Signing of the Convention of Alexandria (by Michel Martin Drolling)
|Context||after the defeat of the Archduchy of Austria by the French First Republic in the War of the Second Coalition|
|Signed||15 June 1800|
The Convention of Alessandria (also known as the Armistice of Marengo) was a treaty signed on 15 June 1800 between the French First Republic led by Napoleon and Austria during the War of the Second Coalition. Following the Austrian defeat at the Battle of Marengo, they agreed to evacuate Italy as far as the Mincio and abandon strongholds in Piedmont and Milan. Great Britain and Austria were allies and hoped to negotiate a peace treaty with France, but Napoleon insisted on separate treaties with each nation. The negotiations failed, and fighting resumed on 22 November 1800.
A treaty is a formal written agreement entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an international agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact, or exchange of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all these instruments may be considered treaties subject to the same rules under international law.
In the history of France, the First Republic, officially the French Republic, was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times. This period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, and, finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power.
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.
The War of the Second Coalition was the second war against revolutionary France by various European monarchies. The Second Coalition was led by Britain, Austria and Russia, and included the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Naples, various German monarchies and several other minor European states. Its aim was to contain the expansion of the French Republic and to restore the monarchy in France.
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.
French troops returned to Italy in 1799, following a brief period of absence which had precipitated the collapse of their Italian client republics.Napoleon Bonaparte, who had seized power in the Coup of 18 Brumaire, carried out a crossing of the Alps with his Army of the Reserve (officially commanded by Louis-Alexandre Berthier) in May 1800. This move, made almost before the passes were open, threatened Austrian General Michael von Melas' lines of communications in northern Italy. The French army then seized Milan on 2 June, followed by Pavia, Piacenza and Stradella, cutting the main Austrian supply route eastward along the south bank of the Po river. Bonaparte hoped that Melas' preoccupation with the Siege of Genoa, held by French General André Masséna, would prevent the Austrians from responding to his offensive. However, Masséna surrendered the town on 4 June, freeing a large number of Austrians for operations against the French.
The Coup of 18 Brumaire brought General Napoleon Bonaparte to power as First Consul of France and in the view of most historians ended the French Revolution. This bloodless coup d'état overthrew the Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate. This occurred on 9 November 1799, which was 18 Brumaire, Year VIII under the French Republican Calendar.
Louis-Alexandre Berthier, 1st Prince of Wagram, Sovereign Prince of Neuchâtel, was a French Marshal and Vice-Constable of the Empire, and Chief of Staff under Napoleon.
Michael Friedrich Benedikt Baron von Melas was a Transylvanian-born field marshal of Saxon descent for the Austrian Empire during the Napoleonic Wars.
On 9 June French General Jean Lannes beat Austrian Feldmarschallleutnant Peter Ott in the Battle of Montebello. Bonaparte subsequently convinced himself that Melas would not attack and, further, that the Austrians were about to retreat. As other French forces closed from the west and south, the Austrian commander had withdrawn most of his troops from their positions near Nice and Genoa to Alessandria on the main Turin-Mantua road.The Battle of Marengo was fought on 14 June 1800 between Bonaparte and Melas near Alessandria. Towards the end of the day, the French overcame the Austrian surprise attack.
Jean Lannes, 1st Duc de Montebello, Prince de Siewierz, was a Marshal of the Empire. He was one of Napoleon's most daring and talented generals. Napoleon once commented on Lannes: "I found him a pygmy and left him a giant". A personal friend of the emperor, he was allowed to address him with the familiar "tu", as opposed to the formal "vous".
The Battle of Montebello was fought on 9 June 1800 near Montebello in Lombardy. During the lead-up to the Battle of Marengo, the vanguard of the French army in Italy engaged and defeated an Austrian force in a "glorious victory".
Nice is the seventh most populous urban area in France and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes département. The metropolitan area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits, with a population of about 1 million on an area of 721 km2 (278 sq mi). Located in the French Riviera, on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of the Alps, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region after Marseille. Nice is approximately 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) from the principality of Monaco and 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the French-Italian border. Nice's airport serves as a gateway to the region.
