I got a very nice PM today asking if I had written anymore from a timeline I wrote a few years ago and it is indeed quite long but also unfinished! I've also divided it up to make it more readable. It's probably not edited as well as it could be considering how young I was when I started. Well, I'm still young. I've been focusing lately on adding visuals such as maps to help the reader and I have a few but there are far, far more words than visuals. WARNING: This is not for British Empire lovers. PART I: WORLD FROM 1807-1860 Chapter 1: Conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars The Defeat of Portugal and the Triumph of the Continental System The year 1807 began with Napoleon Bonaparte in firm control of Europe. In the past two years his armies, fighting under the red, white and blue Tricolor which had been the scourge of traditional European regimes for fifteen years, had brushed away Continental resistance. The fields of Austerlitz, Jena and others were bathed in his imperial glory. Only Great Britain remained defiant. Their great victory, taking place on water off Cape Trafalgar, was still cause to triumph as a Briton. Because of their naval superiority and the French superiority on land, the war had reached a stalemate of sorts. Napoleon resorted to economic warfare under a system known as the Continental System, aimed to isolate the British from trade with the Continent. In late 1807 only Denmark and Portugal remained opened to British trade. Soon, however, Denmark was attacked by the British in a desperate ploy to save the Danish navy from falling into French hands and as a result the old Danish king was forced to ally himself with Napoleon. Only Portugal remained. Portugal remained a thorn in the side of Napoleon. The ancient alliance between his enemies across the channel and the Portuguese could prove disastrous for the French Emperor. He cajoled the Spanish into attacking Portugal which was done in late 1807. The French invasion of Portugal was precipitated by the latter’s lack of embrace for the Continental System. To the Spanish court, this was taken as a warning and Spain vowed to not make the same mistake its Iberian neighbor did. Under the leadership of the largely unpopular Prime Minister Manuel Godoy, appeasement to the French Emperor became the predominant attitude for the Spanish government. Defiant Portugal was quickly subdued in a brief campaign involving numerous victories from the armée du Portugal under General Junot. Backed by numerous Spanish divisions, Junot proved to be a capable commander in defeating the Portuguese. With Iberia thus under the Continental System, Napoleon was content on leaving the Peninsula alone. It may have crossed his mind to take advantage of his Spanish allies while so many French soldiers were in the area, but no orders were given out to act. On the Third of May, 1808 the French and Spanish signed the Treaty of Madrid which reinforced the Franco-Spanish relationship. As for Portugal itself, the country was divided into three parts as per the Treaty of Madrid. The southern portion, with a northern border on River Tagus, was given to Manuel Godoy who was crowned King of the Algarve, title of the ruler of the area which was known as the Kingdom of Southern Lusitania. His coronation was met with both enthusiasm and relief by Spaniards; they were glad to have him out of their country. Everything north of the River Douro was greedily annexed by Spain while the left over land remained Portugal. Only the crown changed hands in this area. Dom Joao VI was replaced by Joseph Bonaparte, older brother to the Emperor, who became Dom Jose I. The partition of Portugal further strengthened the relationship between France and Spain. Although there were a few resistance groups in Portugal, most insurrections were ruthlessly crushed with the use of the armée du Portugal and the newly promoted Marshal Duvot. The Immediate Effects of the Portuguese Defeat During the chaos that inflicted Portugal during its conquests by the French, the Portuguese royal family of the ancient Bragança line was forced to flee their homeland. They managed to escape Portugal and sail to Brazil under heavy Royal Navy escort. When Dom Joao VI learned of the conquest and partition of his country he was deeply shaken but established himself as King of Brazil and Portugal. The fact that Brazil came first in the illustrious title mirrored his idea that the regaining of his homeland would be futile especially since most insurrections had thus far been successfully put down. Nevertheless, the very fact that the true Portuguese king lived and reigned inspired many resistance groups to act. Still more Portuguese actually left their homes in Portugal and made the arduous transatlantic journey to Brazil, to settle among loyal Portuguese. Although some hotheads vowed to fight for their mother country, others were content in Brazil. The arrival of the cream of Portuguese society enhanced the power of Brazil on the South American continent and the former aristocracy of Portugal became the ruling class of Brazil. However, it