Napoléon I, emperor of the French

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Napoléon I Bonaparte, Emperor of the French

French: Napoléon I Bonaparte, Empereur des Français, Italian: Napoleone di Buonaparte, Imperatore dei Francesi
Also Known As: "'le Grand'", "император Наполеон I Бонапарт", "Napoleon I of France", "Napoléon Bonaparte", "Emperor Napoleon I", "Napoleone di Buonaparte"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: 18 rue Saint Charles, Ajaccio, Corse-du-Sud, Corsica, France
Death: Died in Saint Helena, Great Britain
Cause of death: Officiellement: cancer à l'estomac - officially stomach cancer
Place of Burial: Hôtel des Invalides, Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Carlo Maria Bonaparte and Maria Letizia Ramolino, Madame Mère de l'Empereur
Husband of Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria
Ex-husband of Joséphine de Beauharnais, 1st Empress of the French
Fiancé of Desideria, Drottning av Sverige-Norge (Clary)
Partner of Marguerite-Josephine Weimer; Giuseppina Maria Camilla Grassini and Françoise-Marie Pellapra
Father of Eugen Alexander Megerle von Mühlfeld; Charles, comte Léon; Alexandre Florian Joseph, Graf Colonna-Walewski; Napoleon II, King of Rome and Émilie Louise Marie Françoise Joséphine de Pellapra
Brother of Elisa Bonaparte; Napoleone Buonaparte; Maria Anna Buonaparte; NN; José I Bonaparte, rey de España and 14 others

Occupation: Emperor of France 1804-1814, March 1815-June 1815, King of Italy 1805-1814, General, Emperor of France, Empereur, Soldier, French Revolution
Managed by: Maciej Konrad Ptaszyński, dr hi...
Last Updated:

About Napoléon I, emperor of the French

Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), was a military and political leader of France and Emperor of the French as Napoleon I, whose actions shaped European politics in the early 19th century.

Read more (Wikipedia): Napoleon I of France (English), Napoléon Ier (Français), Napoléon Bonaparte (Norsk), Napoleone Bonaparte (Italiano)

Napoleon I, Emperor of the French; King of Italy, Mediator of the Swiss Confederation, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine.

  • Reign 20 March 1804–6 April 1814

1 March 1815–22 June 1815

  • Coronation 2 December 1804
  • Consort Joséphine de Beauharnais
  • Marie Louise of Austria

Father Carlo Buonaparte

Mother Letizia Ramolino

Born 15 August 1769

Ajaccio, Corsica, France

Died 5 May 1821 (aged 51)

Longwood, Saint Helena

Burial Les Invalides, Paris

Napoleon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who had a significant impact on the history of Europe. He was a general during the French Revolution, the ruler of France as First Consul of the French Republic and Emperor of the First French Empire.

Born in Corsica and trained as an artillery officer in mainland France, he rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led successful campaigns against the First and Second Coalitions arrayed against France. In 1799, Napoleon staged a coup d'état and installed himself as First Consul; five years later he crowned himself Emperor of the French. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, he turned the armies of France against every major European power and dominated continental Europe through a series of military victories - epitomised in battles such as Austerlitz and Friedland. He maintained France's sphere of influence by the formation of extensive alliances and the appointment of friends and family members to rule other European countries as French client states.

The French invasion of Russia in 1812 marked a turning point in Napoleon's fortunes. His Grande Armée was wrecked in the campaign and never fully recovered. In 1813, the Sixth Coalition defeated his forces at the Leipzig, invaded France and exiled him to the island of Elba. Less than a year later, he returned and was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. Napoleon spent the last six years of his life under British supervision on the island of Saint Helena, where he died in 1821. The autopsy concluded he died of stomach cancer though Sten Forshufvud and other scientists in the 1960s conjectured that he had been poisoned with arsenic.

Napoleon developed few military innovations, drew his tactics from different sources and scored major victories with a modernised French army. His campaigns are studied at military academies the world over and he is widely regarded as one of history's greatest commanders. While considered a tyrant by his opponents, he is remembered for the establishment of the Napoleonic code, which laid the administrative foundations for much of Western Europe.

Napoleon was born in the town of Ajaccio, Corsica, on 15 August 1769, one year after the island was transferred to France by the Republic of Genoa. He was named Napoleone di Buonaparte (in Corsican, Nabolione or Nabulione), though he later adopted the more French-sounding Napoléon Bonaparte. His heritage earned him popularity among the local populace during his Italian military campaigns

Napoleon's father Carlo Buonaparte was Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI of FranceThe Corsican Buonapartes originated from minor Italian nobility, which came to Corsica in the 16th century when the island was still a possession of Genoa. His father Carlo Buonaparte, an attorney, was named Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI in 1777. The dominant influence of Napoleon's childhood was his mother, Maria Letizia Ramolino, whose firm discipline restrained the rambunctious Napoleon. Napoleon had an elder brother, Joseph, and younger siblings Lucien, Elisa, Louis, Pauline, Caroline and Jérôme. He was baptised Catholic just before his second birthday, on 21 July 1771 at Ajaccio Cathedral.

Napoleon's noble, moderately affluent background and family connections afforded him greater opportunities to study than were available to a typical Corsican of the time. On 15 May 1779, at age nine, Napoleon was admitted to a French military academy at Brienne-le-Château, a small town near Troyes. He had to learn French before he entered the school, spoke with a marked Italian accent and never learned to spell properly. During these school years Napoleon was teased by other students for his accent and he buried himself in study. An examiner observed that he, "has always been distinguished for his application in mathematics. He is fairly well acquainted with history and geography...This boy would make an excellent sailor." On completion of his studies at Brienne in 1784, Bonaparte was admitted to the elite École Militaire in Paris ending his naval ambition, which had led him to consider joining the English Royal Navy. Instead, he studied artillery and had to quickly complete the two-year course in one year, when his father's death reduced his income. He was examined by the famed scientist Pierre-Simon Laplace who Napoleon later raised to the senate.

On graduation in September 1785, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in La Fère artillery regiment.Napoleon served on garrison duty in Valence, Drôme and Auxonne until after the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, though he took nearly two years of leave in Corsica and Paris during this period. A fervent Corsican nationalist, Napoleon wrote to Pasquale Paoli, the Corsican leader, in May 1789: "As the nation was perishing I was born. Thirty thousand Frenchmen were vomited on to our shores, drowning the throne of liberty in waves of blood. Such was the odius sight which was the first to strike me." He spent the early years of the Revolution in Corsica, amidst a complex three-way struggle between royalists, revolutionaries, and Corsican nationalists. Bonaparte supported the Jacobin faction and gained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of a battalion of volunteers. It is not clear how, after he had exceeded his leave of absence and led a riot against a French army in Corsica, he was able to convince military authorities in Paris to promote him to Captain in July 1792. He returned to Corsica but came into conflict with Paoli after the Corsican leader sabotaged an assault, involving Napoleon, against the island of La Maddalena.

Bonaparte and his family had to flee to the French mainland in June 1793 due to the split with Paoli. Napoleon published a pro-republican pamphlet, Le Souper de Beaucaire, which gained him the admiration and support of Augustin Robespierre, younger brother of the Revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre. With the help of fellow Corsican Antoine Christophe Saliceti, Napoleon was appointed artillery commander of the French forces at the siege of Toulon. The city had risen in revolt against the republican government and was occupied by British troops. He spotted an ideal hill placing that allowed French guns to dominate the city's harbour and force the British ships to evacuate. The assault on the position, during which Bonaparte was wounded in the thigh, led to the recapture of the city and his promotion to Brigadier General. His actions brought him to the attention of the Committee of Public Safety and he was given command of the artillery arm of France's Army of Italy. During this period he became engaged to Désirée Clary, his sister-in-law and whose father was a rich Marseille trader.

