Louis Bonaparte

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Louis I
French Prince
Count of Saint-Leu
LouisBonaparte Holland.jpg
King of Holland
Reign5 June 1806 – 1 July 1810
Successor Louis II
Born2 September 1778
Ajaccio, Corsica, Kingdom of France
Died25 July 1846(1846-07-25) (aged 67)
Livorno, Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Burial
Spouse Hortense de Beauharnais
Issue
Full name
Louis Napoléon Bonaparte
House Bonaparte
Father Carlo Buonaparte
Mother Letizia Ramolino
Religion Roman Catholicism

Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (born Luigi Buonaparte; 2 September 1778 – 25 July 1846) was a younger brother of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. He was a monarch in his own right from 1806 to 1810, ruling over the Kingdom of Holland (a French client state roughly corresponding to the current Netherlands). In that capacity he was known as Louis I (Dutch: Lodewijk I; Dutch pronunciation: [ˈloːdəʋɛik] ).

Napoleon 19th century French military leader and politician

Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader of Italian descent 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.

Emperor of the French title used by the House of Bonaparte

Emperor of the French was the monarch of the First French Empire and the Second French Empire.

Kingdom of Holland former country

The Kingdom of Holland was set up by Napoléon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom for his third brother, Louis Bonaparte, in order to better control the Netherlands. The name of the leading province, Holland, was now taken for the whole country. In 1807, East Frisia and Jever were added to the kingdom.

Contents

Louis was the fifth surviving child and fourth surviving son of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino, out of eight children who lived past infancy. He and his siblings were all born on Corsica, which had been conquered by France less than a decade before his birth. Louis followed his older brothers into the French Army, where he benefited from Napoleon's patronage. In 1802, he married his step-niece Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter of Empress Joséphine (Napoleon's wife).

Carlo Buonaparte Father of Napoleon Bonaparte

Nob. Carlo Maria Buonaparte or Carlo Maria di Buonaparte was an Italian lawyer and diplomat who is best known as the father of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Letizia Ramolino Mother of Napolean

Nob.Maria Letizia BuonapartenéeRamolino was an Italian noblewoman, mother of Napoleon I of France.

Corsica Island in the Mediterranean, also a region and a department of France

Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 18 regions of France. It is located southeast of the French mainland and west of the Italian Peninsula, with the nearest land mass being the Italian island of Sardinia to the immediate south. A single chain of mountains makes up two-thirds of the island.

In 1806, Napoleon established the Kingdom of Holland in place of the Batavian Republic, appointing Louis as the new king. Napoleon had intended for Holland to be little more than a puppet state, but Louis was determined to be as independent as possible, and in fact became quite popular amongst his new people. Growing tired of his brother's wilfulness, Napoleon annexed Holland into the French Empire in 1810. Louis fled into exile in Austria, where he spent the rest of his life. His son Louis-Napoléon established the Second French Empire, taking the throne as Napoleon III.

Batavian Republic Dutch predecessor state, 1795–1806

The Batavian Republic was the successor of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. It was proclaimed on 19 January 1795 and ended on 5 June 1806, with the accession of Louis I to the throne of Holland. From October 1801 onward, it was known as the Batavian Commonwealth. Both names refer to the Germanic tribe of the Batavi, representing both the Dutch ancestry and their ancient quest for liberty in their nationalistic lore.

A puppet state, puppet regime, or puppet government is a state that is de jure independent but is de facto completely dependent upon an outside power. It is nominally sovereign but effectively controlled by a foreign or otherwise alien power, for reasons such as financial interests, economic or military support.

First French Empire Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804–1815

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.

Early life

Louis was born in Ajaccio, Corsica. He was a younger brother of Joseph, Napoleon, Lucien, and Elisa Bonaparte, and the older brother of Pauline, Caroline, and Jérôme Bonaparte. Louis' godparents were the island's governor, Mr de Marbeuf and the wife of the intendant, Bertrand de Boucheporn, whom Letizia and her husband, Carlo, had befriended. [1]

Ajaccio Prefecture and commune in Corsica, France

Ajaccio is a French commune, prefecture of the department of Corse-du-Sud, and head office of the Collectivité territoriale de Corse. It is also the largest settlement on the island. Ajaccio is located on the west coast of the island of Corsica, 210 nautical miles (390 km) southeast of Marseille.

Joseph Bonaparte elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte

Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte, born Giuseppe di Buonaparte was a French diplomat and nobleman, the older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily, and later King of Spain. After the fall of Napoleon, Joseph styled himself Comte de Survilliers.

Lucien Bonaparte French statesman

Lucien Bonaparte, Prince Français, 1st Prince of Canino and Musignano, the third surviving son of Carlo Bonaparte and his wife Letizia Ramolino, was a French statesman, who served as the final President of the Council of Five Hundred at the end of the French Revolution.

