France, Napoleon I Bonaparte. Bronze medal commemorating the Confederation of the Rhine, 1806
- KOD: 4609021RMA
France, Napoleon I Bonaparte. Bronze medal commemorating the Confederation of the Rhine, 1806, by Andrieu & Brenet, Denon, Bramsen 534, Julius 1587, Zeitz 73, Witt 2465, Bronze 40 mm, weight 38,20 g., Condition aXF, bumped edge, minor surface blemishes, nice brown patina with luster.
On July 12, 1806, the Union of the Rhine was established. The Constitutive Act established this confederation of German states, and as a central body it created the Union Diet, which consisted of two chambers (known as collegia) - in the first of which sat the rulers of the states holding the title of king or grand duke, and in the second the rest of the princes. As the near future was to show, the parliament did not meet even once. The president of the royal college, as well as the Diet, became the prince primate (German: Fürstprimas). For this position Napoleon chose the Archbishop of Regensburg, Karl Theodor von Dalberg. He was an ardent supporter of the Emperor. Nevertheless, his title was only nominal, as it was Bonaparte who exercised full power, assisted by French Resident and Plenipotentiary Ministers.
The Union itself was formed after the events of 1805, when Russian and Austrian forces were defeated at Austerlitz. Its immediate consequences were the signing of the Peace of Prešburg and the breakup of the Third Coalition. Napoleon, seeking to increase his influence in Germany while limiting Austria's hegemony in the area, established this creation. Functioning for six years, he became, nominally with the consent of the rulers of the member states, its Protector. Under a separate military alliance, France agreed to field a 200,000-strong army to defend it. At the same time, the Union, when France's existence was threatened, pledged to field 63,000 men.
At the time of its formation, the Union included:
Principalities: Arenberg (1811 - incorporated into the French Empire), Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Isenburg-Birstein, Leyen, Liechtenstein, Nassau, Salm (1810 - incorporated into the French Empire),
Grand Duchy of Baden, Grand Duchy of Hesse, Berg,
Kingdom of Bavaria, Württemberg,
Archbishopric of Regensburg (Duchy of Regensburg).
Later also joined such states as:
Grand Duchy of Würzburg (1806),
Kingdom of Saxony (1806),
Kingdom of Westphalia (1807),
Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1808) and the
Duchy of Oldenburg (1808, since 1810 in the French Empire),
as well as more than a dozen minor principalities.
The union, although it was the first step toward German unification at the end of the 19th century, in Napoleon's plans was merely a great storehouse of manpower and a coastal point on which he had a shoestring to defeat England using the continental blockade introduced in 1806. In 1812 alone. Germany fielded some 130,000 men. The end of the Union came with the campaign of 1813, when more states seceded from it and went over to the side of the Coalition, and finally on November 4 of that year it disintegrated after the disaster at the Battle of Leipzig (October 16 - 19).