Brief Timeline of Napoleon's Life (1769-1821)
During Napoleon's life, what is known as the Napoleonic era began in 1799 with Napoleon Bonaparte's Coup d'etat, which overthrew the Directory and established the French Consulate. It ended in 1815 a few days after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo when he abdicated for the second time.
August 15: Napoleon Bonaparte is born in Ajaccio, Corsica.
October 28: Graduates from Ecole Militaire with the rank of second lieutenant in the artillery.
December 22: For his courage and the skill he showed at an internal French battle at Toulon, Napoleon receives the rank of brigadier general (The Siege of Toulon (18 September - 18 December 1793) was an early Republican victory over a Royalist rebellion in the Southern French city of Toulon.)
August 9-20: Napoleon is imprisoned for a few days under
suspicion of being a Jacobin and a supporter of Robespierre -The Jacobin Club was the most famous political club of the French Revolution. At that time, the term was popularly applied to all supporters of revolutionary opinions. Maximilien Robespierre, (6 May 1758 - 28 July 1794) was a most influential figure in the French Revolution. He largely dominated the Committee of Public Safety and was instrumental in the period of the Revolution commonly known as the Reign of Terror, which ended with his arrest and execution in 1794.
October: Royalist rising put down by Napoleon. - 13 Vendemiaire (5 October 1795 in the French Republican Calendar) is the name given to a battle between French Revolutionary troops and Royalist forces in the streets of Paris. The battle was largely responsible for the rapid advancement of Republican General Napoleon Bonaparte's career. Barras, a prominent politician, helps Napoleon win promotion to Commander of the Interior.
October 15: At the home of Barras, Napoleon meets Rose de Beauharnais (Josephine).
November 2: The Directory, the new French Government, is established with five directors, including Barras.
March 2: Napoleon is given command of the French army in Italy.
March 11: Italian campaign against Austria begins.
May 10: Battle of Lodi - The Battle of Lodi was fought on May 10, 1796 between French forces under General Napoleon Bonaparte and an Austrian rear guard at Lodi, Lombardy. The rear guard was defeated, but the main body of the Austrian Army had time to retreat.
November 17: Battle of Arcole The Battle of Arcole saw a bold manoeuvre by Napoleon Bonaparte's French Army of Italy to outflank the Austrian army and cut its line of retreat.
January 14: Battle of Rivoli — The Battle of Rivoli (14-15 January 1797) was a key victory in the French campaign in Italy against Austria. Napoleon Bonaparte's 23,000 Frenchmen defeated an attack of 28,000 Austrians, ending Austria's fourth and final attempt to relieve the Siege of Mantua. Rivoli further demonstrated Napoleon's brilliance and led to French occupation of northern Italy.
October 17: Treaty of Campo-Formio with Austria. December 5: Napoleon returns to Paris as a hero.
May 19: Napoleon begins his Egyptian campaign with an army of 38,000.
July 21: Wins Battle of the Pyramids against the Mamelukes in Egypt. — The Battle of the Pyramids, also known as the Battle of Embabeh, was fought on July 21, 1798 between the French army in Egypt under Napoleon, and local Mameluk forces. Napoleon named the battle after the Egyptian pyramids, although they were only faintly visible on the horizon when the battle took place.
July 24: Fall of Cairo.
August 1: Under the command of Admiral Nelson, the British fleet destroys the French navy in the Battle of the Nile. Napoleon's army is cut off from supplies and communication.
August 23: Receiving news of turmoil in France, Napoleon relinquishes command in Egypt and returns to Paris. November 9-10: Napoleon overthrows the Directory —The coup of 18 Brumaire was the Coup d'etat by which General Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the French Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate.
December 12: Napoleon elected First Consul. During this
period, Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul, established
himself as the head of a more conservative, authoritarian, autocratic, and centralized republican government in France while not declaring himself head of state. Nevertheless, due to the long-lasting institutions established during these years, Robert B. Holtman has called the Consulate "one of the most important periods of all French history."
