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Napoleon Bonaparte seized power of the French Republic in in a coup d'etat. In , Napoleon crowned. In , angered at the slow rate of advance in the Peninsula War against Spain and Britain, as well as the failure of the Continental System, Napoleon invaded Britain, taking out France's only major remaining rival and cutting support to rebels in Spain, leading to the latter's incorporation into the empire. In , eager to enjoy all the benefits of his successful campaign in Spain, Napoleon invaded the former Spanish colonies in the Americas, which were in a state of rebellion.

In the seven years of war that followed, France managed to regain about half of what Spain had lost in the Americas. In that time, France had also set about taking over the Dutch colony of Cape Town. Napoleon I died in , and was succeeded by his twenty-two year old son Napoleon II. The second Napoleon, nicknamed the "Peacemaker", strengthened France's alliances with Russia and the United States, as well as improving ties with Brazil and the Ottoman Empire.

On his death in , he was succeeded by his son, Maximillian. One year later, he was in turn overthrown in a coup d'etat by his father's cousin, who would become known as Napoleon III. In his Mexican exile, Maximillian was prevailed upon by his Austrian in-laws to raise a rebellion to regain his throne. The three-year War of the Imperial Succession that followed resulted in total destruction for the Maximillianists, the abolition of the Austrian Empire, and the execution of Maximillian. After the war's conclusion, the new Napoleon oversaw the redesign of Paris, the rapid industrialisation of France, the reorganisation of the empire, and the expansion of its colonies in Africa and South-East Asia.

Napoleon III died in and was succeeded by his son, also a Napoleon. Napoleon IV was an energetic, military man, who oversaw the modernisation of France's military, as well as bringing the process of industrialisation to the Eastern European Provinces. His death in the Cape colony, leading his troops against the Zulu, sent shock waves through the empire. For the next forty-six years, Napoleon V, the second cousin of the late emperor, would rule France.

His reign saw massive economic and military growth, the rise of Sino-Japan, the intervention in the Russo-American War, and the reorganisation of the Empire, elevating all French colonies to integral provinces of France. He died in His successor, Napoleon VI, was not so lucky. He reigned through the defeat in the Asia-Pacific War, and the post-war depression.

However, military, governmental and economic reforms meant that by the end of his reign, France remained the world's premier superpower. Since the current emperor, Napoleon VII, took the throne in , France has managed to maintain its position as the world's leading power, despite the competition with Sino-Japan. The Emperor is represented in the provinces excepting L'Europe Occidentale, where he resides by a Governeur. The Governeur is nominated by the Emperor, on the advice of the provincial Corps legislatif. Prior to the reforms of Napoleon V, all the non-European provinces were colonies of France, with no representation in the French Parliament.

However, the reforms made the former colonies into integral provinces of France, each sending representatives to the parliament in Paris. Terre Napoleon was granted home rule in To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Astoria , please sign up. OK, how does this compare with Washington Irving's book of the same title? Matthew This book covers the same subject matter and uses Irving's book as a reference. I understand that Irving's version is somewhat exaggerated and this …more This book covers the same subject matter and uses Irving's book as a reference.

I understand that Irving's version is somewhat exaggerated and this book attempts to correct some of the historical inaccuracies and is written for a modern reader of history. This book has peaked my interest in learning more about Lewis and Clark. I prefer to read history in a fictional format.

Does anyone know of a good, not for kids, fiction book on Lewis and Clark? See all 6 questions about Astoria…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Dec 03, Will Byrnes rated it it was amazing Shelves: adventuring , american-history , books-of-the-year , brain-candy , nonfiction. Astoria is a tale of two journeys. It is an adventure of the highest order, and with Peter Stark as your guide, it is one of the best non-fiction books you will read for a long time.

In , the Louisiana Purchase had brought the young United States all the land draining into the Mississippi at least according to our side of the story. The President wanted to know all he could about what he had bought, particularly as there were still some disagreements going on over the breadth of the purcha Astoria is a tale of two journeys. The President wanted to know all he could about what he had bought, particularly as there were still some disagreements going on over the breadth of the purchase.

Thus the Lewis and Clarke Expedition, in , and the later Red River Expedition and Pike Expedition provided Jefferson the information about this new land he needed to negotiate with France, and others. But what lay beyond? Opportunity, resources, and vast swaths of land. He had made a fortune trading North American furs in Europe, and had begun trading with China as well. What he had in mind was to take advantage of the fur resources of the Northwest and establish a triangle trade.