Louis Bonaparte's early career was spent in the Army, and he served with Napoleon in Egypt. Thanks to his older brother, Napoleon, Louis was given a commission in the French Military, and was promoted to Lieutenant in the 4th Artillery Regiment, and from there he was made Aide de Camp on Napoleon's staff. Napoleon, during his Italian Campaign, recommended Louis to Carnot, and Louis was consequently made a Captain. He later became a General by the age of 25, although he himself felt that he had risen too high in too short a time.

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Upon Louis's return to France, he was involved in Napoleon's plot to overthrow the Directory. After becoming the First Consul, Napoleon arranged for a marriage between Louis and Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter of Empress Josephine, and hence Napoleon's stepdaughter. Hortense, who was opposed to the marriage at first, was persuaded by her mother to marry Louis for the sake of the family, and she did so.

French Directory Executive power of the French Constitution of 1795-1799

The Directory or Directorate was a five-member committee that governed France from 2 November 1795, when it replaced the Committee of Public Safety, until 9 November 1799, when it was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte in the Coup of 18 Brumaire, and replaced by the French Consulate. It gave its name to the final four years of the French Revolution. On the other hand, according to the mainstream historiography - for example F. Furet and D. Richet in “French Revolution” - with the aforementioned terms is indicated also the regime and the period from the dissolution of the National Convention of Tuileries Palace on 26 October 1795, which was superseded by the two new elected Councils, and the coup d’état by Napoleon. Only in 1798 the Council of Five Hundred moved to the Palais Bourbon.

Hortense de Beauharnais Queen Consort of Holland

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.

Louis supposedly suffered from periods of mental illness. [2] These periods of depression or mental instability (records fail to distinguish) would plague Louis until his death.

King of Holland (1806–1810)

Royal Monogram Royal Monogram of Louis Napoleon, King of Holland.svg
Royal Monogram
With son Napoleon Louis Bonaparte Portrait of Louis Bonapart.jpg
With son Napoleon Louis Bonaparte

Feeling that the Batavian Republic was too independent for his liking, Napoleon replaced it with the Kingdom of Holland on 5 June 1806, and placed Louis on the throne. Napoleon had intended for his younger brother to be little more than a French prefect of Holland. However, Louis had his own mind, and tried to be a responsible and independent ruler. In an effort to endear himself to his adopted country, he tried to learn the Dutch language; he called himself Lodewijk I (adopting the Dutch form of his name) and declared himself Dutch rather than French. Allegedly, his Dutch was initially so poor that he told the people he was the Konijn van 'Olland ("Rabbit of 'Olland"), rather than Koning van Holland ("King of Holland"). However, his sincere effort to learn Dutch earned him some respect from his subjects.

Having declared himself Dutch, Louis tried to make his court Dutch as well. He forced his court and ministers (mostly provided by Napoleon) to speak only Dutch, and also to renounce their French citizenships. This latter was too much for his wife Hortense who, in France at the time of his demands, refused his request. Louis and Hortense had never gotten along, and this demand further strained their relationship. She only came to Holland reluctantly, and deliberately tried to avoid Louis as much as possible.

Louis could never settle on the location for his capital city while he was in Holland. He changed capitals over a dozen times, trying Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and other places. On one occasion, after visiting the home of a wealthy Dutch merchant, he liked the place so much that he had the owner evicted so he could take up residence there. Then, Louis moved again after seven weeks. His constant moving kept the court in upheaval since they had to follow him everywhere. The European diplomatic corps went so far as to petition Bonaparte to remain in one place so they could keep up with him. This restlessness was later attributed to his alleged "lunacy".

Hortense bore Louis's sons Napoléon Charles Bonaparte and Napoléon Louis Bonaparte in Paris, while Louis was in Holland. In 1806, Louis called for his son to be sent to him in Holland, but he was again refused by Hortense, who believed that her son would never be returned to France. When Louis appealed to his brother Napoleon for help, Napoleon sided with Hortense. Napoleon kept the boy in his own court, and he even had him named the heir to the French throne prior to the birth of his own son.

Two major tragedies occurred during the reign of Louis Bonaparte: the explosion of a cargo ship loaded with gunpowder in the heart of the city of Leiden in 1807, and a major flood in Holland in 1809. In both instances, Louis personally and effectively oversaw local relief efforts, which helped earn him the title of Louis the Good.

