Visual History of the World
The Modern Era
1789 - 1914
In Europe, the revolutionary transformation of the ruling systems
and state structures began with a bang: In 1789 the French
Revolution broke out in Paris, and its motto "Liberte, Egalite,
Fraternite"—Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood—took on an irrepressible
force. A fundamental reorganization of society followed the French
Revolution. The ideas behind the revolution were manifest in
Napoleon's Code Civil, which he imposed on many European nations.
The 19th century also experienced a transformation of society from
another source: The Industrial Revolution established within society
a poorer working class that stood in opposition to the merchant and
trading middle class. The nascent United States was shaken by an
embittered civil war. The economic growth that set in following that
war was accompanied by the development of imperialist endeavors and
its rise to the status of a Great Power.
Liberty Leading the People,
allegory of the 1830 July revolution that deposed the French
with Marianne as the personification of liberty,
contemporary painting by Eugene Delacroix.
(From David to Delacroix)
1792 - 1814
Napoleon Bonaparte - biography
1769 August 15 - Birth at Ajaccio, Corsica
1779 College d’Autun, later Military School Brienne
1784 Royal Military School in Paris
1793 Brigadier General
1795 Commander of the Army of the Interior
1796, March - Head of the Army of Italy
1798 Egyptian Campaign
1799 First Consul of France
1802 Treaty of Amiens
1804 Emperor of the French
1805, Sept 21 - Oct 20 - Battle of Ulm
1805, October 21 - Battle of Trafalgar
1805, December 2 - Battle of Austerlitz
1807, February 7–8 - Battle of Eylau
1808 Peninsular War
1809, May 21-22 - Battle of Aspern-Essling
1809, July 5-6 - Battle of Wagram
1812 Russian Campaign
1813 Battle of the Nations at Leipzig, Germany
1814 Abdication, Elba
1815 Waterloo (Belgium), St. Helena
1821 May 5 - Death on St. Helena Island
The Congress of Vienna
Map represents Napoleon’s Grand Empire (1812). Map of Europe after
Congress of Vienna.
Napoleon returned to power once more in 1815, but was finally
defeated for good at Waterloo Following the Napoleonic wars, the
Congress of Vienna, presided over by the Austrian Furst von Metternich
sought to reestablish a new order in Europe.
Napoleon was not willing to resign himself to exile. He fled Elba,
landed near Cannes in March 1815, raised troops, and again seized power
in Paris with his
army—but for only a short time, the "Hundred Days." The allies swiftly
responded to Napoleon's return.
They confronted him in Belgium and defeated him a final time under the
leadership of 6 Field Marshal von
Blucherand the Duke of Wellington in the 8
Battle of Waterloo on June 18.
Napoleon was exiled permanently to St. Helena, where he died on May
5,1821. King Louis XVIII, who had fled during the Hundred Days,
returned. By a second Treaty of Paris, France was forced to make
reparations and accept further loss of territory.
Evening of Waterloo by Ernest Crofts
French Cent Jours
in French history, period between March 20, 1815, the date
on which Napoleon arrived in Paris after escaping from exile
on Elba, and July 8, 1815, the date of the return of Louis
XVIII to Paris. The phrase was first used by the prefect of
the Seine, comte de Chabrol de Volvic, in his speech
welcoming the king.
Less than a year following his abdication (April 6, 1814)
and the Bourbon Restoration, Napoleon left his island exile
in the Tyrrhenian Sea and landed at Cannes on March 1,
leading 1,500 men, and marched at once upon Paris. Louis
XVIII fled to Ghent on March 13, and Napoleon entered Paris
one week later. To broaden his support, Napoleon made
liberal changes to the Imperial Constitution, which led a
number of former opponents, most notably Benjamin Constant,
to rally to his cause. On March 25 Austria, Britain,
Prussia, and Russia concluded an alliance against Napoleon
and forced a series of military engagements leading up to
the fatal Battle of Waterloo (June 18).
On June 22 Napoleon abdicated a second time; on July 15
he boarded a British warship at Rochefort, essentially a
prisoner; and exactly three months later he was landed at
St. Helena, a British island in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Meanwhile, on July 8, Louis XVIII had returned to Paris in
the second Bourbon Restoration.
Battle of Waterloo, painted by William Sadler
Battle of Waterloo
Napoleon at Waterloo
(June 18, 1815), Napoleon’s final defeat, ending 23 years of recurrent
warfare between France and the other powers of Europe. It was fought
during the Hundred Days of Napoleon’s restoration, 3 miles (5 km) south
of Waterloo village (which is 9 miles [14.5 km] south of Brussels),
between Napoleon’s 72,000 troops and the combined forces of the Duke of
Wellington’s Allied army of 68,000 (with British, Dutch, Belgian, and
German units) and about 45,000 Prussians, the main force of Gebhard
Leberecht von Blücher’s command. After defeating the Prussians at Ligny
and holding Wellington at Quatre-Bras in secondary battles south of
Waterloo on June 16, Napoleon’s marshals, Michel Ney and Emmanuel de
Grouchy, failed to attack and annihilate either enemy while their armies
were separated. Grouchy, with 33,000 men, nearly one-third of Napoleon’s
total strength of 105,000, led a dilatory pursuit of Blücher. On the
18th he was tied down at Wavre by 17,000 troops of Blücher’s rear guard,
while Blücher’s main force escaped him, rejoined Wellington, and turned
the tide of battle at Waterloo, 8 miles (13 km) to the southwest. At
Waterloo, Napoleon made a major blunder in delaying the opening of his
attack on Wellington from morning until midday, to allow the ground to
dry; this delay gave Blücher’s troops exactly the time they needed to
reach Waterloo and support Wellington.
