Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was the largest of the states of Italy before the Italian unification. It was formed as a union of the Kingdom of Sicily and the Kingdom of Naples, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies lasted from 1815 until 1860, when it was annexed by the Kingdom of Sardinia to form the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. The capitals of the Two Sicilies were in Naples and in Palermo, the kingdom extended over the Mezzogiorno and the island of Sicily. Many went to the United States and Argentina, the kingdom was heavily agricultural, like the other Italian states, the church owned 50–65% of the land by 1750. The name Two Sicilies originated from the division of the medieval Kingdom of Sicily, until 1285, the island of Sicily and the Mezzogiorno each formed part of the Kingdom of Sicily. As a result of the War of the Sicilian Vespers, the King of Sicily lost the island of Sicily to the Crown of Aragon, but remained ruler over the peninsular part of the realm. Although his territory became known as the Kingdom of Naples, he and his successors never gave up the title of King of Sicily, at the same time, the Aragonese rulers of the island of Sicily called their realm the Kingdom of Sicily as well.
Thus, there were two kingdoms calling themselves Sicily, the Two Sicilies, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies resulted from the re-unification of the Kingdom of Sicily with the Kingdom of Naples, by King Alfonso V of Aragon in 1442. The two states had functioned as separate realms since the War of the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, in 1501, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, son of John II, conquered Naples and reunified the two kingdoms under the authority of the newly united Spanish throne. The Kings of Spain bore the title King of Both Sicilies or King of Sicily, at the end of that war, the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 granted Sicily to the Duke of Savoy until the Treaty of Rastatt in 1714 left Naples to the Emperor Charles VI. In 1720 the Emperor and Savoy exchanged Sicily for Sardinia, thus reuniting Naples and Sicily. In 1734, Duke of Parma, son of Philip V of Spain, took the Sicilian crown from the Austrians and became Charles VII & V, giving Parma to his younger brother, Philip. Apart from an interruption under Napoleon, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies remained under the Bourbon line continually until 1860.
In January 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte, in the name of the French Republic, captured Naples and proclaimed the Parthenopaean Republic, King Ferdinand fled from Naples to Sicily until June of that year. In 1806, Napoleon, by French Emperor, again dethroned King Ferdinand and appointed his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, throughout this Napoleonic interruption, King Ferdinand remained in Sicily, with Palermo as his capital. The Congress of Vienna restored King Ferdinand in 1815 and he established a concordat with the Papal States, which previously had a claim to the land. The expedition resulted in a series of defeats for the Sicilian armies facing the growing troops of Garibaldi. After the capture of Palermo and Sicily, Garibaldi disembarked in Calabria and moved towards Naples, the last battles took place at Volturnus in 1860 and at the siege of Gaeta, where King Francis II had sought shelter, hoping for French help, which never came
Napoleon's planned invasion of the United Kingdom
French attempts to invade Ireland in order to destabilise the United Kingdom or as a stepping-stone to Great Britain had already occurred in 1796. From 1803 to 1805 a new army of 200,000 men, known as the Armée des côtes de lOcéan or the Armée dAngleterre, was gathered and trained at camps at Boulogne and Montreuil. A large National Flotilla of invasion barges was built in Channel ports along the coasts of France and the Netherlands, right from Étaples to Flushing, and gathered at Boulogne. This flotilla was initially under the command of Eustache Bruix, but he soon had to return to Paris. A medal was struck and a column erected at Boulogne to celebrate the invasions anticipated success. Though an aerial invasion proved a dead-end, the prospect of one captured the minds of the British print media and public. These preparations were financed by the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, whereby France ceded her huge North American territories to the United States in return for a payment of 50 million French francs, the entire amount was spent on the projected invasion.
