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Treaty of Tilsit

7 July 1807

Agreements that France signed separately with Russia and Prussia at Tilsit, northern Prussia (now Sovetsk, Russia).

The treaty, which follows the Russian defeat at the battle of Friedland on 14 June, makes much of Napoleon and Alexander's new-found fraternal feelings and their desire to work together rather than in enmity. Alexander agrees to abandon his past commitment to 'liberating' Europe from the revolutionary French. He will leave most of Europe to France in return for being given a free hand at the expense of Finland, Sweden and the Ottoman empire, which is supposedly an ally of Napoleon.

Alexander is said to have been infuriated by what he saw as the betrayal of the British in failing to provide troops to fight Napoleon. 'Why do you not send your militia?' he is reported to have demanded of the British ambassador, referring to the 300,000-strong force that had been assembled when the invasion of England threatened.

The treaties followed Napoleon's victories in the Napoleonic Wars and established his supremacy in western and central Europe. France and Russia became allies and divided Europe between them, reducing Prussia and Austria to helplessness. In secret provisions, Russia joined the Continental System against British trade. By 1810 Russian trade was hampered and the tsar opened Russian ports to neutral ships, causing the alliance to fail and paving the way for Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812.



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