Joachim Murat

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Joachim Murat
Murat2.jpg
King of Naples
Reign1 August 1808 – 19 May 1815
Predecessor Joseph I
Successor Ferdinand IV of Naples
Grand Duke of Berg
Reign15 March 1806 – 1 August 1808
Successor Louis I
BornJoachim Murat
(1767-03-25)25 March 1767
La Bastide-Fortunière, Lot, France
Died13 October 1815(1815-10-13) (aged 48)
Pizzo Calabro, Calabria, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Burial
Père Lachaise Cemetery;
Castello di Pizzo, Naples
Spouse Caroline Bonaparte
Issue
Full name
French: Joachim-Napoléon Murat
Italian: Gioacchino-Napoleone Murat
House Murat
FatherPierre Murat-Jordy
MotherJeanne Loubières
Religion Roman Catholic

Joachim-Napoléon Murat (French pronunciation:  [ʒoaʃɛ̃ napɔleɔ̃ myʁa] ; born Joachim Murat; Italian : Gioacchino Napoleone Murat; German : Joachim-Napoleon Murat; 25 March 1767 – 13 October 1815) was a Marshal of France and Admiral of France under the reign of Napoleon. He was also the 1st Prince Murat, Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808, and King of Naples from 1808 to 1815. Murat received his titles in part by being Napoleon's brother-in-law through marriage to his younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte, as well as personal merit. He was noted as a daring, brave, and charismatic cavalry officer as well as a flamboyant dresser, for which he was known as "the Dandy King".

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Admiral of France

Admiral of France is a French title of honour. It is the naval equivalent of Marshal of France and was one of the Great Officers of the Crown of France.

Contents

Early life

Joachim Murat was born on 25 March 1767 in La Bastide-Fortunière, [1] (renamed Labastide-Murat after its renowned citizen), in Guyenne (present-day Lot department of France) to Pierre Murat-Jordy, (d. 27 July 1799), an affluent innkeeper and postmaster, [2] and his wife Jeanne Loubières (La Bastide Fortunière, b. 1722 – La Bastide Fortunière, d. 11 March 1806), daughter of Pierre Loubières and of his wife Jeanne Viellescazes. Pierre Murat-Jordy was the son of Guillaume Murat (1692–1754) and his wife Marguerite Herbeil (d. 1755); paternal grandson of Pierre Murat, born in 1634, and wife Catherine Badourès, who died in 1697; and maternal grandson of Bertrand Herbeil and wife Anne Roques.

Labastide-Murat Part of Cœur-de-Causse in Occitanie, France

Labastide-Murat, formerly Labastide-Fortunière, is a former commune in the Lot department in south-western France. On 1 January 2016, it was merged into the new commune of Cœur-de-Causse. It was renamed after Napoleon Bonaparte's brother in law and famed Marshal of France Joachim Murat, who was born there in 1767.

Guyenne medieval Duchy in Kingdom of France

Guyenne or Guienne was an old French province which corresponded roughly to the Roman province of Aquitania Secunda and the archdiocese of Bordeaux.

Lot (department) Department of France

Lot is a department in the Occitanie region of France. Named after the Lot River, it lies in the southwestern part of the country and had a population of 173,758 in 2013.

Joachim Murat's parents intended that he pursue a career in the church, and he was taught by the parish priest, after which he won a place at the College of Saint-Michel at Cahors when he was ten years old. He then entered seminary of the Lazarists at Toulouse, but when a regiment of cavalry passed through the city in 1787, he ran away from seminary and enlisted on 23 February 1787 in the Chasseurs des Ardennes, which the following year became known as the Chasseurs de Champagne, also known as the 12th Chasseurs. In 1789, an affair forced him to resign, and he returned to his family, becoming a clerk to a haberdasher at Saint-Ceré. [3]

Cahors Prefecture and commune in Occitanie, France

Cahors is the capital of the Lot department in south-western France.

Toulouse Prefecture and commune in Occitanie, France

Toulouse is the capital of the French department of Haute-Garonne and of the region of Occitanie. The city is on the banks of the River Garonne, 150 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea, 230 km (143 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean and 680 km (420 mi) from Paris. It is the fourth-largest city in France, with 466,297 inhabitants as of January 2014. In France, Toulouse is called the "Pink City".