The United States had partly funded the purchase by means of a loan from Baring Brothers, for his planned subsidiary invasion of Ireland Napoleon had formed an Irish Legion in 1803, to create an indigenous part of his 20, 000-man Corps dIrelande. Though the fleet-test was unsuccessful, Britain continued to be on alert with defences from invasion. With the flotilla and encampment at Boulogne visible from the south coast of England, Martello towers were built along the English coast to counter the invasion threat, in the areas closest to France new fortifications were built and existing ones initiated against the 1779 invasion completed or improved. Before the flotilla could cross, Napoleon had to gain control of the English Channel – in his own words, Let us be masters of the Channel for six hours. He envisaged doing this by having the Brest and Toulon Franco–Spanish fleets break out from the British blockade and this, he hoped, would draw off the Royal Navy force under William Cornwallis defending the Western Approaches.
Therefore, on 27 August 1805 Napoleon used the army as the core of the new Grande Armée and had it break camp. The comment attributed to Admiral John Jervis – I do not say they cannot come – I only say they cannot come by sea – had been proved right, the arsenal from the camp is preserved
Gaeta is a city and comune in the province of Latina, in Lazio, central Italy. Set on a promontory stretching towards the Gulf of Gaeta, it is 120 kilometres from Rome and 80 km from Naples, gaetas fortifications were extended and strengthened in the 15th century, especially throughout the history of the Kingdom of Naples. Present day Gaeta is a fishing and oil seaport, and a renowned tourist resort, NATO maintains a naval base of operations at Gaeta. It is the ancient Caieta, situated on the slopes of the Torre di Orlando, Gaeta was an ancient Ionian colony of the Samians according to Strabo, who believed the name stemmed from the Greek kaiétas, which means cave, probably referring to the several harbours. According to Virgils Aeneid, Caieta was Aeneas’ wet-nurse, whom he buried here, like the other Roman resorts, Caieta was linked to the capital of the Empire by Via Appia and its end trunk Via Flacca, through an opposite diverticulum or by-road. Its port was of importance in trade and in war.
Among its antiquities is the mausoleum of Lucius Munatius Plancus, at the beginning of the Middle Ages, after the Lombard invasion, Gaeta remained under suzerainty of the Byzantine Empire. In the following years, like Amalfi and Naples, it would seem to have established itself as an independent port. As Byzantine influence declined in Southern Italy the town began to grow, for fear of the Saracens, in 840 the inhabitants of the neighbouring Formiæ fled to Gaeta. Though under the suzerainty of Byzantium, Gaeta had then, like nearby ports Naples and Amalfi, a republican form of government with a dux, as a strong bulwark against Saracen invasion. Around 830, it became a lordship ruled by hereditary hypati, or consuls, the first of these was Constantine, at this same time the episcopal see of Gaeta was founded when Constantine, Bishop of Formiae, fled thither and established his residence. He was associated with his son Marinus I and they were probably violently overthrown in 866 or 867 by Docibilis I, looking rather to local safety, entered into treaties with the Saracens and abandoned friendly relations with the papacy.
Nevertheless, he expanded the duchy and began construction of the palace. Greatest of the hypati was possibly John I, who helped crush the Saracens at Garigliano in 915, the principle of co-regency governed the early dynasties, Docibilis associated John with him and John in turn associated his son Docibilis II with him. In 933, three generations were briefly co-ruling, John I, Docibilis II, and John II, on the death of Docibilis II, who first took the title dux, the duchy passed from its golden age and entered a decline marked by a division of territory. John II ruled Gaeta and his brother, ruled Fondi with the equivalent title of duke, outlying lands and castles were given away to younger sons and thus the family of the Docibili slowly declined after mid-century. Allegedly, but improbably, from the end of the 9th century, in the mid-10th century, the De Ceremoniis of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus lists the ceremonial title prince of Gaeta among the protocols for letters written to foreigners.
