French Revolution Timeline (1775-1815)

Events

Reign of Louis XIV

May 14, 1643 - September 1, 1715

Longest reign of any monarch in European history. Consolidated power and believed in absolutism.

Introduction of the Vingtieme

1695

Income tax paid by the 2nd and 3rd estates. The percentage fluctuated with time. Tax was abolished by the National Assembly in 1789.

War of Spanish Succession

March 1701 - March 7, 1714

France loses colonies in North America and prestige in Europe.

Reign of Louis XV

September 1, 1715 - May 10, 1774

Reign plagued by instability, defeats and low finances. Set the mechanism for the French Revolution to erupt 15 years after his death.

War of Austrian Succession

December 16, 1740 - October 18, 1748

France regains several colonies following Austria's defeat.

Louis XV reduces income tax

Approx. 1748

Louis XV breaks his promise to eliminate the income tax, reducing it to 5% upon the Paris Parlement/s request.

Introduction of the Capitation

1749

Head tax paid by the 2nd and 3rd estates. Percentage fluctuated with time. Was abolished in 1789 by the National Assembly.

Seven Years War

May 28, 1754 - February 10, 1763

France lost many colonies in North America and India to the British. The French navy was destroyed and taxes were raised in order to fund the military throughout the war.

Royal Proclamation Act

October 7, 1763

Proclamation by King George III of Britain that prevented colonists from settling in Louisiana. This was a key factor leading to the American Revolution.

Birth of Napoleon Bonaparte

August 15, 1769

Napoleon Bonaparte is born on the island of Corsica to a moderately wealthy family. He is sent to military school at the age of 9 and after graduating quickly rises up the military ranks to become a prominent general in the Siege of Toulon and the Vendemiaire Uprising until he is promoted to command the Army of the Interior and the Army of Italy in 1796.

Reign of Louis XVI

May 10, 1774 - January 21, 1794

Last absolute monarch to rule France. Was guillotined in 1794 following instability and war within France as a result of the French Revolution in 1789.

American War of Independence

April 19, 1775 - September 3, 1783

American victory over the British. France assisted the United States, but amassed large war debts as a result of the war, which would contribute to a fiscal crisis that led to the French Revolution in 1789.

First Term of Jacques Necker

June 29, 1777 - May 19, 1781

Raised money to support the American Revolution through loans. Concealed the true extent of the debts incurred by the government in his published set of accounts (Compte Rendu). Dismissed as economic woes crippled the country.

Term of Charles Alexandre de Calonne

November 3, 1783 - April 8, 1787

Argued that fiscal reform was necessary to save France from bankruptcy. Believed that everyone should be liable to direct taxation and tariffs should be abolished. Convened the Assembly of Notables in 1787 to accept his proposals but was dismissed. Louis dismissed him amid a mounting crisis.

Meeting of the Assembly of Notables

Approx. February 1787 - May 25, 1787

Assembly of Notables met to hear out Calonne/s tax reform proposals but rejected them for fear of facing the brunt of the new taxes. Assembly was dismissed by Brienne in May.

Term of Archbishop de Brienne

Approx. April 20, 1787 - August 25, 1788

Summoned the Estates-General in an attempt to resolve the economic crisis devastating France. Parlement was exiled from Paris, and Brienne attempted to mediate between the Parlement and King. Parlement reluctantly accepted loans and Brienne resigned after failure to raise further loans.

Convocation of the Estates-General

August 8, 1788

Louis summons the Estates-General to meet at Versailles on May 1, 1789.

Second Term of Jacques Necker

August 25, 1788 - July 11, 1789

Held the Estates-General in May 1789 where cahiers were read out loud to the crown. Discontent amongst the lower estates led to their departure and the creation of the National Assembly. Failure of the National Assembly to compromise with the othr estates and the monarchy led to Necker/s dismissal, news reached Paris a day later and rioting ensued.

Meeting of the Estates-General

May 5, 1789 - Approx. June 27, 1789

Estates-General met to attempt tax reform. The third estate was at odds with the other two estates. When demands were not met, the third estate split off to form the National Assembly and create a constitution for France. Vote by Head vs. Vote by Order was also an issue.

Creation of National (Constituent) Assembly

June 17, 1789 - September 30, 1791

The third estate split off from the other two states, forming its own assembly to discuss the economic and social issues facing France. The assembly would take charge to draft a constitution and govern France following the Storming of the Bastille.

