On This Day in Napoleonic History – 16 October 1796

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16Napoleon creates Cispadane Republic

With minimum input from the Directory, Napoleon proclaimed the establishment of Cispadane Republic, formed from the provinces south of the Po, including Modena, Bologna, Ferrara and Reggio Emilia. In Cispadane Republic, whose name translated as ‘By the banks of the Po’, Napoleon implemented all the usual reforms he would carry out in all the territories he was to conquer later. Feudalism was abolished, civil equality was decreed and a popularly elected assembly was instituted.

Napoleon, who was actively involved in the writing of the Constitution, was bringing political unity to the region that hadn’t known it for centuries. This was the first step towards Resurgimiento, which would eventually create a unified Italy three quarters of a century later. Cispadane Republic was short-lived, however. The following year it would be merged with the Transpadane Republic (until recently the Duchy of Milan) to form the Cisalpine Republic.

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