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THE KINGDOM OF HOLLAND
In 1806 Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, a younger brother of Napoleon I, Emperor of France, was appointed by his brother as the first king of Holland, which was established in place of the Batavian Republic. His command of the Dutch language was so poor that he was known to refer to himself Konijn van Olland (‘Rabbit of ‘Olland’) rather than Koning van Holland (‘King of Holland’). He was born on Corsica in 1778, nine years after his high-profile older brother.
In 1802 he married Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter of Joséphine de Beauharnais (who had since married Napoleon himself). The arranged marriage was not a great success, although it produced three children: Napoleon Charles Bonaparte, Napoleon Louis Bonaparte and Charles Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte.
Holland remained independent in name and had its own laws (including exemption from conscription).
After the signing of the Treaties of Tilsit on 7 July 1807, Vlissingen was relinquished to France and the principality of East Friesland and the Heerlijkheden (territories) of Jever and Knyphausen were added to the Kingdom of Holland.
Despite the short reign of Louis I, he had a significant impact on the Netherlands. However, his policies created considerable disputes and conflicts with his brother because he prioritised Dutch interests over French ones.
Eventually, Louis I abdicated in favour of his sons Napoleon Louis Bonaparte (Duke of Berg) and Charles Louis Bonaparte (who later became Emperor Napoleon III of France). In fact, Charles Louis Bonaparte was only King Louis II of Holland from 1 to 13 July 1810 because Napoleon refused to accept this move by his younger brother and annexed Holland.
Louis Bonaparte died in Livorno in 1846.