Chapter 23 Section 4: Napoleon’s Empire Collapses
The Blockade: • Napoleon ordered a blockade to weaken the British by preventing communication and trade. • He called this the Continental System: it was supposed to make the European continent more self sufficient. • What went wrong: • Blockade not nearly tight enough. • British responded with a blockade of their own
The Peninsula War: • Napoleon sent his army through Spain to invade Portugal. • Spanish towns rioted in protest. • When Napoleon deposed the Spanish King and set his brother (Joseph) up as the new King but the people remained loyal to their former monarch. • For 5 years (1808-1813) guerrillas (Spanish peasant fighters) struck the French armies in Spain. • The British sent troops to aid the Spanish against the French.
Russian Invasion: • Breakdown of the alliance between France and Russia. • Napoleon led his army to march into Russia in June of 1812. • As the Russians retreated from the French army they practiced a scorched earth policy. (burning fields and killing livestock so that the enemy has nothing to eat) • Alexander I burned Moscow rather than give it to Napoleon. • Napoleon ordered his army to return to France in November .
Most of Napoleon’s army did not survive the trip back. • The winter temperatures reached 30 degrees below zero. • No supplies
Battle of Leipzig: • Britain, Russia, Prussia and Sweden joined forces against Napoleon and fought him in the German city of Leipzig. • Napoleon’s army was no longer made up of seasoned veterans and were quickly picked apart by the allied forces. • The allied forces then moved toward Paris. • By April 1814 Napoleon gave up his throne and agreed to the terms set by Alexander I.
Escape from Elba: • Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba. • Bourbon King now sat on the throne in France. • Ineffective leader which was all that Napoleon needed to try and regain power. • He escaped Elba on March 1, 1815 and the French people rallied around him. • The European powers allied again to defeat him.
Battle of Waterloo: • The British and Prussian armies attacked together to defeat Napoleon’s armies in the village of Waterloo in Belgium. • This defeat ended Napoleon’s attempt to regain power called the Hundred Days and he was exiled to St. Helena (an island in the South Atlantic).