Napoleon’s army planted pear trees fact or fiction?

Be the judge for yourself Scenes from a village 33 - Napoleon's pear trees (2014) on Vimeo
Check out those old graft unions!

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Here is a little more about napoleon Napoleon - Wikipedia
"Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814, and again briefly in 1815 (during the Hundred Days). Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. One of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon’s political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.[1][2]

He was born Napoleone di Buonaparte (Italian: [napoleˈoːne di bwɔnaˈparte]) in Corsica, to a relatively modest family from minor Italian nobility. When the Revolution broke out in 1789, Napoleon was serving as an artillery officer in the French army. Seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution, he rapidly rose through the ranks of the military, becoming a general at age 24. The Directory eventually gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents. At age 26, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and their Italian allies—winning virtually every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year, and becoming a war hero in France. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power. He engineered a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic. His ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, and in 1804 he became the first Emperor of the French. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the Ulm Campaign and a historic triumph over Russia and Austria at the Battle of Austerlitz, which led to the elimination of the thousand-year-old Holy Roman Empire. In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon quickly defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, then marched his Grande Armée deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France then forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high watermark of the French Empire. In 1809, the Austrians and the British challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram in July.

Hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, Napoleon invaded Iberia and declared his brother Joseph the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, and ended in victory for the Allies. The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia. Unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade, the Russians routinely violated the Continental System and enticed Napoleon into another war. The French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The resulting campaign witnessed the collapse of the Grande Armée and the destruction of Russian cities, and inspired a renewed push against Napoleon by his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in the Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813. The Allies then invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba near Rome and the Bourbon monarchs were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition, which defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in June. The British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years later at the age of 51.

Napoleon had an extensive and powerful influence on the modern world, bringing liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, such as the Low Countries, Switzerland, and large parts of modern Italy and Germany. He implemented fundamental liberal policies in France and throughout Western Europe.[note 1] His legal achievement, the Napoleonic Code, has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world. British historian Andrew Roberts stated: “The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, and so on—were championed, consolidated, codified and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire”.[9]"
More about the area he attacked Napoleonic Wars - Wikipedia
"The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon; the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–7), Fifth (1809), Sixth (1813), and the Seventh and final (1815).

Napoleon, upon ascending to First Consul of France in 1799, had inherited a chaotic republic; he subsequently created a state with stable finances, a strong bureaucracy, and a well-trained army. In 1805, Austria and Russia waged war against France. In response, Napoleon defeated the allied Russo-Austrian army at Austerlitz in December 1805, which is considered his greatest victory. At sea, the British inflicted a severe defeat in October 1805 upon the joint Franco-Spanish navy, securing British control of the seas and preventing the invasion of Britain itself. Prussian concerns about increasing French power led to a resumption of war in October 1806. Napoleon quickly defeated the Prussians, and defeated Russia in June 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. The peace failed; war broke out two years later in 1809, and this coalition was soon defeated.

Hoping to isolate Britain economically, Napoleon invaded Iberia, declaring his brother Joseph king of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and Portuguese revolted with British support, and, after six years of fighting, expelled the French from Iberia in 1814. Concurrently, Russia, unwilling to bear economic consequences of reduced trade, routinely violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon to launch a massive invasion of Russia in 1812. The resulting campaign ended with the dissolution and withdrawal of the French Grande Armée. Encouraged by the defeat, Prussia, Austria, and Russia began a new campaign against France, decisively defeating Napoleon at Leipzig in October 1813 after several inconclusive engagements. The Allies then invaded France, capturing Paris at the end of March 1814 and forcing Napoleon to abdicate in early April. He was exiled to the island of Elba, and the Bourbons were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped in February 1815, and reassumed control of France. The Allies responded with the Seventh Coalition, defeating Napoleon permanently at Waterloo in June 1815 and exiling him to St Helena.

The Congress of Vienna redrew the borders of Europe, and brought a lasting peace to the continent. The wars had profound consequences on global history; it fostered the spread of nationalism and liberalism, saw the rise of the British Empire as the world’s foremost power, independence movements in Latin America and the subsequent collapse of the Spanish Empire, the fundamental reorganisation of German and Italian territories into larger states, and the establishment of radically new methods of conducting warfare."