Northwest furs to the Orient, porcelain from China to London and New York and other goods from there back to the Northwest. His aim was to monopolize trading on the Pacific Rim, at a time when Lewis and Clark had been across the country only a few years prior. He involved Jefferson, who also had a more global vision than other men of the day.

The Northwest was unclaimed by westerners, no thought was given, per usual, to the native people who were actually living there and was considered available for the taking. For Astor it was to be a base for establishing a trade monopoly. Jefferson saw an opportunity to spread democracy to the west coast, and encouraged Astor. To accomplish his aim, it would be necessary for Astor to establish a base of operations. He decided on the area near the mouth of the Columbia River. He put together two groups of men to reach the spot, one to travel by sea the other to cross the continent by land.

It is their adventures that form the bulk of the story, and what a story it is. Were this a novel, the dueling road trips would both be tales of self-discovery. This is a case where reality exceeds fiction. The character of many of the travelers is revealed in how they handle the extreme stresses to which they are subjected. Following the development, or revelation of their characters, for good or ill, is one of the great pleasures to be had in reading Astoria. The ship Astor sent was the Tonquin , a ton bark. Thorn had been a military hero, serving with distinction in the Barbary Wars, and Astor wanted someone who could fend off potential attacks.

Empire of Love: Histories of France and the Pacific

Our friends across the pond, engaged in a tiff with Napoleon, had taken to stopping vessels in international waters and shanghaiing sailors or passengers who were British subjects to fight the French. Rule Britannia was not being sung by the crews of American-flag ships. This aqueous stop-and-frisk imposition would be one of the causes of the War of An engraving of the Tonquin at the entrance to the Columbia, from the Oregon historical Society While the captain was the right sort for dealing with a military crew and worked well within the rigid specifications of a military regimen, he was not so adept at controlling a crew that was not exactly military, and most of whom were not even American citizens.

He also had a lot to learn about dealing with locals and trade negotiating. He got along so well with the crew that they took to speaking with each other in their native tongues, which Thorn did not speak. And more than once he intentionally set sail while tardy returnees were still on land. His rigidity made for a dark passage. And his sometimes cavalier attitude towards the survival of his own men is breathtaking.

He might be charged with depraved indifference today. Consider here Thorn as the king although Arthur seems quite a bit less rigid and the castle residents as his crew. A polar opposite to Thorn, Hunt was someone who sought, above all else, to construct consensus. The Overland group did not exactly have a roadmap to their destination. The route they took followed in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark for a time, but they had to carve a new trail at a certain point, into completely unknown and not terribly welcoming territory.

This is the sort of conveyance the Voyageurs were accustomed to paddling - the image is from the Canadian Encyclopedia Far too much of their river time was spent in water of this sort. It is amazing how many times the Overland Party was assisted by Native Americans. But there were also plenty of locals who were not exactly happy to see them. How the Overland group interact with the natives they encounter is a significant element of the story. This was definitely not a crew to belong to if you walked on four limbs.

Resources became extremely scarce, and desperate measures had to be taken. There is even a hint that starving sojourners might have partaken of the special meat. Some characters stand out here.


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My favorite is Marie Dorian, a native woman who had married a Metis named Pierre. He dragged her along on the Overland trek, along with her two small 2 and 4 year old children even thought she was pregnant at the time. Hers is a particularly poignant profile in courage and endurance. There are a few legendary names that folks in this tale encounter, including Sacagawea and Daniel Boone. The story is the thing here, and focus remains on the travails of the travelers.

But there are also excellent, informative asides, relevant to the tale, about various and sundry things. One tells why sea otter pelts are so highly valued. Another looks into the societal composition of some native groups, looking at their sources of wealth and social organization.

Consideration is given to how the locals react to newcomers, and why, citing past experiences. There is also ongoing consideration for the impact on the enterprise of potential and then kinetic British-US hostilities. We know today that the nation did indeed expand to the West Coast, but the details are plenty soft in your recollections, I will wager.

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It might not even be that you or I forgot, but that we never really knew. Astoria offers an excellent way to mend that hole. It will excite you in the process. This is real-life adventuring, life and death on the line, people you will admire and scoundrels who will make you want to hiss. What a fun read, and what an informative book. It may or may not be a far, far better read than you have ever had before, but I cannot urge you strongly enough to climb, trek, paddle or sail to your nearest book-trading post.

