Archivos de la categoría ‘Liberal Revolutions’

Napoleon exiled to Elba

On this day in 1814,  Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France and one of the greatest military leaders in history, abdicates the throne, and, in the Treaty of Fontainebleau, is banished to the Mediterranean island of Elba.

The future emperor was born in Ajaccio, Corsica, on August 15, 1769. After attending military school, he fought during the French Revolution of 1789 and rapidly rose through the military ranks, leading French troops in a number of successful campaigns throughout Europe in the late 1700s. By 1799, he had established himself at the top of a military dictatorship. In 1804, he became emperor of France and continued to consolidate power through his military campaigns, so that by 1810 much of Europe came under his rule. Although Napoleon developed a reputation for being power-hungry and insecure, he is also credited with enacting a series of important political and social reforms that had a lasting impact on European society, including judiciary systems, constitutions, voting rights for all men and the end of feudalism. Additionally, he supported education, science and literature. His Code Napoleon, which codified key freedoms gained during the French Revolution, such as religious tolerance, remains the foundation of French civil law.

In 1812, thinking that Russia was plotting an alliance with England, Napoleon launched an invasion against the Russians that eventually ended with his troops retreating from Moscow and much of Europe uniting against him. In 1814, Napoleon’s broken forces gave up and Napoleon offered to step down in favor of his son. When this offer was rejected, he abdicated and was sent to Elba. In March 1815, he escaped his island exile and returned to Paris, where he regained supporters and reclaimed his emperor title, Napoleon I, in a period known as the Hundred Days. However, in June 1815, he was defeated at the bloody Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon’s defeat ultimately signaled the end of France’s domination of Europe. He abdicated for a second time and was exiled to the remote island of Saint Helena, in the southern Atlantic Ocean, where he lived out the rest of his days. He died at age 52 on May 5, 1821, possibly from stomach cancer, although some theories contend he was poisoned.

From http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/napoleon-exiled-to-elba

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The Seven Year’s War ends

The Seven Years’ War, a global conflict known in America as the French and Indian War, ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by France, Great Britain, and Spain.

In the early 1750s, France’s expansion into the Ohio River valley repeatedly brought the country into armed conflict with the British colonies. In 1756, the British formally declared war against France.

In the first year of the war, the British suffered a series of defeats at the hands of the French and their broad network of Native American alliances. However, in 1757, British Prime Minister William Pitt (the older) recognized the potential of imperial expansion that would come out of victory against the French and borrowed heavily to fund an expanded war effort. Pitt financed Prussia’s struggle against France and her allies in Europe and reimbursed the colonies for the raising of armies in North America. By 1760, the French had been expelled from Canada, and by 1763 all of France’s allies in Europe had either made a separate peace with Prussia or had been defeated. In addition, Spanish attempts to aid France in the Americas had failed, and France also suffered defeats against British forces in India.

The Seven Years’ War ended with the signing of the treaties of Hubertusburg and Paris in February 1763. In the Treaty of Paris, France lost all claims to Canada and gave Louisiana to Spain, while Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada, and various French holdings overseas. The treaty ensured the colonial and maritime supremacy of Britain and strengthened the 13 American colonies by removing their European rivals to the north and the south. Fifteen years later, French bitterness over the loss of most of their colonial empire contributed to their intervention in the American Revolution on the side of the Patriots.

From http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-french-and-indian-war-ends?catId=6

King Louis XVI executed

 One day after being convicted of conspiracy with foreign powers and sentenced to death by the French National Convention, King  Louis XVI is executed by guillotine in the Place de la Revolution in Paris.Louis ascended to the French throne in 1774 and from the start was unsuited to deal with the severe financial problems that he had inherited from his grandfather, King Louis XV. In 1789, in a last-ditch attempt to resolve his country’s financial crisis, Louis assembled the States-General, a national assembly that represented the three “estates” of the French people–the nobles, the clergy, and the commons. The States-General had not been assembled since 1614, and the third estate–the commons–used the opportunity to declare itself the National Assembly, igniting the French Revolution. On July 14, 1789, violence erupted when Parisians stormed theBastille–a state prison where they believed ammunition was stored.Although outwardly accepting the revolution, Louis resisted the advice of constitutional monarchists who sought to reform the monarchy in order to save it; he also permitted the reactionary plotting of his unpopular queen, Marie Antoinette. In October 1789, a mob marched on Versailles and forced the royal couple to move to Tuileries; in June 1791, opposition to the royal pair had become so fierce that the two were forced to flee to Austria. During their trip, Marie and Louis were apprehended at Varennes, France, and carried back to Paris. There, Louis was forced to accept the constitution of 1791, which reduced him to a mere figurehead.

In August 1792, the royal couple was arrested by the sans-cullottes and imprisoned, and in September the monarchy was abolished by the National Convention (which had replaced the National Assembly). In November, evidence of Louis XVI’s counterrevolutionary intrigues with Austria and other foreign nations was discovered, and he was put on trial for treason by the National Convention.

The next January, Louis was convicted and condemned to death by a narrow majority. On January 21, he walked steadfastly to the guillotine and was executed. Nine months later, Marie Antoinette was convicted of treason by a tribunal, and on October 16 she followed her husband to the guillotine.

From http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/king-louis-xvi-executed?catId=6

The Boston Tea Party

In Boston Harbor, a group of  Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump 342 chests of tea into the harbor.

The midnight raid, popularly known as the “Boston Tea Party,” was in protest of the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny.

When three tea ships, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused, Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the “tea party” with about 60 members of the Sons of Liberty, his underground resistance group. The British tea dumped in Boston Harbor on the night of December 16 was valued at some $18,000.

Parliament, outraged by the blatant destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in 1774. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British.

From: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-boston-tea-party

Napoleon crowned emperor of France

In Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris,  Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Napoleon I, the first Frenchman to hold the title of emperor in a thousand years. Pope Pius VII handed Napoleon the crown that the 35-year-old conqueror of Europe placed on his own head.

(…) After becoming first consul in February 1800, he reorganized his armies and defeated Austria. In 1802, he established the Napoleonic Code, a new system of French law, and in 1804 he established the French empire. By 1807, Napoleon’s empire stretched from the River Elbe in the north, down through Italy in the south, and from the Pyrenees to the Dalmatian coast.

Beginning in 1812, Napoleon began to encounter the first significant defeats of his military career, suffering through a disastrous invasion of Russia, losing Spain to the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula War, and enduring total defeat against an allied force by 1814. Exiled to the island of Elba, he escaped to France in early 1815 and raised a new Grand Army that enjoyed temporary success before its crushing defeat at Waterloo against an allied force under Wellington on June 18, 1815.

Napoleon was subsequently exiled to the island of Saint Helena off the coast of Africa, where he lived under house arrest with a few followers. In May 1821, he died, most likely of stomach cancer. He was only 51 years old. (…)

From: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/napoleon-crowned-emperor