Following the fall of the Robespierres in the Thermidorian Reaction, Napoleon was imprisoned in the Château d'Antibes in August 1794 for his association with the brothers. Although he was released after only 10 days, he remained out of favour.

In April 1795 he was assigned to the Army of the West which was engaged in the War in the Vendée, a civil war and counterrevolution between royalists and republicans in France's western Vendée region. As this was an infantry command it was a demotion from the rank of artillery general and he pleaded poor health to avoid the posting. He was moved to the Bureau of Topography of the Committee of Public Safety and sought unsuccessfully to get transferred to Constantinople. Running out of money, on 15 September he was removed from the list of generals in regular service following his transfer request.

Royalists and counter-revolutionaries organised an armed protest against the National Convention on 3 October 1795. One of the leaders of the Thermidorian Reaction, Paul Barras was in charge of the defence of Paris and gave Napoleon command of the improvised forces that were defending the Convention in the Tuileries Palace. Napoleon seized artillery pieces with the aid of a young cavalry officer, Joachim Murat and used it to repel the attackers, 1,400 of whom died and the rest fled. The defeat of the Royalist insurrection extinguished the threat to the Convention and earned him sudden fame, wealth, and the patronage of the new Directory. Murat would later become his brother-in-law. Napoleon was promoted to Commander of the Interior and only six months later he was given command of the Army of Italy. Within weeks of Vendémiaire he was romantically attached to Barras's former mistress, Joséphine de Beauharnais, whom he married on 9 March 1796; he broke off the engagement to Clary.

Two days after the marriage, Bonaparte left Paris to take command of the Army of Italy and led it on a successful invasion of Italy. At the Battle of Lodi he defeated Austrian forces, then drove them out of Lombardy. He was defeated at Caldiero by Austrian reinforcements, led by József Alvinczi, though he regained the initiative at the crucial Battle of the Bridge of Arcole and proceeded to subdue the Papal States. Napoleon argued against the wishes of Directory atheists, such as Louis Marie la Révellière-Lepaux, to march on Rome and dethrone the Pope as he reasoned this would create a power vacuum that would be exploited by the Kingdom of Naples. Instead, in March 1797, Bonaparte led his army into Austria and forced it to sue for peace. The Treaty of Leoben gave France control of most of northern Italy and the Low Countries; a secret clause promised the Republic of Venice to Austria. Bonaparte then marched on Venice and forced its surrender, ending 1,100 years of independence and the French looted treasures such as the Horses of Saint Mark.

His application of conventional military ideas to real-world situations effected his military triumphs, such as creative use of artillery as a mobile force to support his infantry. He referred to his tactics thus: "I have fought sixty battles and I have learned nothing which I did not know at the beginning. Look at Caesar; he fought the first like the last." Contemporary paintings of his headquarters during the Italian campaign depict his use of the Claude Chappe semaphore line, first implemented in 1792. He was adept at both espionage and deception; he often won battles by his use of spies to gather information about enemy forces, concealment of troop deployments and concentration of his forces on the 'hinge' of an enemy's weakened front. In this campaign, Napoleon's army captured 150,000 prisoners, 540 cannons and 170 standards. A year's campaign had seen the French army fight 67 actions and win 18 pitched battles due to superior artillery technology and Napoleon's tactics and strategy.

During the campaign, Napoleon became increasingly influential in French politics. He published two newspapers, ostensibly for the troops in his army, but widely circulated in France as well. In May 1797 he founded a third newspaper, published in Paris, Le Journal de Bonaparte et des hommes vertueux. Elections in mid-1797 gave the royalist party increased power which alarmed Barras and his allies on the Directory. The royalists attacked Bonaparte for looting Italy and claimed he had overstepped his authority in dealings with the Austrians. Bonaparte sent General Pierre Augereau to Paris to lead a coup d'état and purge the royalists on 4 September (18 Fructidor). This left Barras and his Republican allies in firm control again, but dependent on Bonaparte to maintain it. Bonaparte proceeded to peace negotiations with Austria, the Treaty of Campo Formio, then returned to Paris in December as the conquering hero and the dominant force in government, more popular than the Directors.

In March 1798, Bonaparte proposed a military expedition to seize Egypt, then a province of the Ottoman Empire, to protect French trade interests and undermine Britain's access to India. The Directory, though troubled by the scope and cost of the enterprise, readily agreed so the popular general would be absent from the centre of power.

In May, Bonaparte was elected a member of the French Academy of Sciences. His Egyptian expedition included a group of 167 scientists: mathematicians, naturalists, chemists and geodesers among them; their discoveries included the Rosetta Stone and their work was published in the Description of Egypt in 1809. Ahmed Youssef writes that this deployment of intellectual resources was an indication of Bonaparte's devotion to Enlightenment principles; Juan Cole sees it propaganda, which obfuscated imperialism.

En route to Egypt, Napoleon reached Malta on 9 June 1798. The 200 Knights Hospitaller of French origin resented the fact that the French Grand Master Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc, had been succeeded by the Prussian Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim, and made it clear they would not fight against their compatriots. Hompesch surrendered after token resistance and Napoleon captured a great naval base with the loss of only 3 men.

On 1 July, Napoleon and his army landed at Alexandria, after they had eluded pursuit by the British Royal Navy. In a largely unsuccessful effort to gain the support of the Egyptian populace, Bonaparte issued proclamations that cast him as a liberator of the people from Ottoman oppression, and praised the precepts of Islam. He successfully fought the Battle of Chobrakit against the Mamluks, an old power in the Middle East. This helped the French plan their attack in the Battle of the Pyramids fought over a week later, about 6 km from the pyramids. Bonaparte's forces were greatly outnumbered by the Mamelukes cavalry - 20,000 against 60,000 - he formed hollow squares with supplies kept safely inside. 300 French and approximately 6,000 Egyptians were killed.

While the battle on land was a resounding French victory, the British Royal Navy won control of the sea. The ships that had landed Bonaparte and his army sailed back to France, while a fleet of ships of the line remained to support the army along the coast. On 1 August the British fleet under Horatio Nelson captured or destroyed all but two French vessels in the Battle of the Nile and Napoleon's goal of a strengthened French position in the Mediterranean Sea was frustrated. His army had succeeded in temporarily increasing French power in Egypt, though it faced repeated uprisings. In early 1799, he moved the army into the Ottoman province of Damascus (Syria and Galilee). Napoleon led 13,000 French soldiers in the conquest of the coastal towns of Arish, Gaza, Jaffa, and Haifa. The storming of Jaffa was particularly brutal. The French took control of the city after a French officer guaranteed the 3,000 defenders they would be spared. Napoleon then ordered them, and 1,400 prisoners, to be executed by bayonet or drowning, to save bullets. Men, women and children were robbed and murdered for three days.

With his army weakened by disease - mostly bubonic plague - and poor supplies, Napoleon was unable to reduce the fortress of Acre, and returned to Egypt in May. To speed up the retreat, he ordered plague-stricken men to be poisoned. His supporters have argued this decision was necessary given the continued harassment of stragglers by Ottoman forces and those left behind alive were indeed dealt with severely by the Ottomans. Back in Egypt, on 25 July, Bonaparte defeated an Ottoman amphibious invasion at Abukir.

While in Egypt, Bonaparte stayed informed of European affairs through irregular delivery of newspapers and dispatches. He learnt France had suffered a series of defeats in the War of the Second Coalition. On 24 August 1799 he took advantage of the temporary departure of British ships from French coastal ports and set sail for France, despite the fact he had received no orders from Paris. The army was left in the charge of Jean Baptiste Kléber. Unknown to Napoleon, the Directory had earlier sent him orders to return with his army to ward off possible invasions of French soil but poor lines of communication meant the messages had failed to reach the French general. By the time he reached Paris in October, France's situation had been improved by a series of victories. The Republic was bankrupt however, and the ineffective Directory was unpopular with the public. The Directory discussed Napoleon's "desertion" but was too weak to punish him.