Tennis Court Oath

June 20, 1789

Oath is taken by members of the National Assembly to not disband until France is given a written constitution.

Louis XVI holds a Seance Royale

June 23, 1789

Louis holds a Seance Royale to ignore the recent events and attempts to maintain his authority.

Louis XVI's Decision Reversal

June 27, 1789

Louis reverses his decision of June 23rd and demands that the third estate meets with the other two states. He also accepts Vote by Head.

Dismissal of Jacques Necker and Aftermath

July 11, 1789 - July 14, 1789

Louis dismisses Necker on July 11th. By this time he has 25,000 troops stationed in the Paris-Versailles area. News of Necker's dismissal reaches Paris on July 12th. The next day shops were looted and barricades set up to protect demonstrators from attack. Many soldiers disobeyed the King's orders and joined the Parisian demonstrators instead.

Storming of the Bastille

July 14, 1789

Parisians seize 28,000 muskets and 20 cannons from Les Invalides and marched to a prison, the Bastille, in search of ammunition. Attack from prison guards led to the mob attacking the prison, freeing many prisoners and beheading the prison master. Many people die and the prison is heavily damaged. The French Revolution officially starts on this date.

French Revolution

July 14, 1789 - December 25, 1799

The French Revolution officially started with the Storming of the Bastille and unofficially ended with the adoption of the Constitution of Year VIII (December 25, 1799).

Establishment of Paris Commune and National Guard

July 15, 1789

Paris Commune was established to defend the interests of the Parisian mob from the despotic monarchy. The National Guard was a citizen's militia created to protect Parisians. Only the wealthy could, however, join the National Guard.

The Great Fear

July 20, 1789 - August 6, 1789

After events in Paris, revolution erupted across France, both peaceful (Dijon, Poitiers) and violent (Bordeaux, Lyon). In the countryside, peasants revolted against feudal dues, tithes, and taxes, destroying the property of the nobility and often killing them as well. Panic swept across the country until the National Assembly abolished seigneurial dues in August.

August Decrees

August 5, 1789 - August 11, 1789

The nobility made major political concessions in a series of decrees, notably abolishing tithes, tax privileges, and other special privileges, creating an equal taxation system and allowing all citizens to run for office. The sale of grain was also deregulated.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen

August 26, 1789

The D.R.M.C. promotes various freedoms for men across France, including promoting natural rights of liberty and equality, free will, freedom of speech, public accountability, right to a fair trial and punishment and the right to private property.

October Days

October 1789

Reform was undertaken by the National Assembly, including reforming the political organization of France, economic reform, establishing voting criteria, reforming the taxation and legal systems, and restraining the Church. This happened alongside the severe food crisis that occurred and Louis' "imprisonment" in Paris.

March of the Fisherwomen on Versailles

October 5, 1789

With the King not officially supporting the August Decrees or the DRMC, along with a severe bread shortage in Paris, thousands of women and soldiers stormed the Hotel de Ville and later Versailles demanding change. Louis agreed to supply Paris with grain and was forcibly moved to Paris, along with the Paris Commune.

Nationalization of Church Land

November 2, 1789

Church property was given to the government and then redistributed through auctions and the sale of assignats - land-backed bonds. Many Catholics were upset with the loss of control of the Church within France. France is now reorganized into 83 departments, 547 districts, and 43,360 communes/cantons.

Civil Constitution of the Clergy

November 1790

Members of the Catholic Church are asked to take an oath of loyalty to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, and the bishops and priests were now to be elected and paid by the state. This split the Church and many began to question the actions of the state towards the Church. Internal trade barriers are also abolished at this time.

Louis' Flight to Varennes

June 20, 1791

In an attempt to seek outside assistance, Louis and his family attempted to flee to the Austrian Netherlands undercover. Their attempt was foiled and the King was brought back to Paris. Confidence in Louis reached an all-time low and demands for a republic grew.

Champs de Mars massacre

July 17, 1791

Louis refused to rule as a constitutional monarch and on July 17th, 50,000 gathered at the Champs de Mars, carrying a petition demanding for a republic. The event was brutally suppressed by the National Guard, angering the nation.

Declaration of Pilnitz

August 27, 1791

Austria and Prussia demanded the restoration of Louis to his full powers and if these demands were not met, a war would ensue.