The four main French attacks against Wellington’s army prior to 6:00
pm on June 18 all failed in their object—to decisively weaken the Allied
centre to permit a French breakthrough—because they all lacked
coordination between infantry and cavalry. Meanwhile, a secondary battle
developed, in which the French were on the defensive against the 30,000
Prussian troops of Karl von Bülow’s corps of Blücher’s army. The
Prussians arrived at Waterloo gradually and put pressure on Napoleon’s
eastern flank. To prevent the Prussians from advancing into his rear,
Napoleon was forced to shift a corps under Georges Mouton, Count de
Lobau, and to move several Imperial Guard battalions from his main
battle against Wellington.
Finally, at 6:00 pm, Ney employed his infantry, cavalry, and
artillery in a coordinated attack and captured La Haye Sainte, a
farmhouse in the centre of the Allied line. The French artillery then
began blasting holes in the Allied centre. The decisive hour had
arrived: Wellington’s heavy losses left him vulnerable to any
intensification of the French attack. But Ney’s request for infantry
reinforcements was refused because Napoleon was preoccupied with the
Prussian flank attack. Only after 7:00 pm, with his flank secured, did
he release several battalions of the Imperial Guard to Ney; but by then
Wellington had reorganized his defenses, aided by the arrival of a
Prussian corps under H.E.K. von Zieten. Ney led part of the guard and
other units in the final assault on the Allies. The firepower of the
Allied infantry shattered the tightly packed guard infantry. The repulse
of the guard at 8:00 pm, followed in 15 minutes by the beginning of the
general Allied advance and further Prussian attacks in the east, threw
the French army into a panic; a disorganized retreat began. The pursuit
of the French was taken up by the Prussians. Napoleon lost 25,000 men
killed and wounded and 9,000 captured. Wellington’s casualties were
15,000 and Blücher’s were about 8,000. Four days later Napoleon
abdicated for the second time.
8 The defeat of Napoleon's troops at the
Battle of Waterloo on June 18,
In February 1815, Napoleon
escaped from Elba for a ﬁnal "Hundred Days" of
power. He took over the government in Paris on 20
March and prepared for war once more. His renewed
attempt to dominate Europe failed, however, and he ﬁnally
surrendered to the British after the French defeat
at Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
He was taken to Plymouth in
the Bellerophon, before being transferred
to HMS Northumberland. With a small
entourage, he was exiled to the remote island of St
Helena, 5000 miles from Europe.
Napoleon died on 5 May 1821
and requested that his ashes be interred in Paris.
Instead, he was buried with full military honours in
a nameless tomb on St Helena.
Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo
by Ernest Crofts
Scene in Plymouth Sound in August 1815, by John James Chalon.
Pictured is HMS Bellerophon with Napoleon aboard,
shortly before his transferral to HMS Northumberland for delivery to
The 10 Congress of Vienna had been
in session since September 1814 with the goal of territorially
reorganizing Europe and establishing a balance of powers.
10 Proceedings at the Congress of Vienna
With the exception of the Ottoman Empire, the 7
leading statesmen of all European nations were participating.
The negotiations were dominated by Prince Klemens von Metternich, the
Austrian chancellor and chairman of the congress; Prussian chancellor
Karl August von Hardenberg; the British foreign minister,
Castlereagh; Czar Alexander I; and the French representative,
9 Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord,
who was able to ensure that his country had a say in the matters.
However, France was forced to relinquish territories it had seized.
In addition, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was founded, Switzerland was
recognized as an independent and neutral state, and Russia, Prussia, and
Austria were able to increase their territories. Italy remained divided
into individual states. This concord was so successful that Europe
enjoyed almost 40 years of peace.
A component of the Congress of Vienna was the Confederation Act, signed
by 41 German states on June 9. 1815. A German confederation, in which
Prussia and Austria assumed leadership, took the place of the Holy Roman
Empire, which was dissolved in 1806.
6 Field Marshal von Blucher
7 Metternich, Castlereagh, Hardenberg and Czar Alexander I
9 Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord
Wilhelm Freiherr von Humboldt on the Congress
Wilhelm Freiherr von Humboldt
The business however is not going well... Generally this is because the
people that are the main negotiators, are, each for particular reasons,
not suited to the business.
