. Following the crossing of the Berezina, Napoleon left the army after much urging from his advisors and with the unanimous approval of his Marshals, he returned to Paris to protect his position as Emperor and to raise more forces to resist the advancing Russians.
The campaign ended after nearly six months on 14 December 1812, with the last French troops leaving Russian soil. The campaign was a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars, it was the greatest and bloodiest of the Napoleonic campaigns, involving more than 1.5 million soldiers, with over 500,000 French and 400,000 Russian casualties. The reputation of Napoleon was shaken, French hegemony in Europe was weakened; the Grande Armée, made up of French and allied invasion forces, was reduced to a fraction of its initial strength. These events triggered a major shift in European politics. France's ally Prussia, soon followed by Austria, broke their imposed alliance with France and switched sides; this triggered the War of the Sixth Coalition. Although the Napoleonic Empire seemed to be at its height in 1810 and 1811, it had in fact declined somewhat from its apogee in 1806–1809. Although most of Western and Central Europe lay under his control—either directly or indirectly through various protectorates and countries defeated by his empire and under treaties favorable for France—Napoleon had embroiled his armies in the costly and drawn-out Peninsular War in Spain and Portugal.
France's economy, army morale, political support at home had noticeably declined. But most Napoleon himself was not in the same physical and mental state as in years past, he had become overweight and prone to various maladies. Despite his troubles in Spain, with the exception of British expeditionary forces to that country, no European power dared move against him; the Treaty of Schönbrunn, which ended the 1809 war between Austria and France, had a clause removing Western Galicia from Austria and annexing it to the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. Russia viewed this as against its interests and as a potential launching-point for an invasion of Russia. In 1811 Russian staff developed a plan of offensive war, assuming a Russian assault on Warsaw and on Danzig. In an attempt to gain increased support from Polish nationalists and patriots, Napoleon in his own words termed this war the Second Polish War. Napoleon's "first" Polish war, the War of the Fourth Coalition to liberate Poland, he saw as such because one of the official declared goals of this war was the resurrection of the Polish state on territories of the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Tsar Alexander found Russia in an economic bind as his country had little in the way of manufacturing, yet was rich in raw materials and relied on trade with Na