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  • The First French Empire, also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was granted the title Emperor of the French by the French Sénat and was crowned on 2 December 1804, ending the period of the French Consulate and of the French First Republic. The French Empire won early military victories in the War of the Third Coalition against Austria, Prussia, Russia, Portugal and allied nations, notably at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805 and, during the War of the Fourth Coalition, at the Battle of Friedland in 1807. A series of wars, known collectively as the Napoleonic Wars, extended French influence over much of Western Europe and into Poland. At its height in 1812, the French Empire had 130 departments, ruled over 44 million subjects, maintained an extensive military presence in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Duchy of Warsaw, and could count Prussia and Austria as nominal allies.

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