Constitution of 1791

September 3, 1791

The constitution of 1791 included the DRMC and other aspects of governing such as the suspensive veto of the King and a unicameral legislature and defining "active" vs. "passive" citizens. The constitution unofficially remained until 1795.

Creation of the Legislative Assembly

October 1, 1791 - September 20, 1792

The Legislative Assembly held elections for new representatives, but few ran (self-denying ordinance). The assembly was split between the Girondins/Jacobins/Cordeliers and the Feuillants/Monarchists. Collapsed due to inactive support for a republic.

French Declaration of War against Austria

April 20, 1792

France declares war against Austria but flees at the sight of the enemy. Antoinette, Lafayette, and the Girondins (Brissot) supported the war, while Robespierre did not. The French military was in very poor shape with thousands of generals having left the country. Refractory priests were deported and crown guards disbanded. More troops were called up from the provinces to fight against Austria. Louis attempted to veto these laws.

War of the First Coalition

April 20, 1792 - October 18, 1797

The war between the First French Republic and Britain, Prussia, Austria, Spain, the Dutch Republic, Portugal, Sardinia, and Naples. Resulted in various French victories. Only Britain remained in the war following the Treaty of Campo Formio.

French Revolutionary Wars

April 20, 1792 - March 25, 1802

The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of multiple wars between France and other European nations attempting to contain the French Revolution. The wars were initially characterized by multiple defeats but after the Battle of Valmy the French took the offensive and invaded Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands. The wars unofficially ended with the Treaty of Amiens which brought a year of peace to Europe.

Journée of the Sans-Culottes

July 11, 1792

Following a failed Jacobite uprising on June 20th, anger continued to build up untl rioting spilled out in Paris. The Legislative Assembly declared a state of emergency and within a month passive citizens were allowed into the National Guard and to run for municipal office. Robespierre re-entered the political arena and demanded an overthrow of the government.

Brunswick Manifesto

August 1, 1792

The Duke of Brunswick declared his intent to restore the French King to his full powers, outraging the nation. Anti-monarchial sentiment spiraled out of control.

August Journées (Attack on the Tuileries)

August 3, 1792 - August 10, 1792

With the mayor of Paris' demands for a republic ignored (August 3) and his murder a day later (August 4), the sans-culottes overthrew the Paris Commune (August 9) and replaced it with the Revolutionary Commune. and then attacked the Tuileries Palace (August 10), which left around a thousand dead. Louis was now a prisoner of the people.

Trial of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette

August 13, 1792

The King and Queen of France were put on trial and found guilty of betraying the people and committing high treason. They were to be placed under permanent house arrest until a later execution date.

September Massacres

September 2, 1792 - September 7, 1792

Marat called for the execution of anti-revolutionaries as the Austro-Prussian forces were closing in on Paris. Within six days, about 1,400 prisoners were murdered by the sans-culottes which sent shock across the continent regarding the brutality of the sans-culottes.

Battle of Valmy

September 20, 1792

52,000 Frenchmen defeated 34,000 Prussians and pushed the Prussians back across the Rhine. This followed another French victory over the Austrians in the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium). France was now on the offensive.

Creation of the National Convention

September 20, 1792 - October 26, 1795

The National Convention would be predominantly led by the Jacobins, including Robespierre, who would initiate the Reign of Terror and bring about the death of thousands. The Girondins and the Cordeliers would both be purged from the National Convention and the Convention would only lose authority through the Coup of Thermidor.

Declaration of the Republic

September 22, 1792

France's monarchy was abolished and the nation was declared a republic on September 22nd.

Committee of General Security Established

October 1792 - October 26, 1795

The Committee of General Security was established as an executive within the National Convention that oversaw police security, surveillance, and spying.

Decree of Fraternity

November 19, 1792

France would now be "obliged" to free other states from tyrannical monarchies and took over the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium), the Rhineland, Nice, Savoy, and Avignon. This came at the heel of the revealing of the Armoire de Fer documents, which revealed the King's correspondence with his ministers and other nations asking for help, which discredited Louis even more.

Execution of Louis XVI

January 21, 1793

After being found guilty, Louis was imprisoned until a vote in the National Convention voted in the majority for his execution. Girondins who voted to preserve his life were labeled as counterrevolutionaries and would be purged from the National Convention.

