Treaties of Tilsit

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Meeting of the two emperors in a pavilion set up on a raft in the middle of the Neman River. Tilsitz 1807.JPG
Meeting of the two emperors in a pavilion set up on a raft in the middle of the Neman River.

The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Neman River. The second was signed with Prussia on 9 July. The treaties were made at the expense of the Prussian king, who had already agreed to a truce on 25 June after the Grande Armée had captured Berlin and pursued him to the easternmost frontier of his realm. In Tilsit, he ceded about half of his pre-war territories.

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.

Battle of Friedland battle in the War of the Fourth Coalition

The Battle of Friedland was a major engagement of the Napoleonic Wars between the armies of the French Empire commanded by Napoleon I and the armies of the Russian Empire led by Count von Bennigsen. Napoleon and the French obtained a decisive victory that routed much of the Russian army, which retreated chaotically over the Alle River by the end of the fighting. The battlefield is located in modern-day Kaliningrad Oblast, near the town of Pravdinsk, Russia.

Alexander I of Russia Emperor of Russia

Alexander I was the Emperor of Russia (Tsar) between 1801 and 1825. He was the eldest son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Alexander was the first king of Congress Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland, reigning from 1809 to 1825.

Contents

From those territories, Napoleon had created French sister republics, which were formalized and recognized at Tilsit: the Kingdom of Westphalia, the Duchy of Warsaw and the Free City of Danzig; the other ceded territories were awarded to existing French client states and to Russia.

Sister republic client state of France during the French Revolutionary Wars with republic as form of government

A sister republic was a republic established by French armies or by local revolutionaries and assisted by the First French Republic during the French Revolutionary Wars.

Kingdom of Westphalia former country

The Kingdom of Westphalia was a kingdom in Germany, with a population of 2.6 million, that existed from 1807 to 1813. It included territory in Hesse and other parts of present-day Germany. While formally independent, it was a vassal state of the First French Empire and was ruled by Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte. It was named after Westphalia, but this was a misnomer since the kingdom had little territory in common with that area; rather the kingdom mostly covered territory formerly known as Eastphalia.

Duchy of Warsaw client Napoleonic state from 1807 to 1815

The Duchy of Warsaw was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony. Following Napoleon's failed invasion of Russia, the duchy was occupied by Prussian and Russian troops until 1815, when it was formally partitioned between the two countries at the Congress of Vienna. It covered the central and eastern part of present Poland and minor parts of present Lithuania and Belarus.

Napoleon not only cemented his control of Central Europe but also had Russia and the truncated Prussia ally with him against his two remaining enemies, Great Britain and Sweden, triggering the Anglo-Russian and Finnish War. Tilsit also freed French forces for the Peninsular War. Central Europe became a battlefield again in 1809, when Austria and Great Britain engaged France in the War of the Fifth Coalition. Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the Congress of Vienna would restore many Prussian territories.

Central Europe Region of Europe

Central Europe is the region comprising the central part of Europe. Central Europe occupies continuous territories that are otherwise sometimes considered parts of Western Europe, Southern Europe, and Eastern Europe. The concept of Central Europe is based on a common historical, social, and cultural identity.

Anglo-Russian War (1807–1812)

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Anglo-Russian War was the phase of hostilities between the United Kingdom and Russia after the latter signed the Treaty of Tilsit that ended its war with France. Anglo-Russian hostilities were limited primarily to minor naval actions in the Baltic and Barents Seas.

Finnish War 1808–1809 war between Russia and Sweden

The Finnish War was fought between the Kingdom of Sweden and the Russian Empire from the 21st of February 1808 to the 17th of September 1809. As a result of the war, the eastern third of Sweden was established as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire. Other notable effects were the Swedish parliament's adoption of a new constitution and the establishment of the House of Bernadotte, the new Swedish royal house, in 1818.

Franco-Russian treaty (7 July)

A French medallion dating from the post-Tilsit period. It shows the French and Russian emperors embracing each other. Treaties of Tilsit miniature (France, 1810s) side A.jpg
A French medallion dating from the post-Tilsit period. It shows the French and Russian emperors embracing each other.

The treaty ended war between Imperial Russia and the French Empire and began an alliance between the two empires that rendered the rest of continental Europe almost powerless. The two countries secretly agreed to aid each other in disputes. France pledged to aid Russia against the Ottoman Empire while Russia agreed to join the Continental System against the British Empire. Napoleon also convinced Alexander to enter into the Anglo-Russian War and to instigate the Finnish War against Sweden to force Sweden to join the Continental System. More specifically, the tsar agreed to evacuate Wallachia and Moldavia, which had been occupied by Russian forces as part of the Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812. The Ionian Islands and Cattaro (Kotor), which had been captured by Russian admirals Ushakov and Senyavin, were to be handed over to the French. In recompense, Napoleon guaranteed the sovereignty of the Duchy of Oldenburg and several other small states ruled by the Tsar's German relatives.