French Revolutionary Wars

Joachim Murat as a sous-lieutenant of the 12th Chasseur-a-cheval; portrait by Jean-Baptiste Paulin Guerin Joachim Murat (1792).jpg
Joachim Murat as a sous-lieutenant of the 12th Chasseur-à-cheval; portrait by Jean-Baptiste Paulin Guérin

By 1790, he had joined the National Guard, and when the Fête of the Nation was organized on 14 July 1790, the Canton of Montaucon sent Murat as its representative. Then he became reinstated into his old regiment. Part of the 12th Chasseurs had been sent to Montmédy to protect the royal family on its flight to Varennes, meaning regiment had to defend its honor and loyalty to the Republic; Murat and the regiment's adjutant made a speech to the assembly at Toul to that effect. [4] In 1792, he joined the Constitutional Guard, but left it that same year; his departure was attributed to various causes, including his constant quarreling and dueling, although he claimed he left to avoid punishment for being absent without leave. [5]

National Guard (France) 1789–1872 military reserve and police branch of Frances military

The National Guard is a French military, gendarmerie, and police reserve force, active in its current form since 2016 but originally founded in 1789 after the French Revolution.

Flight to Varennes

The royal Flight to Varennes during the night of 20–21 June 1791 was a significant episode in the French Revolution in which King Louis XVI of France, his queen Marie Antoinette, and their immediate family unsuccessfully attempted to escape from Paris in order to initiate a counter-revolution at the head of loyal troops under royalist officers concentrated at Montmédy near the frontier. They escaped only as far as the small town of Varennes, where they were arrested after having been recognized at their previous stop in Sainte-Menehould.

When the National Constituent Assembly dissolved itself on 3 September 1791, it decreed as a final measure that King Louis XVI should have a Constitutional Guard, also known as the garde Brissac after its commander Louis Hercule Timolon de Cossé, duc de Brissac. This guard's formation was the only court reform to be put into effect, but it only lasted a few months, being superseded by the National Guard.

An ardent Republican, Murat wrote to his brother in 1791 stating he was preoccupied with revolutionary affairs and would sooner die than cease to be a patriot. Upon his departure from the Constitutional Guard, he reported to the Committee of Surveillance of the Constitutional Assembly that the Guard was guilty of treason and that his Lieutenant Colonel, a man named Descours, had encouraged him to serve in the émigré army of Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé, then stationed in Koblenz. [6] This garnered for him the support of the Republicans, for he rejoined his former regiment and was promoted to Corporal in April of that year, and to Sergeant in May. [7] By 19 November 1792, he was 25 years old and elated at his latest promotion. As a sous-lieutenant, he thought, his family must recognize that he had no great tendency for the priesthood, and he was hoping to prove that he had not been wrong in wishing to be a soldier. One of the Ministers had accused him of being an aristocrat, confusing him with the noble family of Murat d'Auvergne, an accusation that continued to haunt him for the next several years. [8]

Army of Condé

The Army of Condé was a French field army during the French Revolutionary Wars. One of several émigré field armies, it was the only one to survive the War of the First Coalition; others had been formed by the Comte d'Artois and Mirabeau-Tonneau. The émigré armies were formed by aristocrats and nobles who had fled from the violence in France after the August Decrees. The army was commanded by Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, the cousin of Louis XVI of France. Among its members were Condé's grandson, the Duc d'Enghien and the two sons of Louis XVI's younger brother, the Comte d'Artois, and so the army was sometimes also called the Princes' Army.

Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé French noble

Louis Joseph de Bourbon was Prince of Condé from 1740 to his death. A member of the House of Bourbon, he held the prestigious rank of Prince du Sang.

Koblenz Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Koblenz, spelled Coblenz before 1926, is a German city situated on both banks of the Rhine where it is joined by the Moselle.

