Portrait by Georges Rouget (1834)
|Birth name||Alexandre François Marie|
|Born||28 May 1760|
Fort-Royal, Martinique, France
|Died||23 July 1794 34) (aged|
|Years of service||1776 – 1793|
|Commands held||Army of the Rhine|
|Battles/wars||French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802)|
Joséphine de Beauharnais (m. 1779)
Alexandre François Marie, Viscount of Beauharnais (28 May 1760 – 23 July 1794) was a French political figure and general during the French Revolution. He was the first husband of Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, who later married Napoleon Bonaparte and became Empress of the First Empire.
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.
Joséphine was the first wife of Napoleon, and the first Empress of the French after he proclaimed himself Emperor.
The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.
Alexandre was arrested in March 1794 and, following his sentence of death during the Reign of Terror, was executed by guillotine in Paris's Place de la Révolution.
The Reign of Terror, or The Terror, refers to a period during the French Revolution after the First French Republic was established.
A guillotine is an apparatus designed for efficiently carrying out executions by beheading. The device consists of a tall, upright frame in which a weighted and angled blade is raised to the top and suspended. The condemned person is secured with stocks at the bottom of the frame, positioning the neck directly below the blade. The blade is then released, to quickly fall and forcefully decapitate the victim with a single, clean pass so that the head falls into a basket below.
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.
Alexandre was born in Fort-Royal (today's Fort-de-France), Martinique. On 13 December 1779 in Paris, he married Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, the future Empress of France. They had two children:
Fort-de-France is the capital of France's Caribbean overseas department of Martinique. It is also one of the major cities in the Caribbean. Exports include sugar, rum, tinned fruit, and cacao.
Martinique is an insular region of France located in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of 1,128 square kilometres (436 sq mi) and a population of 376,480 inhabitants as of January 2016. Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. One of the Windward Islands, it is directly north of Saint Lucia, southeast of Greater Antilles, northwest of Barbados, and south of Dominica.
Eugène Rose de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg was the first child and only son of Alexandre de Beauharnais and Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, first wife of Napoleon I.
Hortense Eugénie Cécile Bonaparte, Queen consort of Holland, was the stepdaughter of Emperor Napoléon I, being the daughter of his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais. She later became the wife of the former's brother, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland, and the mother of Napoléon III, Emperor of the French. She had also an illegitimate son, The 1st Duc de Morny, by her lover, the Comte de Flahaut.
Alexandre fought in Louis XVI's army in the American Revolutionary War. He was later deputy of the noblesse in the Estates-General, and was president of the National Constituent Assembly from 19 June to 3 July 1791 and from 31 July to 14 August 1791. Made a general in 1792 (during the French Revolutionary Wars), he refused, in June 1793, to become Minister of War. He was named General-in-Chief of the Army of the Rhine in 1793.
Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as Citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.
The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.
The French nobility was a privileged social class in France during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period to the revolution in 1790. The nobility was revived in 1805 with limited rights as a titled elite class from the First Empire to the fall of the July Monarchy in 1848, when all privileges were abolished for good. Hereditary titles, without privileges, continued to be granted until the Second Empire fell in 1870. They survive among their descendants as a social convention and as part of the legal name of the corresponding individuals.
On 2 March 1794, the Committee of General Security ordered his arrest. Accused of having poorly defended Mainz during the Siege of Mainz in 1793, and considered an aristocratic "suspect", he was jailed in the Carmes prison and sentenced to death during the Reign of Terror. His wife, Josephine de Beauharnais, was jailed in the same prison on 21 April 1794, but she was freed after three months, thanks to the trial of Maximilien Robespierre.
The Committee of General Security was a French parliamentary committee which acted as police agency during the French Revolution that, along with the Committee of Public Safety, oversaw the Reign of Terror.
Mainz is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The city is located on the Rhine river at its confluence with the Main river, opposite Wiesbaden on the border with Hesse. Mainz is an independent city with a population of 206,628 (2015) and forms part of the Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region.
In the Siege of Mainz, from 14 April to 23 July 1793, a coalition of Prussia, Austria, and other German states besieged and captured Mainz from revolutionary French forces. The allies, especially the Prussians, first tried negotiations, but this failed, and the bombardment of the city began on the night of 17 June.
Alexandre was guillotined, together with his cousin Augustin, on the Place de la Révolution (today's Place de la Concorde) in Paris, only five days before the deposition and execution of Robespierre.
Through his son, he is an ancestor of the current monarchs of Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Luxembourg.