Bonaparte was approached by one of the Directors, Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, for his support in a coup to overthrow the constitutional government. The leaders of the plot included Bonaparte's brother Lucien, the speaker of the Council of Five Hundred, Roger Ducos, another Director, Joseph Fouché and Talleyrand. On 9 November - 18 Brumaire - Bonaparte was charged with the safety of the legislative councils, who were persuaded to remove to Château de Saint-Cloud, to the west of Paris, after a rumour of a Jacobin rebellion was spread by the plotters. By the following day, the deputies had realised they faced an attempted coup. Faced with their remonstrations, Napoleon led troops to seize control and disperse them, which left a rump legislature to name Bonaparte, Sièyes, and Ducos as provisional Consuls to administer the government.

Though Sieyès expected to dominate the new regime, he was outmanoeuvred by Bonaparte, who drafted the Constitution of the Year VIII and secured his own election as First Consul. This made Bonaparte the most powerful person in France, powers that were increased by the Constitution of the Year X, which declared him First Consul for life.

Bonaparte instituted lasting reforms, including centralised administration of the départements, higher education, a tax system, road and sewer systems and a central bank. He negotiated the Concordat of 1801 with the Catholic Church, which sought to reconcile the mostly Catholic population to his regime. It was presented alongside the Organic Articles, which regulated public worship in France. His set of civil laws, the Code Civil - now known as the Napoleonic code - has importance to this day in modern continental Europe, Latin America and the US, specifically Louisiana.

The Code was prepared by committees of legal experts under the supervision of Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, who held the office Second Consul from 1799 to 1804; Bonaparte participated actively in the sessions of the Council of State that revised the drafts. Other codes were commissioned by Bonaparte to codify criminal and commerce law. In 1808, a Code of Criminal Instruction was published, which enacted rules of due process.

In 1800, Bonaparte returned to Italy, which the Austrians had reconquered during his absence in Egypt. With his troops he crossed the Alps on a mule, as depicted in Bonaparte Crossing the Alps by Hippolyte Delaroche - not on a charger as shown in Jacques-Louis David's Napoleon Crossing the Alps. Though the campaign began badly, Napoleon's forces eventually routed the Austrians in June at the Battle of Marengo, which resulted in an armistice. Napoleon's brother Joseph, led the peace negotiations in Luneville. He reported that Austria, emboldened by British backing, would not recognise France's newly gained territory. As negotiations became more and more fractious, Bonaparte gave orders to his general Moreau to strike Austria once more. Moreau led France to victory at Hohenlinden. As a result, the Treaty of Luneville was signed in February 1801: the French gains of the Treaty of Campo Formio were reaffirmed and increased. Later that year, Bonaparte became President of the French Academy of Sciences and appointed Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre its Permanent Secretary. He re-established slavery in France which had been banned following the revolution.

The British signed the Treaty of Amiens in October 1801 and March 1802, this set the terms for peace, which included the withdrawal of British troops from most colonial territories recently occupied. The peace between France and Britain was uneasy and short-lived; the monarchies of Europe were reluctant to recognise a republic as they feared the ideas of the revolution might be exported to them. Britain failed to evacuate Malta as promised, and protested against Napoleon's annexation of Piedmont, and his Act of Mediation which established a new Swiss Confederation, though neither of these territories were covered by the Treaty. The dispute over Malta culminated in a declaration of war by Britain in 1803.

Concurrently, Bonaparte faced a major setback and eventual defeat in the Haitian Revolution. Following a slave revolt, he sent an army to reconquer Saint-Domingue and establish a base. The force was, however, destroyed by yellow fever and fierce resistance led by Haitian generals Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Faced by imminent war against Britain and bankruptcy, he recognised French possessions on the mainland of North America would be indefensible and sold them to the United States - the Louisiana Purchase - for less than three cents per acre.

In January 1804, Bonaparte's police uncovered an assassination plot against him, ostensibly sponsored by the former rulers of France, the Bourbons. In retaliation, Bonaparte ordered the arrest of the Duke of Enghien, in violation of Baden's sovereignty. After a secret trial, the Duke was executed in March. Bonaparte used the plot to justify the re-creation of a hereditary monarchy in France, with him as Emperor; he believed a Bourbon restoration would be impossible once the Bonapartist succession was entrenched in the constitution. Napoleon crowned himself Emperor on 2 December 1804 at Notre Dame de Paris and then crowned Joséphine Empress. At Milan Cathedral on 26 May 1805, Napoleon was crowned King of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy.

In 1805 Britain convinced Austria and Russia to join a Third Coalition against France. Napoleon knew the French fleet could not defeat the Royal Navy and had a plan to lure it away from the English Channel. The French navy would escape from the British blockades of Toulon and Brest and threaten to attack the West Indies, thus drawing-off the British defence of the Western Approaches, in the hope a Franco-Spanish fleet could take control of the Channel long enough for French armies to cross and invade England. However, after defeat at the naval Battle of Cape Finisterre and because Austria and Russia had prepared an invasion of France, Napoleon had to change his plans and turn his attention to the continent. The newly formed Grande Armée secretly marched to Germany in a turning movement, Napoleon's Ulm Campaign, that encircled the Austrian forces and severed their lines of communication. On 20 October 1805, the French captured 30,000 prisoners at Ulm, though the next day Britain's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar meant the Royal Navy gained control of the seas. Six weeks later, on the first anniversary of his coronation, Napoleon defeated Austria and Russia at Austerlitz ending the Third Coalition; he commissioned the Arc de Triomphe to commemorate the victory. Historian Frank Mclynn suggests Napoleon was so successful at Austerlitz he lost touch with reality, and what used to be French foreign policy became a "personal Napoleonic one". Again Austria had to sue for peace: the Peace of Pressburg led to the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine with Napoleon named as its Protector.

The Fourth Coalition was assembled the following year, and Napoleon defeated Prussia at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt in October. He marched against advancing Russian armies through Poland, and was involved in the bloody stalemate of the Battle of Eylau on 6 February 1807. After a decisive victory at Friedland, he signed the Treaties of Tilsit with Tsar Alexander I of Russia which divided the continent between the two powers. He placed puppet rulers on the thrones of German states, including his brother Jerome as king of the new Kingdom of Westphalia. In the French-controlled part of Poland, he established the Duchy of Warsaw with King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony as ruler.

With his Milan and Berlin Decrees, Napoleon attempted to enforce a Europe-wide commercial boycott of Britain called the Continental System. This act of economic warfare did not succeed, as it encouraged British merchants to smuggle into continental Europe and Napoleon's exclusively land-based customs enforcers could not stop them.

Portugal did not comply with the Continental System so, in 1807, Napoleon invaded with the support of Spain.[65] Under the pretext of a reinforcement of the Franco-Spanish army occupying Portugal, Napoleon invaded Spain as well, replaced Charles IV with his brother Joseph and placed his brother-in-law Joachim Murat in Joseph's stead at Naples. This led to resistance from the Spanish army and civilians in the Dos de Mayo Uprising. Following a French retreat from much of the country, Napoleon took command and defeated the Spanish army, retook Madrid and then out manoeuvred a British army sent to support the Spanish, driving it to the coast. Before the Spanish population had been fully subdued, Austria again threatened war and Napoleon returned to France.

The costly and often brutal Peninsular War continued, and Napoleon left 300,000 of his finest troops to battle Spanish guerrillas as well as British and Portuguese forces commanded by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.[68] French control over the Iberian Peninsula deteriorated and collapsed in 1813; the war went on through allied victories and concluded after Napoleon's abdication in 1814.