This journey to Astoria is very definitely a trip worth taking. PS — the volume I worked from was an ARE, so did not have all the materials expected to be in the final hardcover edition. Spaces were left for illustrations but I did not get to see those.

One thing I did see is that there is a very helpful Cast of Characters section at the front of the book, and another at the back called The Fate of the Astorians , which I thought was pretty cool. Although I expect the physique of this re-enactor might not match the bulkier torsos of actual voyageurs, this might give you an idea of what was considered proper attire for the proud paddlers So there it is. I was wondering what had happened to that shirt. For more on voyageurs check out this piece from McGill University Astor could not have suspected that Astoria would become a familiar site in many films.

Here is a list of a bunch. John Day was a member of the Overland Party. He does run into a bit of trouble at the mouth of what was then the Mah-hah River, along the Columbia. It was later renamed for him. A geologically notable site through which that river wanders was also named for him.

Day himself was never near there.

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I have had the pleasure and there are a few shots in my Northwest set on Flickr that offer a glimpse of the striking landscape. The three mountains were hailed by the travelers, Wilson Price Hunt, weighted by his Yankee reserve and need for geographic grounding in this unmapped wilderness, called them the Pilot Knobs. Grand indeed Also, that image I use as my GR avatar to spare you the crypt-worthy image of my ancient puss is from the Tetons as well. Did not get there until far too late in the day to get any decent photographs.

Then, assisted by considerable fog, we inadvertently took a scenic route that featured a seemingly endless series of blind turns, and was inhabited by large numbers of bulky four-legged creatures standing in the middle of the road and appearing only moments before impact…well, in my white-knuckled imagination, anyway. Having read the book, I would dearly love to return to Astoria, in daylight, and have much more of a clue than I had then what it was all about.

View all 27 comments. Nov 12, Dem rated it really liked it Shelves: the-men-who-built-america. I have an interest in this time in American history and in the men who forged their names in history as the men who built America and John Jacob Astor is without doubt one of the most interesting men of this time. The book Astoria is an unfolding adventure over the course of three years, from to , a tale of the harrowing times in American histo A story of Wealth, Ambition and Survival and a true adventure tale of the Astor Expedition to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast.

The book Astoria is an unfolding adventure over the course of three years, from to , a tale of the harrowing times in American history and shows the incredible hardship in the wilderness and at sea that these men and women endured in their quest to discover and establish empires. Over one hundred and forty members of the two advance parties that reached the West Coast, one crossing the Rockies the other rounding Cape Horn, nearly half died by violence and many lost their Sanity, The expedition successfully established Fort Astoria, a trading post on the Columbia River.

Though the colony would be short-lived, it did however set the footprint for what would become know as the Oregan Trail. I listened to this one on audio and while the narrator was good I did feel I missed out on reading a hard copy of the book as to follow the route of the expedition I had to google maps which I believer are included with the hard copy and are really needed in order to follow and understand the book. The Hardcopy also has a list of characters and I felt this was also important as there quite a few people to keep track of.

Having said that the book is an amazing and an interesting adventure story with unforgettable characters and a wonderful sense of time and place in the vast unexplored wilderness. I was totally horrified by the hardship the expedition endured to the clashes with the Indians. The book is very well written and while it may not be everyone's cup of tea I recommend it to those who enjoy adventure stories and for those who like reading about American history, I would however recommend purchasing a hard copy of this as opposed to audio version to get the full experience.

View all 10 comments. Aug 01, Jeff rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , go-west. Fate can be a fickle bitch when it comes to well-laid plans and manifest destiny and all that. It kept people warm and Chinese officials had some sort of fetish for them and were willing Fate can be a fickle bitch when it comes to well-laid plans and manifest destiny and all that. It kept people warm and Chinese officials had some sort of fetish for them and were willing to pay big bucks.

The evil empire of Canada had a thriving fur business and the scheming Jacob Astor wanted to branch out on his own and beat the shiftless Canadians at their own game. He was rich, but needed some political clout, so instead of texting Thomas Jefferson, he hopped in his carriage and made the quick three week trip to Washington D.