13 Vendémiaire

In the autumn of 1795, three years after King Louis XVI of France was deposed, royalist and counter-revolutionaries organised an armed uprising. On 3 October, General Napoleon Bonaparte, who was stationed in Paris, was named commander of the French National Convention's defending forces. This constitutional convention, after a long period of emergency rule, was striving to establish a more stable and permanent government in the uncertain period after the Reign of Terror. Bonaparte tasked Murat with the gathering of artillery from a suburb outside the control of the government's forces. Murat managed to take the cannons of the Camp des Sablons and transport them to the centre of Paris while avoiding the rioters. The use of these cannons – the famous "whiff of grapeshot" – on 5 October allowed Bonaparte to save the members of the National Convention. [9] For this success, Joachim Murat was made chef de brigade (colonel) and thereafter remained one of Napoleon's best officers.

Louis XVI of France King of France and Navarre

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.

Reign of Terror Period during the French Revolution

The Reign of Terror, or The Terror, refers to a period during the French Revolution after the First French Republic was established.

National Convention single-chamber assembly in France from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795

The National Convention was the first government of the French Revolution, following the two-year National Constituent Assembly and the one-year Legislative Assembly. Created after the great insurrection of 10 August 1792, it was the first French government organized as a republic, abandoning the monarchy altogether. The Convention sat as a single-chamber assembly from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795.

Italian and Egyptian campaigns

General Murat at the battle of Abukir, where 4,000 Ottoman soldiers drowned in the Nile Antoine-Jean Gros - Bataille d'Aboukir, 25 juillet 1799 - Google Art Project.jpg
General Murat at the battle of Abukir, where 4,000 Ottoman soldiers drowned in the Nile

In 1796, with the situation in the capital and government apparently stabilised and the war going poorly (See also: French Revolutionary Wars), Napoleon lobbied to join the armies attempting to secure the revolution against the invading monarchist forces. Murat then went with Bonaparte to northern Italy, initially as his aide-de-camp, and was later named commander of the cavalry during the many campaigns against the Austrians and their allies. These forces were waging war on France and seeking to restore a monarchy in revolutionary France. His valour and his daring cavalry charges later earned him the rank of général in these important campaigns, the battles of which became famous as Bonaparte constantly used speed of maneuver to fend off and eventually defeat individually superior opposing armies closing in on the French forces from several directions. Thus, Murat's skills in no small part helped establish Bonaparte's legendary fame and enhance his popularity with the French people.

Murat commanded the cavalry of the French Egyptian expedition of 1798, again under Bonaparte. In the 1799, some remaining staff officers, including Murat, and Bonaparte returned to France, eluding various British fleets in five frigates. A short while later, Murat played an important, even pivotal, role in Bonaparte's "coup within a coup" of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799), when Napoleon first assumed national power. Along with two others (including Director Abbé Sieyès), Napoleon Bonaparte set aside the five-man directory government, establishing the three-man French Consulate government.

Marriage certificate of Joachim Murat and Caroline Bonaparte. Archives nationales Acte de mariage de Joachim Murat et de Marie Annonciade Bonaparte-Archives-nationales-AE-I-11-12-12-2.jpg
Marriage certificate of Joachim Murat and Caroline Bonaparte. Archives nationales

Murat married Caroline Bonaparte in a civil ceremony on 20 January 1800 at Mortefontaine and religiously on 4 January 1802 in Paris, thus becoming a son-in-law of Letizia Ramolino as well as brother-in-law to Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon I of France, Lucien Bonaparte, Elisa Bonaparte, Louis Bonaparte, Pauline Bonaparte and Jérôme Bonaparte.

Napoleonic wars

Murat leads a charge at the Battle of Jena, 14 October 1806. Chartier-Murat at Jena.jpg
Murat leads a charge at the Battle of Jena, 14 October 1806.

Napoleon made Murat a Marshal of France on 18 May 1804, and also granted him the title of "First Horseman of Europe". He was created Prince of the Empire in 1805, appointed Grand Duke of Berg and Cleves on 15 March 1806 and held this title until 1 August 1808, when he was named King of Naples. He was in charge of the French Army in Madrid when the popular 2 May uprising that started the Peninsular War broke out.

Murat was equally useful in Russian Campaign of 1812 and during the German Campaign of 1813 in the Battle of Leipzig. However, after France's defeat at Leipzig, Murat reached an agreement with the Austrian Empire in order to save his own throne.

