Tag Archives: Napoleon

Emmanuel Macron Saved France from the Far Right. But His Success Will Be Hard to Copy

Emmanuel Macron’s achievement is immense. His rise to the French presidency was remarkable to watch, transforming from an unknown former economy minister into Europe’s youngest head of state, and the youngest French leader since Napoleon. Continue reading

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Lord William Bentinck: A Historical Argument

Recently I have devoted a rather large amount of time to the study of Lord William Bentinck, whose career in diplomatic and military service during the Napoleonic Wars and afterwards was both dramatic and in many ways emblematic. He was a man who in some ways personified British imperialism; yet he also managed to transcend it – and some of his personal views and policies differed dramatically from what was considered orthodox in British governing circles at the time. Continue reading

Lord William Bentinck and Sicily: Building a Nation or an Empire?

In the beginning of the nineteenth century, Europe was aflame, rent in two by the Napoleonic Wars which had effectively redrawn the map of an entire continent. Kingdoms had fallen; nations had been conquered, vanishing into the great mass of Napoleon’s burgeoning dominion; the old order seemed on the run, and a succession of Coalitions drew up to face the French threat. The location of some of Napoleon’s first campaigns, Italy, remained pivotal throughout the ensuing decades. With its cultural heritage, material wealth and long coastline, Italy represented a valuable prize for both sides. British domination of the Mediterranean, long established, had to be maintained. It was that sea which bore the trading vessels that Nelson devoted so much time to defending; it was both the lifeblood of British trade in Europe and the means by which much British aid made the journey to other Coalition partners. In this calculation, the island of Sicily was a valuable asset. It, like Malta and Gibraltar, could be a valuable base and it could provide several essential ports. To that end Lord William Bentinck, a former governor of Madras, was dispatched as Commander in Chief of British forces in the Mediterranean with a special responsibility for Sicily. Continue reading