Vendée Rebellion

March 1793 - 1796

A rebellion in the south and west of France occurred in support of the deposed King and the monarchy, which resulted in a prolonged civil war and the genocide of approximately 200,000-400,000 people. The rebellion was crushed by the Directory following the relaxation in the Reign of Terror.

Reign of Terror

March 1793 - July 28, 1794

The National Convention orchestrated the Reign of Terror to remove all opposition to it and resulted in the execution of several thousand and left France in political turmoil and instability.

Committee of Public Safety Established

April 6, 1793 - October 26, 1795

The Committee of Public Safety is established as an executive within the National Convention, which controls all aspects of the government. Revolutionary tribunals, Representatives-on-Mission, Comites de Surveillance and the Summary Execution Decree are all created at this time.

Purge of the Girondins

June 2, 1793

Following the passing of the first maximum and dechristianization in May, 80,000 National Guardsmen surrounded the convention demanding the expulsion of the Girondins. 29 are arrested and executed. Brissot, the leader of the Girondins, is also executed. Disturbances in 60 of the 83 departments were reported shortly after the executions (Federalists vs. Centralists).

Constitution of 1793 (Year I)

June 24, 1793

The Constitution of Year I was a constitution proposed by the National Convention, however, it was never implemented. The constitution would have granted for a republic with an unicameral legislature and fewer civil rights and liberties than the previous constitution.

Assassination of Marat

July 13, 1793

Marat was assassinated by a Girondist sympathizer (Charlotte Corday) for his revolutionary stances and support of the Jacobins. She was executed four days later. The death penalty for hoarders was passed around this time as well. Robespierre then joined the CPS on July 27th and the Reign of Terror woul dbe carried out by the Jacobins for the next 12-14 months.

Levéé en Masse Passed

August 23, 1793

The Levée en Masse is passed, which forces able-bodied men across France to join the ranks of the army (mandatory conscription). The Armée Revolutionnaire was then passed, which allowed sans-culottes in Paris to secure food, round up counterrevolutionaries, mobilize the nation's resources and establish revolutionary justice in areas lacking "revolutionary enthusiasm", notably the south and west of France.

Siege of Toulon

August 29, 1793 - December 19, 1793

The Siege of Toulon was an offensive launched by French Republican forces under Napoleon and other generals against the Royalist and Anglo-Spanish forces occupying the city. The offensive was successful and Napoleon was promoted to lead the French Army of Italy following his decisive victory in Toulon.

Law of Suspects Passed

September 17, 1793

The Law of Suspects was passed by the National Convention, which allowed it to establish revolutionary tribunals and try those who were deemed "enemies of the revolution" and anyone who was an enemy or committed treason against the Republic.

General Maximum Passed

September 29, 1793

The General Maximum was passed by the National Convention, which regulated the price of food in relation to workers' wages. The prices eventually rose with the increase in wages and became wildly unpopular by 1794. The National Convention also passes a law which restricts assemblies in the departments and Paris from meeting regularly.

Adoption of the Revolutionary Calendar

October 5, 1793

A new revolutionary calendar is adopted by the National Convention which sets 1792 as the first year (first year of the republic) and has 14 months instead of 12 based on non-Christian times of the year. The Constitution of 1791 is also suspended at this time.

Execution of Marie Antoinette

October 16, 1793

Marie Antoinette, former Queen of France, is executed after being seen as a remaining symbol of the Ancien Regime and an enemy of the republic. Austria is outraged by the news of the execution.

Law of Frimaire Passed

December 4, 1793

The Law of Frimaire was passed by the National Convention which gave the CGS and CPS full executive power over the nation. Agents Nationaux, appointed by the CPS, were sent out to the departments to ensure that revolutionary laws were being followed.

Law of Ventose Passed

February 24, 1794

The Law of Ventose was a law passed by the National Convention which confiscated the properties of those who fled the country or those who were exiled and redistributed them to the needy. It was believed that the enemies of the republic had forfited their civil rights, including their right to private property.

Execution of Jacques Hebert

March 24, 1794

Leftist Jacques Hebert was executed along with other Hebertists for opposing the Jacobins in the National Convention. This move was wildly unpopular with the sans-culottes, who supported Hebert.

Execution of Georges Danton

April 5, 1794

Georges Danton and other Cordeliers were executed by the Jacobins after they declared that the Reign of Terror should be relaxed and that prisoners should be released. This move was also unpopular with the sans-culottes.