In April 1809, Austria abruptly broke the alliance with France and Napoleon was forced to assume command of forces on the Danube and German fronts. After early successes, the French faced difficulties in crossing the Danube and then suffered a defeat in May at the Battle of Aspern-Essling near Vienna. The Austrians failed to capitalise on the situation and allowed Napoleon's forces to regroup. He defeated the Austrians again at Wagram and a new peace, Treaty of Schönbrunn, was signed between Austria and France.

Britain was the other member of the coalition. In addition to the Iberian Peninsula, the British planned to open another front in mainland Europe. However, Napoleon was able to rush reinforcements to Antwerp, due to Britain's inadequately organised Walcheren Campaign. Concurrently, Napoleon annexed the Papal States because of the Church's refusal to support the Continental System. Pius VII responded by excommunicating the emperor and the Pope was then abducted by Napoleon's officers. Though Napoleon did not order his abduction, he did not order Pius' release either. The Pope was moved throughout Napoleon's territories, sometimes while ill, and Napoleon sent delegations to pressure him into issues including giving-up power and a new concordat with France. In 1810 Napoleon married the Austrian Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, following his divorce of Joséphine; this further strained his relations with the Church and thirteen cardinals were imprisoned for non-attendance at the marriage ceremony. The Pope remained confined for 5 years, and did not return to Rome until May 1814.

The Congress of Erfurt sought to preserve the Russo-French alliance and the leaders had a friendly personal relationship after their first meeting at Tilsit in 1807. By 1811, however, tensions were building between the two nations and Alexander was under strong pressure from the Russian nobility to break off the alliance. The first clear sign the alliance was deteriorating was the relaxation of the Continental System in Russia, which angered Napoleon. By 1812, advisers to Alexander suggested the possibility of an invasion of the French Empire and the recapture of Poland. Russia deployed large numbers of troops on the Polish borders, more than 300,000 of its total army strength of 410,000. On receipt of intelligence reports on Russia's war preparations, Napoleon expanded his Grande Armée to more than 450,000 men, in addition to at least 300,000 men already deployed in Iberia. Napoleon ignored repeated advice against an invasion of the vast Russian heartland, and prepared for an offensive campaign.

On 23 June 1812, Napoleon's invasion of Russia commenced. In an attempt to gain increased support from Polish nationalists and patriots, Napoleon termed the war the "Second Polish War" - the first Polish war was the Bar Confederation uprising by Polish nobles against Russia. Polish patriots wanted the Russian part of partitioned Poland to be incorporated into the Duchy of Warsaw and a new Kingdom of Poland created, though this was rejected by Napoleon, who feared it would bring Prussia and Austria into the war against France. Napoleon rejected requests to free the Russian serfs, due to concerns this might provoke a reaction in his army's rear.

The Russians avoided Napoleon's objective of a decisive engagement and instead retreated ever deeper into Russia. A brief attempt at resistance was made at Smolensk in the middle of August, but the Russians were defeated in a series of battles in the area and Napoleon resumed his advance. The Russians then repeatedly avoided battle, although in a few cases this was only achieved because Napoleon uncharacteristically hesitated to attack when the opportunity arose. Thanks to the Russian army's scorched earth tactics, the French found it increasingly difficult to forage food for themselves and their horses. Along with hunger, the French suffered from the harsh Russian winter.

The Russians eventually offered battle outside Moscow on 7 September: the Battle of Borodino resulted in approximately 44,000 Russian and 35,000 French, dead, wounded or captured, and may have been the bloodiest day of battle in history. Although Napoleon had won, the Russian army had accepted, and withstood, the major battle the French had hoped would be decisive. Napoleon's own account was: "Of the fifty battles I have fought, the most terrible was that before Moscow. The French showed themselves to be worthy victors, and the Russians can rightly call themselves invincible."

The Russian army withdrew and retreated past Moscow. Napoleon entered the city, assuming its fall would end the war and Alexander would negotiate peace. However, on orders of the city's military governor and commander-in-chief, Fyodor Rostopchin, rather than capitulating, Moscow was ordered burned. Within the month, concerned about loss of control back in France, Napoleon and his army left.

The French suffered greatly in the course of a ruinous retreat; the Armée had begun as over 450,000 frontline troops, but in the end fewer than 40,000 crossed the Berezina River in November 1812, to escape. The strategy employed by the Russians had worn down the invaders: French losses in the campaign were about 570,000 in total. The Russians lost 150,000 in battle and hundreds of thousands of civilians.

There was a lull in fighting over the winter of 1812–13 while both the Russians and the French recovered from their massive losses. A small Russian army harassed the French in Poland and French troops withdrew to the German states to rejoin the expanding force there. The French force continued to expand and Napoleon was able to field 350,000 troops.

Heartened by Napoleon's losses in Russia, Prussia rejoined the Coalition that now included Russia, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal. Napoleon assumed command in Germany and inflicted a series of defeats on the Allies which culminated in the Battle of Dresden on 26–27 August 1813 - the battle resulted in 38,000 casualties to the Coalition forces and the French sustained around 10,000.

Despite these initial successes, the numbers continued to mount against Napoleon as Sweden and Austria joined the Coalition. Eventually the French army was pinned down by a force twice its size at the Battle of Leipzig from 16–19 October. Some German states switched sides in the midst of the battle to fight against France. This was by far the largest battle of the Napoleonic Wars and cost more than 90,000 casualties in total.

Napoleon withdrew back into France; his army was reduced to 70,000 men still in formed units and 40,000 stragglers, against more than three times as many Allied troops. The French were surrounded and vastly outnumbered: British armies pressed from the south, and other Coalition forces positioned to attack from the German states. Napoleon won a series of victories in the Six Days Campaign, though this was not significant enough to change the overall strategic position and Paris was captured by the Coalition in March 1814.

When Napoleon proposed the army march on the capital, his Marshals decided to mutiny. On 4 April, led by Ney, they confronted Napoleon. Ney said the army would not march on Paris. Napoleon asserted the army would follow him and Ney replied the army would follow its generals. On 6 April, Napoleon abdicated in favour of his son, the Allies refused to accept this and demanded unconditional surrender. Napoleon abdicated unconditionally 5 days later. In the Treaty of Fontainebleau the victors exiled him to Elba, an island of 12,000 inhabitants in the Mediterranean Sea 20 km off the coast of Italy. They gave him sovereignty over the island and allowed him to retain his title of Emperor. Napoleon attempted suicide with a pill he had carried, since a near capture by Russians on the retreat from Moscow. Its potency had weakened with age and he survived to be exiled, while his wife and son took refuge in Vienna. In the first few months on Elba he created a small navy and army, developed the iron mines, and issued decrees modernising agricultural methods.

In France, the royalists had taken over and restored Louis XVIII to power. Napoleon, separated from his wife and son (who had come under Austrian control), cut off from the allowance guaranteed to him by the Treaty of Fontainebleau, and aware of rumours he was about to be banished to a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean, escaped from Elba on 26 February 1815. He landed at Golfe-Juan on the French mainland, two days later. The 5th Regiment was sent to intercept him and made contact just south of Grenoble on 7 March 1815. Napoleon approached the regiment alone, dismounted his horse and, when he was within gunshot range shouted, "Here I am. Kill your Emperor, if you wish." The soldiers responded with, "Vive L'Empereur!" and marched with Napoleon to Paris. On 13 March, the powers at the Congress of Vienna declared him an outlaw and four days later the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Russia, Austria and Prussia bound themselves to put 150,000 men into the field to end his rule. Napoleon arrived in Paris on 20 March and governed for a period called the Hundred Days. By the start of June the armed forces available to Napoleon had reached 200,000 and the French Army of the North crossed the frontier into the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, in modern-day Belgium.

