The Year Was 1810

München Rathaus mit Frauenkirche [circa 1900-1940]The year was 1810 and in Bavaria, the citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The celebration marked the first Oktoberfest and the tradition is still carried on around the world nearly 200 years later.

Napoleon had carved a large portion of Europe for France. To this he added Holland and much of Germany in July. But the tide was turning. After years of trying to defeat the British, trade sanctions were backfiring and causing economic instability in Europe. 

The Napoleonic Wars were also putting an economic strain on New Spain (Mexico). The wars disrupted shipping from Spain and in 1810, following a poor crop in 1809, there was famine and a rebellion against Spain. The rebellion formally began on dieciseis de Septiembre (16 September).

Spain was also losing its foothold further north. Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, a strip of land along the Gulf of Mexico, between the Mississippi and Perdido rivers, was in dispute. The U.S. claimed it as part of the Louisiana Purchase, but the Spanish insisted that it had never returned that portion to France in the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1800 and that it was still under Spanish control. Now settled by Americans, in September, after taking over a Spanish garrison, the Free and Independent Republic of West Florida was established. It would be a short-lived republic though; as in October, the U.S. annexed the territory. Spain continued to dispute U.S. claims, but the point was moot by 1819 when it ceded the remainder of Florida to the U.S.

Trade restrictions were also in place in the U.S. and in 1810 Macon’s Bill #2 restored trade with Britain and France under the conditions that both countries stop harassing U.S. ships. Napoleon agreed, but didn’t keep his word. The heightened tensions it caused with Britain were a factor in the ensuing War of 1812.

The image is of  München Rathaus mit Frauenkirche [circa 1900-1940], and is from the German Historical Postcard Collection at Ancestry.

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