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King Ferdinand IV-III of Naples and Sicily returned to Naples soon after the wars with France and ordered a few hundred who had collaborated with the French executed. This stopped only when the French successes forced him to agree to a treaty which included amnesty for members of the French party.

When war broke out between France and Austria in 1805, Ferdinand signed a treaty of neutrality with the former, but a few days later he allied himself with Austria and allowed an Anglo-Russian force to land at Naples.

The French victory at the Battle of Austerlitz on December 2, enabled Napoleon to dispatch an army to southern Italy. Ferdinand fled to Palermo (January 23, 1806), followed soon after by his wife and son, and on February 14, 1806 the French again entered Naples.

Napoleon declared that the Bourbon dynasty had forfeited the crown, and proclaimed his brother Joseph King of Naples and Sicily. But Ferdinand continued to reign over Sicily (becoming the first King of Sicily in centuries to actually reside there) under British protection.

Parliamentary institutions of a feudal type had long existed in the island, and Lord William Bentinck, the British minister, insisted on a reform of the constitution on English and French lines. The king indeed practically abdicated his power, appointing his son Francis as regent, and the queen, at Bentinck’s insistence, was exiled to Austria, where she died in 1814.


The Restoration of Naples and Sicily were part of the workings of the Congress of Vienna.

The Congress of Vienna of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I. It was a meeting of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, and held in Vienna from November 1814 to June 1815

The Congress restored the Papal States to Pope Pius VII. King Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia was restored to Piedmont, its mainland possession, and also gained control of the Republic of Genoa. In Southern Italy, Napoleon’s brother-in-law, Joachim Murat, was originally allowed to retain the Kingdom of Naples, but his support for Napoleon in the Hundred Days led to the restoration of the Bourbon Ferdinand IV to the throne.