June 14: Battle of Marengo — The Battle of Marengo was fought on 14 June 1800 between French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte and Austrian forces near the city of Alessandria, in Piedmont, Italy. The French overcame the Austrian's surprise attack near the end of the day, driving the Austrians out of Italy, and enhancing Napoleon's political position in Paris as First Consul of France.
February 9: Treaty with Austria signed at Luneville — The Treaty of Luneville was signed on 9 February 1801 between the French Republic and the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The Austrian army had been defeated by Napoleon at the Battle of Marengo on 14 June 1800 and then by Moreau at the Battle of Hohenlinden on 3 December. This treaty marked the end of the Second Coalition; after this treaty, Britain was the sole nation still at war with France. The Austrians re-entered the Napoleonic Wars in 1805.
July 15: Concordat of 1801 — The Concordat of 1801 was an agreement between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII, signed on 15 July 1801. It solidified the Roman Catholic Church as the majority church of France and brought back most of its civil status. While the Concordat restored some ties to the papacy, it was largely in favor of the state; the balance of church-state relations had tilted firmly in Napoleon's favour.
December 24: Napoleon escapes an assassination attempt.
March 25: Treaty of Amiens - The Treaty of Amiens temporarily ended hostilities between the French Republic and the United Kingdom during the French Revolutionary Wars. Together with the Treaty of Luneville (1801), the Treaty of Amiens marked the end of the Second Coalition, which had waged war against Revolutionary France since 1798.
May 1: Napoleon restructures the French educational system.
May 19: Legion of Honour established. - The Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul, on 19 May 1802. The Order is still the highest decoration in France.
August 2: New constitution adopted, plebiscite confirms Napoleon as First Consul for life.
March 21: Introduction of the Civil Code (also known as Code Napoleon) - The French Napoleonic code (Code Civil) was enacted in 1804 after only a few years of preparation, but it was a child of the French Revolution, which is strongly reflected in its content. The French code has been the most influential in Europe because it was introduced in many countries under French occupation during the Napoleonic Wars.
May: Napoleon proclaimed Emperor by the Senate.
December 2: Napoleon crowns himself Emperor, in front of the Pope.
October 19: Battle of Ulm - The Battle of Ulm (October 16-19, 1805) was a series of minor skirmishes, culminating in the surrender of an entire Austrian army near Ulm. The Ulm Campaign is considered one of the finest examples of a strategic turning movement in military history.
October 21: 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). The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships, without a single British vessel being lost. But the British Lord Admiral Nelson was killed.
December 2: Battle of Austerlitz-The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of Napoleon's greatest victories, where the French Empire effectively crushed the Third Coalition. On 2 December 1805 a French army, commanded by Emperor Napoleon I, decisively defeated a Russo-Austrian army, commanded by Tsar Alexander I and Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire, after nearly nine hours of difficult fighting. The battle took place near Austerlitz in Moravia, at that time in the Austrian Empire. The battle is often regarded as a tactical masterpiece.
March 30: Napoleon names his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, king of Naples, and appoints other family members to various other posts. - Joseph Bonaparte (7 January 1768 - 28 July 1844) was the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily (1806-1808), and later King of Spain (1808-1813, as Jose I). After the fall of Napoleon, Joseph styled himself Comte de Survilliers.
July 12: Establishment of the Confederation of the Rhine, with Napoleon as `protector'. The Holy Roman Empire is abolished - The Holy Roman Empire, a realm that existed from the year 962 in Central Europe, was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. For much of its history the Empire consisted of hundreds of smaller sub-units, principalities, duchies, counties, Free Imperial Cities and other domains.
September 15: Prussia joins Britain and Russia against Napoleon
October 14: Battle of Jena - The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 between the
forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia. The decisive defeat suffered by the Prussian Army subjugated the Kingdom of Prussia to the French Empire until the Sixth Coalition was formed in 1812.
November 21: The Berlin Decree (1806), which initiated the Continental System was issued. - The decree forbade the import of British goods into European countries allied with or dependent upon France, and installed the Continental System in Europe. It eventually led to economic ruin for France, while little happened to the economy of Britain, which had control of the Atlantic Ocean trade.
