Who won the Napoleonic wars definition main battles/causes

Napoleonic wars

Series of warlike conflicts between France, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, and various nations of Europe. Who won the Napoleonic wars

Date 1799 – 1815
Place Europe
Belligerents France and allies vs. Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and allies
Outcome Victory of the anti-Napoleonic coalition

The Napoleonic Wars were a series of warlike conflicts between France, led by Napoleon Bonaparte , and various nations of Europe , mainly Great Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia. These nations formed successive coalitions to confront France, which is why these conflicts are also known as coalition wars .

The origin of these wars must be traced in the reaction of the European monarchies to the outbreak of the French Revolution and the execution of King Louis XVI in early 1793. The Napoleonic wars proper began in 1799 when Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the Directory, formed the Consulate and set out to transform France into the leading European power. Who won the Napoleonic wars

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The wars came to an end in July 1815 with the Battle of Waterloo, during which the Seventh Coalition managed to defeat Napoleon, who was captured and confined on the island of Saint Helena, where he died in 1821.

Causes and consequences of the Napoleonic wars


Among the causes that led to the beginning of the Napoleonic wars can be mentioned:

  • The proclamation by the French Revolution of the principles of freedom, equality before the law and fraternity , and the will to want to extend them to the rest of Europe. This raised concern among the monarchs of the continent, who feared that those principles undermined the foundations of their legitimacy to rule.
  • The refusal of King Louis XVI to accept the constitutional monarchy and the conspiracies he led to win the support of the European monarchies to invade France and restore absolutism . The discovery of these conspiracies led to the trial and execution of the French king and provoked the reaction of several European monarchs, who feared that the revolution would spread to their territories.
  • The conflicts between Girondins and Jacobins that led to the establishment by Robespierre of a bloody repression against the counterrevolutionaries , known as the Terror. To escape this repression, many monarchists took refuge in various European courts, where they instigated the kings and their surroundings to invade France to end the revolution.
  • The coup d’état carried out by Napoleon on November 9, 1799 , after which he acceded to a position of power that was consolidated until he was proclaimed emperor of the French in 1804.
  • The ambition for power and the expansionist ideas of Bonaparte, who wanted to transform France into the first European power.
  • The will of the government of Great Britain to maintain the balance of powers on the European continent, to avoid the formation of an imperial power that could threaten its subsistence.
  • The breaking of the Treaty of Amiens , an agreement concluded by France and Great Britain in 1802, which had established a precarious state of peace between both nations.

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The consequences of these wars were political, social and economic. Among them we can mention:

  • The conquest of a large amount of territories by France in the first phase of these wars (1799-1811), to later conclude in the defeat and dissolution of the Napoleonic Empire (1812-1815). That dissolution also included the loss of all overseas colonies : Louisiana, sold to the United States in 1803; Haiti, which became independent in 1804; and the Seychelles, Mauritius, Saint Lucia, and Tobago, handed over to Great Britain at the end of the war.
  • The signing of the second Treaty of Paris , in November 1815. It established that France returned to the borders prior to 1790 and that it had to pay compensation to support the troops of the united powers, which would occupy part of French territory for three years.
  • The end of feudalism , which began with the French Revolution on the legal plane and the Industrial Revolution on the economic and social plane. The Napoleonic wars led to the end of serfdom in Central Europe, the advance of the bourgeoisie and the spread of capitalism as a new world economic system. Who won the Napoleonic wars
  • The independence of several of the colonies that Spain had in America , indirectly caused by the French occupation of the Iberian Peninsula in 1808. The American Creoles took advantage of the power vacuum generated in Spain to start the path to their emancipation.
  • The transformation of Great Britain into the leading naval power, by destroying the French fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar and thus repelling Napoleon’s attempted invasion. The British used their fleet to seek new markets to sell their industrial products when Napoleon proclaimed the continental blockade (1806). As a consequence, the English Invasions of the Río de la Plata (1806-07) and the occupation of the Dutch colony of the Cape, in present-day South Africa, took place.
  • The death of some 3 million combatants, 1,200,000 French and 1,800,000 British, Russians, Austrians, Prussians, Portuguese, Italians and Spanish, among others.
  • The spread of nationalist sentiments in much of Europe, promoted by the struggle against the Napoleonic occupying armies. This took place mainly in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria and what is now Germany. This nationalist sentiment was the germ of several of the European revolutions that took place in 1820, 1830 and 1848. Who won the Napoleonic wars
  • The reestablishment of the absolute monarchy in Europe , decided at the Congress of Vienna (1814-15). At that congress, which brought together representatives of Napoleon‘s victors, the formation of the Holy Alliance was also decided. Its objective was to prevent the emergence and spread of revolutionary or liberal movements in Europe and its colonies.

Who won the Napoleonic wars?

