France, officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary republic with the capital in Paris. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lille, Toulouse, during the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years War strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a colonial empire was established.
The 16th century was dominated by civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. France became Europes dominant cultural and military power under Louis XIV, in the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. 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, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all the colonies became independent in the 1960s with minimal controversy and typically retained close economic. France has long been a centre of art, science. It hosts Europes fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, France is a developed country with the worlds sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity.
In terms of household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, France remains a great power in the world, 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 member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or country of the Franks
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland, with an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union. The United Kingdom is a monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952, other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the regions of Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester.
The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Wales, the last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capitals, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. The relationships among the countries of the UK have changed over time, Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. A treaty between England and Scotland resulted in 1707 in a unified Kingdom of Great Britain, which merged in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, there are fourteen British Overseas Territories. These are the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, British influence can be observed in the language and legal systems of many of its former colonies. The United Kingdom is a country and has the worlds fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. The UK is considered to have an economy and is categorised as very high in the Human Development Index.
It was the worlds first industrialised country and the worlds foremost power during the 19th, the UK remains a great power with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally. It is a nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth or fifth in the world. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946 and it has been a leading member state of the EU and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. However, on 23 June 2016, a referendum on the UKs membership of the EU resulted in a decision to leave. The Acts of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain, Scotland and Northern Ireland have devolved self-government
Battle of Pombal
The Battle of Pombal was a sharp skirmish during Marshal Massénas retreat from the Lines of Torres Vedras, the first in a series of lauded rearguard actions fought by Michel Ney. At the Battle of Pombal, Ney turned to face the larger Anglo-Portuguese forces, unable to break the Lines of Torres Vedras, Ney was given charge of the rear-guard while the main body of the French army withdrew from Portugal. The rear-guard consisted of Mermets and Marchands divisions, when it became clear to Wellington that he had been deceived, the British-Portuguese left Torres Vedras and began a pursuit. The British caught up with Ney at the town of Pombal, a British advanced-guard much larger than that of the French, the latter consisting of only two battalions of the 6th Light Infantry, attacked the town of Pombal. The two French battalions were overwhelmed by numbers and, after a struggle, the French were forced out of Pombal. It was that Ney rushed in and spoke to the six th Light Infantry, “Chasseurs, ” he said, “you are losing your beautiful reputation, and you will dishonour yourselves forever if you do not drive the enemy out of Pombal.
Those who are brave, with me. ”With these words he galloped towards Pombal, the Anglo-Portuguese driven out, all the way to the river Arunca. Despite success, Ney promptly set fire to the town of Pombal, the next action would be the Battle of Redinha. General Picton was very impressed by Ney’s actions, as the former was able to observe the latter’s deceiving movements, historic Doubts as to the Execution of Marshal Ney 1895. Victoires, conquêtes, désastres, revers et guerres civiles des francais, volume 20
Sharpe (novel series)
Sharpe is a series of historical fiction stories by Bernard Cornwell centred on the character of Richard Sharpe. The stories formed the basis for an ITV television series wherein the character was played by Sean Bean. Cornwells series charts Sharpes progress in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars and he is gradually promoted through the ranks, finally becoming a lieutenant colonel in Sharpes Waterloo. The stories dramatise Sharpes struggle for acceptance and respect from his fellow officers, Sharpe was born a guttersnipe in the rookeries of London. Commissioned an officer on the battlefield, he overcomes class in an army where an officers rank is often bought, unlike many of the officers with whom he serves, Sharpe is an experienced soldier. Sharpe is described as brilliant but wayward in Sharpes Sword, and is portrayed by the author as a loose cannon. A highly skilled leader of troops, he takes part in a range of historical events during the Napoleonic Wars and other conflicts. The earliest books chronologically are set in India, and chronicle Sharpes years in the ranks and he is known as a dangerous man to have as an enemy, he is a skilled marksman and grows to be a good swordsman.