Napoleon was finally defeated by Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815. Wellington's army withstood repeated attacks by the French and drove them from the field while the Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon's right flank. The French army left the battlefield in disorder, which allowed Coalition forces to enter France and restore Louis XVIII to the French throne. Off the port of Rochefort, Charente-Maritime, after quickly considering an escape to the United States, Napoleon made his formal surrender to the British Captain Frederick Maitland on HMS Bellerophon on 15 July 1815.

Napoleon was imprisoned and then exiled to the island of St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean, 2,000 km from any major landmass. In his first 2 months there, he lived in a pavilion on the Briars estate, which belonged to a William Balcombe. Napoleon became friendly with his family, especially his younger daughter Lucia Elizabeth who later wrote Recollections of the Emperor Napoleon. This friendship ended in 1818 when British authorities became suspicious that Balcombe had acted as an intermediary between Napoleon and Paris, and dismissed him from the island.

Napoleon moved to Longwood House in December 1815. It had fallen into disrepair, and the location was damp, windswept and considered unhealthy even by the British. With a small cadre of followers, Napoleon dictated his memoirs and criticised his captors - particularly Hudson Lowe, the British governor of the island and Napoleon's custodian. Lowe's treatment of Napoleon is regarded as poor by historians such as Frank McLynn. Lowe exacerbated a difficult situation through measures including a reduction in Napoleon's expenditure, a rule that no gifts could be delivered to him if they mentioned his imperial status, and a document that his supporters had to sign that guaranteed they would stay with the prisoner indefinitely. Napoleon and his entourage did not accept the legality or justice of his captivity. In the early years of exile Napoleon received visitors but, as the restrictions placed on him were increased, his life became that of a recluse.

In 1818 The Times reported a false rumour of Napoleon's escape and said the news had been greeted by spontaneous illuminations in London – a custom in which householders place candles in street-facing windows to herald good news. There was sympathy for him in the British Parliament. Lord Holland made a speech to the House of Lords demanding the prisoner be treated with no unnecessary harshness. Napoleon kept himself informed of the events through The Times and hoped for release in the event that Holland became Prime Minister. He also enjoyed the support of Lord Cochrane, who was closely involved in Chile and Brazil's struggle for independence. It was Cochrane's aim to rescue and then help him set up a new empire in South America, a scheme frustrated by Napoleon's death in 1821. There were other plots to rescue Napoleon from captivity, including one from Brazil and another from Texas, where 400 exiled soldiers from the Grand Armée dreamed of a resurrection of the Napoleonic Empire in America. There was even a plan to rescue him with a submarine. For Lord Byron, among others, Napoleon was the epitome of the Romantic hero, the persecuted, lonely and flawed genius. The news that Napoleon had taken up gardening at Longwood appealed to more domestic British sensibilities.

In February 1821, his health began to fail rapidly and on 3 May, two English physicians who had recently arrived, attended him and could only recommend palliative. He died two days later, having confessed his sins and received Extreme Unction and Viaticum at the hands of Father Ange Vignali. His last words were, "France, armée, tete d'armée, Joséphine." He had asked in his will to be buried on the banks of the Seine, but the British said he should be buried on St. Helena, in the "valley of the willows", in an unmarked tomb.

In 1840, Louis-Philippe of France obtained permission from the British to return Napoleon's remains to France. The remains were transported aboard the frigate Belle-Poule, which had been painted black for the occasion and on 29 November she arrived in Cherbourg. The remains were transferred to the steamship Normandie, which transported them to Le Havre, up the Seine to Rouen and on to Paris. On 15 December a state funeral was held. The hearse proceeded from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Elysees, across the Place de la Concorde to the Esplanade and then to the cupola in St Jerome's Chapel, where it stayed until the tomb designed by Louis Visconti was completed. In 1861 Napoleon's remains were entombed in a porphyry sarcophagus in the crypt under the dome at Les Invalides. Hundreds of millions have since visited his tomb.

Napoleon's original death mask was created around 6 May, though it is not clear which doctor took it. During this period, it was customary to cast a death mask or mold of a leader. A mixture of wax or plaster was placed over his face and removed after the form hardened. From this impression, copies were cast

Napoleon's physician, Francesco Antommarchi, led the autopsy which found the cause of death to be stomach cancer, though he did not sign the official English report, stating, "What had I to do with...English reports?" Napoleon's father had died of stomach cancer though this was seemingly unknown at the time of the autopsy. Antommarchi found evidence of a stomach ulcer and it was the most convenient explanation for the British who wanted to avoid criticism over their care of the former French emperor.

In 1955 the diaries of Napoleon's valet, Louis Marchand, appeared in print. His description of Napoleon in the months before his death led Sten Forshufvud to put forward other causes for his death, including deliberate arsenic poisoning, in a 1961 paper in Nature. Arsenic was used as a poison during the era because it was undetectable when administered over a long period. Forshufvud, in a 1978 book with Ben Weider, noted the emperor's body was found to be remarkably well-preserved when moved in 1840. This supported the hypothesis of unusually high levels of arsenic, a strong preservative, and therefore the poisoning theory. Forshufvud and Weider observed that Napoleon had attempted to quench abnormal thirst by drinking high levels of orgeat syrup that contained cyanide compounds in the almonds used for flavouring. Forshufvud and Weider maintained that the potassium tartrate used in his treatment prevented his stomach from expelling these compounds. They claimed the thirst was a symptom of arsenic poisoning, and the calomel given to Napoleon became a massive overdose, which caused stomach bleeding that killed him and left behind extensive tissue damage. Forshufvud and Weider suggested the autopsy doctors could have mistaken this damage for cancer aftereffects.

A 2007 article stated that the type of arsenic found in Napoleon's hair shafts was mineral type, the most toxic, and according to toxicologist Dr Patrick Kintz, this supported the conclusion that his death was murder. Researchers, in a 2008 study, analysed samples of Napoleon's hair from throughout his life, and from his family and other contemporaries. All samples had high levels of arsenic, approximately 100 times higher than the current average. According to researchers, Napoleon's body was already heavily contaminated with arsenic as a boy, and the high arsenic concentration in his hair was not due to intentional poisoning; people were constantly exposed to arsenic from glues and dyes, throughout their lives.

The wallpaper used in Longwood contained a high level of arsenic compound used for colouring by British manufacturers. The adhesive, which in the cooler British environment was innocuous, may have grown mold in the more humid climate and emitted the poisonous gas arsine. The wallpaper theory has been ruled out as it does not explain the arsenic absorption patterns found in other analyses and the original proponent of the wallpaper theory did not claim the concentration levels of arsine actually lead to Napoleon's death.

There have been modern studies which have supported the original autopsy finding. In May 2005, a team of Swiss physicians suggested there was more evidence for stomach cancer after studies of his trouser waist sizes indicated he had lost weight just before his death. In October 2005 a document was unearthed in Scotland that presented an account of the autopsy which seemed to confirm its conclusion. A 2007 study found no evidence of arsenic poisoning in the relevant organs and concluded stomach cancer was the cause of death.


Napoleon married Joséphine in 1796, when he was 26; she was a 32-year old widow whose first husband had been executed during the revolution. Until she met Bonaparte, she had always been Rose, a name which he disliked. He called her 'Joséphine,' which she took up, and sent her love letters while on his campaigns. He formally adopted her son Eugène and cousin Stéphanie, and arranged dynastic marriages for them. Joséphine had her daughter Hortense marry Napoleon's brother, Louis.

