A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

January 1, 1808 – December 31, 1808

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January 1, 1808: Herman Willem Daendels, appointed as governor by the French-controlled Dutch government, arrives in the Dutch East Indies.
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January 1, 1808: The Code Napoléon goes into effect in Spain and Holland.
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January 1, 1808: Princess Elisa of Lucca reduces her court orchestra to a string quartet, which includes Nicolò Paganini (25) and his brother.
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January 1, 1808: Sierra Leone becomes a British Crown Colony.
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January 1, 1808: Beginning today, the importation of slaves into the United States is prohibited.
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January 6, 1808: Emperor Franz of Austria marries his third wife, Ludovica d’Este, in Vienna. On the same day a large, ostentatious ballroom opens in the city, the Apollosaal.
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January 8, 1808: The US Congress passes a second Embargo Act, requiring ship owners to post bond twice the value of the ship, to prevent them breaking the first embargo.
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January 9, 1808: Publication of the Razumovsky String Quartets and the Coriolan Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven (37) is announced.
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January 22, 1808: Dom João and Queen Maria of Portugal arrive in Salvador, Bahia, fleeing the French invasion.
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January 23, 1808: Samuel Wesley (41) is admitted to Somerset House Masonic Lodge.
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January 26, 1808: Members of the New South Wales Military Corps march into Government house and arrest Governor William Bligh (who is hiding behind his bed). He will remain under house arrest until transported to Britain in 1810. Because the corps enjoys a monopoly on rum, it becomes known as the Rum Rebellion.
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January 31, 1808: 22 rooms of the Palazzo Serracapriola in Naples are destroyed by an explosion, probably a loyalist bomb.  It is the home of French representative Antoine Christophe Saliceti and his family.  One servant is killed, three seriously wounded.  Christophe tears through the wreckage for 15 minutes to rescue his daughter trapped below.
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February 1, 1808: Peninsular War: Andoche Junot, the French commander in Portugal, announces that the Bragança dynasty ceases to rule and that power has passed to Napoléon Bonaparte, whom he represents.
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February 2, 1808: French troops occupy Rome after Pope Pius VII refuses to recognize the King of Naples or join in an alliance against Britain.
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February 3, 1808: Publication of the Twelve Dances for piano op.27 and the Twelve Dances for piano op.28 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (29) is announced in the Wiener Zeitung.
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February 4, 1808: Napoléon demands 40,000,000 francs from Portugal to defray the cost of invading the country.
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February 6, 1808: The sealer Topaz, ten months out of Boston, rediscovers the Pitcairn Island group. Only one of the Bounty mutineers remains alive.
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February 9, 1808: Peninsular War: French troops cross into Navarre and Catalonia in force.
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February 11, 1808: Jessie Fell develops a grate which will allow anthracite coal to be burn in a domestic fireplace. He successfully tests it today in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
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February 16, 1808: Peninsular War: French troops take possession of several border towns in Spain.
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February 20, 1808: Ein französischer Prolog von Madame Aurore Bursay: Venez plaisirs charmants by Johann Friedrich Reichardt (55) is performed for the first time, in the Kassel Hoftheater.
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February 21, 1808: The Russian army enters Finland (Swedish territory) in force.
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February 22, 1808: Walter Scott’s Marmion is published in Edinburgh.
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February 23, 1808: Count Remusat writes to the director of the Opéra requesting that the name of Jan Ladislav Dussek (48) be inscribed on the “liste des Entrées.” This means that Dussek will not have to pay to be admitted.
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February 28, 1808: Austria adheres to the Continental System.
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February 29, 1808: Peninsular War: French troops capture Barcelona.
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March 1, 1808: Emperor Napoléon creates a new Imperial Nobility.
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March 2, 1808: The Russian army enters Helsinki, abandoned by the Swedes.
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March 3, 1808: Gonzalo O’Farrill y Herrera replaces Pedro Cevallos Guerra as First Secretary of State of Spain (ad interim).
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March 3, 1808: Three Piano Sonatas with violin and cello accompaniment by Leopold Kozeluch (60) are entered at Stationers’ Hall, London.