Ottoman Empire Former empire in Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa

The Ottoman Empire, historically known to its inhabitants and the Eastern world as Rome (Rûm), and known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. Although initially the dynasty was of Turkic origin, it was thoroughly Persianised in terms of language, culture, literature and habits. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.

Continental System Embargo of Napoleonic Europe against Britain

The Continental System or Continental Blockade was the foreign policy of Napoleon I of France against the United Kingdom during the Napoleonic Wars. As a response to the naval blockade of the French coasts enacted by the British government on 16 May 1806, Napoleon issued the Berlin Decree on 21 November 1806, which brought into effect a large-scale embargo against British trade. The embargo was applied intermittently, ending on 11 April 1814 after Napoleon's first abdication. The blockade caused little economic damage to the UK, although British exports to the continent dropped from 55% to 25% between 1802 and 1806. As Napoleon realized that extensive trade was going through Spain and Russia, he invaded those two countries. His forces were tied down in Spain—in which the Spanish War of Independence was occurring simultaneously—and suffered severely in, and ultimately retreated from, Russia in 1812.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

Franco-Prussian treaty (9 July)

Napoleon, Alexander I of Russia, Queen Louise of Prussia, and Frederick William III in Tilsit, 1807. Painted by Nicolas Gosse, c. 1900 Til'zit. 1807.jpg
Napoleon, Alexander I of Russia, Queen Louise of Prussia, and Frederick William III in Tilsit, 1807. Painted by Nicolas Gosse, c. 1900

The treaty with Prussia stripped the country of about half its territory: Cottbus passed to Saxony, the left bank of the Elbe was awarded to the newly created Kingdom of Westphalia, Białystok was given to Russia (which led to the creation of the Belostok Oblast), and most of the Polish lands in Prussian possession since the Second and Third Partitions became the quasi-independent Duchy of Warsaw. Prussia was to reduce the army to 43,000 [1] and on 9 March 1808, France fixed its tribute to be levied from Prussia at 154,500,000 francs (= Prussian dollar 41.73 mio.), [2] deducting 53,500,000, which had been raised so far during the ongoing French occupation. The sum was lowered in two steps to 120 million francs by 1 November 1808.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital first in Königsberg and then, in 1701, in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

Cottbus Place in Brandenburg, Germany

Cottbus is a university city and the second-largest city in Brandenburg, Germany. Situated around 125 km (78 mi) southeast of Berlin, on the River Spree, Cottbus is also a major railway junction with extensive sidings/depots. Although only a small Sorbian minority lives in Cottbus itself, the city is considered as the political and cultural center of the Sorbs in Lower Lusatia.

Kingdom of Saxony former German state

The Kingdom of Saxony, lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. The kingdom was formed from the Electorate of Saxony. From 1871 it was part of the German Empire. It became a free state in the era of Weimar Republic in 1918 after the end of World War I and the abdication of King Frederick Augustus III of Saxony. Its capital was the city of Dresden, and its modern successor state is the Free State of Saxony.

Talleyrand had advised Napoleon to pursue milder terms; the treaties marked an important stage in his estrangement from the emperor. Until 1812, the French occupants requisitioned in money and kind from various corporations and persons, especially by billetting soldiers on cities, further contributions additionally amounting to between 146 and 309 million francs, according to different calculations. [2] The Prussian government indebtedness soared between 1806 and 1815 by thaler 200 million to altogether 180.09 million interest-bearing debts, 11.24 million non-interest-bearing unconsolidated treasury notes and another 25.9 million former provincial debts assumed by the royal government. [3] The cities' debts, especially those of Berlin often billetted on, were not assumed by the Prussian government. Since the creditors deemed Prussia to be over-indebted in 1817, the 4-per cent state bonds were traded at the bourses with a disagio of 27 to 29 per cent, in 1818 even with a discountor of 35 per cent, causing the effective interest to rise to 6.15 per cent. [4] At restructuring part of the debts in 1818 by a £5 million loan (= thaler 30 million) at 5% at the London financial market, the Prussian government had to accept a disagio of 28⅓%, thus paying an annual effective rate of 6.98%. [4]

Government bond bond issued by a national government

A government bond or sovereign bond is a bond issued by a national government, generally with a promise to pay periodic interest payments called coupon payments and to repay the face value on the maturity date. The aim of a government bond is to support government spending. Government bonds are usually denominated in the country's own currency, in which case the government cannot be forced to default, although it may choose to do so. If a government is close to default on its debt the media often refer to this as a sovereign debt crisis.

Provinces of Prussia province of the state of Prussia

The Provinces of Prussia were the main administrative divisions of Prussia from 1815 to 1946. Prussia's province system was introduced in the Stein-Hardenberg Reforms in 1815, and were mostly organized from duchies and historical regions. Provinces were divided into several Regierungsbezirke, sub-divided into Kreise (districts), and then into Gemeinden (townships) at the lowest-level. Provinces constituted the highest level of administration in the Kingdom of Prussia and Free State of Prussia until 1933, when Nazi Germany established de facto direct rule over provincial politics, and were formally abolished in 1946 following World War II. The Prussian provinces became the basis for many federal states of Germany, and the states of Brandenburg, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein are direct successors of provinces.

