What Was The Treaty of Fontainebleau?

Château de Fontainebleau in Fontainebleau, France.
Château de Fontainebleau in Fontainebleau, France.

The Treaty of Fontainebleau refers to the agreement made in Fontainebleau, France on April 11, 1814, between Napoleon I and the representatives of Russia, the Austrian Empire, and Prussia. With the treaty, Napoleon’s rule ended after it was signed at Paris on April 11 that year. The emperor was then exiled to Elba immediately after the ratification of the treaty on April 13 by Napoleon.

Background to the Treaty

Napoleon's influence as an emperor came under threat between the years 1812 and 1814. Initially, he was driven out of Germany during the War of the Sixth Coalition. The countries which participated in this battle included Russia, the United Kingdom, Austria, Sweden, and Prussia. Some German states also participated, and their spirited fight saw the expulsion of Napoleon out of Germany in the year 1813. In the following year, the above states teamed up together with Portugal and Spain in fighting Napoleon who had established influence over France. As a result, Napoleon was forced to initiate negotiations after the Battle of the Paris.

Terms of the Treaty of Fontainebleau

The allied powers were eager in ending Napoleon’s rule in Europe. They wanted the recognition of France as a nation, which had a legitimate government, and they were ready to turn down any agreement of Napoleon or his family. They viewed Napoleon’s rule as lack of respect to the old France and envisioned a wiser government in place. Also, they argued that for Europe to be great again, France’s happiness was vital. Consequently, they came up with terms which were aimed at preventing further backward government over the French people.

The terms of the Treaty of Fontainebleau were based on an agreement consisting of 21 articles. Napoleon was stripped of any powers, and the French Empire was demolished. However, Napoleon, together with the empress, Marie-Louise, were allowed to preserve their titles. Despite such reprieve, Napoleon’s family members were banned from getting any authority in France. Another condition of the treaty was that Elba Island was under Napoleon, but France assumed all the powers of assimilating the island. The island was, therefore, allowed to carry its flag which had international recognition.

Furthermore, the Duchy of Placentia, Parma, as well as Guastalla were surrendered to Marie-Louise. Besides, the agreement made it that the Empress’ direct male descendant would be recognized as either Prince of Placentia, Parma, or Guastalla. The other terms of the treaty entailed the reduction of annual salary earned by Empress Josephine. Her initial earning was reduced to 1,000,000 francs. Besides, Napoleon was forced to surrender estates and jewels which he had snatched in France. But he was allowed to take with him 400 men who acted as his servants and personal guards.

Results of the Treaty of Fontainebleau

Napoleon’s rule had been a source of conflict in Europe. For example, Britain did not want recognition of Napoleon as French ruler. It viewed France as a rebel and that Napoleon was a catalyst. However, after the suppression of the empire, Europe became stable and the nations, especially the allied powers, became closer. Napoleon’s rule was finally crushed, and its influence was paralyzed.


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