Nicolas Oudinot's Personal Copy of the Map of the French Empire, including the Sept Isles Republic
Scarce map of the First French Empire, published during the reign of Napoleon.
The map consists of two parts, a primary map of France (2 western sheets) and a supplemental section, covering the "Etats Austrichiens" (Austrian States), with a large inset entitled Supplement Pour les Sept Isles, extending from Albania and southeastern Romania to Morea and the western Islands off the coast of Natolia. This region would become known as the Septinsular Republic or Sept Isles Republic.
The Septinsular Republic was an island republic that existed from 1800 to 1807 under nominal Russian and Ottoman sovereignty in the Ionian Islands. It succeeded the previous French departments of Greece. It was the first time Greeks had been granted even limited self-government since the fall of the last remnants of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans in 1460.
In 1807, the republic was ceded to Napoleon's First French Empire, but the islands were not annexed by France, keeping their institutions of government (known in French as République Septinsulaire or République des Sept-Îles). The British gradually took control of the islands, and following Waterloo and the Treaty of Paris, the islands were formally organized into the United States of the Ionian Islands under British protection.
General Nicolas Charles Oudinot
A final detail that gives this map particular importance is the identity of its former owner, Nicolas Charles Oudinot, 1st Comte Oudinot, 1st Duc de Reggio (1767 - 1848), and a Marshal of France. A fierce fighter, the man was wounded no less than 34 times during his military career!
The only one of nine siblings to live past childhood, Oudinot joined the army without a noble pedigree, and therefore without a chance of high promotion. That all changed in 1792, with the outbreak of the French Revolution. In that year, Oudinot was elected lieutenant-colonel of the third battalion of the volunteers of the Meuse. After transfer to the regular army and admirable service in Belgium, he was promoted to the rank of general in June 1794 after the Battle of Kaiserslautern.
From Belgium he shifted to the German and Swiss fronts, where he fought as a general of division and chief of staff to Andre Massena. Oudinot stood out at the Battle of Monzambano so much so that Napoleon himself presented him with a sword of honor, now known as the Legion d'Honneur. Napoleon did not forget him after he established his empire; now Emperor Napoleon recognized Oudinot again, this time with a Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.
During the Napoleonic Wars, Oudinot continued to acquit himself commendably. He was elected a member of the Chamber of Deputies, commanded a company of grenadiers nicknamed for him, and fought in battles from Vienna to Poland. In 1808, he was appointed governor of Erfurt and was made a Count of the French Empire. Finally, in 1809, after the Battle of Wagram, he was named a Marshal of France, France's highest military distinction.
Oudinot continued to serve as an administrator in Holland and on the battlefield in the Russian campaign. After Napoleon's fall, Oudinot joined the Bourbon Restoration and stayed loyal to the King even after Napoleon's return in 1815. For his loyalty and service, he was named a peer of the realm. He served until 1823, when he participated in the French invasion of Spain. Then, he turned again to political and administrative appointments; he died while serving as governor of Les Invalides, at the veterans' hospital in Paris.
Purchased at auction in Paris, from Artcuriel, Collections from the Castle of Malicorne Marshal Oudinot's Historical Souvenirs, June 13, 2017 (Lot 156).