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13 October 2009

On this day in history: Prince Murat executed, 1815

Born in La Bastide, Gascony in 1767, Joachim Murat was the son of an innkeeper who enlisted into the cavalry at the age of twenty. During the French Revolution he was a devoted republican, which may have played a role in his promotion to officer in 1792. Three years later, he played an important role in Napoleon Bonaparte's defence of the National Convention against a counter-revolutionary mob, arriving just in time with artillery that he had managed to safely collect from a Parisian suburb.

Murat again served as Général Bonaparte's aide-de-camp during his campaign in northern Italy, before promotion to commander of cavalry commander for Napoleon's campaigns against the Austrians and their allies, and during his Egyptian expedition. After returning to France with Napoleon, Murat married the Général's sister, Caroline in 1800.

Four years later, Bonaparte became Marshall of France and a year later, in 1805, he made his brother-in-law a Prince of the Empire and bestowed further honours upon him over the next few years. In August 1808, Emperor Napoleon (as he was) named Murat King of Naples and Sicily. Nevertheless, following French defeat at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, Murat allied himself with the Austrian Empire in order to protect his position as king.

When Murat learnt that the European Powers intended to restore the pre-Napoleonic monarchs to their thrones he moved north to attack the Austrian forces but suffered a defeat in the Battle of Tolentino in May 1815. He fled to Corsica after the fall of Napoleon and was arrested by forces of Ferdinand IV of Naples while trying to ferment revolt in Calabria. On 13th October 1815, Joachim Murat former King of the Two Sicilies and Grand Duke of Berg and Cleves was executed by firing squad at the Castello di Pizzo, Calabria.

To learn more see the web-site of the Friends of Murat Museum, which is based in his birthplace - the inn that his father ran in Labastide Murat (as it was renamed in his honour).

Related posts
Cisalpine Republic created: 29th June 1797
Napoleon escaped from Elba: 26th February 1815
Italian King assassinated: 29th July 1900


Mrs Sweetwater said...

did you realize that Murat was a Black Man ? yes.

Borkiman said...

Murat doesn't appear to have been black. Not judging by portraits of him: and

Are you confusing him with somebody else?

Thanks for the comment