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March 6, 1808: Six Harvard students form the Pierian Sodality. One day it will be known as the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra.
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March 6, 1808: Peninsular War: French troops occupy the fortress of San Sebastián.
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March 7, 1808: Dom João and the Queen Maria of Portugal arrive off Rio de Janeiro.
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March 8, 1808: The royal Portuguese entourage disembarks and makes a triumphal entry into Rio de Janeiro.  They have fled the French invasion of Portugal.
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March 10, 1808: Fernando José de Portugal e Castro becomes Secretary of State (prime minister) of Portugal in Brazil.
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March 12, 1808: Faced with economic depression and protests caused by the first two embargo acts, the US Congress passes the Third Embargo Act. It prohibits any exports to any country by any means.
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March 13, 1808: King Christian VII of Denmark dies in Rendsburg, Schleswig and is succeeded by his son Frederik VI.
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March 14, 1808: In support of its allies France and Russia, and desirous to regain lost territory, Denmark declares war on Sweden.
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March 16, 1808: Tsar Alyeksandr of Russia declares Finland to be a conquered province.
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March 17, 1808: An angry crowd in Madrid forces King Carlos to dismiss his favorite, Manuel de Godoy, who is seen as encouraging French designs on Iberia.
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March 17, 1808: Emperor Napoléon cancels the debts owed by anyone in military service to Jews. He also requires Jews to obtain permits to trade, and forbids them to settle in the Upper and Lower Rhine.
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March 18, 1808: The Swedish garrison of Svartholm, east of Helsinki, surrenders to invading Russians.
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March 19, 1808: The second angry mob in three days forces King Carlos IV of Spain to abdicate in favor of his son, Fernando VII. Pedro Cevallos Guerra replaces Gonzalo L’Farrill y Herrera as First Secretary of State of Spain.
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March 19, 1808: Russian forces begin an assault on the Swedish fortress of Sveaborg near Helsinki.
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March 19, 1808: I pittagorici, a dramma by Giovanni Paisiello (67) to words of Monti, is performed for the first time, at Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
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March 22, 1808: The Russian army occupies Åbo on the west coast of Finland. They now occupy all of southern Finland except the fortress of Sveaborg near Helsinki.
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March 24, 1808: Peninsular War: French troops enter Madrid, supposedly to restore order.
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March 27, 1808: Franz Joseph Haydn (75) makes his last public appearance at a performance of The Creation conducted by Antonio Salieri (57), in an auditorium of the University of Vienna. The performance is attended by several notables, including Prince Lobkowitz, Princess Esterházy and Ludwig van Beethoven (37). In fact, the crowd is so large that police are brought in. Haydn is carried into the hall on a litter. At the words “and there was light”, the assembled multitude bursts into applause. As the emotion of the day becomes too much for him, doctors order that the composer be carried out just as the second part is about to begin.
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March 30, 1808: A treaty is concluded between the Kingdom of Sicily and Great Britain.  The British will keep 10,000 troops on the island and pay an annual subsidy of £300,000.
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March 31, 1808: By decree of King Jérôme Bonaparte, the Jews of Westphalia are granted political equality and are required to take family names.
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April 1, 1808: Addresses to the German Nation by Johann Gottlieb Fichte is published this month in Berlin.
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April 6, 1808: John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company is incorporated by New York State.
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April 8, 1808: By order of Pope Pius VII, the Diocese of Baltimore is created an archiocese and its territory is divided into the Dioceses of Bardstown (Louisville), Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.
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April 10, 1808: Franz Joseph Haydn (76) is awarded the medal of the Philharmonic Society of St. Petersburg.
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April 16, 1808: Russian troops attack the Swedes at Pyhäjoki, Finland but are twice repulsed.
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April 16, 1808: Le séducteur en voyage, an opéra comique by Adrien Boieldieu (32) to words of Dupaty, is performed for the first time, in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg. It will later be called Les voitures versées.
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April 17, 1808: Napoléon issues the Bayonne Decree, ordering the seizure of all United States ships in French, Italian, and Hanseatic ports.
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April 22, 1808: Caractacus, a ballet of action by Henry R. Bishop (21) to a story by Sheridan, is performed for the first time, in the Drury Lane Theatre, London.