Prince Pandulf IV of Capua captured Gaeta in 1032 and deposed Duke John V, assuming the ducal and consular titles
Battle of Blaauwberg
It established British rule in South Africa, which was to have many ramifications for the region during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A bi-centennial commemoration was held in January 2006, the battle was an incident in Europes Napoleonic Wars. At that time, the Cape Colony belonged to the Batavian Republic, because the sea route around the Cape was important to the British, they decided to seize the colony in order to prevent it—and the sea route—from coming under French control. A British fleet was despatched to the Cape in July 1805, the colony was governed by Lieutenant General Jan Willem Janssens, who was commander-in-chief of its military forces. The forces were small and of quality, and included foreign units hired by the Batavian government. They were backed up by local militia units, the first British warship reached the Cape on Christmas Eve 1805, and attacked two supply ships off the Cape Peninsula. Janssens placed his garrison on alert, when the main fleet sailed into Table Bay on 4 January 1806, he mobilised the garrison, declared martial law, and called up the militia.
After a delay caused by rough seas, two British infantry brigades, under the command of Lt Gen Sir David Baird, landed at Melkbosstrand, north of Cape Town, Janssens moved his forces to intercept them. He had decided that victory could be considered impossible, but the honour of the fatherland demanded a fight and his intention was to attack the British on the beach and to withdraw to the interior, where he hoped to hold out until the French troopships arrived. Janssens halted and formed a line across the veld, the battle began at sunrise, with exchanges of artillery fire. These were followed by an advance by Janssenss militia cavalry, one of Janssenss hired foreign units, in the centre of his line and ran from the field. A British bayonet charge disposed of the units on Janssenss right flank, Janssens began the battle with 2,049 troops, and lost 353 in casualties and desertions. Baird began the battle with 5,399 men, and had 212 casualties, from Blaauwberg, Janssens moved inland to a farm in the Tygerberg area, and from there his troops moved to the Elands Kloof in the Hottentots Holland Mountains, about 50km from Cape Town.
The British forces reached the outskirts of Cape Town on 9 January, to spare the town and its civilian population from attack, the commandant of Cape Town, Lieutenant-Colonel Hieronymus Casimir von Prophalow, sent out a white flag. He handed over the fortifications to Baird, and terms of surrender were negotiated in the day. The formal Articles of Capitulation for the town and the Cape Peninsula were signed the following afternoon,10 January, although the cottage has long since been demolished, Treaty Street still commemorates the event. The tree under which they signed remains to this day and he had only 1,238 men with him, and 211 deserted in the days that followed. Janssens held out in the mountains for a further week, after further consideration, and consultation with his senior officers and advisers, Janssens decided that the bitter cup must be drunk to the bottom
Polish Legions (Napoleonic period)
The Polish Legions in the Napoleonic period, were several Polish military units that served with the French Army, mainly from 1797 to 1803, although some units continued to serve until 1815. After the Third Partition of Poland in 1795, many Poles believed that Revolutionary France, Frances enemies included Polands partitioners, Prussia and Imperial Russia. Many Polish soldiers and volunteers therefore emigrated, especially to Italy and to France, the number of Polish recruits soon reached many thousands. With support from Napoleon Bonaparte, Polish military units were formed, bearing Polish military ranks and they became known as the Polish Legions, a Polish army in exile, under French command. Their best known Polish commanders included Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, Karol Kniaziewicz, the Polish Legions serving alongside the French Army during the Napoleonic Wars saw combat in most of Napoleons campaigns, from the West Indies, through Italy and Egypt. When the Duchy of Warsaw was created in 1807, many of the veterans of the Legions formed a core around which the Duchys army was raised under Józef Poniatowski, among historians there is a degree of uncertainty about the period in which the Legions existed.
