French Revolutionary Wars


French Revolutionary Wars
(1792–99) Series of wars undertaken to defend and then to spread the ideas of the French Revolution.

After the National Assembly established its ascendancy over Louis XVI, in 1791 Austria and Prussia called on European rulers to assist Louis in reestablishing power. France declared war in 1792 and soon had occupied all of Belgium. The First Coalition (Prussia, Spain, the United Provinces, and Britain) was formed against France in 1793, and in response the French declared a levy on all Frenchmen, creating a massive army. By 1795 France had defeated the allies on every front; Prussia signed a peace treaty, and the Netherlands became the French-influenced Batavian Republic. Napoleon took over as commander of the Italian campaign in 1796 and by the Treaty of Campo Formio (1797) forced Austria to cede the Austrian Netherlands and recognize the French-organized Cisalpine and Ligurian republics in northern Italy. He then sailed an army to Egypt to conquer the Ottoman empire, but was defeated by Britain in the Battle of the Nile (1798). Meanwhile, other French forces had occupied new territories and established republican regimes in Rome, Switzerland (the Helvetic Republic), and Italy (the Parthenopean Republic). The Second Coalition, comprising Britain, Russia, the Ottoman empire, Naples, Portugal, and Austria, was short-lived. By the time Napoleon became first consul of France in 1799, the danger of foreign intervention was over. Conflict between France and other European powers continued in the Napoleonic Wars.

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Universalium. 2010.

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