Treaty of Campo Formio

gigatos | October 24, 2021


The Treaty of Campoformio (diction in Venetian language of Campoformido) was a treaty signed October 17, 1797 (26th of the year VI) by General Napoleon Bonaparte, commander in chief of the Army of Italy, and Count Johann Ludwig Josef von Cobenzl, representing Austria, in Campoformido, a town in Friuli near Udine. It was the natural continuation and confirmation of the Treaty of Leoben of April 18, 1797.

The treaty represented the collapse of the first anti-French coalition and the victorious conclusion of General Bonaparte”s first Italian campaign. A consequence of this treaty was the end of the Republic of Venice. The Venetian state was in fact ceded, together with Istria and Dalmatia, to the Archduchy of Austria, which, in return, recognized the Cisalpine Republic. All the Ionian islands (Corfu, Zakynthos, Cephalonia, etc.) went to France.

The treaty also laid down the new overall structure of the Holy Roman Empire, particularly with regard to the Germanic states on the left bank of the Rhine, which were to come under French rule together with present-day Belgium, then the Austrian Netherlands. It was agreed that the details would be worked out at a special congress with the participation of France, Austria and the German states (the great electors) to be held in Rastatt, a town in Baden-Württemberg. The old imperial fiefs in Italy were cancelled. The treaty also regulated the liquidation of the ceased Duchy of Modena, offering the fugitive prince compensation in Brisgau. The terms of the Treaty of Campoformido were confirmed four years later by the Treaty of Lunéville.

According to some historians – including the authoritative F. Furet and D. Richet – the treaty was actually signed at Villa Manin (Passariano di Codroipo), the summer residence of the last doge, Ludovico Manin. According to this theory, it would be called with the name of the town on the outskirts of Udine only because this should have been the place of the signing, which should have taken place at 5 p.m. in the place located almost halfway between Villa Manin, where Bonaparte resided since the end of August, and Udine, seat of the Austrian command.

Close to the time of the signature, General Bonaparte asked for more time, saying he was waiting for a courier from Paris. Fearing that it was a move to modify the agreements, the Austrian plenipotentiaries rushed to Villa Manin. According to this story, Napoleon Bonaparte reassured Count Cobenzl of his good intentions and apologized for the misunderstanding, which he said was due to his lack of diplomatic experience. The papers would then be signed, although the place originally chosen.

According to the opposite thesis, supported by several historians, including Angelo Geatti, the treaty was actually signed in the House of Bertrando Del Torre in Campoformido, probably a post station, now located at number 4 of the Treaty Square, in the center of the country. At this ancient house you can see two tombstones that recall the historical event destined to upset the European geopolitical balances.

This last agreement provoked the protests of many patriots, including Ugo Foscolo, born on the island of Zakynthos, an island that was part of the Ionian archipelago, which also remained under Venetian rule until 1797, who accused France of trading with the people who once belonged to the Republic of Venice, and that the reason for this abolition was the forced conquest of new markets. In particular, the latter denounced the acts of Bonaparte in the epistolary novel Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis. To France also went all the Ionian Islands (Corfu, Zante, Cephalonia, etc.).

Final peace treaty concluded between the French Republic and the German Emperor (of Austria since 1806) Francis II King of Hungary and Bohemia (Text).

His Majesty the Emperor of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia, and the French Republic, wishing to consolidate the peace whose foundations were laid with the preliminaries signed in the castle of Eckenwald near Leoben in Styria on April 18, 1796 (Germinal 29, year 5 of the French Republic, one and indivisible) have appointed their Ministers Plenipotentiary:

His Majesty the Emperor and King, Mr. D. Martius Mastrilly, noble Neapolitan patrician, Marquis of Gallo, knight of the Order of San Gennaro, gentleman of the chamber of His Majesty the King of the Two Sicilies, and his ambassador extraordinary to the court of Vienna;

Mr. Louis, Count of the Holy Roman Empire, of Cobentzel, Grand Cross of the Royal Order of St. Stephen, chamberlain, current intimate state councillor of His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, and His Ambassador Extraordinary to His Imperial Majesty of all the Russias;

Mr. Maximilian, Count of Merveld, Knight of the Teutonic Order and of the Military Order of Maria Theresa, Chamberlain and Major General of Cavalry in the armies of the Suddite Majesty the Emperor and King; Mr. Ignatius, Baron of Degelmann, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Suddite Majesty to the Helvetic Republic; and the French Republic; Bonaparte, General in Chief of the French Army in Italy, who, after the exchange of their respective full powers, have established the following articles:

General Statements

Art. 1. There shall be in the future and forever a solid and inviolable peace between His Majesty the Emperor of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia, his heirs and successors, and the French Republic. The contracting parties shall take the utmost care to ensure a perfect understanding between themselves and their States, without allowing either party to commit any kind of hostility by land or sea, for any cause whatsoever and under any pretext whatsoever; and they shall carefully avoid anything that might in the future alter the agreement happily established. No aid or protection will be given, either directly or indirectly, to those who would bring any prejudice to one of the contracting parties.

Art. 2°. Immediately after the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, the contracting parties shall cause to be lifted the attachment placed on all the property, rights and fruits of private individuals residing in their respective territories and the countries herein assembled, as well as the public settlements located therein; they shall be obliged to settle all debts lent to them by the said private individuals and public settlements, and to pay or reimburse all annuities established for their benefit on each of them. The present article is declared valid also for the Cisalpine Republic.

