When in January 1799 the French revolutionary troops entered the city they were helped by a minor part of the bourgeoisie, but had to face strong resistance from the lazzari who were strongly religious and did not accede new ideas.
The republic tried to receive the popular support by suppressing the feudal privileges in 1799 on the model of the French republic. But its existence was as intense as it was brief, never meeting the popular favor, for which the intellectuals were very far from knowing the needs of the people.
In addition, the Republic – although not recognized by France – was in fact subordinated to a French “dictatorship of war” which limited much of its autonomy and forced it to support the considerable expenses of the French army constantly campaigning.
To this, was added a very strong repression against the opponents of the new regime which certainly did not help to conquer the popular sympathies (some sources speak of more than 1500 people condemned to death after summaries “political trials” in all the Kingdom ).
The people rebelled, but in June 1799 their Republican leaders surrendered. Admiral Horatio Nelson commanded the executions of these ones: Francesco Caracciolo, Mario Pagano, Ettore Carafa.
Anyway, the Republic was swept away in a few months by the armies claiming the “lazzari” commanded by the secular cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo supported by the English fleet.
Naples is partially reconquered by Ferdinand of Bourbon. The repression was brutal against supporters of the Neapolitan Republic with about a hundred executions.
Shortly after, in 1806, Naples was conquered again by the French (despite the Anglo-Neapolitan victory of Maida in Calabria).
The war continued until 1808 when all the mainland of the Kingdom was conquered and placed under the control of Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon.
In 1811 the King of Naples, Joachim Napoléon Murat, a great urban planner, built the School of the Corps of Engineers of Roads and Bridges – which became the Ecole Polytechnique (Polytechnic school) at the beginning of the 20th century and was then reunited at the present Federico University. It became in 1935 the first faculty of engineers in Italy.
Murat created a municipal administration headed by a mayor – which was left almost as it was by Ferdinand when he returned to his kingdom in 1815.
Murat survived little time to Napoleon and was expelled by the Bourbons; with some partisans he attempted a landing in Calabria to reconquer the kingdom, he failed and was shot.
After the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the kingdom returns in 1815 in the hands of Ferdinand of Bourbon, the Restoration is completed.