left actual Portugal without many of its traditional leaders, allowing for Spanish and French people to take over many functions there. The defeat of Portugal with the combined forces of France and Spain expelled the British totally from the continent. They thus committed themselves to destroying the trade Spain had with her American holdings and blockading European ports. Rather then seek an honorable peace with Britain, the Spanish and French went about reorganizing their navies with plans to create a new fleet “from the ashes of Trafalgar”. Not that they did not try diplomatically. On the contrary, Napoleon was very much in want for a peace with Britain so long as they admitted defeat. Britain was by no means defeated and declared they would fight till Europe was rid of the Bonaparte menace. Their defiance was comforting to other defeated nations on the Continent who soon rose up to help the British in their fight. The Fifth Coalition The Austrians bravely entered the war with Britain on April 10th, 1809 but the lack of either Russia or Prussia on their side resulted in a disastrous war for Austria. It was shrewd diplomacy and vague monetary promises from the vast vaults of the British Treasury that enticed the Hapsburgs into war; however it was quite unpopular once announced. It is wrong however to say the Austrians were completely drawn into this futile war because of greed. They wanted to avenge the memory of Austerlitz that had haunted the Austrian nation for nearly four years. A series of reforms and improvements in the Austrian army gave the Austrian leaders false hope that a victory would be easy. Strategists for the Austrians noted a number of pros for their side. With the majority of French soldiers at the coastline and elsewhere, the border with Bavaria was quite thin. Certainly the reforms had strengthened the Austrian confidence and they were eager to have another shot at the French. Austrian military leaders hoped for a series of quick blows to the French that would culminate in a favorable peace for them. They were quite wrong on a number of counts: The army in Bavaria had been reinforced with veterans from Portugal and the French were highly aware of the Austrian reforms. The short war culminated in the crushing Battle of Wagram in which the Austrian army was nearly wiped out. The Treaty of Schönbrunn was concluded on October 14th 1809 which gave 75 million francs to France as well as much of the Adriatic coastline and various other lands to Bavaria, Warsaw and Russia. It was a total humiliation for the Hapsburgs. Meanwhile the Netherlands were formally annexed to France in 1810. Napoleon’s displeasure at the way his brother Louis was handling business of state led to the action. Louis in turn retired to his Duchy in Berg and Cleaves while the French Empire increased in size. In 1810, a marshal of Napoleon, Charles Bernadotte was chosen to be crown prince of Sweden, a position he graciously accepted. He became King Charles XIV in 1818 at the death of his adopted father, Charles XIII. His treatment of Swedish prisoners had made him popular in Sweden and he was elected heir to the Swedish throne, a post he held from 1818-1848. Fight against Britain The British blockade of both France and Spain was kept although by this time the British were extremely overstretched. With just Britain left to fight Napoleon turned once again to his navy to vanquish his old foe. The war, which had been going on for more or less eighteen years, now entered its “Naval Stage”. A massive new fleet, backed by the millions of francs gained from recent wars, was put on order to be completed by 1813. His plan was just to gain naval superiority in the channel for just a few days at most or at least keep the English out of their channel. Starting in 1809 much more attention was spent on naval affairs and not even secretly. Headed by the capable Denis Decrès the French Navy started to slowly and surely rebuild itself and with little British interference. The Royal Navy was overstretched as it was from blockading much of Europe. Admiral Decrès also founded the Académie française impériale de la marine in early 1809 with the aim of turning out capable sailors. Previously the lack of capable sailors was what led to the defeat of the French but soon hundreds are applying from across France. For many, the navy appeared to be the “way to go” as it was where the future and glory lay. Certain incentives were handed out toward possible recruits and sailors enjoyed, at least for this period, a higher pay than the average soldier. The Académie was one of the best of its kind. It provided tough training for future sailors and in order to graduate each sailor needed a certain amount of time at sea. This was sometimes hard to do because of the British blockade but by the time the class of 1813 had graduated, the Académie had turned out over five thousand capable sailors. British public opinion remained staunchly anti-French with peace “out of the question” for most, despite a growing imperial navy, lack of foreign allies and no British troops on the continent