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April 27, 1808: Swedish forces defeat invading Russians at Revolax, Finland.
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May 2, 1808: In the first Swedish offensive of the Finnish war, their forces retake Kuopio from the Russians.
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May 2, 1808: Peninsular War: When Napoléon’s order for the arrest of the royal family becomes known in Madrid, the populace rises in revolt. 500 people die, mostly Spaniards. Martial law is declared and days of execution ensue.
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May 3, 1808: Mahmud Shah replaces Shoja al-Molk Shah as King of Afghanistan.
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May 3, 1808: Peninsular War: Francisco Goya witnesses the execution of Spanish civilians by French troops at the Montaña del Príncipe Pío near Madrid. After sketching the bodies by moonlight he creates “The Shooting of the Third of May 1808.”
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May 5, 1808: Peninsular War: Both former King Carlos IV and King Fernando VII resign the Spanish crown to Napoléon at Bayonne, just north of the Spanish border on the Bay of Biscay.
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May 6, 1808: The Swedish fortress of Sveaborg, near Helsinki, surrenders to the Russians.
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May 6, 1808: Peninsular War: King Fernando VII of Spain is taken by the French and will be imprisoned in Valancay, France. Joaquin Murat, gran duque de Berg y de Cleves is named Lieutenant-General and Governor of the Realm.
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May 7, 1808: Peninsular War: Former Spanish King Carlos IV and his queen leave Bayonne for exile at Compiègne.
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May 10, 1808: Peninsular War: Napoléon names his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, King of Naples, as King of Spain.
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May 13, 1808: The Royal Academy of Fine Arts (now the Academy of Fine Arts) is founded in Munich by order of King Maximilian of Bavaria.
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May 15, 1808: Talleyrand leaves Paris for his chateau at Valençay. Napoléon has given him the task of imprisoning/entertaining the three Spanish princes captured at Bayonne (the Prince of the Asturias, the Infante Don Carlos and the Infante Don Antonio). Jan Ladislav Dussek (48) is part of the entertainment. Here, during the upcoming summer, Dussek will invent the Aeolian Harp.
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May 20, 1808: Peninsular War: The announcement is officially made that King Fernando VII of Spain has abdicated. This is the final straw which launches Spain into revolution against the French.
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May 23, 1808: Peninsular War: King Joseph Bonaparte secretly departs Naples to become King of Spain. Cartagena and Valencia rise against the French.
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May 24, 1808: Five days after the Weavers’ Minimum Wage Bill is rejected by the House of Commons, 6,000 industrial weavers gather on St. George’s Fields, Manchester to protest and demand a 33% wage increase. Soldiers on horses disperse the crowd.
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May 24, 1808: Peninsular War: Zaragoza and Murcia rise against the French.
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May 25, 1808: 15,000 workers gather on St. George’s Fields, Manchester to iterate the demands of yesterday. Soldiers open fire on the crowd, killing one man. The strike begins to spread throughout the area.
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May 25, 1808: Peninsular War: The General Assembly of the Asturias declares war on France. Oviedo rises against the French.
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May 26, 1808: Peninsular War: Seville rises against the French.
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May 27, 1808: Peninsular War: Léon rises against the French.
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May 28, 1808: An announcement appears in the Wiener Zeitung for two vacancies for boy choristers in the Imperial and Royal Court Chapel. It is read by an interested Viennese couple named Karl and Elisabeth Schubert who have a son named Franz (11).
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May 30, 1808: France annexes Tuscany.
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June 1, 1808: Music to Skeffington’s play The Mysterious Bride by Henry R. Bishop (21) is performed for the first time, in the Drury Lane Theatre, London.
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June 2, 1808: The “Bologna” Mass of Gioachino Rossini (16) is performed for the first time, in the Chiesa della Madonna di San Luca. He contributes three sections of a composite mass by the students of the Liceo Musicale.
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June 5, 1808: Peninsular War: Spanish insurgents fire on and kill French troops at the pass of Despeñaperros in the Sierra Morena. It is the beginning of the war in Spain.