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Thomas Jefferson had just swindled the French out of the Louisiana Purchase and was game for westward expansion. The land based pelt shop boys ran into some early problems — they hung around St. Louis into autumn and in order to avoid a bunch of thuggish Native Americans they took the scenic route read: they got lost. He hated some of the passengers so much that he simply left some of them on one of the deserted Falkland Islands. Oh, and I hate you. He also had a disagreement with a few of his crew and sent the ringleader to a certain death by trying to navigate some deadly shoals in a leaky rowboat.

The Canadians, of course, still use beaver pelts as an integral part of their commerce system. View 2 comments. Jan 28, Kerri Anne rated it it was ok Shelves: true-stories. It's about a bunch of hand-selected men and haphazardly formed groups of them setting out to create a new "empire" in the previously uncharted Coastal Northwest. One endlessly and expertly funded expedition, to be certain, but otherwise foolishly and terrifyingly led.

It's about Inland and Pacific Northwest history, and the way Astoria and so many similar fur-trading-settlements-turned-towns were founded, which is to say: On greed and guns. Because the group possessing the most sophisticated and savage weaponry holds the proverbial cards at this "Manifest Destiny" table. The entire two-part expedition one by land, one by sea was also peppered with cannibalism, animal cruelty, rape, incest, pride, ridiculously poor decisions on how to treat human beings and especially Native Americans, and thus: hardship. So much hardship.

And all for the overarching plan of trapping and taking so much more than what was needed, to supply China and Russia's affinity for animal fur, and various other material goods. Which of course so perfectly mirrors the way all of of America was founded. I will admit I'm happy to know some of this history, because my very sugar-coated American History classes definitely didn't cover a lot of these stories, and John Jacob Astor's expeditions to build his ill-conceived empire are so closely connected to so much of this region's and this entire country's history, which means passages of this book were definitely equal parts staggering and interesting.

What had I expected? I've no idea; I supposed I'd just never truly considered. Also, the flow of this book is mostly terrible. It takes forever to get started, rambles and makes strange, unnecessary connections and conjectures in places, and then abruptly ends with the War of and Astor's death in New York, an entire country away from the "empire" he so valiantly tried to create at all costs.

Well, then. I apparently had more to say about this book than originally anticipated. But, still: bunch of dicks. Oh, if Boone only knew the true wilderness destruction lying in wait. And John Day? Lost his damn mind during the admittedly insane and ill-managed overland expedition. Dude tried to shoot himself with two pistols at once, and somehow missed with both. So I suppose it's fitting he has an equally sad and theatrical dam named after him? Looking into the history of names of places, monuments, and rivers, etc.

Maybe what this country has always needed was less dicks, and more women like Marie Dorion. View all 6 comments. Astoria is a non-fiction book about the Astor Expedition of , and the Wiki link can probably summarize it better than I. There were two groups sent to what is now Astoria, Oregon, one via land and one via sea and both long, dangerous journeys.

And what do you do about supplies when it takes months to wait for the next supply ship? And what about those struggling to make it via the Overland route? What if the English had given up on what is now western British Columbia? Would the US stretch from California all the way to Alaska? Further reading, Washington Irving wrote about this expedition, and is available as a free download at Amazon and Project G.

Astoria, or, anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains. Kindle copy obtained via library loan. View all 28 comments. Feb 21, Matthew Hall rated it it was amazing Shelves: White dudes are stupid but brave. May 03, Andy Miller rated it it was amazing.


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The author, Peter Stark, details how neither trip went as planned. The Overland party learned that due to Lewis's killing of a Blackfeet, and leaving a In many ways this is a follow up to Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage"-the story of Lewis and Clark's expedition. The Overland party learned that due to Lewis's killing of a Blackfeet, and leaving a Jefferson peace medal around his neck, caused the Blackfeet nation to kill any white man coming through their territory. The overland party then opted for a route to the south of the one taken by Lewis and Clark leading to the discovery of the Grand Tetons and later of the Hell's Canyon which forced the explorers from the Snake River and caused them to split up and then travel through the Blue Mountains and eventually finding the Columbia River.

The voyage by sea focuses on the tension between the rigid, militaristic ship captain and the Scottish partners, a tension and rigidity that would lead to disaster after they arrived at Astoria One compelling theme of both adventures was that the initial encounters between Native American tribes and Caucasian explores was friendly. However, just as Lewis was reckless with his killing of the Blackfeet, many explorers became reckless in their encounters, killing and kidnapping Native Americans when there was no need to, causing later retaliation which was often suffered from "innocent" whites This is a great book and I recommend it to everyone but especially those with interest in the history and geography of the Pacific Northwest View 1 comment.

