Napoleonic Wars Begin
The 1st of February 1793 AD
Although Napoleon’s coup d’état to seize power in France did not take place until 1799, and he did not become Emperor Napoleon until 1804, the Revolutionary Wars that began with France declaring war on Great Britain on February 1 1793 make a whole with those conducted under Boney’s leadership. For some 22 years Britain and France were, with a few pauses for breath, implacable enemies, the lengthy conflict only ended with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815 and his subsequent capture and exile.
Britain was indeed the one constant thorn in the side of Revolutionary and Imperial France; at various times the other major countries of Europe were either conquered by or allied to the French.
The two periods of the wars with France, Revolutionary and Imperial, knit nicely together in 1793 in that the Anglo-Spanish force which invaded and held Toulon in August of that year was defeated by an officer with negligible practical military experience, but a brilliant grasp of artillery use and tactics – Napoleon Bonaparte. Seeing an opportunity for glory he engineered via contacts a position for himself at the head of the artillery besieging the occupied port. By December his siege cannons had forced the retreat of the allied army. He became a brigadier general at the age of 24 as a result. The rest, as they say, is history, albeit blood-soaked and totally egocentric history.
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