Augustine Wars

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Augustine Wars
Date1795 - 1814
Western Europe, New Netherland, Colonial India, the Caribbean

The Augustine Wars (French: Guerres augustéennes; 1795-1814), also going by the term the Augustine period were a series of global conflicts instigated by France, starting with the French Revolution of 1795 and ending with the Treaty of Vienna of 1814.


In the aftermath of the Silesian War, France was reeling from its defeat and the destruction of its longstanding ally, Prussia. Prince Maurice's War resulted in the loss of several American colonies, including modern-day Meerenland and most of the French Caribbean. In Asia, France's valuable Indian ports were granted to Spain. The disproportionate concessions to Britain and other European powers angered the aristocracy and bourgeoisie, worsened the national economy, and led to government corruption and social decline.

King Philip VIII ascended to the throne in 1763. His court rejected most innovative reformist policies, keeping in mind the poor fate of the last Prussian monarch Frederick II's reign - an Enlightened period that ultimately led to their demise. The French monarchy began to assert its control and centralise the state, transforming from a monarchie judiciare to a monarchie administrative. Although contrary to their wider policy, the kingdom was forced to mend relations with the Catholic Jesuits, who gallantly defended the island of Martinique against British forces during the Silesian War. This led to a petty conflict between the Jansenists, the Deists, and the Gallicanists against the Jesuits and the Catholic Church, sparking chaos.

France lurched from one financial crisis to the next, plagued by complications in military, financial, and religious policies. The post-1763 regime also fiercely protected France's fashion industry that was suppressed under Philip VII, allowing its extravagant nature to flourish. They also regularly sold sinecures and titles for money, throwing their political support behind mutual benefactors. By 1780, there were 3,000 active writers in France, triggering ideological tensions and enforcing political and social partisanship.

In the 1780s, the monarchy significantly weakened in favour of the bourgeoisie and wider population. Many advocated for the implementation of reformist ideals and stressed their desire for a radically improved and continuous Enlightenment that complemented French patriotism. This intense fervor for a French renaissance led to the Augustine period, beginning with the events of 1795 - the French Revolution.

French Revolution

In 1795, the National Assembly's President, Augustine Spiga, proclaimed himself Director. Henri, Dauphin of France was installed as a puppet monarch. He was executed after the Assembly revealed that he was in correspondence with Austria to restore the old regime in what became known as the Murders of Versailles.

March on Versailles

In February of 1793, a mob of peasants marched to Versailles and surrounded the palace. They were accompanied by a few members of the bourgeoisie, demanding the convention of the Estates-General. It would eventually morph into the National Assembly, established in 1795 by Augustine Spiga.

Flight of the Bourbons to New France

King Philip VIII and Henri's younger brother, Louis, Duke of Anjou fled to New France from the port of La Rochelle. However, an impostor named Robert le Cerf, reaching Quebecq before the King, had falsely identified himself as Philip VIII. When Philip VIII and the Duke of Anjou arrived in Quebec a week later, le Cerf's true identity was uncovered and he was executed. Soon after the royals' arrival, Philip VIII passed away due to illness and passed the throne to his son. He became Louis XV, the sixth Bourbon monarch and the first to step foot in America.

Coup d'état of 1794

On the sixteenth of May, 1794, the President of the National Assembly Augustine Spiga declared the establishment of the Republic of France. The Bourbon royal family was placed under house arrest in Versailles. France's neighbours were more than happy to see France spiral into unrest, though many worried about the possible execution of the Bourbon royals.

King Philip VIII was deposed and his eldest son, Henri, Dauphin of France, became the de facto monarch. His self-declared regnal name was Henri V, even though he never received an official confirmation and coronation.

Fruit Basket Plot

In 1794, it was discovered that King Henri had been secretly exchanging correspondence with Austrian emissaries. The letters were called the Fruit Basket Letters, due to the fact that the letters would be hidden inconspicuously in fruit baskets to get them in and out of Versailles.

In these letters, Henri had detailed the supposedly harsh conditions of his imprisonment in Versailles and pleaded for Austria and Britain to intervene and remove Spiga from power. Austria and Britain planned to invade France immediately prior to the National Assembly's new round of elections. When Spiga was informed of this plot, he ordered that Henri be transferred to a prison in Paris.

Murders of Versailles

On the eighteenth of January, 1795, a day before Henri was supposed to be transferred, a mob had gathered on the route from Versailles to Paris. The mob denounced Henri for treason. Henri refused to interact with the crowd, further provoking them. The few guards that were stationed in Versailles had sent a message to the government in order to request for assistance. This was ultimately in vain as there was no response, either because it had not successfully reached Paris or because of Spiga's willful ignorance. A gunshot was heard within the ruckus, presumably fired by a constabulary, and soon the situation developed into a riot. Henri, several French aristocrats accompanying him (including the Prince of Monaco, Antoine II), and over ten guards were massacred.