During the Hundred Days, he realized that the European powers, meeting as the Congress of Vienna, had the intention to remove him and return the Kingdoms of Naples to their pre-Napoleonic rulers. Murat deserted his new allies before the War of the Seventh Coalition and, after issuing a proclamation to the Italian patriots in Rimini, moved north to fight against the Austrians in the Neapolitan War to strengthen his rule in Italy by military means. He was defeated by Frederick Bianchi, a general of Francis I of Austria, in the Battle of Tolentino (2–3 May 1815).

Death

Murat fled to Corsica after Napoleon's fall. Joined by around a thousand followers, he hoped to regain control of Naples by fomenting an insurrection in Calabria. Arriving at the port of Pizzo, Murat attempted to rally support in the town square, but his plan turned awry. The crowd was hostile and he was attacked by an old woman blaming him for the loss of her son. Calabria had been badly hit by Murat's repression of local piracy and brigandage during his reign.

Soon he was captured by forces of King Ferdinand IV of Naples. He was imprisoned in the Castello di Pizzo, a small castle in the harbor of Pizzo, from where he wrote several letters, especially to his family. He was tried for treason and sentenced to death by firing squad.

On 13 October, King Ferdinand, under the advice of the British ambassador, issued a decree by which "the condemned shall be granted only half an hour to receive the aid of religion."

When the fatal moment arrived, Murat walked with a firm step to the place of execution, as calm, as unmoved, as if he had been going to an ordinary review. He would not accept a chair, nor suffer his eyes to be bound. Before his death, he said; "I have braved death too often to fear it." He stood upright, proudly and undauntedly, with his countenance towards the soldiers; and when all was ready, he kissed a cameo on which the head of his wife was engraved, and gave the word — thus,

«Soldats! Faites votre devoir! Droit au cœur mais épargnez le visage. Feu!»

"Soldiers! Do your duty! Straight to the heart but spare the face. Fire!" [10]

Coats of arms

Titles and styles

Children

Murat and Caroline had four children:

Relatives

He had a brother named Pierre Murat (La Bastide-Fortunière, 27 November 1748 – La Bastide-Fortunière, 8 October 1792), who married at La Bastide-Fortunière on 26 February 1783 Louise d'Astorg (La Bastide-Fortunière, 23 October 1762 – 31 May 1832), daughter of Aymeric d'Astorg, born in 1721, and wife Marie Alanyou, paternal granddaughter of Antoine d'Astorg, born 18 November 1676, and wife Marie de Mary (4 May 1686 – 7 October 1727) and maternal granddaughter of Jean Alanyou and wife Louise de Valon.

His other brother named André Murat (1760–1841) was created 1st Count Murat in 1810.

Pierre and Louise were the parents of Marie Louise, Pierre Adrien (d.1805), Marie Radegonde (d.1800), Thomas Joachim and Marie Antoinette Murat, whom Emperor Napoleon I arranged to marry Charles, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen; Karl III and Marie were the parents of Charles Anthony, Prince of Hohenzollern from whom descended Stephanie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen Queen of Portugal; her brother Carol I of Romania and Carol I nephew Albert I of Belgium.

Another descendant of note is his great-great-great-grandson, the American actor René Auberjonois.

Footnotes

  1. Chavanon, Jules and Georges Saint-Yves, Joachim Murat (1767–1815), (Libraire Hachette, 1905), 4.
  2. Ramsey Weston Phipps. Armies of the First French Republic. London: Greenwood Publishers, 1926, vol. 1, pp. 146–47.
  3. Phipps, p. 146
  4. Phipps, p. 146.
  5. Phipps, p. 147.
  6. Phipps, p. 147.
  7. Phipps, p. 147.
  8. Phipps, pp. 148–49.
  9. Connelly, pp. 20–21.
  10. Murat, Caroline (1910). My Memoirs. London. p. 23.

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References

Further reading

Joachim Murat
House of Murat
Born: 25 March 1767 Died: 13 October 1815
Regnal titles
New title Grand Duke of Berg
15 Mar 1806 – 1 Aug 1808
Succeeded by
Louis I
Preceded by
Joseph I
King of Naples
1 Aug 1808 – 19 May 1815
Succeeded by
Ferdinand IV
French nobility
of the First French Empire
New title Prince Murat Succeeded by
Achille Murat