Introduction of the Cult of the Supreme Being

May 1794

Robespierre proposed the Cult of the Supreme Being to replace Catholicism in France, which advocated for the worship of intelligence and reason. This move was very unpopular across France and was deemed improper by many. The National Convention never fully endorsed it. The Convention also abolished all revolutionary tribunals apart from the one in Paris in May as well to consolidate power.

Law of the 22 Prairial Passed

June 10, 1794

After an attempted assassination on Robespierre, the Law of the 22 Prairial was passed which strengthened the position of prosecutors and limited the ability for suspects to defend themselves in court. No witnesses, evidence or jurors were needed to try suspects and only the judge's verdict was needed in determining whether someone was guilty - or not.

Coup of Thermidor

July 26, 1794 - July 28, 1794

Robespierre stood up in the National Convention to claim that traitors were seated amongst the deputies, but he could not name any. Several deputies conspired against him and had him arrested on July 27th and executed a day later for betraying the revolutionary cause.

Execution of Maximilien Robespierre

July 28, 1794

Maximilien Robespierre was executed for "betraying the revolutionary cause" and ended two years of political terrorism in the nation and after his death, the Reign of Terrorism was dismantled.

White Terror

August 1794 - October 1797

Following the death of Robespierre, anti-republican and anti-Jacobin violence erupted across France and attacks against Republicans and Jacobins soared, especially in the south and west of France. Attacks were carried out by monarchists, victims of the Terror, Girondins, and Muscadins. The White Terror subsided with an improvement in France's political stability by 1797.

Germinal Uprising

April 1, 1795 - April 2, 1795

10,000 sans-culottes marched on the National Convention demanding immediate economic relief to Paris but were suppressed by the National Guard. The decline of the sans-culottes had begun.

Prairial Uprising

May 20, 1795

Large demonstrations held by the sans-culottes against the National Convention were again suppressed by the National Guard. With the radical phase of the revolution now over, the sans-culottes were a spent force.

Verona Declaration

June 24, 1795

Louis XVIII declared in Verona, Italy the promise to restore the institutions of the Ancien Regime and threatened to punish all regicides. The threat to the republic's existence was growing considerably.

Constitution of 1795 (Year III)

August 22, 1795

The Constitution of Year III gave birth to the directory that would govern France until 1799. The Directory was a complicated bicameral legislature and only males who paid taxes were able to vote in annual elections.

Vendemiaire Uprising

October 5, 1795

25,000 royalist sympathizers gathered in front of the National Convention in an attempt to overthrow the government. Napoleon Bonaparte was called in to defend the legislature and opened cannon fire on the crowd, killing over 300 (whiff of grapeshot). This success advanced Napoleon's career and would compel him to overthrow the legislature himself in the near future.

Establishment of the Directory

October 26, 1795 - November 10, 1799

Fearing the return of the monarchy and popular sovereignty, the Directory was to be a bicameral legislature and all males who paid taxes were eligible to vote. Elections were to be held every year for a third of all the seats in each house. An electoral college was established, from which deputies were chosen to sit in the house. 5 Directors were chosen from the legislature to lead the executive branch of the government. This process was very inefficient but slowed down the process for creating laws. The Directory was the most stable government during the French Revolution, but was also its weakest, calling on the assistance of the military numerous times to defend it. Napoleon Bonaparte and several others would overthrow the Directory in the Coup of Brumaire.

First Italian Campaign

March 27, 1796 - October 18, 1797

French armies led by Napoleon defeat the Austro-Italian forces in several battles and culminated in the Treaty of Campo Formio, which gave France Nice, Savoy, Avignon and the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium). It also created satellite states in Italy and split the Venetian Republic between France and Austria. Austria was severely weakened as a result of the war.

Coup d'Etat of Fructidor

September 3, 1797 - September 4, 1797

With the growing amount of seats gained by monarchists in the Directory (44% of all seats) and with two directors (Barthelemy and Carnot) sympathetic to the monarchists, Napoleon sent General Augerau to protect Republican directors and had troops surround the council and arrest Barthelemy, Carnot, and 53 other monarchist deputies. Laws were passed which annulled election results in 49 departments and removed 177 deputies, while another law deported those arrested to Guiana. The Directory began to turn into a dictatorship with the failure of liberal democracy due to chronic violence, ambivalent forms of justice, and repeated recourse to heavy-handed repression.