Joséphine had lovers, including a Hussar lieutenant Hippolyte Charles during Napoleon's Italian campaign. Napoleon had affairs: during the Egyptian campaign he became involved with Pauline Bellisle Foures, the wife of a junior officer; she became known as "Napoleon's Cleopatra." Shortly before the imperial coronation, Joséphine caught Napoleon in the bedroom of her lady-in-waiting, Elisabeth de Vaudey. Napoleon threatened to divorce Joséphine as she had not produced an heir, an impossibility due to the stresses of her imprisonment during the Terror or she may have had an abortion in her twenties. They were temporarily reconciled through the efforts of Hortense.

Napoleon ultimately decided to divorce so he could remarry in search of an heir. In March 1810, he married Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria by proxy; he had married into the German royal family. They remained married until his death, though she did not join him in exile. The couple had one child Napoleon Francis Joseph Charles (1811–32), known from birth as the King of Rome. He was later to become Napoleon II though reigned for only two weeks and was awarded the title of the Duke of Reichstadt in 1818; he had no children.

Napoleon has become a worldwide cultural icon who symbolises military genius and political power. Since his death, many towns, streets, ships, and even cartoon characters have been named after him. He has been portrayed in hundreds of films and discussed in thousands of biographies.

During the Napoleonic Wars he was taken seriously by the British as a dangerous tyrant, poised to invade. British propaganda of the time depicted Napoleon as of smaller than average height and it is this image that persists. According to contemporary sources, he in fact grew to 1.69 m, just under average height for a Frenchman at the time. In contradiction to his sizable military and political accomplishments, the stock character of Napoleon is a comically short "petty tyrant" which has become a cliché in popular culture. He is often portrayed wearing a comically large bicorne and one hand tucked inside his coat - a reference to the 1812 painting by Jacques-Louis David. Napoleon's name has been lent to the Napoleon complex, a colloquial term that describes a type of inferiority complex that is said to affect some people who are short.

The Napoleonic code was adopted throughout much of Europe and remained in force after Napoleon's defeat. Napoleon said: "My true glory is not to have won 40 battles...Waterloo will erase the memory of so many victories. ... But...what will live forever, is my Civil Code." Dieter Langewiesche described the code as a "revolutionary project" which spurred the development of bourgeoisie society in Germany by extending the right to own property and breaking feudalism. Napoleon reorganised what had been the Holy Roman Empire, made-up of more than a thousand entities, into a more streamlined forty-state Confederation of the Rhine, providing the basis for the German Confederation and the unification of Germany into a German Empire in 1871. The movement of national unification in Italy was precipitated by Napoleonic rule in the country. These changes contributed to the development of nationalism and the Nation state.

Even though the official introduction of the metric system in September 1799 was never popular in large sections of French society, Napoleon's rule greatly aided adoption of the new standard across the French sphere of influence. Napoleon ultimately took a retrograde step in 1812, as he passed legislation to return France to its traditional units of measurement, but these were decimalised and the foundations were laid for the definitive introduction of the metric system across Europe in the middle of the 19th century.

Napoleon emancipated Jews from laws restricting them to ghettos, and their rights to property, worship, and careers. Though Napoleon was personally anti-semitic, he believed emancipation would benefit France by attracting Jews to the country.

Napoleon was less positive about how he would be perceived by the Christian world. Henry Parry Liddon observed that Napoleon, during his exile on St. Helena, compared himself unfavourably to Christ. Napoleon said to Count Montholon that while he and others such as "Alexander, Caesar and Charlemagne" founded vast empires, their achievements relied on force, Jesus "founded his empire on love."

Napoleon left a Bonapartist dynasty that would rule France again: his nephew, Napoleon III of France, became Emperor of the Second French Empire and was the first President of France. In a wider sense, Bonapartism refers to a Marxist concept of a government that forms when class rule is not secure and a military, police, and state bureaucracy intervenes to establish order.

Napoleon ended lawlessness and disorder according to historian John Abbott. However, Napoleon has been compared to later autocrats: he was not significantly troubled when faced with the prospect of war and death for thousands; turned his search for undisputed rule into a series of conflicts throughout Europe and ignored treaties and conventions alike.

Napoleon institutionalised plunder of conquered territories: French museums contain art stolen by Napoleon's forces from across Europe. Artefacts were brought to the Louvre in Paris for a grand central Museum; his example would later serve as inspiration for more notorious imitators. He was considered a tyrant and usurper, by his opponents. When other countries offered terms to Napoleon which would have restored France's borders to positions that would have delighted his predecessors, he refused compromise and only accepted surrender. Critics of Napoleon argue his true legacy was a loss of status for France and needless deaths. Historian Victor Davis Hanson writes, "After all, the military record is unquestioned - 17 years of wars, perhaps six million Europeans dead, France bankrupt, her overseas colonies lost. Napoleon's initial success may have sowed the seeds for his downfall; not used to such catastrophic defeats in the rigid power system of 18th century Europe, nations found life under the French yoke intolerable, this sparked revolts, wars, and instability that plagued the continent until 1815. Nevertheless, internationally there are still those who admire his accomplishments.
Napoleon I strengthened the town's defences to prevent British naval incursions.In the field of military organisation, he borrowed from previous theorists and the reforms of preceding French governments and developed much of what was already in place. He continued, for example, the Revolution's policy of promotion based primarily on merit. Corps replaced divisions as the largest army units, artillery was integrated into reserve batteries, the staff system became more fluid, and cavalry once again became an important formation in French military doctrine. Though he is credited with the introduction of conscription, one of the restored monarchy's first acts was to end it.

Weapons and technology remained largely static through the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, but 18th century operational mobility underwent massive restructuring. Napoleon's biggest influence was in the conduct of warfare, he was regarded by the influential military theorist Carl von Clausewitz as a genius in the operational art of war. A new emphasis towards the destruction, not just outmanoeuvring, of enemy armies emerged. Invasions of enemy territory occurred over broader fronts which made wars costlier and more decisive - a phenonemon that came to be known as Napoleonic warfare, though he did not give it this name. The political aspects of war had been totally revolutionised, defeat for a European power now meant more than the loss of isolated enclaves. Near-Carthaginian peaces intertwined whole national efforts, economic and militaristic, into collisions that upset international conventions. Historians place Napoleon as one of the greatest military strategists in history, alongside Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. Wellington, when asked who was the greatest general of the day, answered: "In this age, in past ages, in any age, Napoleon."

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Napoleon I of France

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Napoleon I (born Napoleone di Buonaparte, later Napoleon Bonaparte)[1] (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who had a significant impact on modern European history. He was a general during the French Revolution, the ruler of France as First Consul of the French Republic, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Mediator of the Swiss Confederation and Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine.

Born in Corsica and trained in mainland France as an artillery officer, he rose to prominence as a general of the French Revolution, leading several successful campaigns against the First Coalition and the Second Coalition arrayed against France. In 1799, Napoleon staged a coup d'état and installed himself as First Consul; five years later he became Emperor of the French. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, he turned the armies of France against almost every major European power, dominating continental Europe through a lengthy streak of military victories—epitomized through battles such as Austerlitz and Friedland—and the formation of extensive alliance systems, appointing close friends and family members as monarchs and government figures of French-dominated states.

The disastrous French invasion of Russia in 1812 marked a turning point in Napoleon's fortunes. The campaign wrecked the Grande Armée, which never regained its previous strength. In October 1813, the Sixth Coalition defeated his forces at Leipzig and invaded France, forcing him to abdicate in April 1814 and exiling him to the island of Elba. Less than a year later, he returned to France and regained control of the government in the Hundred Days (les Cent Jours) prior to his final defeat at Waterloo in June 1815. Napoleon spent the last six years of his life under British supervision on the island of St. Helena.

