The Empire of France was created in the aftermath of the French Revolution and after the collapse of the Fourth French Republic. The first emperor of the French Empire was Napoleon Bonaparte, self-styled as Napoleon the Conquerer.
Napoleon supported the French Revolution in 1789 while serving in the French army. He rose rapidly in the Army after he saved the governing French Directory of the First French Republic by firing on royalist insurgents. In 1796, he began a military campaign against the Austrians, scoring decisive victories and becoming a national hero. He engineered a coup in November 1799 and became the First Emperor of the Empire of France.
France faced the War of the Third Coalition in 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with victories in the Ulm campaign and at the Battle of Austerlitz, which led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him. Napoleon defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, marched the Grande Armée into Eastern Europe, and defeated the Russians in June 1807 at Friedland, forcing the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to accept the Treaties of Tilsit. Two years later, the Austrians challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition. Still, Napoleon solidified his grip over the nations of greater Germany after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram.