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French RevolutionRevolutionary WarsNapoleonic WarsWaterloo campaignBeyond Waterloo


  • Napoleon Bonaparte born in Corsica and Arthur Wellesley (future Duke of Wellington) born in Dublin

French Revolution


  • Storming of the Bastille


  • French Royal Family attempt to flee France, failed
  • Austria calls on all crowned heads of Europe to restore liberty to the French Royal Family

Revolutionary Wars


  • 20th April War France declares war on Prussia and Austria
  • September French occupy Savoy and Nice
  • 20th September French defeat Prussians at Battle of Valmy and threat to Paris lifted
  • 2nd November French march on Brussels
  • November French issue proclamation supporting the disaffected in other countries
  • 21st November Britain introduce controls  on aliens entering the Country
  • 1st December Royal proclamation in Britain calling out militia


  • 21st January King Louis XVI executed
  • 1st Feb France declares War on Britain
  • 13th February Formation of First Coalition against France comprising Britain, Austria, Prussia, Netherlands, Spain and Sardinia followed by British treaties with each  Allied nation. Each party largely pursued its separate war aims
  • April British Expeditionary force lands in Flanders
  • August Royal Navy occupy Toulon
  • September defeat of British forces investing Dunkirk
  • December Napoleon makes his name at the Siege of Toulon as an artillery officer. British evacuate Toulon capturing or destroying considerable part of French Fleet


  • 7th February British land in Corsica
  • Succession of British and allied defeats in the Low Countries
  • July Robespierre executed, end of the ‘Terror’
  • July Whigs under Portland join Pitt in a grand coalition


  • January British army abandon Flanders, Britain now has no army on mainland Europe
  • 5th April Franco Prussian peace treaty
  • 16th May Netherlands makes peace with the French
  • June British expedition to aid French Royalists in Vendee
  • 22nd July treaty between France and Spain
  • 1st October Austrian Netherlands incorporated into France.
  • 5th October Napoleon protects Paris from the mob ‘The whiff of grapeshot’
  • October Revolt in Vendee crushed ending hopes of restoration of French monarchy
  • December Parliament passes Seditious Meetings/Assemblies  and Treasonable Practices Acts seen as an assault on British liberties


  • May Napoleon enters Milan and occupies Piedmont and Lombardy
  • 31st August Admiralty order evacuation of Corsica.
  • 8th October Spain declares war on England  following a secret treaty between France and Spain on 19th August
  • 22nd October abortive British peace mission arrives in Paris
  • 17th Nov Catherine the Great dies, Russia recalls squadron serving with British Fleet
  • December failed French invasion of Ireland “England’s back door”


  • 13th Jan Napoleon defeats Austrians at Battle of Rivoli followed by end of Austrian resistance in Italy
  • 14th Feb At Battle of Cape St Vincent British Navy defeats Spanish Fleet
  • 22nd Feb Small French force lands near Fishguard in Wales, soon defeated
  • February Banking crisis in England, Bank of England suspends cash payments.
  • April Naval mutiny at Spithead
  • May Naval mutiny at the Nore
  • 11th October Dutch Fleet defeated by British at Battle of Camperdown
  • 17th Oct Austria make peace with France End of the First Coalition
  • November To fund war Pitt introduce bill to raise money by new indirect taxes and introduction of temporary income tax


  • Napoleon takes French Army to Egypt
  • May Irish Rebellion ruthlessly put down
  • 11th June Napoleon captures Malta from Knights of St.John
  • 1st July Napoleon lands in Egypt, defeats Egyptian army and enters Cairo
  • 1st/3rd August Battle of the Nile Nelson defeats French fleet, trapping the French army
  • August/September French army under General Humbert land in Ireland and forced to surrender. Second French expedition subsequently intercepted
  •  14th Nov British capture Minorca
  • 1st December treaty between Britain and Naples