anywhere, save Gibraltar. Under the government of Spencer Perceval the British began to strengthen their shore defenses which have been built and rebuilt time and again with each invasion threat. Perceval’s anti-Catholic bigotry strengthened feelings of Anglophobia across Catholic Europe, most notably in France. His administration saw the Orders of Council drafted to counter the Continental System. These were generally unpopular and led to his assassination by John Bellingham in May, 1812. He was succeeded by Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool who was a very capable and all around good man. He mediated the opposing sides and created a coalition government, the first of any kind in Britain, against the new French threat which was quite evident by June 1812. Liverpool’s kind and honest attitude gave the British strength during the invasion scare of 1812-1813. Meanwhile the French fleet had grown tremendously especially with the help of patriotic funds across France which helped pay for many ships. Even though the Continental System was beginning to show a strain on Europe, the funds for the great naval projects were never dried as Napoleon put it at top priority. The Second Imperial Flotilla, numbering some 2,300 ships by mid-1813, was comprised of some original ships from 1803-1804 but most were new. Also by that time a staggering 70 new French warships had been created - yet all remained in French harbors due to a much strengthened British blockade. It was led by the incapable Admiral St Vincent who was nearly eighty years old, former First Lord of the Admiralty, yet still a self-proclaimed hero. This seemed to be the same situation as 1805 except there was no inspiring Nelson, accomplished Cornwallis or sturdy Pitt to guide Britain. In fact the deep debt Britain was in because of the creation of more ships was starting to hurt the economy and several were put on hold. The English had no massive amounts of war booty to help support their navy They had, rather, irregular convoys from far flung colonies which were increasingly under attack by French and Spanish raiders. In January 1813 Napoleon appointed Admiral Ganteaume as commander-in-chief of the Grand Imperial Fleet which was supposed to rendezvous at Brest in April of that year. This would include numerous Spanish ships under the command of Admiral Hidalgo de Cismeros who was wounded at Trafalgar. Around 30 French ships and 15 were in ports east of the straits with a further 7 French, 12 Spanish and 4 Portuguese (built in the puppet state under King Joseph) west of the straits on the Atlantic. The remaining 33 French warships were across French Atlantic ports, 23 of them in Brest alone. This gave a total of 101 ships for the Grand Imperial Fleet! The order of battle of the Combined Fleet on February 10th 1813 – Mediterranean Fleet (Admiral Allemand) Toulon 13 French warships 1 French warship Marseilles 9 French warships Cartagena 4 French warships 10 Spanish warships Other (Italy, etc.) 4 French warships 4 Spanish warships Iberian Atlantic Fleet (Admiral Rosily) Cadiz 5 French warships 3 Spanish warships El Ferrol/La Coruna 2 French warships 6 Spanish warships Vigo 3 Spanish warships 4 Portuguese warships Atlantic Fleet (Admiral Gourdon) Brest 23 French warships Rochefort 10 French warships February 21st 1813 saw the departure of Allemand’s Mediterranean fleet, with the Toulon and Marseilles squadrons (a total of 23 ships) meeting the next day. Sailing toward Cartagena to meet up with the 14 warships there, they met head-on into elements British Mediterranean Fleet numbering 15 ships by the Balearics. It was a surprising French victory resulting in the captire of one prize as the British fled eastward.The Battle of Minorca becomes the first French naval victory in an extremely long time. Meeting up with the ships in Italy and those at Cartagena, the French Mediterranean Fleet was chased by the somewhat superior British fleet past Gibraltar. A number of inconclusive actions between the two fleets resulted in the loss of two French ships, but the French managed to sail out of the straits by the 28th of February. The further blockade of French ports, especially Brest result in the delay in time for them to rendezvous. One particularly bad storm one day blew the British blockade away from Rochefort and the French there are quick to move towards the Iberian Atlantic Fleet, which had been moving north. The entire Iberian Fleet and Rochefort squadron meet on March 11th creating a fleet of 33 ships. The French Mediterranean Fleet attempts to catch up with this new fleet and reaches El Ferrol on March 15th, soon after the Iberian Fleet had left it. In the second time during the campaign, a storm hurt the British blockade and the French slipped out of Brest to meet with the Iberian and Rochefort elements after sailing south for a day. On April 3rd the Mediterranean fleet met and combined with the large fleet southwest of Brest, thus creating a massive fleet of 99 ships. Admiral Ganteaume - who was aboard his flagship the Empereur and was part of the original