Napoleon developed relatively few military innovations, though his placement of artillery into batteries and the elevation of the army corps as the standard all-arms unit have become accepted doctrines in virtually all large modern armies. He drew his best tactics from a variety of sources and scored major victories with a modernized and reformed French army. His campaigns are studied at military academies all over the world and he is widely regarded as one of history's greatest commanders. Napoleon is also remembered for establishing the Napoleonic Code, which laid the bureaucratic foundations for the modern French state.

Early life

Napoleon was born in the town of Ajaccio on Corsica, France, on 15 August 1769,[2] one year after the island was transferred to France by the Republic of Genoa. At birth Napoleon was named Napoleone di Buonaparte (in Corsican, Nabolione or Nabulione) after his deceased uncle Napoleone, who died in 1767.[3] However, neither Napoleone nor his family used the nobiliary particle di. He later adopted the more French-sounding Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon wrote to Pasquale di Paoli (leader of a Corsican revolt against the French) in 1789: "I was born when my country was dying. Thirty thousand Frenchmen disgorged upon our shores, drowning the throne of liberty in a sea of blood; such was the hateful spectacle that offended my infant eyes."[4] Napoleon's heritage earned him popularity among Italians during his Italian campaigns.[5]

The family, formerly known as Buonaparte, were minor Italian nobility coming from Tuscan stock of Lombard origin set in Lunigiana.[6] The family moved to Florence and later broke into two branches; the original one, Buonaparte-Sarzana, were compelled to leave Florence, coming to Corsica in the 16th century when the island was a possession of the Republic of Genoa.

His father Carlo Buonaparte was born 1746 and in the Republic of Genoa; an attorney, he was named Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI in 1778, where he remained for a number of years. The dominant influence of Napoleon's childhood was his mother, Maria Letizia Ramolino.[7] Her firm discipline helped restrain the rambunctious Napoleon, nicknamed Rabullione (the "meddler" or "disrupter").

Napoleon had an elder brother, Joseph, and younger siblings Lucien, Elisa, Louis, Pauline, Caroline and Jérôme. He was baptised Catholic just before his second birthday, on 21 July 1771 at Ajaccio Cathedral.[8]

Napoleon's noble, moderately affluent background and family connections afforded him greater opportunities to study than were available to a typical Corsican of the time. On 15 May 1779, at age nine, Napoleon was admitted to a French military school at Brienne-le-Château, a small town near Troyes. He had to learn French before entering the school, but he spoke with a marked Italian accent throughout his life and never learned to spell properly.[9] During his schooling years Napoleon was often teased by other students for his Corsican accent. However he ignored this criticism and buried himself in study.[10] At Brienne, Bonaparte first met the Champagne maker Jean-Remy Moët. The friendship of these two men would have lasting impact on the history of the Champagne region and on the beverage itself.[11]

Upon graduation in 1784, Bonaparte was admitted to the elite École Royale Militaire (Military college) in Paris, where he completed the two-year course of study in only one year. Although he had initially sought a naval assignment, he studied artillery at the Ecole.[12] An examiner judged him as "very applied [to the study of] abstract sciences, little curious as to the others; [having] a thorough knowledge of mathematics and geography."[13]

Early military career

Upon graduation in September 1785, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in La Fère artillery regiment and took up his new duties in January 1786 at the age of 16.[14] Napoleon served on garrison duty in Valence and Auxonne until after the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789 (although he took nearly two years of leave in Corsica and Paris during this period). He spent most of the next several years on Corsica, where a complex three-way struggle was playing out between royalists, revolutionaries, and Corsican nationalists. Bonaparte supported the Jacobin faction and gained the rank of lieutenant-colonel of a regiment of volunteers. After coming into conflict with the increasingly conservative nationalist leader, Pasquale Paoli, Bonaparte and his family fled to the French mainland in June 1793.

Through the help of fellow Corsican Saliceti, Napoleon was appointed artillery commander of the French forces besieging Toulon, which had risen in revolt against the republican government and was occupied by British troops. He spotted an ideal place for his guns to be set up so they could dominate the city's harbour, and the British ships would be forced to evacuate. The assault on the position, during which Bonaparte was wounded in the thigh, led to the recapture of the city and his promotion to Brigadier General. His actions brought him to the attention of the Committee of Public Safety, and he became a close associate of Augustin Robespierre, younger brother of the Revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre. Following the fall of the elder Robespierre he was briefly imprisoned in the Chateau d'Antibes on 6 August 1794, but was released within two weeks.

"A whiff of grapeshot"

For more details on this topic, see 13 Vendémiaire.

In 1795, Bonaparte was serving in Paris when royalists and counter-revolutionaries organized an armed protest against the National Convention on 3 October. Bonaparte was given command of the improvised forces defending the Convention in the Tuileries Palace. He seized artillery pieces with the aid of a young cavalry officer, Joachim Murat, who later became his brother-in-law.[15] He used the artillery the following day to repel the attackers, as a result of which many died or fled.[16] This triumph earned him sudden fame, wealth, and the patronage of the new Directory, particularly that of its leader, Barras. Within weeks he was romantically attached to Barras's former mistress, Josephine de Beauharnais, whom he married on 9 March 1796.[17] He had been engaged for two years (1794-96) to Désirée Clary, later Queen of Sweden and Norway, but the engagement was broken off by Napoleon.[18]

First Italian campaign

Days after his marriage, Bonaparte took command of the French "Army of Italy" on 27 March 1796, leading it on a successful invasion of Italy. At the Lodi, he gained the nickname of le petit caporal, literally "the Little Corporal."[19] This term reflected his camaraderie with his soldiers, many of whom he knew by name, and emphasized how rarely general officers fought wars alongside their own men. He drove the Austrians out of Lombardy and defeated the army of the Papal States. Because Pope Pius VI had protested the execution of Louis XVI, France retaliated by annexing two small papal territories. Bonaparte ignored the Directory's order to march on Rome and dethrone the Pope. It was not until the next year that General Berthier captured Rome and took Pius VI prisoner on 20 February. The Pope died of illness while in captivity. In early 1797, Bonaparte led his army into Austria and forced that power to sue for peace. The resulting Treaty of Campo Formio gave France control of most of northern Italy, along with the Low Countries and Rhineland, but a secret clause promised Venice to Austria.[20] Bonaparte then marched on Venice and forced its surrender, ending more than 1,000 years of independence. Later in 1797, Bonaparte organized many of the French-dominated territories in Italy into the Cisalpine Republic.

His remarkable series of military triumphs was a result of his ability to apply his encyclopedic knowledge of conventional military thought to real-world situations, as demonstrated by his creative use of artillery tactics, using it as a mobile force to support his infantry. As he described it: "...Although I have fought sixty battles, I have learned nothing which I did not know at the beginning. Look at Caesar; he fought the first like the last."[21] Contemporary paintings of his headquarters during the Italian campaign depict his use of the Chappe semaphore line, first implemented in 1792. He was also a master of both intelligence and deception and had an uncanny sense of when to strike. He often won battles by concentrating his forces on an unsuspecting enemy, by using spies to gather information about opposing forces, and by concealing his own troop deployments. In this campaign, often considered his greatest, Napoleon's army captured 160,000 prisoners, 2,000 cannons,[22] and 170 standards.[23] A year of campaigning had witnessed major breaks with the traditional norms of 18th century warfare and marked a new era in military history.

