Timeline of the Napoleonic era

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Timeline of the Napoleonic era (1799–1815). The Napoleonic era began in 1799 with Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'état, that overthrew the Directory and established the French Consulate. It ended in 1815 during the Hundred Days with his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo or a few days later when he abdicated for the second time.

Napoleon Bonaparte[edit]

Main article: Napoleon I of France

Napoleon Bonaparte (French: Napoléon Bonaparte [napoleɔ̃ bɔnɑpaʁt], Italian: Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the latter stages of the French Revolution and its associated wars in Europe.

Early years[edit]

  • August 15: Napoleon Bonaparte born in Ajaccio, Corsica
  • October 28: Graduates from Ecole Militaire with the rank of second lieutenant in the artillery.
  • November 3: Stationed in Valence


  • April 20: France declares war on Austria, Prussia and Piedmont: Beginning of the War of the First Coalition.
  • April 29: Battle of Baisieux, ended in a humiliating defeat for the armies of revolutionary France. France invades the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium) with two armies, and then retreats. Battle of Mons
  • May 9: The new French Defense Minister is Joseph Servan succeeds Pierre-Marie de Grave.
  • May 14: Russian troops cross the border Poland fight to defend the constitution. Confederation of Targowica.
  • May 18: Russia invades Poland, thus triggering the Russo-Polish War of 1792.
  • June 12: The new French Defense Minister is Charles-Francois Dumouriez. He succeeds Joseph Servan.
  • July 14: National Holiday in France: the Marseillaise, initially composed for the French Rhine Army, spreads throughout France and becomes the National Anthem.
  • August 20: Siege of Longwy begins. Battle of Verdun
  • August 23: Capitulation of the fortification of Longwy.
  • August 29 - 2 September: Siege of Verdun.
  • September 5–7: First phase of the „terreur“ (so called September