Rochefort squadron - was delighted with the massive fleet and he promptly sailed the fleet toward the British and a great battle. Within site of the port city of Brest a great battle was fought. Opposing the large French fleet of 99 ships was the British Channel Fleet, comprised primarily of those ships that had blockaded Brest along with a couple dozen more. They numbered 62 ships of the line under the Admiral St Vincent. Behind the French were the 14 ships of the British Mediterranean Fleet in addition to 13 others that tagged along, most from the Atlantic, bringing a total of 27 ships behind the French. However this fleet kept a respectful distance for a number of reasons. One, their commander was afraid the French would turn on their smaller fleet and destroy the two British fleets one by one. Second, they were unable to combine with the Channel fleet because the French were blocking the way. On April 29th, 1813 the Battle of Brest commenced, resulting in thousands of deaths which, to many, gave the battle the superlative as the worst and most horrendous battle fought on water in human history. It lasted nearly 24 hours and not a ship came out unscathed. Despite being extremely outnumbered the British managed to sink 3 French ships and capture 6. However the French were just as successful, sinking 2 and capturing a magnificent 24 ships! Admiral St Vincent was wounded but managed to escape the battle on the HMS Victory. Many British ships were damaged and unable to sail back and an additional 7 were captured. The outstanding numbers of the French fleet and their courage can not be overshadowed by the effort put into place by the Royal Navy who fought gallantly and with awesome skill. Years of training for many French officers and sailors for the moment helped to contribute to their ultimate victory. The Battle of Brest was the twilight of the British Empire and the end of their supremacy on the seas. To the horrified British public, peace suddenly seemed nearer than ever before. The vanquished Channel Fleet fled back to their ports to make much needed repairs while most sailors were taken off the ships with many cannon to help guard the coastline against the inevitable invasion. The Mediterranean fleet backs away from the massive and victorious French fleet but shadows them. Slowly and surely the French fleet now number 75 - minus losses and prize escort duty - sailed into the Channel now almost unopposed. The Second Imperial Flotilla, numbering 2,300 ships, sets sail with their full complement setting their sights on England. Around 200,000 men had waited for the invasion for twenty two months at several mammoth army camps across northern France. It had taken a tremendous effort to feed the men during the waiting tenure and at last they were ready to move. When the time came, these veterans of Austerlitz, Jena, Lisbon, and Wagram boarded their ships and sailed, with great dreams of conquest, to England. The landings took place in Kent, as anticipated by the Duke of York, commander-in-chief of the British defense forces and second son of King George III. The defenses in Kent were by far the strongest with many squat yet powerful Martello towers hindering any sort of French advance. A withering fire from the French Navy helped demolish some defenses but when the first French troops landed just to the north of Dover on May 1st 1813 they were met by a terrible fire from the strong defenses present there. General Dundas of the Kent military district had 90,000 soldiers at his disposal that day, with 20,000 in the Dover area. For a moment it had seemed like the French would falter, but a push drove the British away from their frontal defenses and within a few hours French troops were pouring into the area including the first artillery batteries. Towards the evening of “the Fateful First” Dundas launched a disorganized counterattack which was an immediate failure as units (the majority being freshly created militia comprised of enthusiastic volunteers) failed to coordinate their efforts and were defeated piecemeal by the newly landed French. An attempt to land south of Dover early the next day was repulsed due to the heroic efforts of the 50th West Kent Regiment under General James Duff who repulsed three efforts to land in this particular stretch of coastline. However this small victory was quickly overshadowed by growing events north of Dover, as more and more French troops landed. By the end of the second day the French had advanced ten miles inland and Marshal Davout’s entire corps of 65,000 had been landed in an outstanding organizational feat. May 3rd saw the attack on Dover itself take place which fell on the 4th following a costly battle. The third of May also saw Napoleon himself arrive on the island which was a massive propaganda event and a gigantic morale booster. He took command of the invasion from that point. The fall of Dover provided the French with an adequate port to land the remaining troops which soon happened from May 5th - May 15th. Meanwhile light cavalry were making raids as far as Canterbury and on May 6th the 