Peace of Lunéville, 9 February 1801

The Peace of Lunéville ended the Revolutionary Wars and was a major French triumph. After their defeat at Marengo on 14 June 1800 the Austrians had agreed to the Convention of Alessandria, in which they had surrendered much of northern Italy, and had begun negotiations. However they were still bound by their alliance with Great Britain, in which they had agreed not to make a separate peace with France until 1 February 1801, in return for a large British subsidy.

The negotiations eventually broke down and fighting resumed in Italy and in Germany. On 2 December 1800 General Moreau inflicted a heavy defeat on the Austrians at Hohenlinden, and Austria was forced to sue for peace. On 25 December Moreau granted then the armistice of Steyer, as long as they agreed to negotiate without Britain.

The French were now in a position to impose draconian terms on the Austrians. The final peace, signed at Lunéville on 9 February 1801, had five main clauses.

1: The eastern border of the Cisalpine Republic was to be pushed back from the Mincio River to the Adige.

2: France was given all German lands west of the Rhine, which were to be absorbed into France.

3: French control of Belgium and Luxembourg was confirmed. Belgium also became part of France

4: Tuscany was to become an independent kingdom, Etruria, to be ruled by Louis, Duke of Parma

5: Pope Pius VII was confirmed as ruler of the Papal States. Both Etruria and the Papal States soon became French satellites.

The Peace of Lunéville hugely weakened the Austrian position within Germany. In order to make up for the loss of the west bank of the Rhine, the Emperor was forced to secularize ecclesiastical lands on the east bank. This move lost him support in the Imperial Diet, and handed the initiative in Germany to Prussia.

The French position in Italy was strengthened further by the Treaty of Florence, which saw King Ferdinand of Naples surrender Taranto and close his ports to the British.

The Peace of Lunéville effectively ended the Second Coalition, leaving Britain to fight on alone. Although 1801 would see a successful British campaign in Egypt and Nelson’s victory at Copenhagen, negotiations for a peace soon began, resulting in the Peace of Amiens of 27th March 1802. For a brief period Europe was at peace.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (pending), Peace of Lunéville, 9 February 1801 ,

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