Magocsi et al. notes that the heyday of their activity falls in the years 1797–1801, Davies defines the time of their existence as five to six years. The Polish PWN Encyklopedia defines them as operating in the period of 1797–1801. The Polish WIEM Encyklopedia notes that the Legions ended with the death of most of their personnel in the Haitian campaign, which concluded in 1803. Estimates of the strength of the Polish Legions vary and it is believed that between 20,000 and 30,000 men served in the Legions ranks at any one time over the course of their existence. The WIEM Encyklopedia estimate is 21,000 for the period up to 1803, Davies suggests 25,000 for the period of up to 1802–1803, as does Magosci et al. Bideleux and Jeffries offer an estimate of up to 30,000 for the period up to 1801, most of the soldiers came from the ranks of the peasantry, with only about 10 percent being drawn from the nobility. Frances enemies included Polands partitioners, Prussia and Imperial Russia, Paris was the seat of two Polish organizations laying the claim to be the Polish government-in-exile, the Deputation of Franciszek Ksawery Dmochowski and the Agency of Józef Wybicki.
Many Polish soldiers and volunteers therefore emigrated, especially to Italy, the Agency was successful in convincing the French government to organize a Polish military unit. As the French Constitution did not allow for the employment of troops on French soil, the French decided to use the Poles to bolster their allies in Italy. Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, a former high-ranking officer in the army of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Dąbrowski was soon authorized by the French-allied Cisalpine Republic to create the Polish Legions, which would be part of the army of the newly created Republic of Lombardy. This agreement, drafted by Napoleon, was signed on 9 January 1797, the Polish soldiers serving in the Dąbrowski Legion were granted Lombardian citizenship and were paid the same wage as other troops. They were allowed to use their own unique Polish-style uniforms, with some French and Lombardian symbols, by early February 1797 the Legion was 1,200 strong, having been bolstered by the arrival of many new recruits who had deserted from the Austrian army
Battle of Austerlitz
The Battle of Austerlitz, known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle occurred near the town of Austerlitz in the Austrian Empire, Austerlitz brought the War of the Third Coalition to a rapid end, with the Treaty of Pressburg signed by the Austrians in the month. The battle is cited as a tactical masterpiece, in the same league as other historic engagements like Cannae or Arbela. After eliminating an Austrian army during the Ulm Campaign, French forces managed to capture Vienna in November 1805, the Austrians avoided further conflict until the arrival of the Russians bolstered Allied numbers. Napoleon sent his army north in pursuit of the Allies, and he deployed the French army below the Pratzen Heights and deliberately weakened his right flank, enticing the Allies to launch a major assault there in the hopes of rolling up the whole French line. A forced march from Vienna by Marshal Davout and his III Corps plugged the gap left by Napoleon just in time.
Meanwhile, the heavy Allied deployment against the French right weakened the allied center on the Pratzen Heights, with the Allied center demolished, the French swept through both enemy flanks and sent the Allies fleeing chaotically, capturing thousands of prisoners in the process. The Allied disaster significantly shook the faith of Emperor Francis in the British-led war effort and Austria agreed to an armistice immediately and the Treaty of Pressburg followed shortly after, on 26 December. Pressburg took Austria out of both the war and the Coalition while reinforcing the earlier treaties of Campo Formio and of Lunéville between the two powers, the treaty confirmed the Austrian loss of lands in Italy and Bavaria to France, and in Germany to Napoleons German allies. It imposed an indemnity of 40 million francs on the defeated Habsburgs and allowed the fleeing Russian troops free passage through hostile territories and back to their home soil. Critically, victory at Austerlitz permitted the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine and these achievements, did not establish a lasting peace on the continent.
Prussian worries about growing French influence in Central Europe sparked the War of the Fourth Coalition in 1806, Europe had been in turmoil since the start of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1792. In 1797, after five years of war, the French Republic subdued the First Coalition, an alliance of Austria, Great Britain, Spain, in March 1802, France and Britain agreed to end hostilities under the Treaty of Amiens. For the first time in ten years, all of Europe was at peace, but many problems persisted between the two sides, making implementation of the treaty increasingly difficult. The British government resented having to return the Cape Colony and most of the Dutch West Indian islands to the Batavian Republic, Napoleon was angry that British troops had not evacuated the island of Malta. The tense situation only worsened when Napoleon sent a force to crush the Haitian Revolution. In May 1803, Britain declared war on France, in December 1804, an Anglo-Swedish agreement led to the creation of the Third Coalition.