Exchange (organized market) highly organized trading market

An exchange, or bourse also known as a trading exchange or trading venue, is an organized market where (especially) tradable securities, commodities, foreign exchange, futures, and options contracts are sold and bought.

When the Treaty was being formulated, it was noted by an observer that the Prussian king was pacing on the bank of the Neman river; Napoleon had to "but raise his hand, and Prussia would cease to exist" (McKay). Hence, many observers in Prussia and Russia viewed the treaty as unequal and as a national humiliation. The Russian soldiers refused to follow Napoleon's commands, as the Lisbon Incident demonstrated to all Europe. Napoleon's plans to marry the tsar's sister were stymied by Russian royalty. Cooperation between Russia and France eventually broke down in 1810 when the tsar began to allow neutral ships to land in Russian ports. In 1812, Napoleon crossed the Neman river and invaded Russia, ending any vestige of alliance.

Territorial and population losses suffered by Prussia

Prussia in 1807 (orange) and its territories lost at Tilsit (other colours). Preussen-1806.jpg
Prussia in 1807 (orange) and its territories lost at Tilsit (other colours).

The Prussian state was diminished by nearly half under the terms of the treaty of Tilsit from 5,700 Prussian square miles to 2,800 (323,408.4 to 158,867.28 km2 (124,868.68 to 61,339.00 sq mi)). [2] Instead of 9.75 million inhabitants, no more than 4.5 million remained within the new boundaries of Prussia. [2] The state revenue, which formerly amounted to forty million dollars per annum, was decreased in a still greater proportion; since the ceded provinces were quite rich and fertile and on whose improvement many millions had been expended. Almost all that Prussia had gained by the partitions of Poland (1772–1795) was taken from it. Saxony, a former confederate of Prussia, was the recipient of the provinces; and Russia, the more powerful of its erstwhile allies, gained territory with a population of 200,000. The following is a tabulation of the territorial and population losses that Prussia suffered (without the Prussian acquisitions since 1772) under the terms of Tilsit treaty: [5]

Westphalian possessions [lower-alpha 1] Prussian sq. milesInhabitants
County of Mark, with Essen, Werden, and Lippstadt,51 =2,893.65 km2 (1,117.24 sq mi)148,000
Principality of Minden,18.5 =1,049.66 km2 (405.28 sq mi)70,363
County of Ravensberg,16.5 =936.18 km2 (361.46 sq mi)89,938
Lingen and Tecklenburg,13 =737.6 km2 (284.8 sq mi)46,000
Cleve, on the eastern side of the Rhine,20.5 =1,163.14 km2 (449.09 sq mi)54,000
Principality of East Frisia,56.5 =3,205.71 km2 (1,237.73 sq mi)119,500
Principality of Münster,49 =2,718.18 km2 (1,049.50 sq mi)127,000
Principality of Paderborn,30 =1,702.15 km2 (657.20 sq mi)98,500
Lower Saxon possessionsPrussian sq. milesInhabitants
Magdeburg, with that part of the duchy on the left bank of the Elbe, Halle, &c.54 =3,063.87 km2 (1,182.97 sq mi)160,000
County of Mansfeld,1.0 =56.74 km2 (21.91 sq mi)27,000
Principality of Halberstadt,26.5 =1,503.57 km2 (580.53 sq mi)101,000
County of Hohenstein,8.5 =482.28 km2 (186.21 sq mi)27,000
Territory of Quedlinburg,1.5 =85.11 km2 (32.86 sq mi)13,400
Principality of Hildesheim and Goslar.40 =2,269.53 km2 (876.27 sq mi)114,000

Notes

  1. Some of the Westphalian possessions had been ceded earlier, and no compensation was paid for these losses under the terms of the treaty of Tilsit.

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References

  1. The Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 2, 620.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Georg Sydow, Theorie und Praxis in der Entwicklung der französischen Staatsschuld seit dem Jahre 1870, Jena: Fischer, 1903, p. 49.
  3. Herbert Krafft, Immer ging es um Geld: Einhundertfünfzig Jahre Sparkasse Berlin, Berlin: Sparkasse der Stadt Berlin West, 1968, p. 10.
  4. 1 2 Herbert Krafft, Immer ging es um Geld: Einhundertfünfzig Jahre Sparkasse Berlin, Berlin: Sparkasse der Stadt Berlin West, 1968, p. 9.
  5. The New annual register, or General repository of history, politics, and literature: To which is prefixed, the History of Knowledge ..., Published by Printed for G.G.J. and J. Robinson, Pater-noster-Row., 1808. p. 276. See the footnote

Coordinates: 55°05′N21°53′E / 55.083°N 21.883°E / 55.083; 21.883