Historical Background To
War and Peace



1762-1796: Reign of Catherine the Great; influence of the French enlightenment until 1790


July 14, 1789: a mob storms the Bastille Prison


July 17, 1789: King Louis XVI submits to the National Constituent Assembly


November 2, 1789: all Church property confiscated by the State


April 20, 1792: France declares war on Austria


August 10, 1792: an insurrection overthrows the monarchy


January 21, 1793: King Louis XVI executed

1796-1801: Reign of Paul, "The Tyrant"

1796-97: French Army under Napoleon defeats Prussia


November 9, 1799: a coup d'etat brings Napoleon to power

March 1801: Paul assassinated; his son Alexander becomes Emperor at 23


1801-5: liberal reforms, plans for a constitutional monarchy


1801: Russia annexes Georgia


  May 1802: Napoleon elected consul for life


1803-5: War with Great Britain

1804: Russo-Persian War begins December 2, 1804: Napoleon crowns himself Emperor at 35

1805: anti-Napoleon coalition established: Britain, Russia, Austria, Sweden, Naples


December 2, 1805: Napoleon defeats Austria and Russia in Austerlitz, Austria

1806: Russo-Turkish War begins

September 1806: Prussia declares war on France


October 14, 1806: Napoleon defeats Prussia

February and June, 1807: Napoleon defeats Russia in Poland

June 25, 1807: Napoleon and Alexander meet at Tilsit, arrive at a truce

1807-12: second period of Russian reform


1808-9: Russo-Swedish War: Russia wins Finland


1812: Russia defeats Turkey; wins domination of Romania

June 24, 1812: Napoleon invades Russia

September 7, 1812: the Battle of Borodino ends inconclusively

September 7-14, 1812: Moscow abandoned


September 14, 1812: Napoleon enters Moscow, finds it deserted and on fire

October 19-20, 1812: The French leave Moscow

  October 23, 1812: Napoleon's death announced in Paris, coup attempted

November, 1812: Russia launches guerilla war against the French

  December 5, 1812: Napoleon abandons the army

December 18, 1812: Napoleon arrives in Paris

1813: Russia defeats Persia; wins Georgia

October 16-19, 1813: French army destroyed at Leipzig

March 30, 1814: Russian army enters Paris


April 6, 1814: Napoleon abdicates, Louis XVIII made King by the allies


May 4, 1814: Napoleon arrives on Elba Island

  March 1, 1815: Napoleon lands at Cannes, arrives in Paris on March 20

September 1814-June 1815: Council of Vienna: Russia obtains Poland


June 18, 1815: Napoleon defeated at Waterloo


June 22, 1815: Napoleon abdicates, Louis XVIII returns to power

September 26, 1815: Russia, Austria and Prussia sign the "Holy Alliance"


October 15, 1815: Napoleon lands at St. Helena in south Atlantic

November 20, 1815, Russia, Austria, Prussia and Great Britain sign the "Quadruple Alliance"


1816-21: farms converted into "military settlements"


May 5, 1821: Napoleon dies


September 1824: Charles X succeeds Louis as King of France

1825: Alexander dies suddenly; his brother Nikolai becomes Emperor


December 26, 1825: Decembrist Revolution fails; period of political repression until 1860