Having been defeated twice in recent memory by France, and being keen on revenge, before the formation of the Third Coalition, Napoleon had assembled an invasion force, called the Armée dAngleterre around six camps at Boulogne in Northern France
Nicolas Bernard Guiot de Lacour
Nicolas Bernard Guiot de Lacour led infantry and cavalry brigades during the First French Empire under Napoleon. He joined the French Royal Army in 1787 and was sent to quell the Haitian Revolution in 1791 and he fought in the Army of the North starting in 1793. He was promoted to chef de brigade in 1797 and to general of brigade in 1800 and he led a cavalry brigade at Caldiero in 1805 and initially commanded the Siege of Gaeta in 1806. He fought at Abensberg and Eckmühl in 1809 before being wounded at the Battle of Wagram on 6 July 1809. Promoted general of division on the battlefield, he died of his wounds on the 28th, GUYOT DE LACOUR is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe on Column 11 and his bust is in the Hall of Battles at the Palace of Versailles. Lacour was born on 25 January 1771 in Carignan, France in what became the department of Ardennes. In 1787, he joined the Régiment dAuvergne as a Gentleman Cadet and he fought in the Haitian Revolution in 1791 as a sous lieutenant and as a lieutenant.
Lacour served in Switzerland as an adjutant-general in Édouard Mortiers division, on 1 October 1799 in an action near Muotathal, he was captured by the Russians and formally surrendered to the Cossack commander Adrian Karpovich Denisov. As a prisoner of the Russians, Lacour survived the march across the Panixer Pass. On 6 October, Denisov arrived on the side of the pass in a terrible state of health and was met by Lacour who plied him with warm soup. Afterward, Denisov was convinced that Lacour saved his life, during the War of the Third Coalition the French Army of Italy under Marshal André Masséna faced Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschens Austrian army. Lacour led a brigade in Julien Augustin Joseph Mermets cavalry division consisting of four each of the 24th and 30th Dragoon Regiments. At the Battle of Caldiero on 29–31 October 1805, Lacours brigade was attached to Guillaume Philibert Duhesmes 4th Division, on the 30th, Duhesmes division deployed on the right with Lacours dragoons guarding the armys extreme right flank.
The plan allowed for Jean-Antoine Verdiers division to cross the Adige River, Masséna assigned Duhesme the task of capturing the town of Caldiero. In the event, Verdiers attack miscarried and Duhesme captured Caldiero without help, the day ended in stalemate after bitter fighting. Every unit was committed to the fray except Mermets other brigade which was made up of cuirassiers, on the 31st, Verdiers relatively fresh division attacked but was stopped. Charles ordered his army to retreat the next day, on 11 November 1805, the Austrians fought a successful rear guard action at Valvasone on the Tagliamento River in which the 23rd and 30th Dragoons were present. Lacour led four regiments of dragoons in action at Flitscher-Klause on 19 November, general-major Heinrich Bersina von Siegenthal commanded two artillery pieces and 1,200 Austrians in the De Ligne Infantry Regiment Nr.30
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe, situated between the Baltic Sea in the north and two mountain ranges in the south. Bordered by Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south and Belarus to the east, the total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres, making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. With a population of over 38.5 million people, Poland is the 34th most populous country in the world, the 8th most populous country in Europe, Poland is a unitary state divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, and its capital and largest city is Warsaw. Other metropolises include Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk and Szczecin, the establishment of a Polish state can be traced back to 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of a territory roughly coextensive with that of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin.
