The year was 1809 and Europe was embroiled in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1809 a major campaign was fought against Austria, which had rebelled against French control.Â Major battles at Aspern-Essling and Wagram involved Napoleon moving his force of more than 60,000 troops across the Danube via hastily constructed bridges.
British troops were also fighting French troops in Spain and Portugal in the Peninsular War, which had begun the prior year.
Prior to 1809, Finland had been under Swedish control, but with the Porvoo Diet in 1809, Finland established itself the nation, Grand Duchy of Finland, under the protection of Russia.
In the U.S., the Embargo Act of 1807 was lifted and replaced by the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809.Â The Embargo Act prohibited the export of U.S. goods and kept American ships from visiting foreign ports. The 1809 legislation softened it by limiting the embargo to England and France. Like the Embargo Act, this legislation hurt the U.S. more than the intended targets.
In the U.S., westward expansion was picking up, and in 1809, Illinois Territory was split off of Indiana Territory. It encompassed the current state of Illinois, Wisconsin, parts of Michigan’s upper peninsula, and Minnesota.
Expansion would be further aided by Robert Fulton, who after making improvements to a steamboat patented by James Watts, filed a patent and began steamboat service between New York City and Albany along the Hudson River.Â As this mode of transportation became more popular, it became easier to travel to the interior of the U.S. via the Great Lakes and other waterways.