An international scholarly online history journal on First and Second Empire subjects: articles, bibliographies, book reviews, in english and in french

Delve deeper into Napoleonic history here in our section on the history of the two empires. Alongside a section for those just starting, there are many articles, images with commentary, close-ups and special dossiers for the serious Napoleonic enthusiast.

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In pictures : The crossing of the bridge at Arcole - Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile
Timelines : The Mexican Campaign, 1862-1867
Bibliographies : The Mexican campaign, 1862-1867


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A timeline, an article or two, some biographies, a few images, and a bibliography, in short a close-up on a topic related to the First and Second French Empires. You can search for other close-ups either by keyword or by theme.

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A close-up on: the Franco-British expedition to China, 1860


<i>Evening following the Battle of Baliqiao</i>

Evening following the Battle of Baliqiao

The allied expedition to China, launched in 1859 following the Taku Forts incident in June of that year, saw a large British and French force land set sail for China and defeat the imperial Chinese army at the Battle of Baliqiao on 21 September, 1860. The subsequent treaty, the Convention of Peking, was signed in October 1860 and resulted in China being opened up to foreign commerce (including the highly lucrative opium trade) and a western diplomatic presence within its territories. The Qing Empire was also forced to make huge indemnity payments to both France and Britain. The expedition is also famous for the burning of the Summer Palaces, an act ordered by the allied command in retaliation for the torture and execution of a number of western envoys and private individuals (including a Times journalist). The pillage of the Summer Palaces prior to the burning continues to have a knock-on effect today as a huge number of Chinese artefacts currently reside in foreign institutions, many of which were removed from China in 1860.
(September 2010)



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