On 18 May 1804 the republican Consulate ended with the proclamation of the hereditary Empire, an act solemnised at Napoleon’s coronation in the following December. The Empire then consisted of 104 departments, six in Piedmont (later reduced to five) having been added on 11 September 1802 to the 98 of 1800. On 30 June 1805 it was also to incorporate the reconstituted Ligurian Republic, along with its vital port of Genoa, which now formed three new departments. The new edifice was a military quite as much as a civil establishment. The Grand Army indeed was to have a crucial role in furthering Napoleon’s continental power during the years 1804–11, leading Paul Schroeder to speak of a ‘Fortress Europe’ by 1809–10 [38: 369]. The official shape of the French Empire was pushed outwards into areas which lay well beyond the old notion of the ‘natural frontiers’ or ‘grandes limites’ of France. Early in 1811 the ‘Grand Empire’ reached its maximum territorial extent.
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