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Manuscript Document signed as Emperor, concerning formation of a battalion on the French-controlled, British-blockaded island of Corfu (1811).
Manuscript DS: "Napol" as Emperor of the French, 1 page, 7¼x9. Paris, 1811 February 18. To the Duke of Feltre. In French, not translated. Napoléon writes about the formation of a battalion in Corfu. Unsigned note in French, probably in the Duke's hand, on 3½x1½ slip of paper attached by straight pin (possibly from 1811) at lower left indicating, in part: "Received the 18 April...." The DUKE OF FELTRE, HENRI J.C. CLARKE, was Private Secretary to Napoléon from 1799-1804 and Minister of War from 1807-1814. He was created Duke of Feltre in 1809. Venetian rule on the Ionian island of Corfu had ended in 1797 when Napoléon conquered the Republic of Venice. By the Treaty of Campoformio between Austria and France, Corfu and the other Ionian islands were ceded to the French Republic. The Ionian islands became a dependency of France. After the defeat of the French at the Battle of Nile by Admiral Nelson, Russia and Turkey formed an alliance and declared war on France, conquering all the Ionian islands except Corfu. The French authorities realizing that the enemy soon would attack the island, took defensive measures, but by 1799, a combined Russian-Turk force took Corfu. Following the Treaty of Tilsit (1807) between Emperor Napoléon I and Czar Alexander I, the Russians ceded their rights over the Ionian islands, including Corfu, to the French which they controlled until the fall of Napoléon in 1814. Although the British had blockaded Corfu for more than six years, they never attacked. The islands were constituted by the Treaty of Paris in 1815 as the independent United States of the Ionian Islands under British protection. In 1864, the Ionian islands united with Greece. Pencil notes (unknown hand) at upper left. Affixed note lightly stained. Overall, fine condition.

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Born: August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica, France
Died: May 5, 1821 in Longwood, Saint Helena

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