At 4:00 am on 15 June 1800, von Melas sent General Johann Ferdinand von Skal and two captains to the French encampment with a flag of surrender. Napoleon, who had expected the Austrians to continue fighting, quickly accepted the surrender. A cease-fire was signed a few hours later. In the agreement, the Austrians agreed to evacuate to the left bank of the Bormida, and that hostilities would cease for forty-eight hours. The Austrians initially hoped to give up only Piedmont and Genoa, but Napoleon demanded they retreat to behind the Po and Mincio. The final agreement was formalized and signed as the Convention of Alessandria.
The Bormida is a river of north-west Italy.
Piedmont is a region in northwest Italy, one of the 20 regions of the country. It borders the Liguria region to the south, the Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions to the east and the Aosta Valley region to the northwest; it also borders Switzerland to the northeast and France to the west. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres (9,808 sq mi) and a population of 4,377,941 as of 30 November 2017. The capital of Piedmont is Turin.
The Po is a river that flows eastward across northern Italy starting from the Cottian Alps. The Po flows either 652 km (405 mi) or 682 km (424 mi) – considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary. The headwaters of the Po are a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face of Monviso. The Po then extends along the 45th parallel north before ending at a delta projecting into the Adriatic Sea near Venice. The slope of the valley decreases from 0.35% in the west to 0.14% in the east, a low gradient. Along its path lie 450 standing lakes.
On 15 June, the Convention was signed. It caused the fighting to end,and the Austrians agreed to evacuate Italy as far as the Mincio and abandon all of their strongholds in the Piedmont and Milan, losing all that they had gained in 1798 and 1799. The Austrians agreed to give the French Tortona, Alessandria, Milan, Turin, Pizzighetone, Arona, and Piacenza by 20 June. They agreed to surrender by 24 June the fortress of Coni, the castles of Seva and Savona, and the city of Genoa; and the city of Urbino by 26 June. The land between the Chiesa, the Oglio, and the Po rivers was ceded to the French, and that between the Chiesa and the Mincio was designated a neutral zone, not to "be occupied by either of the two armies." The Austrians retained control of Tuscany, and the bulk of their army, with the French letting their soldiers retreat.
Tortona is a comune of Piemonte, in the Province of Alessandria, Italy. Tortona is sited on the right bank of the Scrivia between the plain of Marengo and the foothills of the Ligurian Apennines.
Pizzighettone is a comune of the Province of Cremona in the Italian region Lombardy. The main population centre is located on the river Adda and is divided into two parts: Pizzighettone on the east bank and Gera on the west.
Arona is a town and comune on Lake Maggiore, in the province of Novara. Its main economic activity is tourism, especially from Milan, France and Germany.
On 17 June, Napoleon left for Paris after the signing of the Convention.He stopped in Milan that same day, and was greeted as a hero, with large crowds celebrating his arrival. The Cisalpine Republic was again established as a French client republic, and a temporary government was put in place until the signing of a peace treaty with Austria. Many strongholds listed in the convention were given up by the Austrians and their fortifications dismantled by the French, including Genoa on 24 June. Napoleon left Milan the same day, and stopped briefly in Turin and Lyon before arriving in Paris on 2 July. The victory consolidated Napoleon's political position in Paris as First Consul. French historian François Furet noted that the battle served as "the true coronation of [Napoleon's] power and his regime".
General Officer Count Joseph Saint-Julien was sent to deliver the convention to Francis II,and it was soon ratified by the Court of Vienna. It proved to be only a temporary cease-fire, as Johann Amadeus von Thugut (and the Austrian government) refused to accept the terms and give up any of Austria's Italian holdings. Francis II, several hours before receiving the Convention on 20 June 1800, had signed a treaty with Britain, in which Britain agreed to give Austria two million pounds sterling in exchange for Austria continuing the war with France. The treaty also prohibited negotiations between Austria and France without the involvement of Britain before 1 February 1801.
