Europe 1810: Annexation of Holland
In 1809 French troops had moved into the Kingdom of Holland to fight off a British invasion. When these troops remained to enforce the Continental System, King Louis of Holland, Napoleon’s younger brother, felt that his power was completely undermined and in July 1810 abdicated. Rather than let Louis’ son succeed him, Napoleon annexed Holland to the French Empire later that same month.
1 Mar 1810 Partition of Hanover▲
The Electorate of Hanover—in personal union with Britain—had been frequently contested in the early 1800s, finally falling into French hands in late 1806. In 1810 the entire territory was annexed to the French-dependent Kingdom of Westphalia, with the exception of Saxe-Lauenburg, which was directly annexed to the French Empire. This move was not of course recognized by the British, who continued to claim the Hanoverian throne.
11 Mar 1810 Marie Louise of Austria▲
After escaping an assassination attempt in Vienna while negotiating the Treaty of Schönbrunn in October 1809, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte concluded that he need an heir. Seeking to legitimize his Empire, he divorced his wife Joséphine de Beauharnais (who had not born him a son) and entered into negotiations with the Russians to marry Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna, sister of Tsar Alexander I. However, he became frustrated by Russian delays and in early 1810 agreed to marry Marie Louise of Austria. The marriage took place by proxy in Vienna in March, after which Marie Louise traveled to France to take part in the civil wedding and assume her position as Empress.
26 Apr–10 Jul 1810 Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo▲
In April 1810, to pave the way for the third French invasion of Portugal under Marshal of the Empire André Masséna, Field Marshal Michel Ney led 45,000 men to besiege the strategic border fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo, which was defended by 5,500 Spanish troops under Field Marshal Don Andrés Perez de Herrasti. Although Viscount Wellington was nearby on the Portuguese frontier with his Anglo-Portuguese Army, he refused to intervene due to the greatly superior French numbers. Despite this, Herrasti held out for over ten weeks until a French breach of Ciudad Rodrigo’s walls persuaded him to surrender.
9 Jul 1810 Annexation of Holland▲
After repulsing the British Walcheren Campaign in 1809, the French Imperial Army remained in the Kingdom of Holland to enforce the Continental System. Realizing that he no longer had any real power in his kingdom and with his relations with his older brother Napoleon already tense, Louis Bonaparte abdicated his throne as Louis I of Holland in favor of his five-year-old son Napoléon Louis Bonaparte, the nominal Grand Duke of Berg, on 1 July 1810. However, Napoleon rejected this compromise and permanently ended the Kingdom of Holland by annexing it to the French Empire a little over a week later.