February 8: Battle of Eylau - The Battle of Eylau, 7 and 8 February 1807, was a bloody and inconclusive battle between Napoleon's Grande Armee and a Russian army in East Prussia.
June 14: Battle of Friedland. - The Battle of Friedland (June 14, 1807) saw Napoleon's French army decisively defeat the Russian army. Friedland effectively ended the War of the Fourth Coalition (1806-1807) against Napoleon.
June 25: Treaty of Tilsit signed between Russia and France. The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon in the town of Tilsit in July, 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Niemen River. The second was signed with Prussia on 9 July. The treaties ended the War of the Fourth Coalition at the expense of the Prussian king who had to cede territories to France.
March 17: Imperial University established. -The University of France was a highly centralized educational state organization founded by Napoleon I in 1808 and given authority not only over the individual, previously independent, universities,
Battle of Friedland, 1807
but also over primary and secondary education. The former individual universities were henceforth to be known as "academies", but each still retained a rector and local board of their own.
May 2: Spanish people rise up against France. Often referred to as Dos de Mayo Uprising: on the second of May (Spanish: Dos de Mayo), 1808, the people of Madrid rebelled against the occupation of the city by French troops, provoking a brutal repression by the French Imperial forces and triggering the Peninsular War.
July 7: Joseph crowned King of Spain, after Portugal revolts against the Continental System/Blockade Napoleon had put in place. Napoleon collected five armies to advance into Portugal and `bullied' the Spanish royal family into resigning.
Peninsular War - The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its ally, Spain. The war lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814.
May 22: Battle of Aspern-Essling - In the Battle of AspernEssling (21-22 May 1809), Napoleon attempted a forced crossing of the Danube near Vienna, but the French and their
Napoleon's second wife, the empress Marie-Louise and their son, the king of Rome
allies were driven back by the Austrians. The battle was the first time Napoleon had been personally defeated in over a decade, but it was no more than a tactical victory for the Austrians, who failed to capitalise on their superior numbers and merely repulsed Napoleon, without defeating him.
July 5-6: Battle of Wagram - The Battle of Wagram (July 5-6, 1809) was the most important military engagement of the War of the Fifth Coalition. The two-day struggle saw an Imperial French, German and Italian army defeat an army of the Austrian Empire. Success for Napoleon, Austria loses territory and must enforce the Continental System.
October 14: Treaty of Schonbrunn signed. - The Treaty of Schonbrunn was signed between France and Austria at the Schonbrunn Palace of Vienna on 14 October 1809. This treaty ended the Fifth Coalition. Austria had been defeated, and France imposed harsh peace terms.
December 15: Napoleon divorces Josephine who is not able to give him a son.
April 2: Napoleon marries Marie-Louise, daughter of the Emperor of Austria.
March 20: Napoleon's son is born, referred to as the "King of Rome".
August 4-6: Battle of Smolensk - The Battle of Smolensk, the first major battle of the French invasion of Russia took place on August 16-18, 1812. Napoleon attacked Smolensk and captured two of the suburbs. During the night the Russians evacuated the burning city.
September 1: Moscow evacuated.
September 7: Battle of Borodino - The Battle of Borodino,
fought on September 7, 1812, was the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the French invasion of Russia and all Napoleonic Wars, resulting in at least 70,000 casualties. The French Grande Armee attacked the Imperial Russian Army near the village of Borodino and eventually captured the main positions on the battlefield, but failed to destroy the Russian army. About a third of Napoleon's soldiers were killed or wounded.
September 14: Napoleon arrives in Moscow to find the city abandoned and set alight by the inhabitants.
October 19: The Great Retreat of the French army begins. November: Crossing of the River Berezina.
December: Grande Armee expelled from Russia.
May 2: Battle of Liitzen - In the Battle of Liitzen (May 2, 1813), Napoleon lured a combined Prussian and Russian force into a trap halting the advances of the Sixth Coalition after his devastating losses in Russia. After a day of heavy fighting, the combined Prussian and Russian force retreated, but without cavalry the French were unable to follow their defeated enemy.