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His paternal grandparents Claude de Beauharnais (1680–1738) and Renée Hardouineau (1696–1744) were married in La Rochelle during 1713. His father François de Beauharnais, Marquess de la La Ferté-Beauharnais (1714–1800) served as Governor of Martinique. Alexandre was the third of three sons born to him by his first wife Marie Henriette Pyvart de Chastullé (1722–1767) - the first died in infancy, and the second was Francis VI of Beauharnais. His father was remarried in 1796 to Eugenie de Tascher de la Pagerie (1739–1803).
|Ancestors of Alexandre de Beauharnais|
The Committee of Public Safety, created in April 1793 by the National Convention and then restructured in July 1793, formed the de facto executive government in France during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), a stage of the French Revolution. The Committee of Public Safety succeeded the previous Committee of General Defence and assumed its role of protecting the newly established republic against foreign attacks and internal rebellion. As a wartime measure, the Committee—composed at first of nine and later of twelve members—was given broad supervisory powers over military, judicial and legislative efforts. It was formed as an administrative body to supervise and expedite the work of the executive bodies of the Convention and of the government ministers appointed by the Convention. As the Committee tried to meet the dangers of a coalition of European nations and counter-revolutionary forces within the country, it became more and more powerful.
The Society of the Friends of the Constitution, after 1792 renamed Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality, commonly known as the Jacobin Club or simply the Jacobins, became the most influential political club during the French Revolution of 1789 and following. The period of their political ascendency is known as the Reign of Terror, during which time tens of thousands were put on trial and executed in France, many for political crimes.
Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine was a French general. As a young officer in the Bourbon Royal army, he served in the Seven Years' War. In the American Revolutionary War he joined Rochambeau's Expédition Particulière supporting the American colonists. Following the successful Virginia campaign and the Battle of Yorktown, he returned to France and rejoined his unit in the Royal Army.
Jean-Lambert Tallien was a French political figure of the revolutionary period.
Thérésa Cabarrus, Madame Tallien, was a Spanish-born French noble, salon holder and social figure during the Revolution. Later she became Princess of Chimay.
Stéphanie, Grand Duchess of Baden was the Grand Duchess consort of Baden by marriage to Karl, Grand Duke of Baden.
Picpus Cemetery is the largest private cemetery in Paris, France, located in the 12th arrondissement. It was created from land seized from the convent of the Chanoinesses de St-Augustin, during the French Revolution. Just minutes away from where the guillotine was set up, it contains 1,306 victims executed between 14 June and 27 July 1794, during the height of the Reign of Terror. Today only descendents of those 1,306 victims are eligible to be buried at Picpus Cemetery.
La Savane is a 12½ acre park located on the Fort-de-France Bay in Martinique. It was formerly known as Jardin du Roi and its first purpose is said to have been to harbour scientific experiments on plants that were new to the colony at that time.
Claude de Beauharnais was a French politician.
Beauharnais is a French noble family. It is now headed by the Duke of Leuchtenberg, descendant in male line of Eugène de Beauharnais.
Fanny de Beauharnais, née Marie-Anne-Françoise Mouchard, was a French lady of letters and salon-holder. She was the mother of French politician Claude de Beauharnais. She was the grandmother of Stéphanie de Beauharnais, Grand Duchess of Baden, and through her she is the ancestor of former royal families of Romania and Yugoslavia, and the present royal families of Belgium, of Luxembourg and of Monaco.
François V de Beauharnais was a French nobleman, soldier, politician, colonial governor and admiral. He was baron de Beauville, 1st marquis de la Ferté-Beauharnais, chef d'escadre des armées royales, and governor of the French colony of Martinique. He was the son of Claude de Beauharnais (1680–1738), comte des Roches-Baritaud and his wife Renée Hardouineau. Francis V of Beauharnais was one of the great-grandfathers of the family Eslandoost de Beauville.
The Hôtel de Chimay is a hôtel particulier, a type of large townhouse of France, at 17 quai Malaquais in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Since 1883, it has been an extension of the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, a distinguished National School of Fine Arts.
Hippolyte Charles was best known for being Josephine Bonaparte's lover soon after her marriage to Napoleon Bonaparte.
Adélaïde de La Rochefoucauld née de Pyvart de Chastullé (1769–1814), was a French courtier. She served as the principal lady in waiting, or dame d'honneur, to empress Joséphine de Beauharnais in 1804–09.
René-François Dumas, born 14 December 1753 in Jussey, in the bailiwick of Amont, was a revolutionary French lawyer and politician, regarded as a "Robespierrist", who died on 28 July 1794 at Paris.
Charles Hyacinthe Leclerc de Landremont was the commander in chief of the Rhine in 1793 during the French revolution. He is also a descendent of the painter Jean Leclerc.
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