  • 12th March France declares war on Russia
  • 1st June Formation of Second Coalition Britain Russia Austria Turkey Portugal and the Two Sicilies
  •  23rd August Napoleon leaves Egypt
  • 27th August Anglo Russian invasion of Den Helder in Holland
  • 19th Sept In Holland British win Battle of Bergen
  • October Running short of supplies Britain agrees to evacuate Holland
  • November Napoleon becomes First Consul, effectively controlling France


  • April Second Coalition collapses
  • 14th June Napoleon defeats Austrians at Battle of Marengo, establishing French control of Northern Italy.
  • 2nd July To help secure Ireland Act of Union with Britain passed
  • 5th September British take Malta from the French
  • 16th Sept Second League of Armed Neutrality Treaty to protect  neutral shipping by Royal Navy between Sweden Denmark Prussia and Russia. It collapsed within a year.


  • 9th Feb Peace Treaty between France and Austria
  • 16th Feb resignation of William Pitt as Prime Minister and replaced by Henry Adington
  • March British Army lands in Egypt and defeats French at Battle of Alexandria, French forced to leave Egypt
  • April Admiral Nelson defeats Danish fleet at Battle of Copenhagen


  • 25th Peace of Amiens brings temporary peace to Europe. Britain retains some colonial conquest and France keep territories seized save Rome and Naples. Malta left in limbo.
  • 11th Sept France annexes Piedmont

Napoleonic Wars


  • 18th May War resumed. Britain declares war on France
  • General Arthur Wellesley makes his name defeating Maratha Army in India at Battle of Assaye
  • 19th Oct secret Franco Spanish Military alliance
  • 2nd Dec ‘Armee d’Angletere’ established at Boulogne


  • May  10th  With invasion threatened   Pitt replaces Addington as Prime Minister
  • 18th May Napoleon becomes Emperor
  • 12th Dec Spain declares war on Britain
  • Throughout year French maintain huge invasion force on Channel coast, threatening to invade Britain


  • 28th May Napoleon crowned King of Italy
  • Spring Construction of Martello towers begins on England’s southern and eastern coasts
  • 9th August Third Coalition of Britain Russia and Austria
  • August  Napoleon abandons invasion plans and marches to defeat Austrians and Russians at Austerlitz
  • 21st Oct Admiral Nelson destroys French/Spanish fleet at Battle of Trafalgar and dies
  • 30th Oct French defeat Austrians at Battle of Caldiero
  • Nov Napoleon enters Vienna
  •  2nd Nov Napoleon defeats Prussians at joint battles of Jena and Auerstadt
  • 26th December peace treaty between France and Austria


  • Jan Withdrawal of British troops from Naples to Sicily
  • 22nd Jan Death of William Pitt.
  • 4th July British win Battle of Maida in southern Italy
  • 6th Aug Formal dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire
  • 14th Oct France decisively defeat Prussian at Battle of Jena.  A month later Napoleon enters Berlin
  • 21st Nov Berlin Decree attempts to imposes economic blockade on Britain and prevent Britain continuing to fund its European allies.


  • 7th Feb  Napoleon defeats Russians at battle of Eylau
  • 14th June Napoleon defeats Russians at Battle of Friedland  resulting a month later in a Franco Russians peace agreement
  • 7th Sept   British attack Copenhagen and seize Danish fleet
  • 28th Oct  Russia declares war on Britain but does not actively pursue hostilities
  • 17th Dec Milan Decree. The Decree stated that no European country was to trade with the Britain. It caused economic hardship and there was increasing widespread non observance


  • 27th Feb French invasion of Spain begins. A month later Madrid is occupied.
  • May Napoleon tricks Spanish royal family into abdicating and installs his brother Joseph as King. Spanish people revolt, beginning of Peninsular War.
  • 30 Nov General Junot captures Lisbon.
  • 1 Aug British Army under General Arthur Wellesley lands in Portugal and defeats French at Battles of Rolica and Vimiero. Convention of Cintra clears French out of Portugal but allows their army to leave intact