Dec 11, Ms. Recommended to Ms. Shelves: history , the-american-west. Astoria was to be the keystone of John Jacob Astor's dream of a global fur-trading monopoly. The plan was ambitious and at first glance, simple. Dispatch an expedition of tough trappers called voyageurs due to their expertise at navigating the interior waterways and establish an outpost at the mouth of the Columbia River by following the route of Lewis and Clark.

At the same time, a ship laden with trade goods would be dispatched from New York, round the Horn, ride the trade winds to Hawaii, r Astoria was to be the keystone of John Jacob Astor's dream of a global fur-trading monopoly. At the same time, a ship laden with trade goods would be dispatched from New York, round the Horn, ride the trade winds to Hawaii, re-provision, and sail to the mouth of the Columbia to Astoria. The goal was to out-maneuver the Canadian owned North West Company and control the lucrative shipments of fur to China. The profits would be astronomical.

As all of this is part of the historical record, it is hardly a spoiler to reveal that unforeseen difficulties were encountered. Stark's narration intercuts between the two expeditions. Stark's strength is his ability to dramatize geographic elements of the story. The Overland Expedition started in Why these particular destinations? Mackinac was at the convergence of three of the Great Lakes. It was the center of the fur trade for the central U. Here, recruitment for the expedition would occur.

Louis was the gateway to the west — the point of departure for Lewis and Clark. They would canoe up the Missouri River to the northwest, portage where necessary, and float down the Columbia River. Recruitment problems, a late start, and finally, winter ice clogging the Missouri were only the first obstacles encountered. By spring stories of Blackfoot hostility led the expedition to veer from the Missouri in present day South Dakota in favor of an unexplored overland route south of Blackfoot territory.

Why was this a problem? Again, Stark provides a helpful geographic context. The overland journey was by horseback, and horses need forage and water. This was not a small contingent. It included not only people, but considerable quantities of supplies and trade goods. However, when the party crossed the th meridian they left behind the fertile midwest and entered the arid west. Starvation could now be added to the growing list of pervasive dangers. Stark's most dramatic explanation, however, concerns the circumstances that funneled the party north up the Snake River in the book he refers to it as the Mad River.

The river twisted its way into barren foothills, then steep mountains that squeezed the river, forcing Hunt's party to clamber up the slopes above its cliffy banks. It was the beginning of December. It got worse. The narrow gorge fed into Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in North America. Veering northward, the river tumbles into an ancient trench creased into the earth's crust by the collision of the Pacific and North American plates.

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It was almost topographic inevitability that set Hunt on this doomed route. After recovering from this latest ordeal, Hunt pressured the Shoshone to provide guidance to the headwaters of the Columbia. Unsurprisingly the Shoshone were reluctant to embrace the sizable risk of freezing to death. The native peoples recognized this, tending to stay put when the weather was bad, to move when it was good, and they wondered why someone would choose otherwise.

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Stark mentions in a note that in an archaeologist asked a Clayoquot tribal historian why his rich trove of information had not been previously recorded. She tried to escape from her husband along with her 2-year old and 5-year old sons when she learned of the expedition. She was recaptured, and became pregnant during the course of the trek. He makes frequent inferences about personalities and motives.

His conclusions are plausible, but nevertheless, speculative. There are also several biographical chapters relating to John Jacob Astor. As Stark rightly concludes, despite his grandiose plan, Astor is hardly a heroic actor in the drama. The real significance of Astoria was the overland saga that foreshadowed the outlines of the Oregon Trail. Still, he is correct in pointing out that Astoria is a forgotten part of American history. It is a story worth remembering for many reasons. Below are some maps that help illustrate Stark's geographical explanations.

Dec 02, Perri rated it really liked it. This book is split in two narratives: the overland journey across the barely explored western US and the sailing one around the tip of S. America to meet in the Pacific Northwest and so prepare a lucrative fur trade route to China.

Both go through horrendous hardship mostly of their own design. A sailing crew goes on what they know is a suicidal row as ordered by their insane Captain. I almost enjoyed the ensuing consequential folly and what was for me a new experience of rooting against the brave explorers hide spoiler ] Not to say it wan't a valuable read. I didn't know about this chapter in my county's history AND it was an exciting and well written. Not a bad combination. Really a five star book, but I have to round down because of the dents in my wall from the throwing the book across the room.