This union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, Poland regained its independence in 1918 at the end of World War I, reconstituting much of its historical territory as the Second Polish Republic. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, followed thereafter by invasion by the Soviet Union. More than six million Polish citizens died in the war, after the war, Polands borders were shifted westwards under the terms of the Potsdam Conference. With the backing of the Soviet Union, a communist puppet government was formed, and after a referendum in 1946. During the Revolutions of 1989 Polands Communist government was overthrown and Poland adopted a new constitution establishing itself as a democracy, informally called the Third Polish Republic. Since the early 1990s, when the transition to a primarily market-based economy began, Poland has achieved a high ranking on the Human Development Index.
Poland is a country, which was categorised by the World Bank as having a high-income economy. Furthermore, it is visited by approximately 16 million tourists every year, Poland is the eighth largest economy in the European Union and was the 6th fastest growing economy on the continent between 2010 and 2015. According to the Global Peace Index for 2014, Poland is ranked 19th in the list of the safest countries in the world to live in. The origin of the name Poland derives from a West Slavic tribe of Polans that inhabited the Warta River basin of the historic Greater Poland region in the 8th century, the origin of the name Polanie itself derives from the western Slavic word pole. In some foreign languages such as Hungarian, Lithuanian and Turkish the exonym for Poland is Lechites, historians have postulated that throughout Late Antiquity, many distinct ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland. The most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement, dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, the Slavic groups who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD.
With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the authority of the Roman Church
Invasion of Naples (1806)
The Invasion of Naples in January 1806 saw a French army led by Marshal André Masséna march from northern Italy into the Kingdom of Naples which was ruled by King Ferdinand IV. The Neapolitan army was vanquished at Campo Tenese and rapidly disintegrated, the invasion was eventually successful despite some setbacks, including the prolonged Siege of Gaeta, the British victory at Maida, and a stubborn guerrilla war by the peasantry against the French. Total success eluded the French because Ferdinand withdrew to his domain in Sicily where he was protected by the Royal Navy, in 1806 Emperor Napoleon appointed his brother Joseph Bonaparte to rule over southern Italy as king. The proximate cause of the invasion was Ferdinands double-crossing of Napoleon, wanting to keep things quiet in southern Italy and Ferdinand signed a convention that specified that the French would evacuate Apulia. In return, the Kingdom of Naples would stay neutral in the impending War of the Third Coalition, no sooner had the French occupying force marched away than Ferdinand admitted British and Russian armies into his kingdom.
In December 1805, Napoleons armies crushed the armies of Austria and Russia, when the Russian force in Naples was recalled, the British expedition withdrew, leaving Ferdinands kingdom exposed to French retribution. To defend his possessions in northern Italy, Emperor Napoleon maintained 94,000 men in the Army of Italy in early 1805, after accounting for fortress garrisons, military depots, and the sick, only 60,000 troops were available for use in the field. There were 48,000 in the army,2,000 performing internal security functions. Against these numbers, the Austrian army in Italy under Archduke Charles, because he was anxious about events in Bavaria, Charles decided on a cautious strategy in the autumn campaign. Among other things, the Treaty of Amiens of 1802 stipulated that Great Britain must abandon the island of Malta while France had to evacuate the part of the Kingdom of Naples that it occupied, the British statesmen soon repented of their actions and refused to give up Malta. Consequently, the French army kept its grip on Apulia in the heel of Italy with its ports, Bari.
The Neapolitan army of King Ferdinand IV numbered only 22,000 soldiers, fearful that Saint-Cyrs army might invade his domain, the king concluded an agreement with Napoleon to remain neutral during the War of the Third Coalition. The treaty was signed in France on 21 September 1805 by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, the accord required that the Kingdom of Naples dismiss all foreign officers from its army and not allow the landing of any foreign troops in its territory. In return, the French agreed to evacuate Apulia, the treaty was ratified in Naples on 3 October. Notified of the terms of the treaty and its ratification, Saint-Cyr immediately evacuated Apulia, almost at once and Queen Maria Carolina reneged on the treaty and treacherously summoned two Coalition expeditionary forces to Naples. Lieutenant General James Henry Craig sailed from Malta with 7,500 British soldiers while General Maurice Lacy of Grodno led 14,500 Russian troops aboard ship at Corfu, another authority gave lower numbers,6,000 in Craigs force and 7,350 in Lacys corps.