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June 6, 1808: The National Museum of Brazil is founded in Rio de Janeiro by Prince Dom João.
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June 6, 1808: Peninsular War: The citizens of Chaves, Portugal set up a junta which proclaims loyalty to the house of Bragança. Other Portuguese cities soon act in a similar manner.

Joseph Bonaparte is publicly proclaimed José I, King of Spain and of the Indies.

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June 7, 1808: Peninsular War: French troops capture Segovia. They also capture and ransack Córdoba.
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June 9, 1808: By imperial decree, Emperor Franz creates the Austrian Landwehr. All men, 19-25 years of age, not yet in the army are conscripted.
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June 10, 1808: Peninsular War: By today, every province of Spain is in armed revolt against French rule.

In Brazil, the Portuguese regent Dom João declares war on France.

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June 15, 1808: Peninsular War: Spanish insurgents beat off French attacks at Zaragoza.
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June 16, 1808: A new Théâtre de l’Odéon opens on the site of the old, destroyed by fire in 1799. It is the new home of the Théâtre-Italien.
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June 16, 1808: Peninsular War: Local citizens in the Algarve, Portugal, take control of the government.
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June 18, 1808: Peninsular War: Citizens of Oporto take control of the city from the French.
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June 19, 1808: Swedish forces attempt an amphibious landing at Lemu, near Åbo, Finland but are forced to withdraw.
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June 20, 1808: Peninsular War: French forces attack Gerona but are repulsed twice and forced to retreat to Barcelona.
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June 21, 1808: Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac and Louis-Jacques Thénard announce their isolation of the element Boron to the French Academy of Sciences.
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June 26, 1808: The publishing firm of Giovanni Ricordi is founded in Milan.
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June 27, 1808: Peninsular War: French attempts to take Valencia fail with heavy losses. They are forced to retreat.
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June 30, 1808: The nationalist, reforming Tugendbund is founded in Königsberg.
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June 30, 1808: Humphry Davy reads his paper announcing the discovery of the elements Barium, Calcium, Magnesium and Strontium to the Royal Society in London. Strontium has been known already, but Davy is the first to isolate it from strontianite.
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July 2, 1808: Peninsular War: French troops make a second desperate attempt to take Zaragoza but are beaten back again with heavy losses.
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July 7, 1808: Mariao Luis de Urquijo y Muga replaces Pedro Cevallos Guerra as First Secretary of State of Spain.
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July 7, 1808: France promulgates the Statute of Bayonne, laying out a form of government for Spain. Although it never is enforced, it provides the basis for a Spanish constitution.
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July 8, 1808: A three-man council of regency takes over for Joseph Bonaparte, King of Naples lately named King of Spain.
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July 14, 1808: The main Swedish and Russian armies battle at Lappo, Finland. The Swedes get the better of the fighting but the Russian army is allowed to escape.
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July 14, 1808: Peninsular War: A force of Spanish guerrillas is routed by the French at Medina del Río Seco. The French put thousands of them to death and sack the town, including a mass rape of nuns in the largest church.
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July 19, 1808: Peninsular War: Spanish soundly defeat the French at Bailén, 92 km northeast of Córdoba.
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July 20, 1808: Emperor Napoléon decrees that all Jews of the Empire, who have not already done so, must adopt a surname within three months. This will cause the Parisian scholar and poet Elias Levy to adopt the name Halévy, after the 13th century Jewish poet, for himself and his family, including his son, Fromental (9).
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July 20, 1808: Peninsular War: Joseph Bonaparte enters Madrid to become King of Spain. Only the French in the city turn out. All Spanish citizens remain in their homes.
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July 23, 1808: Peninsular War: After days of negotiation, 17,635 French troops surrender to the Spanish at Bailén.
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July 25, 1808: Peninsular War: Joseph Bonaparte is crowned King José I Napoléon of Spain in Madrid.
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July 28, 1808: Ottoman Sultan Mustafa IV is deposed and replaced by his brother, Mahmud II.
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July 29, 1808: Alemdar Mustafa Pasha replaces Çelebi Mustafa Pasha as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
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July 29, 1808: Peninsular War: Combined Spanish and Portuguese rebels are defeated by the French near Evora.
