Many of the dukedoms were 'victory titles'; that is, nominal titles without land attached given to victorious army leaders. Many of them died out in the middle of the nineteenth century. The awards that must have hurt nations most were those where the French used ancient titles such as the Duke of Istria, Duke of Abrantes, and the Duke of Florence--a title associated with the great Medici family.
This practice was used with great effect by Bonaparte in peopling the royal houses of Europe with his own family members. I find the top of the list chilling: King of Spain, Sovereign of Holland, King of Naples, Viceroy of Italy, and on, and on.
|Hortense Bonaparte, Holland|
|Joseph Bonaparte, Spain|
|Elisa Bonaparte, Tuscany|
How many of Bonaparte's family were truly overjoyed by their elevation? How many resented being treated as chess pieces in his game of domination in Europe? The wealth and power would have been difficult to reject no doubt, but the sense of manipulation must have eaten at their hearts and minds.
And ultimately, how many of Bonaparte's pawns benefited in the long term? Many retired into obscurity on his defeat. Some died. Some like the royal family of Sweden, descended from Marshal Bernadotte of France, prospered.
The list that the European Magazine published must have helped the English to keep the French usurpers and puppets straight in their minds. It certainly helps us to see the breadth and depth of Napoleon Bonaparte's subjugation of Europe.
'Til next time,