Born in 1808: Died in 1808: Events of 1808:
  • Thomas Jefferson anoints James Madison his successor, and Madison is duly elected:
  • Jefferson also publishes a treatise comparing various Native American languages.
  • John Dalton publishes A New System of Chemical Philosophy, the first comprehensive statement of atomic theory. Joseph Gay-Lussac proposes a law for gases suggesting that they too are made up of atoms.
  • Indiana Territory reduces the amount of land a free white male is required to have the right to vote.
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony in C Minor and Sixth Symphony in F Major receive their first performances in Vienna.
  • William Bligh, now governor of New South Wales, is ousted and imprisoned in a rebellion after he suppresses the importation of rum.
  • Spain is weakened by a corrupt government.  Spanish King Carlos IV has allowed his minister Manuel de Godoy to give Napoleon Bonaparte anything he wanted, including closing its ports to British trade and helping the French invade Portugal.  Many Spanish (for example, Carlos' son Ferdinand) are either unhappy with the situation, see a chance for political gain, or both.  One person who sees a chance for political gain is (naturally) Napoleon. Having controlled Spain up to this point by exploiting its weaknesses, he decides that more direct control is necessary. Napoleon conveniently forgets that he has no Navy, a fact which Great Britain is quick to remind him.  The result is the Peninsular War.
    • (February 2) 10,000 French troops march into Rome, so that the Romans may become acquainted of them, and to remove Pope Pius VII from the illusion that he has any temporal power.
    • (February 20) Marshal Murat is given command of a French troops enter Spain and seize Pamplona and Barcelona.
    • (February 21) Russian troops invade Finland, part of Sweden.  The stated reason was to pressure Sweden into joining the "Continental System", an embargo against Great Britain
    • (March 1) Napoleon restores (empty) titles to the nobility.
    • (March 14) Denmark declares war against Sweden. A planned invasion never takes place.
    • (March 19) Godoy convinces Carlos to flee to South America.  They are captured in Aranjuez by members of a faction loyal to Ferdinand. Carlos abdicates in favor of his son, now Fernando VII.
    • (March 23) Murat enters Madrid.
    • (May 2) The citizens of Madrid revolt against the French.
    • (May 3) Murat puts down the revolt with much bloodshed. Francisco Goya later immortalized these events in two famous 1814 paintings.
    • (May 6) Fernando VII abdicates. Carlos IV is king again, but the same day he is forced to abdicate in favor of Napoleon's marshal Joaqiun Murat.
    • (April 1) Tsar Alexander I declares Russia's intention to annex Finland. Oh, really..
    • (June 6) Napoleon's brother Joseph is put on the throne of Spain.
    • (June 15) Murat is consoled with the Kingdom of Naples.
    • (July) Bayraktar Mustafa Pasha marches on Istanbul to restore Selim III to the Ottoman throne.  Mustafa IV has Selim garotted during the turmoil, but Bayratkar succeeds, and Mustafa meets a similar fate. Bayraktar puts Selim's cousin Mahmud II on the throne.
    • (July 23) Uprisings are springing up all over Spain. Spanish troops capture a French army under Dupont trying to take Seville.
    • (August 1) Joseph flees Madrid. British forces under Arthur Wellesley lands in Portugal.
    • (August 21) Wellesley defeats Marshal Junot at the Battle of Vimeiro.
    • (August 30) Junot surrenders Lisbon.
    • (September 27) Napoleon, with Talleyrand in tow, meets Tsar Alexander I at Erfurt and reaffirm their alliance.
    • (October 2) Goethe finds that he has a fan in Napoleon.
    • (October 7) Bayraktar gets Ottoman nobles to agree to Selim's military reforms, as well as the centralization of the Turkish government.
    • (October 12) Napoleon finishes up in Erfurt and turns his attention to the mess in Spain.
    • (December 4) Napoleon re-takes Madrid.
    • (December 7) Russia and Sweden sign a peace treaty giving Finland to Russia.
    • (December 20) France's former Foreign Minister Talleyrand sees what is coming. He has been meeting with police minister Fouche to discuss what will happen should Napoleon fall. A grand reception with Fouche as the guest of honor is a little too, well, public.
  • The turmoil in Spain means that areas of New Spain must form provisional governments, also known as juntas.  Spain would regain control of most of these areas (a notable exception being Argentina, but this taste of independence would be remembered in later years.

1807 - 1808 - 1809

How they Were Made - 19th Century

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