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Emperor of the French

Emperor of the French

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The Emperor of the French (French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

: Empereur des Français) was the title used by the Bonaparte Dynasty
Bonaparte
The House of Bonaparte is an imperial and royal European dynasty founded by Napoleon I of France in 1804, a French military leader who rose to notability out of the French Revolution and transformed the French Republic into the First French Empire within five years of his coup d'état...

 starting when Napoleon Bonaparte was given the title Emperor on 18 May 1804 by the French Senate
French Senate
The Senate is the upper house of the Parliament of France, presided over by a president.The Senate enjoys less prominence than the lower house, the directly elected National Assembly; debates in the Senate tend to be less tense and generally enjoy less media coverage.-History:France's first...

 and was crowned emperor of the French
Coronation of Napoleon I
The coronation of Napoleon I as Emperor of the French, which took place on Sunday December 2, 1804 , has been said to mark "the instantiation of modern empire", representing "transparently masterminded piece of modern propaganda"...

 on 02 December 1804 at the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris , also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic, Roman Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra of...

, in Paris with the Crown of Napoleon
Crown of Napoleon
The Crown of Napoleon was a coronation crown manufactured for Emperor Napoleon I of the French and used in his coronation on December 2, 1804. Napoleon called his new crown the Crown of Charlemagne, the name of the ancient royal coronation crown of France that had been destroyed in the French...

.

The title emphasized that the emperor ruled over "the French people", the nation, and not over France, the republic. The title was purposefully created to preserve the appearance of the French Republic and to show that after the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 the feudal system was abandoned and a nation state was created, with equal citizens as the subjects of their emperor. (After 01 January 1809, the state was officially referred to as the French Empire.) The title of "Emperor of the French" was supposed to demonstrate that Napoleon's coronation was not a restoration of monarchy, but an introduction of a new political system: the Empire of the French (Empire des Français). Napoleon's reign lasted until 22 June 1815 when he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, exiled and imprisoned on the island of Saint Helena
Saint Helena
Saint Helena , named after St Helena of Constantinople, is an island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha...

, where he died on 05 May 1821. His reign was interrupted by the Bourbon Restoration
Bourbon Restoration
The Bourbon Restoration is the name given to the period following the successive events of the French Revolution , the end of the First Republic , and then the forcible end of the First French Empire under Napoleon  – when a coalition of European powers restored by arms the monarchy to the...

 of 1814 and his own exile to Elba
Elba
Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, from the coastal town of Piombino. The largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba is also part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia...

, from where he escaped less than a year later to reclaim the throne, reigning as Emperor for another 94 days
Hundred Days
The Hundred Days, sometimes known as the Hundred Days of Napoleon or Napoleon's Hundred Days for specificity, marked the period between Emperor Napoleon I of France's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815...

 before his final defeat and exile.

Less than a year following the French coup of 1851
French coup of 1851
The French coup d'état on 2 December 1851, staged by Prince Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte , ended in the successful dissolution of the French National Assembly, as well as the subsequent re-establishment of the French Empire the next year...

 by Napoleon's Nephew Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, which ended in the successful dissolution of the French National Assembly
French National Assembly
The French National Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. The upper house is the Senate ....

, the Second French Republic was transformed into the Second French Empire
Second French Empire
The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...

, established by a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 on 07 November 1852. President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, elected by the French people, officially became Napoleon III
Napoleon III of France
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...

, Emperor of the French, from the symbolic and historic date of 02 December 1852.

His reign persisted to the fourth of September, 1870, although he became captured at the Battle of Sedan during the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

. He was then forced into exile through England until he died on 09 January 1873.

Since the early death of his only son Louis Napoléon in 1879, the House of Bonaparte has had a number of claimants to the French throne.
The current claimant is Jean Christophe, who became head of the house of Bonaparte on 03 May 1997.

Full titles


The Emperors of the French had various titles and claims that reflected the geographic expanse and diversity of the lands ruled by the House of Bonaparte.

Napoleon I


His Imperial and Royal Majesty
Imperial and Royal Majesty
Imperial and Royal Majesty was the style used by King-Emperors and their consorts as heads of imperial dynasties that were simultaneously royal. The style was used by the Emperor of Austria, who was also the King of Hungary and Bohemia and also by the German Emperor, who was also the King of Prussia...

