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Continental System

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


French initiative (1806–1813) taken during the napoleonic wars , designed to supplant Britain's economic hegemony and force her into negotiations. The Berlin Decrees (1806) forbade France or its satellite territories to buy British goods or goods carried in British ships, while the Milan Decrees (1807) made neutral shipping calling at British ports a lawful prize. Preferential tariffs were introduced to favor French manufactures against those of continental rivals. Russia and Prussia were obliged to join the system under the tilsit treaties in 1807. Overall, the Continental System developed by napoleon i must be judged a failure. It was ill-conceived and riddled with exemptions. Economically, its effects were patchy: some areas of the French economy boomed, but the ports were hard hit, while the British economy weathered the storm. More importantly, in 1807 Napoleon invaded Portugal to enforce the blockade more effectively, which led to the debilitating French involvement in the Iberian peninsular war . Subsequently, Russia's withdrawal from the System led the Emperor to undertake in 1812 the disastrous invasion of Russia (see moscow , retreat from ). ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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