Category: napoleon

The Mamluks were a corps of slaves which went from being the elite bodyguards of the Ayyubid Caliphate founded by Saladin, to running Egypt for themselves. It lasted as an independent state for over 250 years, from 1250 to 1517 when Egypt was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. But the Mamluks survived.

By the 1630s, a Mamluk emir managed to become de facto ruler of the country. By the 1700s, the importance of the pasha (Ottoman governor) was superseded by that of the Mameluk beys, and it was even made official. Two offices, those of Shaykh al-Balad and Amir al-hajj – both offices held by Mameluks – represented the rulers of Egypt. In the name of the Ottoman Sultan, of course. It was only with the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon in 1799 that the Mamluk power center was permanently ended.

Sweden fought in its last war in 1814, and Switzerland fought in its last war in 1815. So although Swiss neutrality is more famous, Sweden’s neutrality is older.

For those interested, Sweden’s last military action was an invasion to force Norway under Swedish control. Switzerland’s was fighting on Napoleon’s side until Waterloo.

Neither Sweden nor Switzerland participated in either world war, and today, neither are members of NATO.

In 1315, Louis X, king of France, published a decree proclaiming that “France signifies freedom” and that any slave setting foot on the French ground should be freed. And France maintained that law, even after it began allowing slavery in its New World colonies in the 1600s. Any enslaved person who as brought to France became free. Born into slavery in Saint Domingue, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas became free when his father brought him to France in 1776.

Slavery in the French colonies was another story. The French crown regulated the slave trade and institution in the colonies, starting with Louis XIV’s Code Noir in 1685. The royal government had over 100 years of profiting from plantation-based slavery and particularly sugar production before the French Revolution killed the royal family and attempted to end slavery in the colonies. The first elected Assembly of the First Republic abolished slavery in France (since the royal law was no longer recognized) and more importantly in France’s colonies.

However, Napoleon restored slavery and the slave trade in 1802. This was mainly because of lobbying by planters in the West Indies, and to benefit from taxing the planter’s slavery-produced profits. In 1848, under the Second Republic, slavery was totally abolished in the French colonies. And this time it stuck.

Close quarters fighting between French and Austrian soldiers during Battle of Aspern-Essling 1809. One of rare Napoleon personal defeats and first time he was personally defeated in over a decade.

via reddit Battle was first Napoleon personal defeat in more then a decade but Napoleon rallied his troops and 2 months later defeated Archduke Charles Austrian army in gigantic and bloody Battle of Wagram (largest battle in European history until that point) and ended war victoriously.

Death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte

Monsieur Ducel – A veteran of Napoleon’s Mamelukes of the Guard, dressed in his old uniform on the anniversary of Napoleon’s death. Paris 1858.

via reddit

Monsieur Dreuse – A veteran of Napoleon’s Army in his old uniform on the anniversary of Napoleon’s death. Paris, 1858.

via reddit

Sgt. Taria – A veteran of Napoleon’s legendary Imperial Guard in his old uniform. Paris, anniversary of Napoleon’s death, probably 1858.

via reddit

More info.

The image text says that sgt. Taria served the years 1809-1815. I wonder if he was at Waterloo when the Old Guard broke for the first and last time. I also don’t really know if this guy was a member of the old, middle, or new guard.

In eighteen years of military service, Napoleon Bonaparte had eighteen horses shot out from under him!

On March 10, 1799, the Ottoman city of Jaffa (in what is today Israel) fell to Napoleon and his French troops. The general ordered his men to slaughter several thousand men in the city’s garrison that had been taken prisoner, mainly Albanians.

Napoleon viewed this as justice for the Ottomans killing French messengers sent to Jaffa. Today it would be a war crime.