  • September 6: The September Massacres end. All in all, about 1,200 prisoners were killed by the mob.
  • September 20: Battle of Valmy (France versus Prussia/Austria) French Victory.
  • September 21: Establishment of the first French Republic.
  • September 30: Battle of Spires. also spelled Speyer, French victory, led by General Custine. 20,000 French troops against 12,000 Austrians. The French take 2,900 prisoners. The Austrians surrender.
  • September 23: The Austrians encircle Lille.
  • October 1: The convention splits his forces in eight armies: North, Ardennes, Moselle, Rhine, Vosges, Alps, Pyrénées, Interior.
  • October 3: Revolutionary troops occupy Basel.
  • October 4: Revolutionary troops occupy Worms.
  • October 8: The Prussians abandon Verdun.
  • October 18: The new French Defense Minister is Jean-Nicolas Pache. He succeeds Joseph Servan.
  • October 19: The French besiege Mainz (Mayence).
  • October 21: Having been besieged since October 19, 1792, the city of Mayence (Mainz) surrenders to the French.
  • October 22: The French, led by General Custine take Frankfurt. The Prussians abandon Longwy.
  • October 27: Revolutionary troops enter Belgium.
  • November 3: The French, led by General Dumouriez invade the Austrian Netherlands.
  • November 6: Battle of Jemappes; the revolutionary troops occupy Jemappes (part of the Austrian part of the Netherlands).
  • November 9: Revolutionary troops occupy the Palatinate.
  • November 13: The French take Brussels.
  • November 16: A French warship enters Ostend (Oostende, Ostende) without resistance.
  • November 17: The French take Malines (Mechelen.)
  • November 19: After the massacres of September and some victories in the war, the Convention declares that "it will grant fraternity and assistance to all people who want to regain their freedom."
  • November 20: A trial of Louis XVI becomes inevitable.
  • November 27: The French take Liège (Luik, Lüttich.)
  • November 29: Antwerp surrenders to the French.
  • December 2: Namur surrenders to the French. Battle of Frankfurt. The Prussians and Hessians recapture Frankfurt from French General Custine and his men.
  • December 3: The National Convention decrees that Louis XVI shall be tried by the National Convention.
  • December 11: Louis appears at his trial. His charges are read. Louis is interrogated by Barère, and has to respond to and justify each one of them.
  • December 15: The French take Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle.)
  • January 6: French General Custine suffers defeat at the Battle of Hochheim.
  • January 21: Louis XVI guillotined.
  • January 23: Russia and Prussia signed the Second Partition of Poland with parts of Mazovia to Prussia; Podolia, Volhynia, and Lithuanian to Russia.
  • January 24: Because of the Execution of Louis XVI, Great Britain breaks off its diplomatic relations with France.
  • February 1: France declares war on United Kingdom and Holland.
  • February 7: France declares war on Spain.
  • February 17: Great Britain declares war on France.
  • March 1: The Convention declares the reunion of Brussels to France; the following cities and regions are reunited to France in the next days: Le Hainaut, Stavelot, Franchimont, Logne, Salm, Gent, Brügge, Tournai, Louvain, Namur and 32 communities on the bank of the river Rhine.
  • March 2: The French evacuate Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle.)
  • March 4: George Washington, U.S. president since April 30, 1789, commences his second term and, with 135 words, delivers the shortest inaugural address at Philadelphia.
  • March 7: Spain declares war on France.
  • March 10: The Revolutionary Tribunal is created.
  • March 11: Wars of the Vendée begin.
  • March 12: Dumouriez in open rebellion against the Convention.
  • March 15: Upheavals in the region Loire-Atlantique (south east of the Bretagne). The Army of the Vosges is merged into the Army of the Rhine.
  • March 17: The Republic of Mainz (French: République de Mayence, German: Mainzer Republik) is declared. It is also called the Rhenish-German Free State (German: Rheinisch-Deutscher Freistaat).
  • March 18: Battle of Neerwinden. Austrian victory.
  • March 21: Battle of Leuven. Also called Battle of Louvain. Austrian victory.
  • March 22: Great Britain, Holland, Spain, Naples and the Holy Roman Empire declare war on France, not at least in reaction to the murder of the French king.
  • March 25: Alliance between Russia and Great Britain.
  • April 8 - 25 July: Siege of Condé.
  • April 14: The Siege of Mainz begins.
  • April 15: The British, led by Cornelius Cuyler and John Laforey, recapture Tobago from the French who had occupied the island since 1781.
  • April 22: The United States declare themselves neutral in the European War.
  • May 8: Battle of Raismes.
  • May 23: Battle of Famars ends with Coalition victory.
  • May 23 - 24 June: Siege of Bellegarde.
  • May 25: Capture of San Pietro and Sant'Antioco.
  • May 25 - 27 July: Siege of Valenciennes.
  • May 29: Uprisings in Lyon.
  • June 9: Battle of Arlon.
  • June 11: The Austrians take Condé.
  • July 27: Robespierre becomes the leader of the French Revolution.
  • July 28: The Siege of Valenciennes ends. Allied victory.
  • August 1: An Austro-Prussian army begins the Siege of Landau.
  • August 7: Battle of Caesar's Camp.
  • August 10: Lyon is under siege by forces of the National Convention.
