In 1806, on this day the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II was forced to abdicate in favour of Napoleon Bonaparte following the disastrous defeat of Third Coalition forces at the Battle of Austerlitz.
Napoleon Bonaparte Crowned Holy Roman Emperor
written by Ed and Scott Palter Founded in 962, the character of the Holy Roman Empire had changed dramatically during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes. In its last centuries, its character became quite close to a union of territories, a complex structure whereby the German states were loosely subordinate to an Emperor who was also the Hapsburgh ruler of the biggest/richest territories.
By 1815, the Germanic Prussians, having played a crucial role in the downfall of Napoleon, were unwilling to accept being a subordinate kingdom. And yet Prussia had emerged as a Polish-Swedish set of provinces, a multi-national ethnicity that needed European integration in order to survive.
The Hapsburgs themselves had been strengthened by their expansion into expanded Holland, Belgium and Burgundy. And none of the second rank German states getting strong enough to refuse subordination. The outcome of this interaction of powers was the emergence of a powerful German Confederacy, the putative successor state to the Holy Roman Empire.