Political map of Australia, New Zealand & the Southwest Pacific 23 July 1801 (Napoleonic France in Australasia): In 1794–95 the revolutionary French Republic (French First Republic) invaded and occupied the Dutch Republic (Flanders Campaign), supporting the creation of the Batavian Republic in its place. This action extended French influence into the East Indies, where the declining and debt-ridden Dutch East India Company was dissolved a few years later. Despite facing continued wars and blockade, French First Consul Napoléon Bonaparte sponsored the Baudin expedition to chart the coasts of Australia in 1800 (Baudin expedition to Australia), implicitly challenging the British claim to the continent.