On This Day in Napoleonic History – 12 July 1806

12Napoleon proclaims himself the protector of a new German entity, the Confederation of the Rhine

This move by Napoleon effectively dissolved the Holy Roman Empire and it was formally abolished by the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, who merely became Francis I of Austria, on August 6. Confederation of the Rnine consisted of 16 client states allied with France. By 1807 many other kingdoms, principalities and duchies had joined the Confederation, including the Kingdom of Westphalia.

The Confederation was obligated to provide 63,000 German troops for Napoleon, a number that would soon increase. The French Army soon became ‘the army of ten tongues’, as it was known in Russia. Following the formation of the Confederation of the Rhine, a nascent sense of German nationalism was born.

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