Continental System

In the Napoleonic Wars, the blockade designed by Napoleon to paralyze Britain through the destruction of British commerce.

In the Decrees of Berlin (1806) and Milan (1807), France proclaimed that neutrals and French allies were not to trade with the British. The United Kingdom responded with a counterblockade, which led indirectly to the War of 1812. Because of Britain's naval superiority, the effort to enforce the system proved disastrous for Napoleon.

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▪ European history
      in the Napoleonic wars, the blockade designed by Napoleon to paralyze Great Britain through the destruction of British commerce. The decrees of Berlin (November 21, 1806) and Milan (December 17, 1807) proclaimed a blockade: neutrals and French allies were not to trade with the British.

      The Continental System hurt English industries and helped spur the Luddite protest movement against unemployment in England. Although it stimulated manufacturing in some parts of France, the system damaged regions dependent on overseas commerce. Because the British had an overwhelming superiority at sea, though, enforcing the system proved disastrous for Napoleon. His efforts to halt evasions of his blockade stretched French forces too thin, and ultimately provoked his calamitous invasion of Russia in 1812.

      England responded to the Continental System with Orders in Council (order in council) that subjected France and all countries in alliance with Napoleon to a counterblockade. These orders were one of the main causes of the Anglo-American War of 1812 (1812, War of).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Continental system — Continental Con ti*nen tal, a. 1. Of or pertaining to a continent. [1913 Webster] 2. Of or pertaining to the main land of Europe, in distinction from the adjacent islands, especially England; as, a continental tour; a continental coalition.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Continental system — (Hist.) The system of commercial blockade aiming to exclude England from commerce with the Continent instituted by the {Berlin decree}, which Napoleon I. issued from Berlin Nov. 21, 1806, declaring the British Isles to be in a state of blockade,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Continental System — Europe in 1811. Colors indicate (from dark blue to light blue) : Dark blue French Empire, Light Blue French Satellite States, Blue grey Countries applying the Continental System. The Continental System or Continental Blockade (known in… …   Wikipedia

  • Continental System —    A policy of economic strangulation intended by Napoleon I (see Bonaparte, Napoleo n) to cause fatal disruption to British commercial activity and concomitant advantage to French trade and agriculture. Unable to defeat Britain by direct… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • continental system — noun : french system * * * Continental System noun Napoleon s plan for excluding Britain from all commercial connection with Europe • • • Main Entry: ↑continent …   Useful english dictionary

  • continental system. — See French system. [1830 40] * * * …   Universalium

  • continental system. — See French system. [1830 40] …   Useful english dictionary

  • CONTINENTAL SYSTEM —    Napoleon s scheme for interdicting all commerce between the Continent and Great Britain, carried out with various issues till the fall of Napoleon.    See BERLIN DECREE and MILAN DECREES …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Continental System — /ˌkɒntənɛntəl ˈsɪstəm/ (say .kontuhnentuhl sistuhm) noun the, an economic blockade of Britain by Napoleon I of France in 1806 …   Australian English dictionary

  • Continental — Con ti*nen tal, a. 1. Of or pertaining to a continent. [1913 Webster] 2. Of or pertaining to the main land of Europe, in distinction from the adjacent islands, especially England; as, a continental tour; a continental coalition. Macaulay. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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