In most of the novels he is a Rifle Officer, armed with a 1796 pattern heavy cavalry sword and Baker rifle and he is described as being six feet tall, having an angular, tanned face, long black hair and blue eyes. By the end of the series he has had three children and two wives, although not at the same time, Richard Sharpe was born in London circa 26 June 1777 to a prostitute residing in Cat Lane, and an unknown father. When Sharpe is three, his mother is killed in the Gordon Riots, leaving him an orphan. With no other relatives to claim him, Sharpe is deposited in Jem Hockings foundling home at Brewhouse Lane, Wapping. He is malnourished and regularly beaten, resulting in his being undersized for his age, because of this, he is eventually sold to a master chimney sweep to train as an apprentice at the relatively late age of 12. Fearing the high mortality rate among apprentice sweeps, Sharpe flees to the Rookery of St Giles and he stays under Maggies protection for three years, learning various forms of thieving.
After killing a gang leader during a fight over Maggie, he escapes from London to Yorkshire at the age of fifteen and it is possible that Sharpe learned to play cricket in Yorkshire, as in Sharpes Waterloo the Duke of Wellington attests that Sharpe bowls fiendish. He played while training with the Rifles at Shorncliffe Redoubt, within six months of his arrival in Yorkshire, Sharpe kills a second man, the landlord of the tavern where he is working, in a fight over a local girl. To avoid arrest, Sharpe takes the Kings shilling, joining the 33rd Foot, the regiment is first sent to Flanders in 1794, where Sharpe fights in his first battle, at Boxtel. The next year, he and his regiment are posted to India under the command of the British East India Company
The Peninsular War was a military conflict between Napoleons empire and the allied powers of Spain and Portugal, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war started when French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, the Peninsular War overlaps with what the Spanish-speaking world calls the Guerra de la Independencia Española, which began with the Dos de Mayo Uprising on 2 May 1808 and ended on 17 April 1814. The French occupation destroyed the Spanish administration, which fragmented into quarrelling provincial juntas, the British Army, under the Lt. Gen. Arthur Wellesley, guarded Portugal and campaigned against the French in Spain alongside the reformed Portuguese army. The demoralised Portuguese army was reorganised and refitted under the command of Gen, in the following year Wellington scored a decisive victory over King Josephs army at Vitoria. The years of fighting in Spain were a burden on Frances Grande Armée. The Spanish armies were beaten and driven to the peripheries.
This drain on French resources led Napoleon, who had provoked a total war. War and revolution against Napoleons occupation led to the Spanish Constitution of 1812, the burden of war destroyed the social and economic fabric of Portugal and Spain, and ushered in an era of social turbulence, political instability and economic stagnation. Devastating civil wars between liberal and absolutist factions, led by officers trained in the Peninsular War, persisted in Iberia until 1850. The cumulative crises and disruptions of invasion and restoration led to the independence of most of Spains American colonies, the Treaties of Tilsit, negotiated during a meeting in July 1807 between Emperors Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon, concluded the War of the Fourth Coalition. With Prussia shattered, and Russia allied with France, Napoleon expressed irritation that Portugal was open to trade with the United Kingdom, Prince John of Braganza, regent for his insane mother Queen Maria I, had declined to join the emperors Continental System against British trade.
After a few days, a large force started concentrating at Bayonne, meanwhile the Portuguese governments resolve was stiffening, and shortly afterward Napoleon was once again told that Portugal would not go beyond its original agreements. After he received the Portuguese answer, he ordered Junots corps to cross the frontier into Spain, while all this was going on, the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau had been signed between France and Spain. The document was drawn up by Napoleons marshal of the palace Géraud Duroc and Eugenio Izquierdo, the treaty proposed to carve up Portugal into three entities. Porto and the part was to become the Kingdom of Northern Lusitania. The southern portion, as the Principality of the Algarves, would fall to Godoy, the rump of the country, centered on Lisbon, was to be administered by the French. According to the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Junots invasion force was to be supported by 25,500 men in three Spanish columns, Gen. Taranco and 6,500 troops were ordered to march from Vigo to seize Porto in the north.