The British and Russians landed at Naples on 20 November 1805, by this time, Masséna was in pursuit of Archduke Charles army. Since Saint-Cyr moved one-third of his command to help besiege the Austrian garrison of Venice, buoyed by news of the British victory at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805, Craig and Lacy readied their troops for a march into northern Italy
Pezza figures prominently in folk lore and fiction. Francis of Paola, the patron of sick children, on one of these solemn occasions little Michele, who was apparently a handful to begin with, proved so naughty that someone called him “Fra Diavolo” which stuck. The notion that Pezza was born of low parentage has received wide circulation but is hardly accurate, the Pezzas had some land in olives and were engaged in the wool trade. Although little is known with certainty of his life, Pezza learned to read and write, hardly a common accomplishment at the time. In 1797, while so employed, he vied for the affections of a woman with another young man. One night his rival and another man ambushed Pezza, intending to do him some harm, who reportedly had a fiery temper, managed to kill both of his attackers. He took to the hills, but was soon caught, tried, he was convicted of manslaughter, since the slaying had been committed in self-defense, and on 25 October 1797 he was sentenced to a tour in the army in lieu of prison.
On 20 January 1798 Pezza was enrolled in the Reggimento di Messapi, stationed at Fondi, about a dozen miles north of Itri and perhaps a dozen south of the frontier with the Papal States. Pezza rose quickly, becoming a sergeant, probably because he was literate and, as a member of the middle class, in November of late 1798 Pezza took part in the disastrous attempt of the Neapolitan Army to oust the French from the Papal States. The French responded quickly to the Neapolitan incursion, forcing them to retreat, plagued by cold and heavy rains, the Neapolitans fell back along the Appian Way. Thousands of troops deserted and many more were captured, who was with the rear guard, was almost captured by the French, but escaped by donning peasant dress, and took to the hills above Itri. On 26 December, reinforced by some irregulars hastily recruited by Pezza, unable to get through the easily defended defile, some French troops passed down the coast road, along the ancient Via Flacca, from Terracina to capture Sperlonga.
The weather was foul, very cold with incessant rains that turned to ice, from Sperlonga, the French began working their way overland across the mountains, to outflank the Neapolitans at the old villa, and by dawn on the 29th were in position to attack. For Pezza, the most critical event of this occurred on 30 December. A band of peasants from the vicinity attempted to resist, but were rapidly overcome, the invaders shot their prisoners, plundered the town a bit, proclaimed a new age of freedom, erected a “Liberty Tree, ” and held a ball. Though many reform-minded nobles and some intellectuals backed it, the French puppet regime in Naples, in addition and Polish troops acted abominably and rape were common. Irregular resistance had begun almost as soon as the invaders entered the country, attacks on French soldiers became common. The French retaliated swiftly and brutally, which only made matters worse, the experience of Itri was typical
Switzerland in the Napoleonic era
During the French Revolutionary Wars, the revolutionary armies marched eastward, enveloping Switzerland in their battles against Austria. In 1798, Switzerland was completely overrun by the French and was renamed the Helvetic Republic, the Helvetic Republic encountered severe economic and political problems. In 1798 the country became a battlefield of the Revolutionary Wars, Gallen and Ticino became cantons with equal rights. The Congress of Vienna of 1815 fully re-established Swiss independence and the European powers agreed to permanently recognise Swiss neutrality, at this time, the territory of Switzerland was increased for the last time, by the new cantons of Valais, Neuchâtel and Geneva. During the last years of the Ancien Régime the growing conflicts throughout the Confederation had weakened and distracted the Diet, during the next eight years revolts sprang up across the Confederation and unlike earlier many were successful. In 1790 the Lower Valais rose against the upper districts, in 1791 Porrentruy rebelled against the Bishop of Basel and became the Rauracian republic in November 1792 and in 1793 the French department of the Mont Terrible.