Louis Bonaparte's reign was short-lived, however, which was due to two factors. The first was that Napoleon wanted to reduce the value of French loans from Dutch investors by two-thirds, meaning a serious economic blow to the Netherlands. The second factor was the one that became the pretext for Napoleon's demand of Louis's abdication. As Napoleon was preparing an army for his invasion of Russia, he wanted troops from the entire region under his control, the allied border countries. This included troops from the Netherlands. Louis, confronted by his brother's demand, refused point-blank. Napoleon then accused Louis of putting Dutch interests above those of France, and removed most of the French forces in Holland for the coming war in the east, leaving only about 9,000 garrison soldiers in the country. Unfortunately for Louis, the English landed an army of 40,000 in 1809 in an attempt to capture Antwerp and Flushing. With Louis unable to defend his realm, France sent 80,000 militiamen, commanded by future King of Sweden Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte and successfully repelled the invasion. Napoleon then suggested that Louis should abdicate, citing Louis's inability to protect Holland as a reason. Louis refused and declared the occupation of the Kingdom by a French army as unlawful. On 1 July 1810 Louis abdicated in favor of his second son, Napoleon Louis Bonaparte. He fled from Haarlem on 2/3 July and settled in Austria. Oudinot invaded Holland on 4 July. Napoleon annexed Holland to France by decree (of Rambouillet) on 9 July.

Years of exile

After his abdication, Louis Bonaparte assumed the title of Count of Saint-Leu (comte de Saint-Leu), [3] which was a reference to his property at Saint-Leu-la-Forêt near Paris. [4] He was appointed as the Constable of France in 1808, a strictly honorary title.

After his Dutch kingdom was taken away from him, the Austrian Emperor Francis I offered him asylum. Between 1811 and 1813, he found refuge in Graz, where he turned to writing and poetry. [5] Louis wrote to Napoleon after the latter's defeat in Russia to request that the Dutch throne be restored to him; however, Napoleon refused. His request to visit the Netherlands was denied several times by King William I of the Netherlands, but King William II allowed him a visit in 1840. Although traveling in the Netherlands under a false name, some people found out that it was their former king, which led to a cheering crowd gathering under the window of his hotel room. It is said that he was quite moved by this demonstration of affection from his former subjects.

After the death of his eldest brother Joseph in 1844, Louis was seen by the Bonapartists as the rightful Emperor of the French, although Louis took little action himself to advance the claim. Louis's son and heir, the future Emperor Napoleon III, on the other hand, was at that time being imprisoned in France for having tried to engineer a Bonapartist coup d'état.

Louis Bonaparte died on 25 July 1846 in Livorno, and his remains were buried at Saint-Leu-la-Forêt, Île-de-France.

Marriage and children

Louis was married on 4 January 1802 to Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter of the deceased general Alexandre, Vicomte de Beauharnais and his wife Josephine Tascher de la Pagerie. Josephine was the first wife of Louis's brother Napoleon. Thus Hortense was also Louis's step-niece.

This marriage had been forced upon them and was rather loveless, though they supposedly consummated it and interacted often enough to produce three sons. As a rule, the Bonapartes, with the exception of Napoleon, loathed the Beauharnais. Hortense also certainly had extra-marital lovers. [6]

Hortense de Beauharnais gave birth to three sons which were officially claimed by Louis Bonaparte, despite his own doubts about their paternity:

  1. Napoleon Charles Bonaparte, born 10 October 1802, Prince Royal of Holland. When he died on 5 May 1807 at 4½ years of age, his body lay in state at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. He is buried at Saint-Leu-La-Foret, Ile-de-France.
  2. Napoleon Louis Bonaparte, born 11 October 1804. Became Prince Royal of Holland on his brother's death, and was King Lodewijk II for eight days in 1810, between his father's abdication (1 July) and the fall of Holland to Napoleon Bonaparte's invading army (9 July). Napoleon Louis Bonaparte died on 17 March 1831, and his remains were buried at Saint-Leu-La-Foret, Île-de-France.
  3. Charles Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, (1808–73). Born in Paris, he was the third and last son, and would become Emperor Napoleon III of France (1852–70).
Royal styles of
Louis I of Holland
Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Holland (1806).svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty
Alternative styleSire

Title and styles

Full title as King of Holland

His Majesty Louis I, By the Grace of God and the Constitution of the Kingdom, King of Holland.

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References

  1. Frédéric Masson – Napoleon dans se jeunesse – Société d'Éditions Littéraires et Artistiques – Paris, 1907 – page 42
  2. Farquhar, Michael (2001). A Treasure of Royal Scandals, p.163. Penguin Books, New York. ISBN   0-7394-2025-9.
  3. Geer, Walter (1929). Napoleon and His Family: Moscow-Saint Helena, 1813–1821. Allen & Unwin. p. 7.
  4. Foissy, M. (1830). La famille Bonaparte depuis 1264 (in French). Paris: Vergne. p. 130.
  5. Bonaparte, Louis (1829). Reponse à sir Walter Scott, sur son histoire de Napoleon (in French). Paris: C.J. Trouve. p. 1.
  6. McMillan
Louis Bonaparte
Born: 2 September 1778 Died: 25 July 1846
Regnal titles
New title King of Holland
5 June 1806 – 1 July 1810
Succeeded by
Louis II
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Joseph I
 TITULAR 
Emperor of the French
King of Italy

28 July 1844 – 25 July 1846
Succeeded by
Napoleon III