Europe 1814: Treaty of Kiel
In late 1813 Allied Sweden invaded the Danish duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, forcing Denmark to sue for peace. By the Treaty of Kiel, Denmark agreed to cede Norway to Sweden and Heligoland to Britain. Coupled with the defection of Naples a few days earlier, this treaty left Napoleon bereft of allies in Europe.
15–30 Dec 1813 Murat’s infiltration▲
In early November 1813 Joachim Murat, the King of Naples and husband of Napoleon’s sister Caroline, arrived back in Naples after the Battle of Leipzig and immediately opened up negotiations with the allies and Italian nationalists. While the talks were still under way, Murat sent Neapolitan troops into central Italy as far north as Florence and Bologna. Despite allegedly moving to support their French allies, these forces carefully avoided engaging the Austrians in the area in favor of dominating the region’s weakly garrisoned French posts.
21–24 Dec 1813 Army of Bohemia▲
In late December 1813 the 160,000-strong Austrian Army of Bohemia under Prince Karl von Schwarzenberg crossed the Rhine between Basel and Schaffhausen, entering the Swiss Confederation—a French client state which had declared neutrality. The 12,000 Swiss troops offered no resistance and by the 24th the Austrians had reached Neuchâtel in the French Empire. Five days later, under Austrian pressure, the Swiss completed their break with Napoleon by abolishing the 1803 Act of Mediation.
31 Dec 1813–5 Jan 1814 Blücher’s Rhine Crossing▲
By late December 1813 the 50,000 Prussian and Russian troops of the Army of Silesia under the Prussian field marshal Count Gebhard von Blücher had reached the Rhine, the eastern frontier of the French Empire, and gathered along the bank between Mannheim and Neuwied. On New Year’s Eve the first troops crossed in boats, while the Russians constructed a pontoon bridge. By 2 January the bridge was complete and over the next three days the allies marched across the Rhine en masse, commencing their invasion of France.
11 Jan 1814 Betrayal of Murat▲
In November 1813 Joachim Murat, the King of Naples and husband of Napoleon’s sister Caroline, opened up negotiations with the Allies and Italian nationalists. Envisaging a united Italy under his leadership, Murat signed a secret treaty with Austria on 6–8 January 1814, agreeing to join the Allies but not to invade France itself. Accordingly, a few days later, he marched into central Italy with 30,000 Neapolitan troops, rapidly seizing control with the support of garrisons he had established in the region in December.
14 Jan 1814 Treaty of Kiel▲
In late 1813 Allied Swedish and German forces invaded the Danish duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, forcing Denmark to sue for peace. By the two treaties of Kiel, signed 14 January 1814, Denmark ended its alliance with Napoleon and agreed to cede Heligoland to the British and Norway to Sweden. In return Sweden agreed to give Swedish Pomerania to Denmark. Denmark retained control of the historically Norwegian territories of Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands.