The Napoleonic Wars (1799 to 1815) were a series of conflicts involving France and a shifting alliance of European powers, chiefly England, Austria, Russia and Prussia, as well as many smaller European states. The Napoleonic Wars could rightly have been called the first true world war, due to the number of nations involved and the world wide scope of the fighting. The wars changed the map and the destiny of Europe. In the aftermath of the wars, new countries were formed, while others were ruined or completely disappeared as independent entities. The wars also contributed to the collapse of the Spanish overseas Empire and the rise of the newly independent South American nations.
This world wide war was fought at sea and on land, in far away outposts of empire as well as in the heartland of Europe. Many battles were fought, and most have been forgotten by history, joining the ever growing catalog of human folly and the forgotten war dead. But the Napoleonic wars will also be remembered for many notable battles which shine on as examples of great military genius, innovative tactics and human bravery.