In 1795 St Gallen successfully revolted against the prince-abbot and these revolts were supported or encouraged by France, but the French army didnt directly attack the Confederation. In 1797 the districts of Chiavenna and Bormio, dependencies of the Three Leagues and they were quickly invaded and annexed to the Cisalpine Republic on 10 October 1797. In December of the year the Bishopric of Basel was occupied and annexed. On 9 December 1797 Frédéric-César de La Harpe, a member of the Helvetian Club from Vaud, seeing a chance to remove a feudal neighbor and gain Berns wealth, France agreed. By February 1798 French troops occupied Mulhouse and Biel/Bienne, another army entered Vaud, when the Lemanic republic was proclaimed, and the Diet broke up in dismay without taking any steps to avert the coming storm. On 5 March troops entered Bern, deserted by her allies, with Bern, the stronghold of the aristocratic party, in revolutionary hands, the old Confederation collapsed. Within a month, the Confederation was under French control and all the members of the Confederation were gone.
On 12 April 1798121 cantonal deputies proclaimed the Helvetic Republic, the new régime abolished cantonal sovereignty and feudal rights. The occupying forces established a state based on the ideas of the French Revolution. Before the Helvetic Republic, each canton had exercised complete sovereignty over its own territory or territories. Little central authority had existed, with matters concerning the country as a whole confined mainly to the Diet, the constitution of the Helvetic Republic came mainly from the design of Peter Ochs, a magistrate from Basel. It established a central two-chamber legislature which included the Grand Council, the executive, known as the Directory, comprised 5 members
Battle of Trafalgar
The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships, without a single British vessel being lost. It was the most decisive battle of the war, conclusively ending French plans to invade England. Nelson instead divided his force into two columns directed perpendicularly against the enemy fleet, with decisive results. Nelson was shot by a French musketeer during the battle and died shortly after, Villeneuve was captured along with his ship Bucentaure. Admiral Federico Gravina, the senior Spanish flag officer, escaped with the remnant of the fleet, Villeneuve attended Nelsons funeral while a captive on parole in Britain. In 1805, the First French Empire, under Napoleon Bonaparte, was the dominant military power on the European continent. During the course of the war, the British imposed a blockade on France. When the Third Coalition declared war on France, after the short-lived Peace of Amiens, to do so, he needed to ensure that the Royal Navy would be unable to disrupt the invasion flotilla, which would require control of the English Channel.
The main French fleets were at Brest in Brittany and at Toulon on the Mediterranean coast, other ports on the French Atlantic coast harboured smaller squadrons. France and Spain were allied, so the Spanish fleet based in Cádiz, the British possessed an experienced and well-trained corps of naval officers. By contrast, some of the best officers in the French navy had either been executed or had left the service during the part of the French Revolution. Vice-Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve had taken command of the French Mediterranean fleet following the death of Latouche Treville, there had been more competent officers but they had either been employed elsewhere or had fallen from Napoleons favour. Villeneuve had shown a lack of enthusiasm for facing Nelson. Napoleons naval plan in 1805 was for the French and Spanish fleets in the Mediterranean and Cádiz to break through the blockade and join forces in the Caribbean. They would return, assist the fleet in Brest to emerge from the blockade, early in 1805, Vice Admiral Lord Nelson commanded the British fleet blockading Toulon.
Unlike William Cornwallis, who maintained a blockade off Brest with the Channel Fleet. However, Villeneuves fleet successfully evaded Nelsons when the British were blown off station by storms, Nelson commenced a search of the Mediterranean, erroneously supposing that the French intended to make for Egypt. However, Villeneuve took his fleet through the Strait of Gibraltar, rendezvoused with the Spanish fleet, once Nelson realised that the French had crossed the Atlantic Ocean, he set off in pursuit