The Napoleonic wars proper, began in 1803. They include five coalition wars, the Napoleonic invasion of Russia and the Spanish war of independence, as detailed below: Who won the Napoleonic wars

War Date Belligerent countries Main battles Outcome
War of the Third Coalition December 1804 – December 1805 France vs Great Britain, Austria, Russia, Sweden and Naples Finistere, Trafalgar , Ulm, Austerlitz French triumph
Fourth Coalition War August 1806 – July 1807 France vs Great Britain, Prussia, Russia, Sweden and Saxony Jena, Auerstädt, Eylau, Friedland French triumph
Spanish War of Independence May 1808 – April 1814 France vs Spain, Portugal and Great Britain Valdepeñas, Bailén, del Bruch, Arapiles, Vitoria, San Marcial Spanish-Anglo-Portuguese triumph
Fifth Coalition War April – October 1809 France and Grand Duchy of Warsaw vs. Great Britain and Austria Radzyn, Aspern-Essling, Wagran Franco-Polish triumph
Russian Campaign / Patriotic War June to December 1812 France vs Russia Borodino, Maloyaroslávets Russian triumph
War of the Sixth Coalition May 1813 – March 1814 France, Saxony, Bavaria, Italy and Naples vs Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Sweden and Spain Lützen, Bautzen, Leipzig, Arcis-sur-Aube Coalition Triumph / Napoleon‘s First Abdication
War of the Seventh Coalition March – July 1815 France vs Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, and Hannover Ligny, Quatre Bras, Wavre, Waterloo Coalition Triumph / Napoleon‘s Second Abdication

Main battles of the Napoleonic wars

Among the most important battles of these wars are the Battle of Austerlitz, the Battle of Friedland, and the Battle of Waterloo, which are detailed below.

Battle of Austerlitz Who won the Napoleonic wars

This battle occurred during 1805 and includes one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s greatest victories. The French Empire, the Austrian Empire and the Russian Empire fought in it.

The Battle of Austerlitz was unleashed because the English, seeking allies against Napoleon, joined with the Austrians and Russians and formed the Third Coalition (along with Italy and Sweden).

Despite this union, the Napoleonic Empire under Bonaparte won a great victory; consequently, the Third Coalition disintegrated and peace was signed with the Austrian Empire .

Battle of Friedland

This battle took place on June 14, 1807 and in it the French army faced the Russian army.

The main cause of the Battle of Friedland was the alliance between Russia and England, the latter historic enemy of France, which drove Napoleon towards confrontation. Who won the Napoleonic wars

The victory was decisively French. This sealed the peace between Russia and France and achieved the dissolution of the Fourth Coalition (alliance between England, Russia, Sweden, Prussia and Saxony).

Battle of waterloo Who won the Napoleonic wars

The Battle of Waterloo took place on June 18, 1815 in the vicinity of Waterloo, present-day Belgium.

The French army, commanded by Napoleon, had 122,000 men who faced 93,000 men from the allied forces, made up of the United Kingdom, Prussia, the Netherlands, the kingdom of Hannover and the kingdom of Nassau. Who won the Napoleonic wars

This time, the Coalition was victorious. Napoleon was arrested and sent into exile to the island of Saint Helena, where he would later die, in 1821 .

The Battle of Waterloo includes the end of the Napoleonic wars and also the end of the Napoleonic Empire on the European continent . It is considered one of the defining moments in contemporary history.

The end of the Napoleonic wars

In February 1815 Napoleon managed to escape from his forced exile on the island of Elba and return to France, where he was received as a hero. He then recruited a new army, ruled for a hundred days, and prepared to face his old enemies. These formed the Seventh Coalition that brought together Great Britain, Russia, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain and several German states, including Hannover. The decisive battle took place on June 18, 1815 in the vicinity of Waterloo , in present-day Belgium.

The French army, commanded by Napoleon, had 122,000 men who faced 93,000 men from the allied forces. The Coalition was victoriousNapoleon abdicated, was arrested and sent into exile to the island of Saint Helena, where he died in 1821. Who won the Napoleonic wars

Protagonists of the Napoleonic wars

Among the most prominent protagonists of the Napoleonic wars are:

  • Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821) : Emperor of France and commander-in-chief of the French armies.
  • Horatio Nelson (1758 – 1805) : Vice Admiral of the British Royal Navy, known for his victory at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), in which he lost his life.
  • Count of Suvorov (1729 – 1800) : Russian military man named Alexandr Vasilievich. He led the Russian armies in the 7 Years’ War , the Russo-Polish Wars, and the Russo-Turkish War. In 1799 he led the Russian army to stop the French invasion of northern Italy.
  • Duke of Wellington (1769 – 1852) : Arthur Wellesley, British military man, politician and statesman of Irish origin. He was at the head of the Anglo-Portuguese troops that stopped the French attempts to occupy Portugal. He also led the allied forces in the war for Spanish independence (1808-1814). He commanded the British forces at the Battle of Waterloo. Who won the Napoleonic wars
  • Jean-Andoche Junot (1771 – 1813) : Duke of Abrantes, he was a French military man and general who participated in the campaigns in Italy and Egypt and in the struggles in the Iberian Peninsula. Discharged by Napoleon after the Russian campaign, he died in 1813 from injuries sustained after a failed suicide attempt.
  • Michel Ney (1769 – 1815) : Duke of Elchingen, was a field marshal of the French army. He participated in the invasions of Spain, Portugal and Russia. After the restoration of the Bourbons , he was tried for treason and sentenced to death.

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