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First French Empire

Empire in France from 1804 to 1815 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The First French Empire, officially the French Republic,[lower-alpha 2] then the French Empire (French: Empire Français; Latin: Imperium Francicum) after 1809 and also known as Napoleonic France, was the empire ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte, who established French hegemony over much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. It lasted from 18 May 1804 to 3 May 1814 and again briefly from 20 March 1815 to 7 July 1815.[7]

Quick facts: French Republic[1] .mw-parser-output .nobold...
French Republic[1]
République Française

French Empire
Empire Français
1804 – 1814
20 March 1815 – 7 July 1815      
Motto: Liberté, Ordre Public[2]
("Liberty, Public Order")
Anthem: Chant du départ
("Song of the Departure") (official)

Veillons au salut de l'Empire
("Let's ensure the salvation of the Empire") (unofficial)
The First French Empire at its peak territorial control in September 1812:
  Military occupation
  De jure borders of client states, but not under French nor client control

The French empire with its colonial ownership in 1812:
  The French Empire with its colonies
 Satellite states and occupied territories in 1812
Common languagesFrench (official)
Latin (formal)
Catholic Church (State religion)
Judaism (Minority religion)
Napoleon I
Napoleon II (disputed)[lower-alpha 1]
Sénat conservateur
(until 1814)
Chamber of Peers
(from 22 April 1815 onward)
Corps législatif
(until 4 June 1814)
Chamber of Representatives
(from 22 April 1815 onward)
Historical eraFrench Revolutionary Wars
Napoleonic Wars
18 May 1804
 Coronation of Napoleon I
2 December 1804
7 July 1807
24 June 1812
11 April 1814
20 March – 7 July 1815
1812[4]2,100,000 km2 (810,000 sq mi)
44 million[5]
CurrencyFrench franc
ISO 3166 codeFR
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag_of_France.svg French First Republic
Flag_of_the_Netherlands.svg Kingdom of Holland
Flag_of_Genoa.svg Ligurian Republic
Flag_of_Andorra_%281806%E2%80%931866%29.svg Andorra
Kingdom of France Flag_of_France_%281814%E2%80%931830%29.svg
S. Principality of the United Netherlands Flag_of_the_Netherlands.svg
United Kingdom of the Netherlands Flag_of_the_Netherlands.svg
Neutral Moresnet Flag_of_Moresnet.svg
Luxembourg Flag_of_Luxembourg.svg
Grand Duchy of Tuscany Flag_of_the_Grand_Duchy_of_Tuscany_with_Great_Coat_of_arms.svg
Andorra Flag_of_Andorra_%281806%E2%80%931866%29.svg
Monaco Flag_of_Monaco_%281814-1881%29.svg
Principality of Elba Bandiera_Elba.svg

Although France had already established a colonial empire overseas since the early 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the French Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew Napoleon III.

On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was granted the title Emperor of the French (Empereur des Français, pronounced [ɑ̃.pʁœʁ de fʁɑ̃.sɛ]) by the French Sénat conservateur and was crowned on 2 December 1804,[8] signifying the end of the French Consulate and of the French First Republic. Despite his coronation, the state continued to be formally called the "French Republic" until October 1808. The empire achieved military supremacy in mainland Europe through notable victories in the War of the Third Coalition against Austria, Prussia, Russia, Britain, and allied states, notably at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805.[9] French dominance was reaffirmed during the War of the Fourth Coalition, at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt in 1806 and the Battle of Friedland in 1807,[10] before Napoleon's final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

A series of wars, known collectively as the Napoleonic Wars, extended French influence to much of Western Europe and into Poland. At its height in 1812, the French Empire had 130 departments, a population over 44 million people, ruled over 90 million subjects throughout Europe and in the overseas colonies, maintained an extensive military presence in Germany, Italy, Spain, and Poland, and counted Austria and Prussia as nominal allies.[5] Early French victories exported many ideological features of the Revolution throughout Europe: the introduction of the Napoleonic Code throughout the continent increased legal equality, established jury systems and legalised divorce, and seigneurial dues and seigneurial justice were abolished, as were aristocratic privileges in all places except Poland.[11] France's defeat in 1814 (and then again in 1815), marked the end of the First French Empire and the beginning of the Bourbon Restoration.

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