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July 31, 1808: Emperor Napoléon grants Giovanni Paisiello (68) an annual pension of 1,000 francs, retroactive to 23 September 1804.
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August 1, 1808: Grand Duke Joachim Murat of Berg and Cleves is named King of Naples by Emperor Napoléon.
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August 1, 1808: Peninsular War: British troops land near the mouth of the Mondego to support the Iberian rebellions.

Surprised by the Spanish victory at Bailén, King José I withdraws from Madrid to Old Castile.

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August 3, 1808: After two days of fighting, Russian ships defeat Swedes at Sandöström.
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August 4, 1808: Peninsular War: After four days of bombardment, the French launch a third attempt to take Zaragoza. This time they fight their way into the city but are finally stopped by Spanish counterattacks. When night falls they still hold a small part of the town.
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August 10, 1808: Swedish forces defeat the Russians at Kauhajoki.
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August 11, 1808: As part of the “prize day” ceremonies at the Liceo Musicale, Bologna, Gioachino Rossini’s (16) cantata Il pianto d’Armonia sulla morte d’Orfeo to words of Ruggia is performed for the first time. Rossini is medalist in counterpoint.
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August 15, 1808: A Mass in D by Giovanni Paisiello (68) is performed for the first time, in Paris.
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August 16, 1808: Peninsular War: Spanish defenders of Gerona attack out of the city and rout the besieging French.
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August 17, 1808: Swedish forces defeat the Russians at Alavo, Finland.
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August 17, 1808: Peninsular War: At the Battle of Roliça, British troops compel the French to retreat from the heights between Caldas and Obidos, 70 km north of Lisbon.
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August 21, 1808: France annexes the city of Wesel.
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August 21, 1808: British ships manage to take 9,000 of the 14,000 Spanish troops sent to Denmark to help Napoléon off the island of Langeland for transport to Santander to aid in the Peninsular War.
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August 21, 1808: After a string of Swedish victories, the Russian army begins a counterattack and are victorious at Karstula, Finland.
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August 21, 1808: Peninsular War: French forces attack the British at Vimeiro, 60 km north of Lisbon but are repulsed with heavy casualties.
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August 28, 1808: Swedish forces defeat the Russians at Nummijärvi, Finland.
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August 30, 1808: Swedish ships defeat the Russians at Grönvikssund after heavy losses on both sides.
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August 30, 1808: Peninsular War: By the Convention of Cintra the British repatriate 26,000 French troops in return for their evacuation of Portugal. For their unusual leniency, the British commanders on the scene will be recalled to make an accounting of their actions.
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September 2, 1808: Russian troops defeat Swedes at Ruona and Salmi, Finland, stopping the Swedish advance and causing them to retreat north.
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September 13, 1808: Swedish troops defeat the Russians at Jutas, near Nykarleby, Finland.
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September 14, 1808: The Russian army decisively defeats the Swedes at Oravais, Finland.
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September 15, 1808: Peninsular War: By the terms of 30 August, the French army in Portugal is allowed to depart by sea from Lisbon. A new five-man council of regency takes power in the name of Dom João.
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September 16, 1808: Armed royalists in Mexico City overthrow Viceroy José de Iturrigaray y Aréstegui thinking that he will soon declare independence from Spain.
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September 18, 1808: Russian ships defeat the Swedes at Palva Sund.
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September 20, 1808: The Covent Garden Theatre, London burns down. The fire kills 22 people, destroys the props, scenery, costumes, the organ, as well as manuscripts of works by George Frideric Handel (†49) and Thomas Augustine Arne (†30).
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September 21, 1808: British forces occupy Macao.
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September 25, 1808: Sweden attempts an amphibious landing at Helsinge but are forced to retreat.
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September 25, 1808: Peninsular War: The Supreme Central Governing Junta is created at the royal palace of Aranjuez as a central organizational point in the Spanish struggle against the French. José Moñino y Redondo, conde de Floridablanca is named president.
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September 26, 1808: Cipriano Ribeiro Freire replaces Miguel Pereira Forjaz, conde de Feira as acting head of government of Portugal in Lisbon.