Austria soon dispatched Saint-Julien to travel to Paris, carrying news of the treaty's ratification, and to further consider the terms of it.He arrived on 21 July and began negotiations. On 22 July he attended a meeting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at which Saint-Julien was persuaded to assume the position of an accredited diplomat and sign several preliminary articles on 28 July. Saint-Julien and Géraud Duroc were dispatched to deliver the news to Vienna. On 4 August, they arrived at Alt Oettiugen, the headquarters of Paul Kray. The negotiations were disavowed by Austria due to their treaty with Britain. Duroc was turned away and Saint-Julien was arrested for negotiating without instructions. On 29 September, the Convention of Castiglione was signed, extending the Convention of Alessandria; but further negotiations at Lunéville were fruitless, as Napoleon demanded separate peace treaties with England and Austria. On 22 November 1800 hostilities resumed.
British general and military historian John Mitchell later argued in 1846 that the French would have accepted many fewer concessions and wrote that "nothing equal to this ill-fated convention had ever been known in military history."The treaty was described by British historian Thomas Henry Dyer in 1877 as "one of the most disgraceful capitulations in history." David Bell concluded in 2014 that a bulk of the Austrian army had survived the Battle of Marengo, and Melas was still in a position that he could have continued fighting. Prussian historian Dietrich Heinrich von Bülow "the keenest contemporary observer of the 1800 campaign," said of the convention: "Bonaparte did not seize success; Melas threw it away." According to historian David Hollins, the victory allowed Napoleon to "secure his political power for the next 14 years."
1796 (MDCCXCVI) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1796th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 796th year of the 2nd millennium, the 96th year of the 18th century, and the 7th year of the 1790s decade. As of the start of 1796, the Gregorian calendar was 11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
1800 (MDCCC) was an exceptional common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar, the 1800th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 800th year of the 2nd millennium, the 100th and last year of the 18th century, and the 1st year of the 1800s decade. As of the start of 1800, the Gregorian calendar was 11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923. As of March 1, when the Julian calendar acknowledged a leap day and the Gregorian calendar did not, the Julian calendar fell one day further behind, bringing the difference to 12 days until February 28, 1900.
The Treaty of Amiens temporarily ended hostilities between France and the United Kingdom during the French Revolutionary Wars. It was signed in the city of Amiens on 25 March 1802 by Joseph Bonaparte and Marquess Cornwallis as a "Definitive Treaty of Peace." The consequent peace lasted only one year and was the only period of general peace in Europe between 1793 and 1814.
The Treaty of Lunéville was signed in the Treaty House of Lunéville on 9 February 1801. The signatory parties were the French Republic and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The latter was negotiating both on his own behalf as ruler of the hereditary domains of the Habsburg Monarchy and on behalf of other rulers who controlled territories in the Holy Roman Empire. The signatories were Joseph Bonaparte and Count Ludwig von Cobenzl, the Austrian foreign minister.
The Battle of Marengo was fought on 14 June 1800 between French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte and Austrian forces near the city of Alessandria, in Piedmont, Italy. Near the end of the day, the French overcame Gen. Michael von Melas's surprise attack, driving the Austrians out of Italy and consolidating Napoleon's political position in Paris as First Consul of France in the wake of his coup d’état the previous November.
André Masséna, 1st Duke of Rivoli, 1st Prince of Essling was a French military commander during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon, with the nickname l'Enfant chéri de la Victoire.
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.
The Cisalpine Republic was a sister republic of France in Northern Italy that lasted from 1797 to 1802.