80,000 men present marched north to take that town, as well as nearby Sandwich. The Battle of Canterbury was fought on May 10th and further showed that the new militia was not proving itself to be very worthy in battle. Not at all short of bravery, they were short of skill and organization despite the best efforts of veteran officers. A French victory thoroughly crushed a part of the defenders here resulting in 2,000 British casualties. The British retreated to west of Canterbury and thus gave up all of eastern tip of Kent to the invaders. The French continued to advance westwards toward London and a series of small engagements did not halt the great blue columns of France. Militia and regular units from all over Britain were streaming south toward London and a great showdown was inevitable. By May 15th, approximately 200,000 French soldiers were in Kent with a daily shipment of reserves from France coming into Dover. The French met many setbacks, including a very hostile civilian population and the flooding of the Romney Marshes, although the latter wasn’t as successful as it planned to be. The 200,000-strong army advanced as a solid wall, ravaging the countryside for food and fodder. About 225,000 British soldiers were in the London area at this time under the command of the Duke of York and they set out toward Rochester, with men continuing to arrive in London. By no coincidence the large French army was moving toward Rochester. Napoleon realized that without defeating the British in a large-scale battle, he cannot take London and win this war decisively. That battle came on May 23rd - 25th 1813. The British were barring the way to Rochester by setting up just to the southeast of it. Their left flank was the River Thames while their right was given the most attention and commanded by a General Wellesley, who had won brilliant battles in India. The French however attacked the left flank in full force, turning it and causing the numerous militia there to retreat. The British in turn attacked the French salient - on the French right - thus drawing considerable numbers from the center and right. Another attack into the center broke through and now both salients joined together to surround some 5,000 British soldiers, who were led back as prisoners of war. The first day of battle ended in French victory. The next day the shattered divisions of the left and center withdrew to create an oblong line with Wellesley’s undamaged divisions to be the anchor and most southern units. The French viciously attack the southern flank at dawn and after three bloody charges start to roll the British line up. The cost in life was horrendous and Wellesley’s orderly retreat nearly turns into a chaotic route. Along the banks of the Thames were the soldiers of Soult’s corps who would be the anvil in the next day’s attacks. When night came, the cries of the wounded sounded and the piles of dead stacked up. The last day of the battle saw the British utterly surrounded save for Wellesley’s divisions who held out against the French and retreated. Unfortunately they numbered a mere 54,000 by this time and the remainder of the British army was annihilated by the pincers known as Soult and Davout. Napoleon had won his victory at a tremendous cost. Seventeen thousand French and 25,000 British casualties littered the fields near Rochester while a further 20,000 were taken as prisoner, the majority being not-so-enthusiastic militia. The Duke of York’s army was demoralized and beaten and the retreat back toward Greenwich was an unpleasant experience. When news of this defeat reached Prime Minister Liverpool he was visibly shaken but regained himself and vowed to throw this evil off the isles. Another French victory at Hastings by Marshal Ney’s troops on the 27th was largely symbolic and British morale plummeted. The fighting continued deep into June although no significant battles took place until July 5th when the British launched a large offensive aimed at cutting the French from their supply lines. That offensive failed and the British were repulsed at the Battle of East Kent. During that battle General Wellesley was wounded and had his left leg amputated. London was reached two weeks later after long and bloody campaigns. The French numbers had dropped to 160,000 but reinforced to 210,000 after reserves came. A bloody battle for the outskirts began, with nearly the entire population pitching in to fight. The French could very well have been lost in the meat grinder known as London, but instead Napoleon asked for an “honorable peace” on August 1st. Since the invasion, public opinion had changed from anti-peace to pro-peace. Being alone in the world against the French menace and with Americans threatening Canada the British were in a poor position. Thousands were dying against Napoleon’s large army whose reserves seemed limitless and Kent was devastated. Although the British were mobilizing across the island, the recent defeats had turned the tide. Prime Minister Liverpool, despite his earlier attitude, showed his mediating side and accepted Napoleon’s offer for