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September 27, 1808: The Emperors Napoléon and Alyeksandr meet at Erfurt.
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September 29, 1808: A cease fire is signed by Swedish and Russian representatives at Lochteå, Finland.
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September 30, 1808: Franz Schubert (11) passes an examination to become a chorister in the Imperial Chapel-Royal. Among the judges is Court Music Director Antonio Salieri (58).
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October 3, 1808: Seven men involved in royalist organizations to overthrow Napoléon are executed.
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October 11, 1808: The 9,000 Spanish troops from Denmark reach Santander aboard British ships.
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October 11, 1808: François-Noël Prigent, leader of royalist organizations working to overthrow Napoléon, is executed by firing squad.
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October 12, 1808: The Convention of Erfurt is signed by Emperor Napoléon of France and Tsar Alyeksandr of Russia. Russia is allowed to occupy Moldavia, Wallachia, and Finland. France will remain neutral in any war between Russia and Turkey. Alyeksandr allows Napoléon a free hand in Spain and allies Russia with France in any war against Austria.
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October 15, 1808: Pedro Cevallos Guerra becomes First Secretary of State (prime minister) of the resistance government of Spain.
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October 16, 1808: The last remaining British troops on Capri surrender to the French.
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October 17, 1808: The rights of Jews in the Duchy of Warsaw is suspended for a period of ten years. Eviction of Jews from the center of Warsaw begins.
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October 27, 1808: Breaking the month-old cease fire, Russian troops attack Swedes on the Koljonvirta River north of Iisalmi, Finland but are routed by a Swedish counterattack.
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October 29, 1808: Peninsular War: French forces attack the Spanish at Amorebieta, just southeast of Bilbao. Although a French victory, the Spanish acquit themselves well.

Emperor Napoléon departs Paris, heading for Spain.

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October 30, 1808: Te Deum and Jubilate for chorus and organ by Samuel Wesley (42) is performed for the first time, in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.
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October 31, 1808: Peninsular War: French forces attack the Spanish at Bilbao near the Bay of Biscay, pushing them back but achieving no conclusive result.
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November 1, 1808: The Electorate of Hesse-Cassel is annexed to Westphalia.
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November 7, 1808: Spanish insurgents on Hispaniola destroy a French force at Saban de Palo Hincado. They proceed to Santo Domingo and lay siege to the French in the city.
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November 7, 1808: Peninsular War: The French in Spain, personally directed by Emperor Napoléon, begin a campaign to find and destroy all Spanish and British armies on the peninsula.
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November 10, 1808: The Royal Navy captures the French privateering base at Samaná Bay on the north coast of Hispaniola.
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November 10, 1808: Peninsular War: French forces rout the Spanish at Gamonal, northeast of Burgos, and proceed to ransack the city. Meanwhile, furious French attacks against the Spanish at Espinosa de los Monteros, 50 km to the southwest of Bilbao, are destroyed with heavy losses.
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November 11, 1808: Peninsular War: The French return to the attack at Espinosa de los Monteros, breaking and scattering the Spanish resistance.
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November 13, 1808: Peninsular War: British forces reach Salamanca.
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November 16, 1808: Memis Pasha replaces Alemdar Mustafa Pasha as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
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November 19, 1808: Representatives of Sweden and Russia sign the Convention of Olkijoki, requiring the Swedes to evacuate Finland.
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November 19, 1808: King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia issues a Städteordnung, establishing a system of municipal self-government, providing for popular participation. It is largely the work of Heinrich Friedrich Karl, Reichsfreiherr vom und zum Stein.
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November 22, 1808: A committee of the US Congress reports that the Embargo of 1807 has had the opposite effect of the one intended. No European nation has changed its policy and the US economy has been badly damaged.
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November 22, 1808: Two movements of the Messe de Chimay by Luigi Cherubini (48) for three solo voices, solo flute, five winds and strings are performed for the first time, in the village church of Chimay.
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November 23, 1808: Love in a Tub, a pastoral ballet by Henry R. Bishop (22) to a story by d’Egville, is performed for the first time, in the Drury Lane Theatre, London.
