SNC097-HW Officer, Dalmatian Pandours, 1810-1814
The periods of French rule over the Ionian Islands (1797-99 and 1807-14), Dalmatia and Istria (1805-14), and finally the Illyrian Provinces (1809-14) were relatively short. However, they left a lasting mark on the history of todays Slovenia, Croatia, Albania and Greece largely for the better, although this was not acknowledged for many years. The first French possessions in south-east Europe were the Ionian Islands, a group off the western Greek coast, often called Heptanesos (the Seven Islands): Corfu, Paxos, Santa-Maura, Ithaca, Cephalonia, Zante and Cerigo).
This former Venetian possession of strategically-located islands, guarding the entrance to the Adriatic Sea, was ceded to France by the Austrians under the Treaty of Campo Formio on 17 October 1797. Then, in 1799 the Russians captured the islands and established an important base for their Mediterranean Fleet.