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When Did the Napoleonic War start?

The Napoleonic Wars were a series of conflicts declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionized European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to the application of modern mass conscription. French power rose quickly as Napoleon's armies conquered much of Europe but collapsed rapidly after France's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. Napoleon's empire ultimately suffered complete military defeat resulting in the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in France. The wars resulted in the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and sowed the seeds of nascent nationalism in Germany and Italy that would lead to the two nations' consolidation later in the century. Meanwhile, the global Spanish Empire began to unravel as French occupation of Spain weakened Spain's hold over its colonies, providing an opening for nationalist revolutions in Spanish America. As a direct result of the Napoleonic wars, the British Empire became the foremost world power for the next century, thus beginning Pax Britannica.

No consensus exists as to when the French Revolutionary Wars ended and the Napoleonic Wars began. An early candidate is 9 November 1799, when Bonaparte seized power in France with the coup of 18 Brumaire. 18 May 1803 is the most commonly used date, as this was when a renewed declaration of war between Britain and France (resulting from the collapse of the Treaty of Amiens), ended the only period of general peace in Europe between 1792 and 1814. The latest proposed date is 2 December 1804, when Napoleon crowned himself Emperor.

The Napoleonic Wars ended following Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo on 18 June 1815 and the Second Treaty of Paris.

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Why Collect Napoleonic War Relics

Collecting Napoleonic War relics allows the collector to come into physical contact with history and with those who participated in it. It is an interesting experience to read on a certain aspect of Napoleonic War history and then be able to hold or own an item that was actually there. Information is contained in war relics. Owning an item is part of the learning experience - it helps bring history alive.

But why collect artefacts from the Napoleonic War? Understanding the Napoleonic War and the events that took place around it helps us understand why many things are as they are today. For many, there is an immediate or personal family connection to the war - collecting can preserve the memory of their family's contributions, it can also help them connect and reconcile events that were directly or indirectly significant in their personal histories.

For others, collecting Napoleonic War Relics is a way of connecting personal interest and business. As with all types of antiques, there is no certainty that a Napoleonic War Relic will appreciate in value - what's desirable today may be out of favour tomorrow when a collector decides to sell, and speculating and knowing the form is part of the fun. However based on today's market demands, and the very limited supply of original relics, Napoleonic War Relics are becoming great antiques to invest in.

Whatever the motivations, collecting Napoleonic War relics is a great way to spend your time and a great way to remember the sacrifices of all those who were involved. Whether it is Napoleonic War helmets, uniforms, medals, weapons or photos, you can usually find it on the open market. So get started, browse the categories and see what Napoleonic War relics you can hunt down.

 
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