Definition of the Napoleonic Wars from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


the Napoleonic Wars

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a conflict (1802-15) in which the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte tried to gain control of the whole of Europe. He had great success against all his enemies except Britain, whose navy under Nelson defeated the French navy at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), and whose army fought the Peninsular War against him from 1808 to 1814, making him weaker in his other campaigns. In 1812 Napoleon lost half a million men when he invaded Russia in winter, and in 1814 the British, Russians, Prussians and Austrians entered Paris. They sent Napoleon to rule the island of Elba in the Mediterranean, but he collected an army around him and returned to Paris. He was soon defeated again, at the Battle of Waterloo(1815), and was sent to the island of St Helena in the south Atlantic, where he died in 1821.