an honorable peace. The war was over. Delegates traveled to Paris while the large French army maintained its presence in Kent, fighting an occasional skirmish against rowdy soldiers. Finally after a month of deliberating the Treaty of Paris (1813) was signed. Napoleon was master of Europe. American entry Across the Atlantic in the halls of the American Capitol, the War Hawks were screaming for war against Great Britain for a variety of reasons. Most notably, the impressments of American citizens onto British ships and the instigation of Indians on the United State’s western border were cause enough for war. The United States had long ago declared neutrality but its “Freedom of the Seas” doctrine was not recognized by Britain. Other War Hawks viewed an American conquest of Canada as glorious and necessary for counry. War was declared on June 1st 1812 and ratified on June 18th. Napoleon was quick to see the benefits of the American declaration of war on Britain and sent Talleyrand himself to Portugal to negotiate an alliance with the American ambassador there. The Agreement of Lisbon was signed on July 16th 1812 and brought the Americans and French together against Britain. Napoleon was delighted, but the Americans were somewhat reluctant as they saw Napoleon as more of a dictator that suppressed freedom rather than a man fighting for the liberties the United States cherished so highly. Nevertheless, the War Hawks were delighted at the thought of expelling the British from the North American continent and applauded the agreement. As the Battle of Brest was being fought and England itself being invaded, the British and Americans were fighting their own war. The War of 1812, as the conflict came to be called, had a negligible result. Several American attempts to invade Canada ended in failure while British attempts to wage war on American soil met little success. When the first reports of European peace reached the Americans, several high-ranking military officers viewed the possibility of peace with consternation. Without the War Department’s approval, an army under General Andrew Jackson launched an offensive from Maine and managed to drive deep into the Maritime Provinces of Canada. The British were for the most part reluctant to resist and the drive was completed in a month or so. Thus, when the two nations came to the peace table, the Americans had a slight upper-hand in the negotiations. Treaty of Paris and Canadian War conclusion The Treaty of Paris was a humiliation for the British but the desperate situation in which they were in allowed the French to squeeze out as much as they could from the beleaguered nation. The terms included the following: - The immediate end to all hostilities and the disallowing of a British declaration of war on France for the following thirty-five years. - A reduction of the British navy and army. The navy would have all ships over 80 guns given to France and Spain as payment, while the army was not allowed to ever surpass 85,000 internationally. - A monthly report to be sent to the Emperor showing the size, strength and location of all regiments and ships. - Twenty thousand French troops would be stationed in major cities to keep “seditious activities to an extreme minimum”. This was the most humiliating clause of the treaty but luckily the proposed number of 135,000 was dropped way down. These 20,000 Frenchmen would endure the most miserable service and a high number of suicides would befall these soldiers. A posting to Britain was as good as a death sentence in the eyes of French privates. - As for land exchange the British lost quite a bit in the Caribbean. Every British holding was given to the French except for Jamaica and Anguilla. Ireland was hotly disputed but after much debate, allowed to remain under British jurisdiction. India stayed under British dominion as well. British Guinea in South America was given to France. Some minor posts in Africa were given up and lastly Malta was given French jurisdiction. - A payment of 100 million francs The effects were immediate and soon many of the largest British ships soon bearing French flags. By no coincidence, a number of them were burned before being handed over to the French, who, after years of war, could only resignedly accept this. In an act of kindness, Emperor Napoleon allowed the vanquished British to keep the HMS Victory as their own “in honor of my greatest foe”, Nelson. The armée du Angleterre was established and the 20,000 unfortunate soldiers were sent to their various posts to the spits and anger of the local civilians. Meanwhile, in the Americas, a separate peace was signed in Toronto on October 24th. The Peace of Toronto was not nearly as strict as the Treaty of Paris mainly because the latter had already weakened the enemy. The Peace of Toronto merely ended the war and demanded a payment of some $5 million as an indemnity. A land change did take place though when New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were annexed into the United States thanks to General Jackson’s last minute offensive into the Maritime Provinces.