 Napoleon I, By the Grace of God
By the Grace of God
By the Grace of God is an introductory part of the full styles of a monarch taken to be ruling by divine right, not a title in its own right....

 and the Constitutions of the Republic, Emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

 of the French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

, King
King of Italy
King of Italy is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire...

 of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state founded in Northern Italy by Napoleon, fully influenced by revolutionary France, that ended with his defeat and fall.-Constitutional statutes:...

, Protector
Protector (title)
Protector, sometimes spelled protecter, is used as a title or part of various historical titles of heads of state and others in authority...

 of the Confederation of the Rhine
Confederation of the Rhine
The Confederation of the Rhine was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria's Francis II and Russia's Alexander I in the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the...

 and the Grand Duchy of Frankfurt
Grand Duchy of Frankfurt
The Grand Duchy of Frankfurt was a German satellite state of Napoleonic creation. It came into existence in 1810 through the combination of the former territories of the Archbishops of Mainz along with the Free Imperial City of Frankfurt itself....

, Mediator
Act of Mediation
The Act of Mediation was issued by Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 February 1803 establishing the Swiss Confederation. The act also abolished the previous Helvetic Republic, which had existed since the invasion of Switzerland by French troops in 1798. After the withdrawal of French troops in July 1802,...

 of the Helvetic Confederation.

Napoleon II


His Imperial Majesty
Imperial Majesty (style)
Imperial Majesty is a style used by Emperors and Empresses. The style is used to distinguish the status of an emperor/empress from that of a king/queen, who are simply styled Majesty or Royal Majesty...

 Napoleon II, By the Grace of God
By the Grace of God
By the Grace of God is an introductory part of the full styles of a monarch taken to be ruling by divine right, not a title in its own right....

 and the Constitutions of the Republic, Emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

 of the French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

.

Napoleon III


His Imperial Majesty
Imperial Majesty (style)
Imperial Majesty is a style used by Emperors and Empresses. The style is used to distinguish the status of an emperor/empress from that of a king/queen, who are simply styled Majesty or Royal Majesty...

 Napoleon III, By the Grace of God
By the Grace of God
By the Grace of God is an introductory part of the full styles of a monarch taken to be ruling by divine right, not a title in its own right....

 and the will of the Nation, Emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

 of the French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

.

First French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 (1804–1814)

Portrait Name Emperor From Emperor Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Napoleon I
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

18 May 1804 11 April 1814 N/A

First French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 (Hundred Days
Hundred Days
The Hundred Days, sometimes known as the Hundred Days of Napoleon or Napoleon's Hundred Days for specificity, marked the period between Emperor Napoleon I of France's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815...

, 1815)

Portrait Name Emperor From Emperor Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Napoleon I
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

20 March 1815 22 June 1815 Self

First French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 (1815)

Portrait Name Emperor From Emperor Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Napoleon II
Napoleon II of France
Napoléon II , after 1818 known as Franz, Duke of Reichstadt, was the son of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, and his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria...

22 June 1815 7 July 1815 Son of Napoleon I


According to his father's will of 1815, Napoleon II was the legitimate heir to the throne, his father having abdicated in his favor. However, the young child's reign was entirely fictional, as he was residing in Austria with his mother. Louis XVIII was reinstalled as king on 07 July.

Second French Empire
Second French Empire
The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...

 (1852–1870)

Portrait Name Emperor From Emperor Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Napoleon III
Napoleon III of France
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...

2 December 1852 4 September 1870 Nephew of Napoleon I
Cousin of Napoleon II

Pretender to France (1873–1879)

Portrait Name Pretender From Pretender Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Louis Napoléon 9 January 1873 1 June 1879 Great-Nephew of Napoleon I
Second Cousin of Napoleon II
Son of Napoleon III


Was the only child of Emperor Napoleon III of France and his Empress consort Eugénie de Montijo. His early death in Africa sent shock waves throughout Europe, as he was the last dynastic hope for the restoration of the Bonapartes to the throne of France.

See also

  • Empress of France (disambiguation)
  • First French Empire
    First French Empire
    The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

  • Second French Empire
    Second French Empire
    The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...

  • List of French Monarchs