Capt. Gen. Solano would advance from Badajoz with 9,500 soldiers to capture Elvas, Gen. Caraffa and 9,500 men were instructed to assemble at Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo, and cooperate with Junots main force
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established as a sovereign state on 1 January 1801 by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. The growing desire for an Irish Republic led to the Irish War of Independence, Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom, and the state was consequently renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Britain financed the European coalition that defeated France in 1815 in the Napoleonic Wars, the British Empire thereby became the foremost world power for the next century. The Crimean War with Russia and the Boer wars were relatively small operations in a largely peaceful century, rapid industrialisation that began in the decades prior to the states formation continued up until the mid-19th century. A devastating famine, exacerbated by government inaction in the century, led to demographic collapse in much of Ireland. It was an era of economic modernization and growth of industry and finance.
Outward migration was heavy to the colonies and to the United States. Britain built up a large British Empire in Africa and Asia, India, by far the most important possession, saw a short-lived revolt in 1857. In foreign policy Britain favoured free trade, which enabled its financiers and merchants to operate successfully in many otherwise independent countries, as in South America. Britain formed no permanent military alliances until the early 20th century, when it began to cooperate with Japan and Russia, and moved closer to the United States. A brief period of limited independence for Ireland came to an end following the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the British governments fear of an independent Ireland siding against them with the French resulted in the decision to unite the two countries. This was brought about by legislation in the parliaments of both kingdoms and came into effect on 1 January 1801, King George III was bitterly opposed to any such Emancipation and succeeded in defeating his governments attempts to introduce it.
When the Treaty of Amiens ended the war, Britain agreed to return most of the territories it had seized, in May 1803, war was declared again. In 1806, Napoleon issued the series of Berlin Decrees, which brought into effect the Continental System and this policy aimed to eliminate the threat from the British by closing French-controlled territory to foreign trade. Frances population and agricultural capacity far outstripped that of the British Isles, Napoleon expected that cutting Britain off from the European mainland would end its economic hegemony. The Spanish uprising in 1808 at last permitted Britain to gain a foothold on the Continent, after Napoleons surrender and exile to the island of Elba, peace appeared to have returned. The Allies united and the armies of Wellington and Blucher defeated Napoleon once, simultaneous with the Napoleonic Wars, trade disputes, arming hostile Indians and British impressment of American sailors led to the War of 1812 with the United States. The war was little noticed in Britain, which could devote few resources to the conflict until the fall of Napoleon in 1814, American frigates inflicted a series of defeats on the Royal Navy, which was short on manpower due to the conflict in Europe
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
His defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 put him in the top rank of Britains military heroes. Wellesley was born in Dublin, belonging to the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland and he was commissioned as an ensign in the British Army in 1787, serving in Ireland as aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland. He was elected as a Member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons and he was a colonel by 1796, and saw action in the Netherlands and in India, where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was appointed governor of Seringapatam and Mysore in 1799 and, as a newly appointed major-general, following Napoleons exile in 1814, he served as the ambassador to France and was granted a dukedom. During the Hundred Days in 1815, he commanded the army which defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Wellesleys battle record is exemplary, he participated in some 60 battles during the course of his military career. Wellington is famous for his defensive style of warfare, resulting in several victories against numerically superior forces while minimising his own losses.
He is regarded as one of the greatest defensive commanders of all time, after ending his active military career, Wellington returned to politics. He was twice British prime minister as part of the Tory party, from 1828 to 1830 and he oversaw the passage of the Catholic Relief Act 1829, but opposed the Reform Act 1832. He continued as one of the figures in the House of Lords until his retirement. As such, he belonged to the Protestant Ascendancy and his biographers mostly follow the contemporary newspaper evidence in saying that he was born 1 May 1769, the day that he was baptised. He was most likely born at his parents townhouse,24 Upper Merrion Street, but his mother Anne, Countess of Mornington, recalled in 1815 that he had been born at 6 Merrion Street, Dublin. He spent most of his childhood at his familys two homes, the first a house in Dublin and the second Dangan Castle,3 miles north of Summerhill on the Trim Road in County Meath. In 1781, Arthurs father died and his eldest brother Richard inherited his fathers earldom and he went to the diocesan school in Trim when at Dangan, Mr Whytes Academy when in Dublin, and Browns School in Chelsea when in London.