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November 23, 1808: Peninsular War: French troops decimate Spanish positions near Tudela on the River Ebro, 75 km northwest of Zaragoza.
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November 24, 1808: Karl Friedrich Ferdinand Alexander, Count von Dohna-Schlobitten replaces Heinrich Friedrich Karl, Baron vom und zum Stein as Minister of State of Prussia.
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November 24, 1808: Johann Friedrich Reichardt, on the eve of his 56th birthday, arrives in Vienna. He is Directeur général des théâtres et de son orchestre to Hieronymus Bonaparte, King of Westphalia since 1807. When he arrives in the city, he is surprised to learn that Ludwig van Beethoven (37) has been offered his job.
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November 30, 1808: Peninsular War: Spanish forces trying to stop the French advance on Madrid are defeated at the Somosierra Pass.
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December 1, 1808: Coelebs in Search of a Wife by Hannah More is published this month.
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December 1, 1808: Peninsular War: French forces reach the outskirts of Madrid.
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December 4, 1808: Peninsular War: After successive infantry attacks and artillery bombardments, Madrid surrenders to the French. King José (Joseph Bonaparte) abolishes the inquisition.
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December 5, 1808: Trio for piano and strings op.70/1 “Ghost” by Ludwig van Beethoven (37) is performed for the first time, in Vienna, the composer at the keyboard.
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December 5, 1808: Peninsular War: Besieged for a month, the Spanish defenders of Rosas in Catalonia surrender to the French.
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December 13, 1808: Santo Domingo returns from French to Spanish rule.
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December 13, 1808: Peninsular War: Thousands of Spanish dignitaries, as well as ordinary citizens of Madrid, are forced to swear allegiance to King José I (Joseph Bonaparte) in churches throughout the capital.
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December 17, 1808: Publication of the Piano Sonata op.38 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (30) is announced in the Wiener Zeitung.
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December 19, 1808: After an occupation of two months, British forces evacuate Macao.
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December 20, 1808: Peninsular War: French forces take the high ground south of Zaragoza and, after calls for surrender are refused, they lay siege to the city.
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December 21, 1808: Peninsular War: In a small engagement at Sahagún, 50 km southeast of León, British cavalry routs a French force.
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December 22, 1808: Jan Ladislav Dussek’s (48) Notturno Concertante op.68 C.233 is performed in Paris by the composer, possibly for the first time.
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December 22, 1808: Ludwig van Beethoven (38) conducts a night of his works at the unheated Theater an der Wien, Vienna. The program includes premiere performances of the Symphony no.5, Symphony no.6 and the Choral Fantasy op.80, and the Fourth Piano concerto. Also performed are the scene and aria Ah! Perfido and portions of the Mass in C. The musicians are not up to their best. Beethoven has to stop the Choral Fantasia in the middle because of confusion in the orchestra. In all, the music takes four hours to perform. Prince Lobkowitz is in the audience with his guest, Johann Friedrich Reichardt (56). This is the last time Beethoven performs a piano concerto in public.
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December 23, 1808: Sinfonia in D by Gioachino Rossini (16) is performed for the first time, in the Bologna Accademia Polimniaca.
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December 24, 1808: Peninsular War: Learning that Napoléon is bearing down on them, the British in Sahagún begin a hasty retreat towards Astorga, 80 km to the west.
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December 25, 1808: Johann Nepomuk Hummel (30) is dismissed from the service of Prince Nikolas Esterházy. The reason is that he did not give enough attention to his duties, in favor of composing for the theatre in Vienna. Hummel asks to be reinstated, and he is.
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December 26, 1808: Peninsular War: British forces take possession of Madeira from the French.
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December 29, 1808: Peninsular War: French advance troops cross the River Esla near Benavente, 65 km south of León, and engage the British. They are at first successful but a British counterattack cuts them to pieces.
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December 30, 1808: Vicente Joaquín Osorio de Moscoso y Guzmán, marqués de Astorga, conde de Altamira replaces José Moñino y Redondo, conde de Floridablanca as President of the Supreme Central Governing Junta of the Spanish resistance.