The Plumb-pudding in danger

The Napoleonic Wars raged across the world for over twenty years. France, led by the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, struggled for domination against an alliance of its many enemies, from Britain to Russia. Fighting occurred all over Europe, and in India, North and South America, Egypt, even South Africa. It was truly the first global war.

Napoleon tried to starve Britain by banning trade with Europe. But Britain ruled the sea, and put a blockade around France, cutting off vital supplies. Naval victory at Trafalgar in 1805 destroyed Napoleon’s hope of invading Britain. Britain supplied arms & money to enemies of France, and fought a long, grinding war in the Spanish peninsula, draining French troops for no gain.

When Britain tried to block American ships from Europe, war erupted between Britain and the recently created United States of America. US troops tried to invade Canada, while a British Army burned the White House in Washington.

But at the same time, Napoleon was beginning his last and most terrible attempt at conquest: an invasion of Russia. The French “Grand Armee” marched towards Moscow, suffering terribly from cold, sickness and hunger, as the retreating Russians destroyed farms and villages. More than half a million men marched into Russia. 120,000 came back.