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Battle of Fridland
|12/November/2011, 8:50 PM|
The Battle of Friedland (June 14, 1807) saw Napoleon I's French army decisively defeat Count von Bennigsen's Russian army about twenty-seven miles (43 km) southeast of Königsberg. The site of Friedland, in the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast since 1945, received the new name of Pravdinsk in that year. |
Friedland effectively ended the War of the Fourth Coalition (1806–1807) against Napoleon. After nearly twenty-three hours of fighting, the French took control of the battlefield and the Russian army retreated chaotically over the Łyna River, in which many soldiers drowned while trying to escape.
On July 7, 1807, Russia and France signed the first of the Treaties of Tilsit, which made the two nations allies after two years of war. France signed a separate treaty with Prussia two days later to ostracize her from the main negotiations. The public terms of Tilsit mentioned the warm feelings between Napoleon and Alexander I of Russia, but the secret terms addressed more substantial issues: France permitted Russia to do as it wished with the Ottoman Empire in return for France gaining the Dalmatian coast and the Ionian Islands; Russia gained a free hand in Finland; and Alexander also agreed to join the Continental System if the war with Britain did not end soon. Under the terms of the second treaty France ensured the humiliation of Prussia. All Prussian territory west of the Elbe River became the new Kingdom of Westphalia, with Napoleon's own brother, Jérôme as its future King.
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