First War of Deliverance

First War of Deliverance
Part of Augustine Wars
Date1795 - 1798
Western Europe, New Netherland
French annexation of the Low Countries
Independence of New Netherland
New Netherland

After news of the Murders of Versailles hit London and Vienna, the allies decided that France had to be suppressed violently. Britain and Austria declared war on France. In response, Marshal Rossignol had sent the National Army to occupy the Bishopric of Liege and the Dutch Republic.

The Kew Letters

William, stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, had crossed the channel and found refuge in Britain. In the Dutch House of southern England's Kew Palace, he had written the infamous Kew Letters, ordering the colonies of the Dutch Republic to be transferred to Great Britain for safekeeping. These letters were wildly unpopular among most of the Dutch colonies, especially in New Netherland. The letters triggered an anti-Orangist coup in New Netherland, with the leaders denouncing William as a traitor. Great Britain attempted to invade New Netherland in 1796, and had led to the the New Netherland Independence War. The New Netherland government was recognized and supported by France. However, the situation in Europe forced Britain to sign a peace treaty with the New Netherland government. In the winter of 1796, New Netherland's independence was recognized by Britain.

Treaty of Maastricht

Britain and Austria declare war on France. In Europe, the situation for the British and Austrians had gotten worse. In 1798, the French forced Britain and Austria to stand down. France established control over the Dutch Republic, the Spanish Low Countries, the Bishopric of Liege, and the historically tense region of Franche-Comte.

Second War of Deliverance

Treaty of Inperia

Third War of Deliverance

Treaty of Vienna

France would face defeat at the hands of the Ottoman Empire after an unsuccessful French campaign to conquer the city of Constantinople. The Treaty of Vienna was signed in 1814. Despite France's defeat, the revolution had shaken up the old order of Europe and redrew its boundaries.

  • The German Confederation is created, which would eventually become the sovereign state of the Rhineland.
  • The restoration and expansion of the Duchy of Pomerania would be restored and expanded under the House of Augustenborg.
  • The Kingdom of the Netherlands was established, replacing the Dutch Republic with a dynastic monarchy under the House of Orange.
  • The unification of the Saxon duchies and the formation of the centralised state of Saxony.

Treaty of Charleroi

After the Treaty of Vienna, the Treaty of Charleroi established the British-sponsored Duchy of Belgique in the French-speaking Low Countries with a monarch from the House of Wittelsbach. The short-lived state was marked by intense political conflict between pro-French and pro-British factions until its abolition and annexation by the communard government of France six decades later.


Establishment of Australie

In 1810, Spiga commissioned the Freycinet expedition to determine the suitability of Australie for French colonization and settlement. The expedition landed on the south-eastern coast of Australie and mapped parts of the region. The expedition's success led to revolutionary France creating a settlement near Bellevue Bay in 1812. After six months, a lack of supplies and a surge in interpersonal rivalries among the colonists caused the colony to become abandoned.

In the immediate aftermath of the Augustine Wars, the French government planned to send another mission to resettle Australie. This never came to fruition. After a few years, the French government attempted to colonise Australie began in order to form a penal colony after losing their Guyanese colony to the Tuscans. On the nineteenth of May, 1817, 1,200 French colonists and convicts established the first permanent French presence on the continent.

In 1821, after Augustine Wars veterans rioted in Paris, the French government created a settlement program that gave large tracts of land to former soldiers who chose to settle in Australie. A major issue among early French settlers to Australie was the unequal 9:1 gender ratio. This led to a high degree of intermarriage with the indigenous peoples of Australie and immigrants from Polynesia and Aotearoa. among colonists to French Australie. In 1828, Australie was formally establishment.

Ideological impact in France

The development of ideology in France during from 1790 to 1935 can be explained through three main components. Despite drastic changes, structural continuity was maintained between pre-revolutionary, revolutionary, and post-revolutionary regimes.

  • Social democracy, to bring about equality and egalitarianism
  • Nationalism, to restore French dominance and pride
  • Republicanism, to abandon the complex structure of the ancien regime

Feeding off of the public's nationalist and republican leanings, the Spiga regime propagated these ideas while neglecting domestic priorities focused on economic, political, and social equalisation. With the Treaty of Vienna in 1814, France had generally lost faith in the republican cause, instead turning to the extravagant and confident Valentines. At that stage, all affection for the pre-1800 order had escaped to New France with the Bourbons.

In the 1870s, the failures of the Valentines to reform and improve economic conditions ultimately led to the radical egalitarianism of the Second Republic. With some significant level of reform finally achieved, revolutionary fervor mellowed out into the late Third Republic. After the Great War, the French ideological landscape changed drastically, though still built on the foundation established prior to the 20th century.

See also