Before the featured portal process ceased in 2017, this had been designated as a featured portal.

Portal:Napoleonic Wars

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Napoleonic Eagle.svg
Flag of France.svg

• • • Napoleonic Wars • • •

The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to the application of modern mass conscription. French power rose quickly as Napoleon's armies conquered much of Europe but collapsed rapidly after France's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. Napoleon's empire ultimately suffered complete military defeat resulting in the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in France. The wars resulted in the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and sowed the seeds of nascent nationalism in Germany and Italy that would lead to the internal consolidation of both nations later in the century. Meanwhile, the global Spanish Empire began to unravel as French occupation of Spain weakened Spain's hold over its colonies, providing an opening for nationalist revolutions in Spanish America. As a direct result of the Napoleonic wars, the British Empire became the foremost world power for the next century, thus beginning Pax Britannica.

No consensus exists as to when the French Revolutionary Wars ended and the Napoleonic Wars began. An early candidate is 9 November 1799, when Bonaparte seized power in France with the coup of 18 Brumaire. 18 May 1803 is the most commonly used date, as this was when a renewed declaration of war between Britain and France (resulting from the collapse of the Treaty of Amiens), ended the only period of general peace in Europe between 1792 and 1814.

The Napoleonic Wars ended following Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo on 18 June 1815 and the Second Treaty of Paris.

• • • Selected picture • • •

The Coronation of the Emperor and Empress
Commissioned by Napoleon and painted by Jacques-Louis David between 1805–1807, measuring approx 10 m by 6 m the "Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on 2 December 1804" displays Napoleon's inauguration in great detail.

• • • Selected battle • • •

Battle of Trafalgar
The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition (August – December 1805) of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).

The battle was the most decisive British naval victory of the war. Twenty-seven British ships of the line led by Admiral Lord Nelson aboard HMS Victory defeated thirty-three French and Spanish ships of the line under French Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve off the south-west coast of Spain, just west of Cape Trafalgar. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships, without a single British vessel being lost.

The British victory spectacularly confirmed the naval supremacy that Britain had established during the previous century and was achieved in part through Nelson's departure from the prevailing naval tactical orthodoxy, which involved engaging an enemy fleet in a single line of battle parallel to the enemy to facilitate signalling in battle and disengagement, and to maximise fields of fire and target areas. Nelson instead divided his smaller force into two columns directed perpendicularly against the larger enemy fleet, with decisive results.

Nelson was mortally wounded during the battle, becoming one of Britain's greatest war heroes. The commander of the joint French and Spanish forces, Admiral Villeneuve, was captured along with his ship Bucentaure. Spanish Admiral Federico Gravina escaped with the remnant of the fleet and succumbed months later to wounds sustained during the battle.

• • • Selected biography • • •

Horatio Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805) was a flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of decisive naval victories. He was wounded several times in combat, losing one arm and the sight in one eye. Of his several victories, the best known and notable was the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, at the end of which he was shot and killed.

Nelson was born into a moderately prosperous Norfolk family and joined the navy through the influence of his uncle, Maurice Suckling. He rose rapidly through the ranks and served with leading naval commanders of the period before obtaining his own command in 1778. He developed a reputation in the service through his personal valour and firm grasp of tactics but suffered periods of illness and unemployment after the end of the American War of Independence. The outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars allowed Nelson to return to service, where he was particularly active in the Mediterranean. He fought in several minor engagements off Toulon and was important in the capture of Corsica and subsequent diplomatic duties with the Italian states. In 1797, he distinguished himself while in command of HMS Captain at the Battle of Cape St Vincent.

Shortly after the battle, Nelson took part in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where his attack was defeated and he was badly wounded, losing his right arm, and was forced to return to England to recuperate. The following year, he won a decisive victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile and remained in the Mediterranean to support the Kingdom of Naples against a French invasion. In 1801, he was dispatched to the Baltic and won another victory, this time over the Danes at the Battle of Copenhagen. He subsequently commanded the blockade of the French and Spanish fleets at Toulon and, after their escape, chased them to the West Indies and back but failed to bring them to battle. After a brief return to England, he took over the Cádiz blockade in 1805. On 21 October 1805, the Franco-Spanish fleet came out of port, and Nelson's fleet engaged them at the Battle of Trafalgar. The battle was Britain's greatest naval victory, but during the action Nelson was fatally wounded by a French sniper. His body was brought back to England where he was accorded a state funeral.

Nelson's death at Trafalgar secured his position as one of Britain's most heroic figures; numerous monuments, including Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London, have been created in his memory and his legacy remains highly influential.

• • • Selected good articles • • •

• • • Did you know? • • •

Did You Know? ... that light cavalrymen of the Polish 1st Light Cavalry Regiment of the Imperial Guard saved Napoleon's life at least three times?

Did You Know? ... that Marshal Soult's last offensive against the Duke of Wellington's forces in the Peninsular War was lost before a single redcoat could join the battle?

Did You Know? ... that one of the causes of the May Revolution could have been that Napoleon crowned his own brother Joseph Bonaparte as the new Spanish King?

• • • Categories • • •

• • • WikiProjects • • •

• • • Related portals • • •

• • • Reading material • • •

• • • Featured articles • • •

Featured articles
Featured article Action of 1 August 1801 Featured article Action of 1 January 1800 Featured article Action of 13 January 1797
Featured article Battle of Albuera Featured article Battle of Austerlitz Featured article Battle of Barrosa
Featured article HMS Bellerophon (1786) Featured article Isaac Brock Featured article USS Chesapeake (1799)
Featured article USS Congress (1799) Featured article USS Constitution Featured article The Disasters of War
Featured article Battle of Dürenstein Featured article England expects that every man will do his duty Featured article War of the Fifth Coalition
Featured article Karl Aloys zu Fürstenberg Featured article Battle of the Gebora Featured article Glorious First of June
Featured article Battle of Grand Port Featured article Peter Heywood Featured article Johann von Klenau
Featured article Battle of Lissa (1811) Featured article Murray Maxwell Featured article Battle of the Nile
Featured article USS President (1800) Featured article Battle of Pulo Aura Featured article HMS Speedy (1782)
Featured article Tarrare Featured article HMS Temeraire (1798) Featured article The Third of May 1808
Featured article Battle of Tory Island Featured article Ulm Campaign Featured article USS Constellation vs L'Insurgente
Featured article Battle of Winterthur (1799)
Featured lists
Featured list Timeline of the Adriatic campaign, 1807–1814 Featured list Army of the Danube order of battle Featured list Order of battle in the Atlantic campaign of 1806
Featured list Order of battle at the Battle of Camperdown Featured list Order of battle at the Battle of the Nile Featured list Order of battle at the Battle of Tory Island
Featured list Order of battle at the Glorious First of June Featured list Order of battle at the Battle of San Domingo
A-Class articles
A-Class article Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette A-Class article Battle of Marengo A-Class article Napoleon
A-Class article Battle of Ostrach A-Class article Battle record of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

• • • Related topics • • •

• • • Wikimedia • • •

Napoleon I
on Wikiquote
Napoleonic Wars
on Commons
Napoleon Bonaparte
on Wikisource
Napoleonic Europe
on Wikibooks