So everyone goes his own way or at least
tries to and the great linking power or reason is often searched for in
Caricature of the Congress of
Congress of Vienna by
Congress of Vienna
1. Wellington (UK)
2. Joaquim Lobo da Silveira (Portugal)
3. António de Saldanha da Gama (Portugal)
4. Count Carl Löwenhielm (Sweden)
5. Jean-Louis-Paul-François, 5th Duke of Noailles (France)
6. Metternich (Austria)
7. André Dupin (France)
8. Count Karl Robert Nesselrode (Russia)
9. Pedro de Sousa Holstein, Count of Palmella (Portugal)
10. Castlereagh (UK)
11. Emmerich Joseph, Duke of Dalberg (France)
12. Johann von Wessenberg (Austria)
13. Prince Andrey Kirillovich Razumovsky (Russia)
14. Charles Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry (UK)
15. Pedro Gómez Labrador, Marquis of Labrador (Spain)
16. Richard Le Poer Trench, 2nd Earl of Clancarty (UK)
17. Wacken (Recorder)
18. Friedrich von Gentz (Congress Secretary)
19. Baron Wilhelm von Humboldt (Prussia)
20. William Schaw Cathcart, 1st Earl Cathcart (UK)
21. Prince Karl August von Hardenberg (Prussia)
22. Talleyrand (France)
23. Count Gustav Ernst von Stackelberg (Russia)
24. probably Francis I of Austria
25. Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz (Austria)
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
assembly in 1814–15 that reorganized Europe after the Napoleonic Wars.
Having begun in September 1814, five months after Napoleon’s first
abdication, it completed its “Final Act” in June 1815, shortly before
the Waterloo campaign and the final defeat of Napoleon. The settlement
was the most comprehensive treaty that Europe had ever seen.
Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain, the four powers chiefly
instrumental in the overthrow of Napoleon, had concluded a special
alliance among themselves with the Treaty of Chaumont, on March 9, 1814,
a month before Napoleon’s first abdication. The subsequent treaties of
peace with France, signed on May 30 not only by the “four” but also by
Sweden and Portugal and on July 20 by Spain, stipulated that all former
belligerents should send plenipotentiaries to a congress in Vienna.
Nevertheless, the “four” still intended to reserve the real making of
decisions to themselves. Two months after the sessions began, however,
Bourbon France was admitted to the “four.” The “four” thus became the
“five,” and it was the committee of the “five” that was the real
Congress of Vienna.
Representatives began to arrive in Vienna toward the end of September
1814. Klemens, prince von Metternich, principal minister of Austria,
represented his emperor, Francis II. Tsar Alexander I of Russia directed
his own diplomacy. King Frederick William III of Prussia had Karl,
prince von Hardenberg, as his principal minister. Great Britain was
represented by its foreign minister, Viscount Castlereagh. When
Castlereagh had to return to his parliamentary duties, the Duke of
Wellington replaced him, and Lord Clancarty was principal representative
after the duke’s departure. The restored Louis XVIII of France sent
Talleyrand. Spain, Portugal, and Sweden had only men of moderate ability
to represent them. Many of the rulers of the minor states of Europe put
in an appearance. With them came a host of courtiers, secretaries, and
ladies to enjoy the magnificent social life of the Austrian court.
The major points of friction occurred over the disposition of Poland
and Saxony, the conflicting claims of Sweden, Denmark, and Russia, and
the adjustment of the borders of the German states. In general, Russia
and Prussia were opposed by Austria, France, and England, which at one
point (Jan. 3, 1815) went so far as to conclude a secret treaty of
defensive alliance. The major final agreements were as follows.
For Poland, Alexander gave back Galicia to Austria and gave Thorn and
a region around it to Prussia; Kraków was made a free town. The rest of
the duchy of Warsaw was incorporated as a separate kingdom under the
Russian emperor’s sovereignty. Prussia got two-fifths of Saxony and was
compensated by extensive additions in Westphalia and on the left bank of
the Rhine. It was Castlereagh who insisted on Prussian acceptance of
this latter territory, with which it had been suggested the king of
Saxony should be compensated; Castlereagh wanted Prussia to guard the
Rhine against France and act as a buttress to the new Kingdom of The
Netherlands, which comprised both the former United Provinces and
Belgium. Austria was compensated by Lombardy and Venice and also got
back most of Tirol. Bavaria, Württemberg, and Baden on the whole did
well. Hanover was also enlarged. The outline of a constitution, a loose
confederation, was drawn up for Germany—a triumph for Metternich.
Denmark lost Norway to Sweden but got Lauenburg, while Swedish Pomerania
went to Prussia. Switzerland was given a new constitution.
In Italy, Piedmont absorbed Genoa; Tuscany and Modena went to an
Austrian archduke; Parma was given to Marie-Louise, consort of the
deposed Napoleon. The Papal States were restored to the pope, Naples to
the Sicilian Bourbons.
Valuable articles were agreed to on the free navigation of
international rivers and diplomatic precedence. Castlereagh’s great
efforts for the abolition of the slave trade were rewarded only by a
The Final Act of the Congress of Vienna comprised all these
agreements in one great instrument. It was signed on June 9, 1815, by
the “eight” (except Spain, who refused as a protest against the Italian
settlement). All the other powers subsequently acceded to it.
As a result, the lines laid down by the Congress of Vienna lasted,
except for one or two changes, for more than 40 years.