1797-1805 Illyrian Provinces, 1809-1815

Dalmatia, 1805-1809

In 1805 Austria ceded Dalmatia to the Kingdom of Italy. After a brief period of military administration, Venetian Vincenzo Dandolo was sent to Zara, to head the civilian administration as Provveditore Generale (July 1806). Meanwhile, a Russian fleet under Admiral Simjavin had established a base on the (formerly Venetian) Ionian Islands, and from there undertook operations against French-occupied Dalmatia. The Russians occupied Cattaro and environs and the Dalmatian islands of Curzola and Brazza.
The French lacked a navy in the Adriatic and thus were confined to operations on land. The Republic of Ragusa accepted a French demand to grant French troops the right of passage; the French occupied the city (May 26th 1806). A rivalry developed between Vincenzo Dandolo, head of the civilian administration, and General Marmont, commander of the French forces in Dalmatia.
The Treaty of Tilsit (July 1807) resulted in a Russian withdrawal from the Ionian Islands; Cattaro, Curzola, Brassa, even Corfu were occupied by the French. However, the British navy now occupied the Ionian Islands except Corfu, and the Dalmatian osland of Lissa (Oct. 2nd 1807). Dandolo, charged with the implementation of numerous French-style reforms, issued numerous decrees, many of which caused consternation among the population because they terminated traditions people were accustomed to.
In 1808 French officers proclaimed the Republic of Ragusa to have ceased to exist; it was annexed into Dalmatia.
In 1809, war broke out between France and Austria. General Marmont, with the main body of French troops in Dalmatia, moved into Carniola. With only a small French force remaining, Austrian forces under General Knezevic moved in, supported by the Slavic population of Dalmatia. Sebenico, Trau, Spalato were occupied (July/Aug. 1809). While the Austrians laid siege to Zara, news arrived that France and the Emperor had concluded an armistice (July 29th).
In the Treaty of Schönbrunn Oct. 4th, Austria ceded Carinthia, Carniola, Croatia on the right bank of the Sava River, Gorizia and Istria, Trieste to France. These territories, together with Dalmatia (which was annexed by France) were amalgamated into the Illyrian Provinces, the capital was to be Lubiana (Laibach, Ljubljana, modern Slovenia).

Since the Treaty of Tilsit (July 1807), the British Navy imposed a blockade of the Adriatic Sea, bringing merchant shipping to a standstill, a measure most seriously affecting the economy of the Dalmatian port cities.

Article Illyria, from Catholic Encyclopedia
DOCUMENTS Medal : Conquest of Dalmatia (1807), from Napoleonic Medals : 1st Austrian Campaign by Fortiter; scroll down
REFERENCE Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge University Press (1985) 1999
Giuseppe Praga, History of Dalmatia, Pisa : Giardini 1993
Nicolai Velimirovic, Französisch-Slavische Kämpfe in der Bocca di Cattaro 1806-1814 (1910), posted by Gutenberg Library Online, in German

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on October 17th 2007

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