  • 9th Jan Anglo Spanish Treaty of Alliance
  • Jan British army forced to retreat. to Corunna where it is evacuated to fight another day. Its leader Sir John Moore was killed at  the Battle for Corunna
  • April British army returns to Portugal under General Arthur Wellesley and ousts French army from Oporto May and wins Battle of Talavera in July  but overwhelming numbers force British to retreat into Portugal
  • July British Army landed on Walcheren, lose thousands in subsequent months  to malaria and typhoid
  •  14th Oct Peace Treaty between France and Austria. Austria out of the war.
  • Dec Final evacuation from Walcheren


  • 9th July Netherlands annexed to French Empire
  • Sept French invade Portugal again, defeated
  • 27th Sept   French defeated at the Battle of Bussaco but continue to advance
  • Oct French army brought to halt by the prepared defences of the Lines of Torres Vedras in Portugal


  • March French army starved out of Portugal
  • 3rd/5th May French defeated by British at 3 day battle of Fuentes d’Onoro
  • 16th May Drawn but bloody battle of Albuera


  • June Napoleon Invades Russia
  • 19th Jan British Army under Arthur Wellesley captures fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo
  • 7th April British Army under Arthur Wellesley captures fortress of Badajoz
  • 18th June United States of America declares war on Britain.
  • 24th June French army invades Russia
  • 22nd/23rd July British Army under Arthur Wellesley defeat the French at the  Battle of Salamanca, and enter Madrid the following month but failed to capture Fortress of Burgos, forcing the British to eventually retreat back to Portugal. Arthur Wellesley becomes Marquess of Wellington
  • 7th Sept Inconclusive battle of Borodino in Russia with huge losses on each side. A month later Napoleon enters Moscow  and a month after that the long horrific retreat of the French begins


  • 21st June Wellington wins the Battle of Vitoria driving the French  from northern Spain
  • 28 July-1 Aug Battle of Sorauren
  • 26th/27th Aug Allies defeated by Napoleon at the Battle of Dresden
  • 8 September San Sebastian captured
  • 16th/19th Oct  Napoleon defeated at Leipzig in ‘The Battle of Nations’
  • 8th Oct Wellington enters France
  • Nov French reject Allied peace terms allowing Napoleon to keep his throne and France to return to her 1792 borders


  • 27th February Wellington wins Battle of Orthez
  • 31st March Paris taken
  • 6th April  Napoleon forced to abdicate, banished to Elba, Louis XVIII restored to French throne
  • 10th April Wellington wins hard fought Battle of Toulouse, on the eve of peace
  • 11th April Treaty of Fontainbleau to end the war signed by allies and ratified by Napoleon two days later
  • 1st Nov Congress of Vienna to settle frontiers of post war Europe, opens
  • 24th December Treaty of Ghent signed ending the war between Britain and America

Waterloo campaign


  • 1st March Napoleon returns to France forcing Louis XVIII back into exile.
  • 18th June  Napoleon defeated at Waterloo by combined British, Prussian and Netherland armies
  • 22nd June Napoleon abdicates
  • 7th July allied armies enter Paris
  • 14th July Napoleon surrenders to the Royal Navy
  • 9th August Napoleon sets sail for exile to St. Helena
  • 20th Nov Treaty of Paris, formal end of 20 years of conflict

Beyond Waterloo


  • Napoleon dies, probably of stomach cancer and is buried on St Helena


  • Construction of Lion Mound begins at Waterloo forever altering the topography of the battle field


  • Duke of Wellington becomes Prime Minister


  • Belgium split away from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands that was established in 1814


  • By Treaty of London Britain agrees to defend Belgium Neutrality which has consequences in 1914


  • Napoleon’s body exhumed and transported to Paris, laid to rest in Les Invalides


  • Duke of Wellington died, buried at St Paul’s Cathedral


  • Unification of Germany compete. Germany replaces France as the dominant Continental power

The Waterloo Campaign

Find out about The Waterloo Campaign.


Profiles of the key people of Waterloo