War of the Second Coalition

1798 - March 25, 1802

The War of the Second Coalition was a war between France and Britain, Austria, Prussia, Portugal, Naples and Russia. The war was predominantly indecisive but ended with a French victory at the Treaty of Amiens and secured Napoleon's position in France and Europe. It was followed by the longest stretch of peace between 1789 and 1815.

Law of 22 Floreal Passed (Coup of Floreal)

May 11, 1798

Fearing a Republican reprisal against the Directory, election results were annulled once more, with 127 deputies being expelled, who were predominantly Jacobin. Jacobite clubs across France were closed and their meetings were made illegal.

Battle of the Pyramids

July 21, 1798

Napoleon's French armies decisively defeated the Egyptian and Ottoman armies in Egypt, and Napoleon entered Cairo and occupied Egypt for France for a short period of time.

Battle of the Nile (Aboukir Bay)

August 1, 1798 - August 3, 1798

Napoleon's navies were destroyed by the superior British navy and ended Napoleon's Egyptian and Syrian campaigns indefinitely. Napoleon then abandoned 30,000 troops and returned to France on August 23rd to later overthrow the government in a coup d'etat.

Coup of Prairial

June 18, 1799

Moderate and Jacobite deputies within the legislature demanded the removal of three monarchist directors. Directors Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyes and Paul Barras supported the coup and had soldiers placed near Paris to threaten the three monarchist directors, who immediately resigned. This eliminated the monarchist faction from the French government.

Coup of Brumaire

November 9, 1799 - November 10, 1799

The Coup of Brumaire was organized by Napoleon Bonaparte, Lucien Bonaparte, and Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyes. On November 9 the government was moved to St. Cloud, away from Paris to hide the outcome of future events. Napoleon swore an oath to loyalty to the deputies but on November 10 several deputies and directors were arrested and Napoleon was shouted down in the Council of Ancients. He was then attacked in the Council of 500 and Lucien ordered troop to storm the building, overthrowing the Directory and establish a Consulate with three consuls: Napoleon. Sieyes and Roger Ducos.

Establishment of the Consulate

December 25, 1799 - May 18, 1804

The Consulate was Napoleon's initial form of government and was the precursor to his Empire, which he created in 1804. The consulate was authoritarian in essence and controlled essentially by only Napoleon. Napoleon was the first consul but became consul for life on August 2, 1802. A plebiscite held in regards to consul for life showed 3,653,000 for and 8,272 against.

Constitution of 1799 (Year VIII)

December 25, 1799

The Constitution of Year VIII created the Consulate, which was to be governed by three consuls, who had control of the Senate and the Council of State. Napoleon as the first consul had control over the other two consuls. The Senate had control over the Tribunate and the Legislature. Members were drafted from a national list, who were in turn drafted from a departmental list, and in turn from a communal list, who were in turn picked by 6-8 million male voters. The government gave the optics of a democracy, but in reality was an authoritarian state and only Napoleon held true power within the government.

Plebiscite on the Constitution of Year VIII

February 7, 1800

A plebiscite was held by Napoleon on his new constitution and it was accepted 3,011,007 voters to 1,562 against it.

Battle of Marengo

June 14, 1800

The Battle of Marengo was a battle between France and Austria and resulted in a French victory and the expulsion of the Austrians out of Italy, further increasing France's influence over the peninsula and her client states. Austria signed the Treaty of Luneville on February 9, 1801, promising to uphold its respect to France and her client states and allowing France to occupy the Rhineland.

Signing of the Concordat

July 15, 1801

The Concordat or "understanding" was signed between the Pope and Napoleon to re-establish the role of the Catholic church in France. The separation of church and state now ended, but the state was placed higher than the church and placed priests and bishops as civil servants who needed to take an oath to the state. The land was not given back to the church and Napoleon was recognized as ruler by the grace of God. Other religions were tolerated within France as well (notably Judaism and Protestantism). Napoleon, however, breached the terms of the Concordat with the invasion of Rome and imprisonment of the Pope in 1808.

Treaty of Amiens

March 25, 1802

The Treaty of Amiens was signed between the United Kingdom and France and declared a state of neutrality between the two nations. They were to tolerate each other and would cease all fighting. The treaty did not last for long and was violated by the British on May 18, 1803.