The War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802) was the second war on revolutionary France by the European monarchies, led by Britain, Austria and Russia, and including the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Naples, various German monarchies and Sweden. Their goal was to contain the expansion of the French Republic and to restore the monarchy in France. They failed to overthrow the revolutionary regime and French territorial gains since 1793 were confirmed. In the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801, France held all of its previous gains and obtained new lands in Tuscany, Italy, while Austria was granted Venetia and the Dalmatian coast. Britain and France signed the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802, bringing an interval of peace in Europe that lasted for 14 months. By May 1803 Britain and France were again at war and in 1805 Britain assembled the Third Coalition to resume the war against France.
The French Revolutionary Wars continued from 1799 with the French fighting the forces of the Second Coalition. Napoleon Bonaparte had returned from Egypt and taken control of the French government. He prepared a new campaign, sending Moreau to the Rhine frontier and personally going to take command in the Alps, where French forces had been driven almost out of Italy in 1799.
The Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802) were a series of conflicts fought principally in Northern Italy between the French Revolutionary Army and a Coalition of Austria, Russia, Piedmont-Sardinia, and a number of other Italian states.
During the Siege of Genoa the Austrians besieged and captured Genoa. However, this was a pyrrhic victory as the smaller French force at Genoa under André Masséna had diverted enough Austrian troops to enable Napoleon to win the Battle of Marengo and defeat the Austrians.
Spinetta Marengo is a town in Piedmont, Italy located within the municipal boundaries of the comune of Alessandria. The population is 6,417.
The Battle of Marengo was fought between the French army of First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte and an Habsburg army led by General der Kavallerie Michael von Melas. With Napoleon's army lying across the Habsburg army's line of communications to the west, Melas resolved to attack. Early in the morning, the Habsburg army advanced from the city of Alessandria and took the French army by surprise. It was not until 9:00 am before Melas' army completely moved through a bottleneck at the Bormida River bridges. At first the Austrian attack stalled, slowed by bitter French resistance. By 3:00 pm, the Habsburg army compelled their outnumbered opponents to retreat. Sore from having two horses killed under him, Melas handed over command of the pursuit to a subordinate and went to the rear. Later in the afternoon, a newly-arrived French division suddenly attacked the pursuing Austrians. Combined with a quick burst of cannon fire and a well-timed cavalry charge, the surprise assault caused a complete collapse of the Austrian center column, which fled to the temporary safety of Alessandria. The French suffered at least 7,700 casualties, including two generals killed and five wounded. The Austrians admitted losing 9,416 killed, wounded and missing, but some estimates range as high as 11,000–12,000 casualties. The Austrians lost one general killed and five wounded. The next day, Melas requested an armistice. The victory gave Bonaparte enough bargaining leverage to gain control of northwest Italy during the subsequent negotiations.
The Battle of Borghetto, near Valeggio sul Mincio in the Veneto of northern Italy, took place during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. On 30 May 1796, a French army led by General Napoleon Bonaparte forced a crossing of the Mincio River in the face of opposition from an Austrian army commanded by Feldzeugmeister Johann Peter Beaulieu. This action compelled the Austrian army to retreat north up the Adige valley to Trento, leaving the fortress of Mantua to be besieged by the French.
Andreas Graf O'Reilly von Ballinlough was an Irish-Austrian soldier and military commander of Irish origin. His military service extended through the Seven Years' War, War of the Bavarian Succession, Austro-Turkish War, French Revolutionary Wars, and Napoleonic Wars. He retired from the army in 1810 and died at age 89.
Anton Freiherr von Zach was an Austrian General with Hungarian ancestors, who enlisted in the army of Habsburg Austria and fought against the First French Republic. In the French Revolutionary Wars, he gained prominence as a staff officer. Still on active service during the Napoleonic Wars, he fought in the 1805 and 1809 wars. He was not given combat assignments after 1809.
The Second Battle of Novi or Battle of Bosco saw a Republican French corps under General of Division Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr face a division of Habsburg Austrian soldiers led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Andreas Karaczay. For several hours the Austrians defended themselves stoutly, relying on their superior cavalry and artillery. By the end of the day the French and allied Poles routed the Austrians from their positions in this War of the Second Coalition action. Novi Ligure is south of Alessandria, Italy.