Napoleonic Europe (1799-1815)

Key People

Alexander I  -  Czar and Emperor of Russia from 1801 to 1825. For a time he allied with Napoleon by the Treaty of Tilsit, but ultimately he was a member of the alliance that defeated Napoleon.
Gebhard Blucher  -  Prussian field marshal who helped the British army, led by Wellington, defeat Napoleon's forces at Waterloo.
Bourbon  -  A major European royal family that included the kings of France before the Revolution, as well as the royal family of Spain and other countries (like Naples) in Europe. After Napoleon was deposed, Louis XVIII (A Bourbon) was installed on the throne.
Castlereagh  -  British delegate to the Congress of Vienna.
Jacques-Louis David  -  A leading French artist of the Napoleonic Period, David painted in the Neoclassical style. He painted many pictures that glorified the French Revolution, and later, Napoleon.
J.G. Fichte  -  Early German Romantic philosopher and nationalist.
Fouche  -  French police chief under Napoleon.
Francis II  -  The last Holy Roman Emperor, losing this title when Napoleon dissolved the fairly decrepit Holy Roman Empire and formed the Confederation of the Rhine. In 1806, Francis II proclaimed himself Emperor of Austria. A Hapsburg, Francis died in 1835.
Frederick William III  -  The Prussian king from 1797 to 1840. He was a fairly weak king, manipulated alternately by Alexander I and Metternich's influences. Under him, advisors like Baron Stein and Hardenberg initiated important modernizing advances in the Prussian state.
Francisco de Goya  -  Great Spanish artist whose works largely reflect the historical environment of his time, portraying the horror caused by Napoleon's invasion of Spain.
Hardenberg  -  Successor to Baron Stein, Hardenberg was a Prussian administrator who fought for liberalizing, modernizing reforms to Prussian society. He also represented Prussia at the Congress of Vienna. He wanted a constitutional monarchy, but was unable to get Frederick William III to agree to have his power limited in that way.
J.G. Herder  -  Early influence on German Romanticism. Herder developed a concept of history that allowed the Romantics to challenge the Enlightenment ideals of universalistic rationality.
Josephine  -  A Creole (born in the New World), Josephine was married to a French officer before. After the officer died, she met Napoleon and they married in 1796. As Empress of France, she amassed an incredible fortune in jewels. In 1810, after the failed to bear an heir, Napoleon had their marriage annulled on the grounds that no parish priest had been present their wedding. Josephine died in 1814.
Louis XVIII  -  Bourbon king of France who held the throne after the fall of Napoleon in 1814 to 1824, with a brief interruption when he fled the country during the Hundred Days of 1815.
Clemens von Metternich  -  Austrian statesman and diplomat who represented Austria at the Congress of Vienna. Metternich, Austria's foreign minister from 1809 to 1848, was an arch-conservative and worked hard to create stability in Europe and preserve the power of the old regime,
Marie Louise  -  Austrian archduchess, who Napoleon married after annulling his marriage with Josephine. Marie Louise was 18 at the time, and in 1811, she gave birth to a son, referred to as the "King of Rome".
Joachim Murat  -  Cavalry general who was one of Napoleon's best marshals. Murat led the invasion of Spain, and later became the King of Naples from 1808 to 1815.
Napoleon Bonaparte  -  Brilliant French artillery commander, general, first consul, and finally emperor. Napoleon, born on the isle of Corsica, worked his way up through the ranks of military officers and seized control of the French government. He then built a massive empire that encompassed the majority of Europe. He married Josephine and later divorced her to marry Marie Louise. After a disastrous Russian campaign, Napoleon was defeated at the battle of Leipzig and exiled to Elba in 1814. In 1815, he tried to return to power in the period known as the Hundred Days. After being defeated at Waterloo, Napoleon was exiled to Saint Helena in the South Atlantic. His rule, both in the passions and political and social measures it introduced, and in the ideological and nationalist enmity it inspired, transformed Europe. Please see the SparkNotes Biography on Napoleon
Admiral Horatio Nelson  -  Brilliant British naval commander who won crucial victories against the French. These included the Battle of Aboukir (The Battle of the Nile) in 1798 and Trafalgar in 1805. Although he won the battle, Nelson was killed at Trafalgar. Privately, Nelson (a married man) was involved in an affair with a married woman, creating some of the leading gossip in England during the Napoleonic period.
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes  -  During the French Revolution, a Liberal member of the clergy, supporter of the Third Estate, and author of the fiery pamphlet What Is the Third Estate. Sieyes led the coup that overthrew the Directory and established the Consulate, of which, he was one of the three consuls. Sieyes took on Napoleon as one of the First Consul to be his "Saber."
Baron Stein  -  Prussian minister from 1807 to 1808, when Napoleon forced him to leave Prussia. From then on (1812-1815), he was an advisor in Czar Alexander I's court. Made several modernizing changes in Prussia, primarily increasing the legal freedoms of the lower classes.
Talleyrand  -  French foreign minister under Napoleon, Talleyrand played politics so well that he managed to stay in office under the two following regimes. Talleyrand represented France at the Congress of Vienna.
Toussaint l'Ouverture  -  Haitian revolutionary, who led a slave revolt in Haiti during the French Revolution. Toussaint's government was initially sanctioned by the French, but as Toussaint proved too uncontrollable and independently minded, Napoleon ordered an invasion of the island in 1802 and captured Toussaint.
Duke of Wellington  -  British commander who, along with Blucher, took primary credit for defeating Napoleon at Waterloo. Earlier, Wellington had also led the British forces supporting the Spanish guerillas in the Peninsular War. Wellington later entered British politics and served as Prime Minister.