Treaties of Tilsit

Treaties of Tilsit

The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland in the town of Tilsit in July, 1807. The first was signed on July 7, between Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Nemunas River. The second was signed with Prussia on July 9.

The treaties ended war between Imperial Russia and the French Empire and began an alliance between the two empires which rendered the rest of Europe almost powerless. The two countries secretly agreed to aid each other in disputes — France pledged to aid Russia against Ottoman Turkey, 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 in order 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, 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.

The treaty with Prussia stripped the country of about half its territory: Kottbus passed to Saxony, the left bank of the Elbe was awarded to the newly-created Kingdom of Westphalia, Belostok was given to Russia (which led to the creation of the Belostok Oblast), and the rest of Polish lands in the Prussian possession was set up as the quasi-independent Duchy of Warsaw. Prussia was to reduce the army to 40,000 and to pay the indemnity of 100,000,000 francs. Talleyrand had advised Napoleon to pursue milder terms; the treaties marked an important stage in his estrangement from the emperor.

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 matrimonial 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 Nemunas and invaded Russia, ending any vestige of alliance.

External links

* [ Kingdom of Prussia: Peace Treaty of Tilsit]

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