Napoleonic Wars

May 18, 1803 - June 22, 1815

The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars fought between Napoleonic France and the other nations of Europe. The wars were initially dominated by a series of French successes until the failed French Invasion of Russia and the eventual French defeats and surrender of Napoleon to the Allied forces. Napoleon attempts to fight again after escaping exile in Elba but loses more battles and is permanently exiled to St. Helena afterward.

War of the Third Coalition

May 18, 1803 - December 26, 1805

This war was between France and her allies and the other major powers of Europe. The war resulted in a French victory and the weakening of both Austria and Prussia and the expansion of France.

Introduction of the Napoleonic Code

March 21, 1804

The Napoleonic Code was the civil code of France which granted a larger number of rights and liberties to the people and reformed the legal and political systems of the country. The civil code again gave the optics of freedom, but Napoleon practiced a reign of authoritarianism and suppression of opposition.

Establishment of the First French Empire

May 18, 1804 - April 11, 1814

Napoleon crowned himself emperor on May 18th and consolidated his power, even more, following this event, becoming the sole leader of France. A plebiscite held on November 6 showed 3,572,329 for Emperor and 2,569 against. The empire lasted until the occupation of Paris in April 1814.

Battle of Ulm

October 16, 1805 - October 19, 1805

The Battle of Ulm was a battle between France and Austria that resulted in a French victory and the neutralization of Austria until the Treaty of Pressburg, signed on December 26, 1805, and the War of the Fourth Coalition the following year.

Battle of Trafalgar

October 21, 1805

The Battle of Trafalgar was a naval battle between Britain and France/Spain that resulted in a decisive British victory and the destruction of France's and Spain's navies. The French would not attempt to fight the British navy or attempt an invasion of Britain following the defeat.

Battle of Austerlitz

December 2, 1805

The Battle of Austerlitz was a battle between France and Austria/Russia that resulted in a French victory and the signing of the Treaty of Pressburg (December 26) which pulled Austria out of the third coalition and ended the war.

War of the Fourth Coalition

August 1806 - July 7, 1807

This war was between France and her allies and the other European powers again, but this time Austria did not fight. The war ended with a French victory again and the dramatic change in the political landscape of Europe in the Treaties of Tilsit. The Confederation of the Rhine was established to replace the former Holy Roman Empire on July 12, 1806, and the Grand Duchy of Warsaw was created out of Prussian and Russian territory on July 22, 1807.

Battle of Jena-Auerstadt

October 14, 1806

The Battle of Jena-Auerstadt was a battle between Prussia/Russia and France that resulted in another French victory and the capitulation of Prussia to Napoleon's forces, along with the occupation of Berlin. This knocks Prussia out of the war and leaves only Russia and Britain in the fight against France.

Continental System

November 21, 1806 - April 11, 1814

The Continental system was an economic system implemented by Napoleon to regulate trade in Europe and to cut British markets' access from Europe in an effort to end their fight against the French. The system forced nations to buy goods from France for high prices and damaged their own economies at the expense of France's. All nations in mainland Europe participated in the Continental system until Russia withdrew on December 31, 1810, and provoked Napoleon to invade Russia two years later. The system collapsed with the surrender of Napoleon in April 1814.

Battle of Friedland

June 14, 1807

The Battle of Friedland was a battle between France and Russia that resulted in a French victory and the surrender of Russia to the French. The battle ended with the Treaty of Tilsit wich forced Russia to join the Continental System and Prussia to give up land to the French and to the newly created client state of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. This ended the War of the Fourth Coalition and left only Britain in the fight against France.

Peninsular War

November 30, 1807 - April 11, 1814

The Peninsular War was a long and costly war that started with the Franco-Spanish invasion of Portugal and the consequent French invasion of Spain and placing of Spain's army under Napoleon's command (November 5, 1808) and British support for the Portuguese and Spanish resistance. The war was marked by many skirmishes and an ongoing guerilla warfare against the French that pushed the French out of Spain eventually but ended only with the surrender of Napoleon in April 1814.

War of the Fifth Coalition

April 10, 1809 - October 14, 1809

The War of the Fifth Coalition was between France and her allies and the other European powers apart from Russia and Prussia. The war ended with the Treaty of Schonbrunn and the collapse of Austrian resistance to France.

