17.03.

1805: Napoleon Becomes King of Italy

1805: Napoleon Becomes King of Italy
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / The Coronation of Napoleon

Story Highlights

  • Historical Event
  • 17 March 1805
  • Napoleon crowned himself the King of Italy in the cathedral in Milan, using the famed Iron Crown of Lombardy. The Kingdom of Italy has its own money and armed forces, and even titles of nobility.

On this day in 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte was declared the King of Italy. This was an additional title, since he had become the Emperor of the French a year before.

The title King of Italy (French: Roi d’Italie) signified that Napoleon was the head of the Kingdom of Italy which was actually a vassal state of the French Empire.

It is interesting that, before the founding of the Kingdom of Italy, this vassal Italian territory was called the Italian Republic (French: République italienne, Italian: Repubblica Italiana), and Napoleon was its president.

This also means Bonaparte was actually the first Italian president in history, and this is even more interesting because he was born on Corsica, whose inhabitants spoke Italian.

Napoleon’s Kingdom of Italy also included the broader area of Milan, Bologna, Venice, and the Po Valley as well as parts of the Apennines. In fact, parts of the Dalmatian coast and some parts of northern Italy were later also annexed to it. Napoleon crowned himself King of Italy in the cathedral of Milan in May the same year (1805), using the famed Iron Crown of Lombardy.

Napoleon appointed his own stepson, Eugène de Beauharnais (Josephine’s son from her previous marriage) as his viceroy in Italy. He later also gave him the title Prince of Venice. The Kingdom of Italy has its own money and armed forces, and even titles of nobility (e.g. the well-known Alessandro Volta received the title of count there).

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