Territorial changes in favor of France

Art. 3°. His Majesty the Emperor of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia, renounces for himself and his successors, in favor of the French Republic, all his rights and titles over the here former Belgian provinces recognized under the name of the Austrian Netherlands. The French Republic shall possess in perpetuity these countries, in all sovereignty and ownership, and with all their territorial property dependent thereon.

Art. 4°. All the said pre-war mortgages on the soil of the countries mentioned and whose contracts will assume the formalities of use, will be at the charge of the French Republic. The Plenipotentiaries of His Majesty the Emperor of the Romans, the King of Hungary and the King of Bohemia, will submit the state of the same as soon as possible to the Plenipotentiary of the French Republic and before the exchange of ratifications so that at the time of the exchange the two powers may agree upon all the explanatory or additional articles to the present article and sign it.

Art. 5°. His Majesty the Emperor of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia, consents that the French Republic shall possess in full sovereignty the former Venetian islands of the Levant: Corfu, Zante, Cephalonia, San Mauro, Cerigo and the other islands dependent thereon as well as Butrint, Larta, Ionizza and in general all the former Venetian islands and in general all the former Venetian settlements in Albania, which are situated south of the Gulf of Lodrino.

Territorial changes in favor of Austria

Art. 6°. The French Republic consents that His Majesty the Emperor of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia, shall possess in full sovereignty and ownership the countries hereinafter mentioned: Istria, Dalmatia, the former Venetian islands of the Adriatic, the mouths of Kotor, the city of Venice, the lagoons and countries included among the hereditary states of His Majesty the Emperor of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia, the Adriatic Sea, and a line which will start from the Tyrol, follow the Gardola torrent, cross Lake Garda as far as Lacisium (thence a military line as far as Sangiacomo, offering an advantage to both sides, which will be defined by officers of the genius appointed by one side and the other before the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty. The demarcation line will pass along the Adige at Sangiacomo, will follow the left bank of this river to the mouth of the Canal Bianco, including the part of Porto Legnago which is on the right bank of the Adige with the rounding of a radius of three thousand tense. The line will continue along the left bank of the Canal Bianco, the left bank of the Tartaro, the left bank of the Canal, known as the Polisella as far as its mouth into the Po, and the left bank of the Po Grande as far as the sea.

The recognition of the Cisalpine Republic and its territories

Art. 7°. His Majesty the Emperor of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia, renounces in perpetuity, for himself and his successors and assigns, in favor of the cisalpine republic, all the rights and titles arising from these rights, which the said Majesty may claim on the countries which he possessed before the war, and which are now part of the cisalpine republic, which shall possess them in all sovereignty and ownership with all the territories dependent on them.

Art. 8°. His Majesty the Emperor of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia recognizes the Cisalpine Republic as an independent power. This republic comprises the former Austrian Lombardy, Bergamo, Brescia, Cremasque, the fortress-city of Mantua, Mantua, Peschiera, the part of the former Venetian states to the west and south of the line mentioned in Art. 6 for the frontier of the states of His Majesty the Emperor in Italy, Modena, the principality of Massa and Carrara, and the three legations of Bologna, Ferrara and Romagna.

Maintenance of obligations under the new structure

Art. 9°. In all the countries ceded, acquired or exchanged by the present treaty, the removal of the seizures of their property, effects and annuities, effected as a result of the war which has taken place between His Imperial and Royal Majesty and the French Republic, shall be granted to all inhabitants and owners, without their property or persons being affected thereby. Those who in the future wish to cease living in these countries will be obliged to make the corresponding declaration within three months of the publication of the final peace treaty. They will have a period of three years in which to sell their movable and immovable property or dispose of it as they wish.

Articles 10 to 16 regulate the continuity of obligations contracted by the inhabitants of countries that underwent changes of sovereignty before the war; the rights of compensation of citizens who, as a result of the war, suffered confiscation or requisition by the armies; the terms of transfer of archives, drawings and maps of places; the establishment and or restoration of pre-war commercial treaties; the rights of free navigation in stretches of waterways that constitute boundary lines; the restoration of communications; the right of the inhabitants of territories that have changed sovereignty not to be prosecuted personally or in their property for political opinions or military activity carried out during the war.

Treatment of sovereigns discharged by the treaty

Art. 17°. His Majesty the Emperor of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia, undertakes to cede to the Duke of Modena, as compensation for the territories which this prince and his heirs had in Italy, the territory of Bresgovia, which he shall possess under the same conditions under which he possessed the Modena area.

The landed and personal properties of Their Royal Highnesses Archduke Charles and Archduchess Christine, which are situated in the countries ceded to the French Republic, shall be returned to them with the undertaking to sell them within three years. The same shall apply to the landed property and personal possessions of His Royal Highness Archduke Ferdinand in the territory of the Cisalpine Republic.

The Congress of Rastatt

Art. 20°. A congress solely composed of the plenipotentiaries of the Germanic Empire and those of the French Republic for the pacification between the two powers shall be held in Rastatt. This congress shall be opened within one month from the signing of the present treaty, or even sooner if possible.

Accommodation of prisoners of war and other formal clauses

Article 21 regulates the release of prisoners of war and possible hostages at short notice (40 days). Art. 21 decides the end of war supplies, and art. 22 and 23 define the ceremonial and etiquette to be followed between the belligerent states and those with the Cisalpine Republic. The 24th article extends the clauses of the treaty to the Batavian Republic. This is followed by the final clauses concluding the treaty and the list of signatories.

Some secret clauses were added to the treaty by which:


  1. Trattato di Campoformio
  2. Treaty of Campo Formio
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