1797: The Death of Venice

1797: The Death of Venice
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / Venice

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 12 May 1797
  • Once powerful Venetian Republic was abolished on this day in 1797. The last doge left the Doge's Palace two days later and then the French troops marched into Venice.

On this day the Venetian Republic was abolished, after almost a thousand years of existence. On that day, the last Doge of Venice, Ludovico Manin, surrendered Venice to Napoleon and abdicated.

 At that, the Great Council declared the abolition of the Republic. Large parts of Istria and Dalmatia, which were a part of the Venetian Republic for centuries, went to Austria, and Venetian possessions in Italia were taken by Napoleon. 

The last doge left the Doge’s Palace two days later and then the French troops marched into Venice.

Overthrown doge had to surrender the ducal insignia, especially the glorious ducal crown (Corno Ducale). When he later walked through the city, he was sometimes attacked by angry citizens because he surrendered the city to the French. 

His decision to surrender was actually motivated by a desire to prevent bloodshed. He died in 1802, leaving 110,000 ducats for the needs of orphans, the girls who needed a dowry and the city asylum for the mentally ill. 

Thus ended the Venetian Republic, once one of the most powerful naval and economic powers in the world. Dubrovnik Republic was extinguished ten years later, in 1808, also under the influence of Napoleon Bonaparte.


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