  • August 17: Battle of Lincelles.
  • August 21: Battle of Furnes. (Battle of Veurne). Victory for Lazare Hoche and the French.
  • August 20: Siege of Landau.
  • August 23: In India, the French lose Pondicherry (Pondichéry). At 9.00 AM French forces leave the city through the Villenour gate, while British forces enter the city through the Madras gate.
  • August 24 - 8 September: Siege of Dunkirk.
  • August 27: French royalists invite British Vice Admiral Lord Hood and Spanish Admiral Juan de Langara and their men to take over the port of Toulon, a major French naval base, in order to defeat it against the French revolutionaries.
  • August 28 - 13 September: Siege of Le Quesnoy.
  • September 5: Reign of Terror officially begins.
  • September 6 - 8: Battle of Hondschoote. French Victory.
  • September 8: The Siege of Dunkirchen ends.
  • September 10: The National Convention decrees the Revolutionary Government until peace is restored.
  • September 12 - 13: Battle of Menin.
  • September 13: Battle of Méribel
  • September 14: Battle of Pirmasens
  • September 17: Battle of Peyrestortes. The Law of Suspects is passed, authorizing the creation of revolutionary tribunals to try those suspected of treason against the Republic and to punish those convicted with death.
  • September 18 - 18 December: Siege of Toulon. French Victory; the capture of Toulon is mainly due to the young General Bonaparte.
  • September 22: Battle of Truillas (part of the Roussillon Campaign) Spanish victory over the French.
  • October 9: Lyon surrenders to the Republicans.
  • October 13: First Battle of Wissembourg the Austro-Prussian army under Austrian General Dagobert Sigmund Wurmser and Prussian General Charles William Ferdinand of Brunswick push the French from the Weissenburger Linien.
  • October 15-16: Battle of Wattignies. French victory.
  • October 16: Marie Antoinette guillotined.
  • October 17: Victory for French revolutionaries over French royalists.
  • October 22: The HMS Agamemnon, encounter French vessels and engage the French frigate Melpoméne.
  • October 24: The Siege of Nieuport (Nieuwpoort) begins. The French attack the town but the British troops can resist.
  • October 25: Prussia denounces its alliance with Great Britain and Holland.
  • October 29: The Siege of Nieuport ends. The French withdraw.
  • November 7: Abolition of Christianity in France.
  • November 14 - 18 December: Siege of Fort-Louis
  • November 18 - 30: Battle of Kaiserslautern. The Prussians, led by the Duke of Brunswick (Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand,) defeat the French, led by General Hoche.
  • November 18 - December 22: Battle of Haguenau
  • December 12: Decree introducing compulsory education in France. Battle of Le Mans. Victory for French revolutionaries over French royalists.
  • December 14: Kleber begins the Siege of Mainz.
  • December 18 - 20: Battle of Froeschwiller
  • December 22: Battle of Woerth / Wörth. (Battle of Froeschwiller / Fröschweiler). French victory over the Austrians.
  • December 23: Battle of Savenay. Victory for French revolutionaries over French royalists.
  • December 26: Second Battle of Wissembourg The Austrians and Prussians pull back to the other side of the Rhine River. Alsace is French now.
  • December 27: The Austro-Prussian siege of Landau is raised.
  • December 29: For his brilliant tactical command (although a subordinate officer, he was widely credited for the victory) at an internal French battle at Toulon, Napoleon receives the new rank of brigadier general
  • January 3: Russia and Austria agree on the division of Poland.
  • January 24: Talleyrand, residing in London, is told to leave Britain within five days. He will get an extension and eventually leave for the United States.
  • January 20: French troops occupy Amsterdam.
  • January 28 - 29: Capture of Fort-Dauphin
  • April 5: Peace treaty of Basel; Prussia leaves the coalition against France; Northern Germany is declared neutral; France takes control over the left bank of the Rhine.
  • April 24: Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies.
  • April 30 - 1 May: Battle of Boulou.
  • May 18: Battle of Tourcoing.
  • May 22: Battle of Tournay.
  • June 26: Battle of Fleurus.
  • July 16: Agreement between France and Prussia: the north of Germany is declared neutral under the protection of Prussia.
  • August 29: Peace Treaty between France and Sweden.
  • September 28: Treaty between Great Britain, Russia and Austria.
  • October 1: Annexation of Belgium by France.
  • October 2: Battle of Aldenhoven.
  • October 24: Upon the Third partition by Russia, Prussia, and Austria, the Polish state ceases to exist: Lithuania and Wolhynia to Russia; Mazovia (as Neuostpreussen) and Warsaw to Prussia; and Krakow and Little Poland to Austria (as West Galicia).
  • November/December: Extreme difficulties of food supply in France; high death rates.
  • March 2: Bonaparte is named supreme commander of the Italian Army.
  • April 10: Begin of Bonaparte’s campaign in Italy.
  • May 10: Battle of Lodi (France vs Austria) French victory.
  • May 15: Bonaparte enters into Milan.
  • May 20: Bonaparte enters into Milan.
  • June 4: Bonaparte begins the siege of Mantua Kleber victorious against the Austrians at Altenkirchen.
  • August 9 – 20: Napoleon is imprisoned under suspicion of being a Jacobin and a supporter of Robespierre.