Battle of Wagram

July 6, 1809

The Battle of Wagram was a battle between Austria and France that resulted in a French victory and the occupation of Vienna and the Treaty of Schonbrunn, which was signed on October 14, 1809, ending the War of the Fifth Coalition. The treaty significantly reduced Austria's size and landlocked her in Central Europe. Napoleon also marries Marie-Louise, daughter of Austria's Emperor on April 2, 1810, and has several children with her.

French Invasion of Russia (Moscow Campaign)

June 24, 1812 - December 14, 1812

The French Invasion of Russia was a catastrophic disaster for Napoleon that resulted in the loss of his Grande Armée (over 600,000 men) and the turning point in the Napoleonic Wars against France. The Russians were able to defeat the French through a prolonged retreat into Russia, a devastating scorched-earth policy and the early advance of a harsh winter. Napoleon's reputation was badly damaged as a result of the invasion.

Battle of Borodino

September 7, 1812

The French armies surprise attacked the Russian armies at the Battle of Borodino and defeated them, but however lost thousands of men and many generals. The French were left weak and were forced to take shelter in an abandoned and burning Moscow until the eventual retreat back to France.

War of the Sixth Coalition

March 13, 1813 - April 11, 1814

The War of the Sixth Coalition was a renewed attempt by the allies to defeat France following the failure of the Invasion of Russia. The coalition was able to decisively defeat France in a number of battles and entered France in March, occupying Paris and forcing Napoleon to surrender and sign the treaties of Fontainebleau and Paris in April and May.

Battle of Leipzig (Battle of the Nations)

October 16, 1813 - October 19, 1813

The Battle of Leipzig was a large battle fought between the French and the allies of Prussia, Austria, and Russia and resulted in an Allied victory against Napoleon and his retreat across the Rhine back to France. The battle ended with many Germanic states switching sides to the Allies and the collapse of the Confederation of the Rhine shortly after. Napoleon was beginning to lose popularity and support at home in France.

Treaty of Chaumont

March 9, 1814

The Treaty of Chaumont was a treaty signed by Austria, Britain, Prussia, and Russia where the four nations agreed to cooperate in fighting against France and would wage war against France if it did not accept the terms of the peace treaty, which it did not. The treaty was the forerunner to the Congress system that would be set up later that year.

Treaty of Fontainebleau

April 11, 1814

The Treaty of Fontainebleau was a treaty signed by France and Russia, Austria and Prussia where Napoleon surrendered to the allies and officially gave up his empire. The Allies occupied Paris until a further treaty could be signed and Napoleon was sent into exile in Elba.

First Treaty of Paris

May 1, 1814

The First Treaty of Paris was the treaty that ended Napoleon's long fight against the rest of Europe and left France with the pre-1792 territory and no occupation or war reparations. The monarchy was restored with Louis XVIII made the king. Napoleon was exiled to Elba.

Congress of Vienna

September 1814 - June 18, 1815

The Congress of Vienna was a meeting between all the major European powers were borders were redrawn according to pre-revolutionary lines and former dynasties restored wherever possible. France was reduced in size and cornered off with a "cordon sanitaire" to prevent it from becoming strong again. The Congress system was developed out of the Congress of Vienna. The Congress system lasted until around 1830.

Return of Napoleon to Paris (100 Days)

March 20, 1815

Napoleon escapes from Elba and secretly returns to France and through popular support, overthrows the monarchy and re-establishes his empire. In his Acte Additionnel, Napoleon is restored with a vote of 1,552,942 votes to 5,740 against. Napoleon launches campaigns in Italy and Belgium again, only to be defeated and exiled to St. Helena after the wars. Napoleon abdicated on June 22nd and is exiled to St. Helena on October 16th until his death in 1821.

Battle of Waterloo

June 18, 1815

The Battle of Waterloo was Napoleon's final attempt to regain glory for France when he was narrowly defeated by a combined Anglo-Prussian force. The defeat forced him to abdicate on June 22nd and Allied troops entered Paris for a second time until another treaty could be signed.

Second Treaty of Paris

November 20, 1815

The Second Treaty of Paris was much harsher than the first treaty and returned France to its pre-1789 borders and demanded stolen artifacts back along with an indemnity of several millions of francs. France was to remain occupied until 1818 and could not participate in the Congress system until then. The French monarchy was restored again with Louis XVIII made King again. The Holy Alliance and the Quadruple Alliance are also formed at this time as well.

Death of Napoleon Bonaparte

May 5, 1821

After being in exile for nearly six years, Napoleon dies on St. Helena due to declining health and old age.