.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{box-sizing:border-box;width:100%;padding:5px;border:none;font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .hidden-title{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.6;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .hidden-content{text-align:left}@media all and (max-width:500px){.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{width:auto!important;clear:none!important;float:none!important))You can help expand this article with text translated from the corresponding article in French. (February 2024) Click [show] for important translation instructions. Machine translation, like DeepL or Google Translate, is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing French Wikipedia article at [[:fr:Principauté de l'île d'Elbe]]; see its history for attribution. You may also add the template ((Translated|fr|Principauté de l'île d'Elbe)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.
Principality of Elba
Principato d'Elba (Italian)
Location of the Principality of Elba within Europe
Location of the Principality of Elba within Europe
42°49′N 10°19′E / 42.817°N 10.317°E / 42.817; 10.317
Common languagesItalian, Elbano dialect
Roman Catholic
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
Sovereign Prince of Elba 
• 1814–1815
Governor of Elba 
• 1814–1815
Antoine Drouot
Historical eraNapoleonic Wars
April 11, 1814
February 26, 1815
June 9, 1815
CurrencyTuscan lira
Preceded by
Succeeded by
First French Empire
Grand Duchy of Tuscany

The Principality of Elba (Italian: Principato d'Elba) was a non-hereditary monarchy established on the Mediterranean island of Elba following the Treaty of Fontainebleau on 11 April 1814. It lasted less than a year, and its only head was Napoleon Bonaparte, who would return to rule in France before his ultimate defeat and the dissolution of the principality.


Map of Elba, 1814

Sovereignty over the island, which until then had been part of the French département of Méditerranée, was given to Napoleon I of France after his abdication following the War of the Sixth Coalition. Article 3 of the treaty stipulated that Elba was to be "an independent principality possessed by him in complete sovereignty and as personal property".[1] His rule was to persist until his death, at which point control of the principality would pass to Tuscany. The former Emperor of the French was also granted a stipend of two million francs per year to be paid by France.

Napoleon's rule

In his few months on Elba, as well as creating a small navy and army, Napoleon developed the island's iron mines, oversaw the construction of new roads, issued decrees on modern agricultural methods, and overhauled the island's legal and educational system.[2][3]

Napoleon's residence

The Villa Napoleonica (or Villa San Martino) is one of the two residences occupied in Portoferraio by Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile on the Island of Elba, where it was his summer residence.[4] The second, the Palazzina dei Mulini, is located in the historic center of the town of Portoferraio, 3.5 km northeast of San Martino.[5]

In 1839, Anatole Demidoff, a Russian industrialist and patron, a great admirer of Napoleon and husband of a niece of the emperor, Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, had the Florentine architect Niccolò Matas build the Demidoff Gallery at the foot of the original building.[6]


Napoleon inspecting the Elba squadron of the 1st Polish Light Cavalry Regiment
Naval jack of Elba

As allowed by the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Napoleon brought 870 men to the island with him from France. The army was made up of 566 from the elite Garde Impériale (both infantry and cavalry) and the remaining 300 were from a small battalion of grenadiers. The army was under the supervision of General Antoine Drouot and commanded by General Pierre Cambronne and the staff headquarters. The navy consisted of 66 men and one ship: the double-masted, 18-gunned brig, Inconstant. A small flotilla of two other sloops also accompanied Inconstant. The fleet was first commanded by Lieutenant François-Louis Taillade; however, after nearly losing Inconstant in a storm, Taillade was replaced by Lieutenant Jean François Chautard, who would later ferry Napoleon back from Elba in 1815. Paoli Filidoro was appointed Captain of the Gendarmerie and operated under Giuseppe Balbiani as Intendant General. The combined armed forces by 1815 on Elba numbered about 1,000 men, costing over half of the island's treasury to pay, equip, and feed.


Napoleon leaving Elba on 26 February 1815

On 26 February 1815, after ruling Elba for nearly 10 months, Napoleon escaped from the island and landed in southern France to retake power, beginning the War of the Seventh Coalition. After his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon was transported by Britain to the island of Saint Helena where he remained a prisoner until his death in 1821. At the Congress of Vienna, sovereignty of the island was transferred to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.


  1. ^ Hicks 2014.
  2. ^ McLynn, Frank (1998). Napoleon: A Biography. Pimlico. p. 597. ISBN 978-0-7126-6247-5. ASIN 0712662472.
  3. ^ Latson, Jennifer (26 February 2015). "Why Napoleon Probably Should Have Just Stayed in Exile the First Time". Archived from the original on 25 June 2016.
  4. ^ napoleonsites 2020c.
  5. ^ napoleonsites 2020b.
  6. ^ napoleonsites 2020.