In the free google book "The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon; the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–7), Fifth (1809), Sixth (1813), and the Seventh and final (1815).

Napoleon, upon ascending to First Consul of France in 1799, had inherited a chaotic republic; he subsequently created a state with stable finances, a strong bureaucracy, and a well-trained army. In 1805, Austria and Russia waged war against France. In response, Napoleon defeated the allied Russo-Austrian army at Austerlitz in December 1805, which is considered his greatest victory. At sea, the British inflicted a severe defeat in October 1805 upon the joint Franco-Spanish navy, securing British control of the seas and preventing the invasion of Britain itself. Prussian concerns about increasing French power led to a resumption of war in October 1806. Napoleon quickly defeated the Prussians, and defeated Russia in June 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. The peace failed; war broke out two years later in 1809, and this coalition was soon defeated.

Hoping to isolate Britain economically, Napoleon invaded Iberia, declaring his brother Joseph king of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and Portuguese revolted with British support, and, after six years of fighting, expelled the French from Iberia in 1814. Concurrently, Russia, unwilling to bear economic consequences of reduced trade, routinely violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon to launch a massive invasion of Russia in 1812. The resulting campaign ended with the dissolution and withdrawal of the French Grande Armée. Encouraged by the defeat, Prussia, Austria, and Russia began a new campaign against France, decisively defeating Napoleon at Leipzig in October 1813 after several inconclusive engagements. The Allies then invaded France, capturing Paris at the end of March 1814 and forcing Napoleon to abdicate in early April. He was exiled to the island of Elba, and the Bourbons were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped in February 1815, and reassumed control of France. The Allies responded with the Seventh Coalition, defeating Napoleon permanently at Waterloo in June 1815 and exiling him to St Helena.

The Congress of Vienna redrew the borders of Europe, and brought a lasting peace to the continent. The wars had profound consequences on global history; it fostered the spread of nationalism and liberalism, saw the rise of the British Empire as the world’s foremost power, independence movements in Latin America and the subsequent collapse of the Spanish Empire, the fundamental reorganisation of German and Italian territories into larger states, and the establishment of radically new methods of conducting warfare.

In the free google book “CAMPAIGNS OF NAPOLEON.” on page 348 it says “The chateau itself was set on fire by shells, during the cannonade. In the gar den behind the house, the roses, orange-trees and geraniums still flower in beauty, and the pear-tree and fig-tree bear their fruit: presenting a melancholy contrast to the ruined house, the mouldering piles and the surrounding scene of death and desolation. Even when the heaps of dead were reduced to ashes, the broken swords, shattered helmets, torn epaulets and sabre scabbards bathed in blood, told too plainly the dreadful strife that had taken place, and the mournful reflection could not be suppressed, that the glory which Britain gained upon this sanguinary field, was purchased by the blood” which does indicate they did indeed have pear trees. If anyone should care to read the book it can be found here https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=AMBVAAAAYAAJ&rdid=book-AMBVAAAAYAAJ&rdot=1&pli=1

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I requested the pear called Napoleon this year from ARS GRIN
https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/accessiondetail.aspx?accid=%20PI+255616
"One of the new Flemish pears; the size is large, the form long, round at the blossom end, contracted in the middle, obtuse at the stem, which is short; the skin at maturity is a yellowish green; flesh melting and fine, with an unusual quantity of juice; in some soils, a little too astringent; tree healthy and strong, bears well, and the fruit ripens in October. [This tree has borne with us fine melting pears, without astringency, for two years past. Bears greatly on small trees.] – R. Manning, The New England Fruit Book, 1844.

Source History
Accession was developed. 1808. Belgium

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Love learning the history of our fruits!

ETA: WOW, those pear trees are huge! And what a lovely countryside. I think the Illyrian provinces are on the other side of the Adriatic from Italy. It’s on my bucket list to take a walking tour there someday.

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Great information and nice video to go along with the story. Whomever planted those trees left a great legacy for the people to enjoy.

