First French Empire

Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804-1815
May 18, 1804
Greater French Empire
Napoleonic Empire
native label
Empire Français (french)
coordinate location
point in time
2,100,000 square kilometre
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Commons category
First French Empire
dissolved, abolished or demolished
April 14, 1814
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The First French Empire, officially the French Empire (French: Empire Français; Latin: Imperium Francicum),Note 1 was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the 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 as Napoleon III. On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was granted the title Emperor of the French (L'Empereur des Français, pronounced [lɑ̃.pʁœʁ de fʁɑ̃.sɛ]) by the French Sénat (Senate) and was crowned on 2 December 1804, signifying the end of the French Consulate and of the French First Republic. The French Empire achieved military supremacy in mainland Europe through notable victories in the War of the Third Coalition against Austria, Prussia, Russia, and allied nations, notably at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805. 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. He was defeated during the 1815 battle of Waterloo. 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, ruled over 70 million subjects, maintained an extensive military presence in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Duchy of Warsaw, and counted Prussia and Austria as nominal allies. Early French victories exported many ideological features of the French 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. France's defeat in 1814 (and then again in 1815), marked the end of the Empire.
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