  • October: Royalist 13 Vendémiaire rising put down by Napoleon. Barras helps Napoleon win promotion to Commander of the Interior.
  • October 15: At the home of Paul François Barras, a Directory member, Napoleon meets Rose de Beauharnais (Josephine)
  • 2 November: Directory established
  • March 2: Napoleon is given command of the French army in Italy
  • March 11: Italian campaign against Austria begins
  • May 10: Napoleon wins the Battle of Lodi
  • November 17: Napoleon wins the Battle of Arcole
  • January 14: Napoleon wins the Battle of Rivoli
  • 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 Mamelukes in Egypt
  • July 24: Fall of Cairo
  • August 2: 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.

Napoleonic era[edit]

  • August 23: Receiving news of turmoil in France, Napoleon relinquishes command in Egypt and returns to Paris, a so-called Coup d’état
  • November 9–10: Coup of Brumaire Napoleon overthrows the Directory.
  • December 12: Napoleon elected First Consul of the Consulate.
  • March 25: Treaty of Amiens.
  • May 1: Napoleon restructures French educational system
  • May 19: Legion of Honour established
  • 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)
  • May: Napoleon proclaimed Emperor by the Senate.
  • December 2: Napoleon crowns himself Emperor, in the company of the Pope.
Admiral Lord Nelson Killed.
  • March 30: Napoleon names his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, king of Naples, and appoints other family members to various other posts
  • July 12: Confederation of the Rhine, Napoleon as ‘protector’. Initially had 16 member states, later others added, including kingdoms of Saxony and Westphalia
  • Holy Roman Empire abolished
  • September 15: Prussia joins Britain and Russia against Napoleon
  • October 14: Battle of Jena
  • October 14: Battle of Auerstadt.
  • November 21: The Berlin Decree (1806), which initiated the Continental System was issued.
  • March 17: Imperial University established
  • May 2: Spanish people rise up against France. Often referred to as Dos de Mayo Uprising.
  • July 7: Joseph crowned King of Spain, after Portugal revolts against the Continental System/Blockade Napoleon had put in place. Napoleon collected 5 armies to advance into Portugal and 'bullied' the Spanish royal family into resigning.
  • Peninsular War
  • March 20: Napoleon's son born, referred to as the "King of Rome"
  • July 22: Battle of Salamanca
  • August 4–6: Battle of Smolensk.
  • September 1: Moscow evacuated.
  • September 7, 1812: Battle of Borodino.
  • September 14: Napoleon arrives in Moscow to find the city abandoned and set alight by the inhabitants; retreating in the midst of a frigid winter, the army suffers great losses.
  • October 19: Beginning of the Great Retreat.
  • October 24: Battle of Maloyaroslavets.
  • November: Crossing of the River Berezina.
  • December: Grande Armée expelled from Russia.
  • February 10–14: Six Days Campaign.
  • March 30–31: Battle of Paris.
  • April 4: Napoleon abdicates his rule and Louis XVIII, a Bourbon, is restored to the French throne
  • April 11: Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814) Napoleon agrees to exile in Elba, the allies agree to pay his family a pension.
  • May 4: Napoleon is exiled to Elba; his wife and son take refuge in Vienna
Main: Hundred Days: Timeline
see also:Diplomatic timeline for 1815
  • February 20: Napoleon escapes from Elba.
  • March 20: Napoleon arrives in Paris.
Beginning of the Hundred Days
  • May 5: Napoleon dies


  • Jack Allen Meyer (1987). An Annotated Bibliography of the Napoleonic Era: Recent Publications, 1945-1985 ISBN 0-313-24901-6

Further reading[edit]

  • William Leonard Langer & Peter N. Stearns. The Encyclopedia of World History: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern, Chronologically, Edition: 6, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001 ISBN 0-395-65237-5, ISBN 978-0-395-65237-4 Chapter "The Napoleonic Period, 1799-1815", pp. 435–441