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My favorite parts of history are things like this—stuff that ordinary people left behind living their lives. The soldiers garrisoned there were probably just like soldiers anywhere-concerned with their stomachs! I’m sure they got some things from France, but being on of the furthest away provinces, I’m sure they often times had to make do. I’m sure pears would be good eating in fall and early winter. And dried pears into the spring, before the new fruits and vegetables came up, most likely made a nice addition to what would otherwise probably be a bland diet of stored grains and a little meat.

On a somewhat related note, I read an article once about Archaelogists excavating Hadrian’s Wall in Britain, and coming across a bunch of correspondence from the Roman soldiers. Some of the letters still stick in my mind.

One was a young man writing home, asking for warm socks and underwear…

Another wrote to his brother, telling him he hoped he was doing well, but he wouldn’t have to ask if his brother actually wrote him more often…

Another was to a fellow soldier, asking him if he ran into their mutual friend, X, to remind X that he still owed the letter writer some money…

Another was a girl, writing to her sister, telling her that she hoped her sister would be there for her birthday, and it would make her birthday so much better if she came…

It just reminds you that the more things change, the more they stay the same. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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These are great! People are just people - no matter when or where they lived their lives. Thanks for sharing these.

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Many books refer to the Napoleon pear napoleon pear trees - Google Search. The Fruits and Fruit Trees of America … Fourteenth Edition By Andrew Jackson DOWNING refers to the napoleon pear The Fruits and Fruit Trees of America ... Fourteenth Edition - Andrew Jackson DOWNING - Google Books . It sounds like I made a wise choice with the pear because it’s very juice, sweet, bears early etc. but time will tell.

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2018 was not a good year for new trees since we had the worse drought since the dirty thirties. I won’t give up but rather will try again to grow Napoleon and other rare pears. Hopefully someday someone will look at my pear trees hundreds of years from now and the graft unions will look just like those in the video. Isn’t it strange how many years napoleons army has been gone and yet the pear trees look fantastic! In this life if you want to leave something behind to benefit future generations plant a pear tree for them. This is a backup link to the original story https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=akbxdPujFDQ

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I have often wondered if grafts could survive an extended period of time like these. Thanks for posting the interesting video.

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I just loved the movie on Napoleon’s pears in Croatia and Napoleon ‘s historical record. It moved me on several levels since I have major Croatian ancestry and love pears. Also enjoy pig-hunting and googled “boar-hunting in Croatia” to find out that blood will tell. Check out the current president of Croatia who reminds me of my favorite cousin.

As an amateur acolyte and supplicant of Abraham Lincoln, I note that over 16,000 books (and counting) have been written about The Great Emancipator. His major rivals as subjects of scholars and historians are Jesus Christ who claimed to be divine and is still thought so today by about a billion people; and Napoleon who likely thought he was divine and was likely considered as such periodically by the public.

Lincoln never doubted his own mortality, but never gave up on moving his beloved nation toward that “ more perfect union”, toward that goal of a just and prosperous nation. Now we are met again on a battlefield, a great political battlefield, a test of will and law, testing whether “that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can llong endure.” Has it all been in vain? Has the sacrifice of Lincoln and millions been for naught? If so, where do we go now, where do we go? (Apologies to Axl Rose)

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Yes, amazing, isn’t it? I keep repeating myself, but somewhere I read that pears may be the longest-lived members of all Rosaceae, the whole darn Family. Like Redwoods, if pears are “ happy” they can go on for centuries. Not millennia, but a long time. If you have the space, grow out seedlings and graft them to get the vigor and size of standard trees. My Comice on sdlng. Is getting big and productive.

Yes, you could be leaving a legacy and earning “good place” points!

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Wow. I have never seen pear trees that huge!

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As life is at times busy and complexed a video with a walk through of napoleons army’s pears can put things back in perspective. A simple video that is calming and peaceful. As human beings we all are aware our life is short. Pears trees do not play by our rules. When an uncle built his orchard he removed a 50 foot pear that still produced small fruit most likely over 100 years old. The tree he said had to be removed because of location. As i said its one way i know where the homesteaders were 100 years or longer ago because everything else is gone but their pear tree still stands. Love pear trees as explained best here The very wonderful pear

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What I would not give to have scion wood off the pear trees napoleons army planted. It sounds strange but I feel connected with ancient pears in a way that is difficult to explain.

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I agree with you. A great connection by just having a piece of history.

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