He enrolled at Eton, where he studied from 1781 to 1784, Eton had no playing fields at the time. In 1785, a lack of success at Eton, combined with a shortage of funds due to his fathers death, forced the young Wellesley. Until his early twenties, Arthur showed little sign of distinction and his mother grew concerned at his idleness, stating. A year later, Arthur enrolled in the French Royal Academy of Equitation in Angers, where he progressed significantly, becoming a good horseman and learning French, upon returning to England in late 1786, he astonished his mother with his improvement
Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo (1810)
In the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, the French Marshal Michel Ney took the fortified city from Field Marshal Don Andrés Perez de Herrasti on 10 July 1810 after a siege that began on 26 April. Neys VI Corps made up part of a 65, 000-strong army commanded by André Masséna, Herrasti commanded 3 regular battalions from the Avila, Segovia and 1st Majorca Infantry Regiments,375 artillerymen and 60 sappers. These troops were supplemented by 3 battalions of the Volunteers of Ciudad Rodrigo and 1 battalion of the Urban Guard. Viscount Wellington was not however prepared to meet the French in open battle, as he was greatly outnumbered, Herrasti met Ney at the foot of the breach and having been offered the chance of an honourable capitulation, accepted. Ney promised that the people and property of the inhabitants of the city would be respected, all the men who had participated in the defence, and the members of the Central Junta who had encouraged it, would be taken as prisoners to France. The Spanish suffered 461 killed and 994 wounded, while 4,000 men and 118 cannon were captured, Neys VI Corps lost 180 killed and over 1,000 wounded during the siege.
The French soldiery pillaged the city, breaking Neys promise, the siege delayed Massénas invasion of Portugal by over a month. French troops advanced, following up the retreating British fought the Battle of the Côa soon after, the Siege of Almeida was started and ended suddenly with a massive explosion of the fortress magazine on 26 August. With all obstacles cleared from their path, the French could march on Lisbon in strength, the lines were designed to enable a successful defence of Lisbon and avoid a British evacuation of the peninsular, as had happened after the Battle of Corunna in January 1809. A second Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo occurred in January 1812, with the French being besieged this time, the French Campaign in Portugal 1810–1811, An Account by Jean Jacques Pelet. History of the Corps of Royal Engineers Vol I, The Institution of Royal Engineers
Almeida is a fortified village and a municipality in the sub-region of Beira Interior Norte and the District of Guarda, Portugal. The town proper has a population of 1,300 people, the municipality population in 2011 was 7,242, in an area of 517.98 square kilometres. It is located in Riba-Côa river valley, the present Mayor is António Baptista Ribeiro, elected by the Social Democratic Party. The municipal holiday is July 2, the village lies 7.2 kilometres west of the border with Spain and straddles the N332 road. The Rio Côa run northwards a short distance to the west of the village, the towns castle fortress was completed in 1641 and is located to the north of the village and is approached through the two tunnel gates and dry moat named the Portas de São Francisco. Mutzig, Bas-Rhin, France In and around the environment of Almeida, evidence of Human occupation can be back to the Bronze Age. Evidence has found of Roman occupation followed by the Suevi. The first fortification constructed in the settlement were constructed by the Muslims who occupied the village until Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula and it was during this time that the current name was first used, in the form of the Arabic al-Maida.
The village of Almeida was captured from the Moors by the king of Portugal. So important to the security of the country, Sancho had the heavily fortified. The castle was refortified on three occasions by King Dinis, King Manuel I and by King João VI. During the Seven Years War which involved most of the powers of Europe. As a result of the invasion Almeida was captured by Spain in 1762, the fortress around the town guards an important cross-border road from Spain, and underwent several sieges. The siege of 1810, during the Peninsular War, ended spectacularly when a chance shell ignited the gunpowder magazine. Administratively, the municipality is divided into 16 civil parishes, Municipality official website Photos from Almeida
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