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A potted history of the French Revolutionary Wars

May 7, 2008

Rebellion in the Vendée 1792 France declares war on Austria. Austria allies with Prussia, Hess, Piedmont and French émigrés. Combined allied army invades France. Battle of Valmy results in French victory. France conquers Savoy and Nice. French raid into Germany captures Maintz and reaches Frankfort.

1793  Formation of the ‘First Coalition’ against France. France declares war of Great Britain and the Netherlands. France invades Netherlands. Austrians win in Belgium in battles at Aix-la-Chapelle and Liege. Rebellion in Lyon and Marseilles. The Vendée uprising. Spanish armies invade France, as do Sardinian and Austrian. Counter revolutionary forces hand over the port of Toulon to the British. British defeated at Hondschoote.

1794 Action against the Spanish. Action against the Austrians in Belgium. French armies drive Austrians, British and Dutch beyond the Rhine. Prussian counter attack is largely ineffective.

1795 France occupies the Netherlands, which joins the revolution and becomes the Batavian Republic. Prussia leaves the First Coalition. French continue into Spain, who make peace. British landing at Quiberon to support counter revolutionaries fails.

1796 Only Great Britain and Austria remain as part of the First Coalition. Napoleon takes over command of the army of Italy, where he achieves a number of stunning victories. French cross the Rhine for a number of encounters with Austrian forces.

1797 Napoleon continues his success in Italy. Austria attempts to assist in Italy but are defeated. French pushes across the Rhine cause Austria to sue for peace. Only Britain remains opposed to the French Republic. First Coalition ends.

1798 French invade Egypt as a way to disrupt British Mediterranean trade, led by Napoleon. French invade Switzerland and establish the Helvetic Republic. France tries to invade Ireland but fail. France occupies Rome and establishing Roman Republic. Revolt in Belgium against French rule. At the end of the year the Second Coalition is formed of Austria, Great Britain, Russia, French Royalists, Portugal, Naples and Sicily, and the Ottoman Empire.

1799 Napoleon abandons army in Egypt to prop up rule at home. British and Russians invade Batavian Republic, resulting in failure. Much fighting in Italy. By the end of the year French troops had almost been totally driven out. More fighting around the Rhine against Austria, who were successful in expelling the French back across the Rhine. Battles in Switzerland against Austria. Russia leaves Second Coalition.

1800 Austrian attacks in Italy. Napoleon takes command and leads a strategic outflanking action. Austrians leave Italy. Another Rhine crossing into Germany. Austrians again defeated, leading them to sue for peace. Battles in Egypt.

1801 Exhausted French in Egypt surrender. Second Coalition collapses without Austria. Most action is at sea against the British.

Treaty of Amiens in 1802 ends war between Great Britain and France. Some semblance of peace at the macro scale exists until 1804, when Prime Minister Pitt of Great Britain forges the Third Coalition and, with napoleon now Emperor, the Revolutionary Wars are over and the Napoleonic Wars begin.

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