May 20-21: Battle of Bautzen - In the Battle of Bautzen (20-21 May 1813) a combined Russian/Prussian army was pushed back by Napoleon, but escaped destruction, some sources claim, because Marshal Ney failed to block their retreat.
June 21: Battle of Vitoria - At the Battle of Vitoria (June 21, 1813) an allied British, Portuguese, and Spanish army broke the French army near Vitoria in Spain, leading to eventual allied victory in the Peninsular War.
August 15: Siege of Danzig - It lasted from January to December 1813 and ended in a Coalition victory.
August 26-27: Battle of Dresden - The Battle of Dresden was fought on 26-27 August 1813, resulting in a French victory against forces of the Sixth Coalition of Austrians,
Russians and Prussians. However, Napoleon's victory was not as complete as it could have been.
August 26: Battle of Katzbach -Taking place the same day as the Battle of Dresden, it resulted in a French defeat.This, coupled with the defeats at Kulm, four days later, and Dennewitz on 6 September, would more than negate Napoleon's victory at Dresden.
October 16-19: Battle of Leipzig-The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations, on 16-19 October 1813, was fought by the coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden against the French army of Napoleon. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops as well as Germans. The battle involved over 600,000 soldiers, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I. Defeated, Napoleon was compelled to return to France while the Allies hurried to keep their momentum, invading France early the next year.
February 10-14: Six Days Campaign -The Six Days Campaign (10 February-14 February 1814) was a series of victories by the forces of Napoleon as the Sixth Coalition closed in on Paris. With an army of only 70,000, the Emperor was faced with at least half a million Allied troops advancing in several main armies.
The Six Days Campaign was fought from 10 February to 14 February during which time he inflicted four major defeats on Blucher's army in Champaubert, Montmirail, ChateauThierry and Vauchamps. Later historians and enthusiasts claimed that the Six Days was the Emperor's finest campaign. However, the Emperor's victories were not significant enough to make any changes to the overall strategic picture, and Schwarzenberg's larger army still threatened Paris, which eventually fell in late March.
March 30-31: Battle of Paris. - The French defeat led directly to the abdication of Napoleon I.
April 4: Napoleon abdicates and Louis XVIII, a Bourbon,
the brother of the late Louis XVI, is restored to the French throne.
April 11: Treaty of Fontainebleau —The treaty was signed at Paris on 11 April by the plenipotentiaries of both sides, and ratified by Napoleon on 13 April. With this treaty, the allies ended Napoleon's rule as emperor of France and sent him into exile on Elba. Napoleon agrees to exile in Elba, the allies agree to pay his family a pension.
May 4: Napoleon is exiled to Elba; his wife Marie-Louise and his son take refuge in Vienna.
February 20: Napoleon escapes from Elba.
March 20: Napoleon arrives in Paris.
The Hundred Days — The Hundred Days marked the period between Napoleon's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815 (a period of 111 days). This period saw the War of the Seventh Coalition ending with the Waterloo Campaign.
Napoleon returned while the Congress of Vienna was still sitting. On 13 March, seven days before Napoleon reached Paris, the powers at the Congress of Vienna declared him an outlaw; four days later the United Kingdom, Russia, Austria and Prussia, members of the Seventh Coalition, bound themselves to put 150,000 men each into the field to end his rule. June 18: Battle of Waterloo — The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium. It was the culminating battle of the Waterloo Campaign and Napoleon's last.
Two large forces under Wellington and von Blucher assembled close to the northeastern border of France. Napoleon chose to attack in the hope of destroying them before they could join in a coordinated invasion of France with other members of the Coalition. The decisive engagement of this three-day Waterloo Campaign (16-19 June 1815) occurred at the Battle
of Waterloo. According to Wellington, the battle was "the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life."
The defeat at Waterloo put an end to Napoleon's rule as Emperor of the French and marked the end of his Hundred Days' return from exile.
June 28: Secong restoration of the king Louis XVIII.
October 16: Arrival of Napoleon at Saint Helena, an island in the South Atlantic Ocean.
May: Death of Napoleon at St Helena.