While campaigning in Italy, General Bonaparte became increasingly influential in French politics. He published two newspapers, ostensibly for the troops in his army, but widely circulated within France as well. In May 1797 he founded a third newspaper, published in Paris, Le Journal de Bonaparte et des hommes vertueux. Elections in mid-1797 gave the royalist party increased power, alarming Barras and his allies on the Directory. The royalists, in turn, began attacking Bonaparte for looting Italy and overstepping his authority in dealings with the Austrians. Bonaparte sent General Augereau to Paris to lead a coup d'etat and purge the royalists on 4 September (18 Fructidor). This left Barras and his Republican allies in firm control again, but dependent on Bonaparte to maintain it. Bonaparte himself proceeded to the peace negotiations with Austria, then returned to Paris in December as the conquering hero and the dominant force in government, far more popular than any of the Directors.

Egyptian expedition

In March 1798, Bonaparte proposed a military expedition to seize Egypt, then a province of the Ottoman Empire, seeking to protect French trade interests and undermine Britain's access to India. The Directory, although troubled by the scope and cost of the enterprise, readily agreed to the plan in order to remove the popular general from the center of power.

In May 1798, Bonaparte was elected a member of the French Academy of Sciences. His Egyptian expedition included a group of 167 scientists: mathematicians, naturalists, chemists and geodesers among them;[24] their discoveries included the Rosetta Stone and their work was published in the Description of Egypt in 1809. This deployment of intellectual resources is considered by some an indication of Bonaparte's devotion to the principles of the Enlightenment, and by others as a masterstroke of propaganda, obfuscating the true imperialist motives of the invasion. In a largely unsuccessful effort to gain the support of the Egyptian populace, Bonaparte also issued proclamations casting himself as a liberator of the people from Ottoman oppression, and praising the precepts of Islam.[25]

Bonaparte's expedition seized Malta from the Knights of Saint John on 9 June and then landed successfully at Alexandria on 1 July, temporarily eluding pursuit by the British Royal Navy. After landing he successfully fought The Battle of Chobrakit against the Mamelukes, an old power in the Middle East. This battle helped the French plan their attack in the Battle of the Pyramids fought over a week later, approximately four miles (6 km) from the pyramids. Bonaparte's forces were greatly outnumbered by the Mamelukes cavalry, 20,000 against 60,000, but Bonaparte formed hollow squares, keeping cannons and supplies safely on the inside. In all, 300 French and approximately 6,000 Egyptians were killed.[26]

While the battle on land was a resounding French victory, the British Royal Navy managed to compensate at sea. The ships that had landed Bonaparte and his army sailed back to France, while a fleet of ships of the line remained to support the army along the coast. On 1 August the British fleet under Horatio Nelson fought the French in the Battle of the Nile, capturing or destroying all but two French vessels. With Bonaparte land-bound, his goal of strengthening the French position in the Mediterranean Sea was frustrated, but his army succeeded in consolidating power in Egypt, although it faced repeated uprisings.

In early 1799, he led the army into the Ottoman province of Damascus (Syria and northern Israel) and defeated numerically superior Ottoman forces in several battles, but his army was weakened by disease—mostly bubonic plague—and poor supplies. Napoleon led 13,000 French soldiers to the conquest of the coastal towns of El Arish, Gaza, Jaffa, and Haifa.[27]

The storming of Jaffa was particularly brutal. Although the French took control of the city within a few hours after the attack began, the French soldiers bayoneted approximately 2,000 Turkish soldiers who were trying to surrender. The soldiers' ferocity then turned to the inhabitants of the town. Men, women, and children were robbed and murdered for three days, and the massacre ended with even more bloodshed, as Napoleon ordered 3,000 more Turkish prisoners executed.[27]

After his army was weakened by the plague, Napoleon was unable to reduce the fortress of Acre, and returned to Egypt in May. In order to speed up the retreat, Bonaparte took the controversial step of killing prisoners and plague-stricken men along the way. His supporters have argued that this decision was necessary given the continuing harassment of stragglers by Ottoman forces. Back in Egypt, on 25 July, Bonaparte defeated an Ottoman amphibious invasion at Abukir.

With the Egyptian campaign stagnating, and political instability developing back home, Bonaparte left Egypt for France in August, 1799, leaving his army under General Kléber.

Ruler of France

Coup d'état of 18 Brumaire

While in Egypt, Bonaparte stayed informed on European affairs by relying on the irregular delivery of newspapers and dispatches. On 23 August 1799, he set sail for France, taking advantage of the temporary departure of British ships blockading French coastal ports. Although he was later accused of abandoning his troops, the Directory ordered his departure, as France had suffered a series of military defeats to Second Coalition forces, and a possible invasion of French territory loomed.

By the time he returned to Paris in October, a series of French victories meant an improvement in the previously precarious military situation. The Republic was bankrupt, however, and the corrupt and inefficient Directory was more unpopular than ever with the French public.

Bonaparte was approached by one of the Directors, Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, seeking his support for a coup d'état to overthrow the constitutional government. The plot included Bonaparte's brother Lucien (then serving as speaker of the Council of Five Hundred), Roger Ducos, another Director, and Talleyrand. On 9 November (18 Brumaire) and the following day, troops led by Bonaparte seized control of and dispersed the legislative councils, leaving a legislative rump to name Bonaparte, Sieyès, and Ducos as provisional Consuls to administer the government. Although Sieyès expected to dominate the new regime, he was outmaneuvered by Bonaparte, who drafted the Constitution of the Year VIII and secured his own election as First Consul. This made Bonaparte the most powerful person in France, powers that were increased by the Constitution of the Year X, which declared him First Consul for life.[28]

Bonaparte instituted several lasting reforms, including centralized administration of the départements, higher education, a tax system, a central bank, law codes, and road and sewer systems. He negotiated the Concordat of 1801 with the Catholic Church, seeking to reconcile the mostly Catholic population with his regime. It was presented alongside the Organic Articles, which regulated public worship in France. His set of civil laws, the Napoleonic Code or Civil Code, has importance to this day in many countries. The Code was prepared by committees of legal experts under the supervision of Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, who held the office Second Consul from 1799 to 1804; Bonaparte participated actively in the sessions of the Council of State that revised the drafts. Other codes were commissioned by Bonaparte to codify criminal and commerce law. In 1808, a Code of Criminal Instruction was published, which enacted precise rules of judicial procedure.[29] Although by today's standards the code excessively favours the prosecution, when enacted it sought to protect personal freedoms and to remedy the prosecutorial abuses commonplace in contemporary European courts.

Second Italian campaign

In 1800, Bonaparte returned to Italy, which the Austrians had reconquered during his absence in Egypt. He and his troops crossed the Alps in spring - although he actually rode a mule,[30] not the white charger on which David famously depicted him. While the campaign began badly, Napoleon's forces eventually routed the Austrians in June at the Battle of Marengo, leading to an armistice. Napoleon's brother Joseph, who was leading the peace negotiations in Lunéville, reported that due to British backing for Austria, Austria would not recognize France's newly gained territory. As negotiations became more and more fractious, Bonaparte gave orders to his general Moreau to strike Austria once more. Moreau led France to victory at Hohenlinden. As a result the Treaty of Lunéville was signed in February 1801, under which the French gains of the Treaty of Campo Formio were reaffirmed and increased. Later that year, Bonaparte became President of the French Academy of Sciences and appointed Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre its Permanent Secretary.[31] He also re-established slavery in France after it had been banned following the revolution.[32]

Interlude of peace

The British signed the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802, which set terms for peace, including the withdrawal of British troops from several colonial territories recently occupied. The peace between France and Britain was uneasy and short-lived. The monarchies of Europe were reluctant to recognize a republic, fearing the ideas of the revolution might be exported to them. In Britain, the brother of Louis XVI was welcomed as a state guest although officially Britain recognized France as a republic. Britain failed to evacuate Malta, as promised, and protested against France's annexation of Piedmont, and Napoleon's Act of Mediation in Switzerland, although neither of these areas was covered by the Treaty of Amiens.

In 1803 Bonaparte faced a major setback and eventual defeat in the Haitian Revolution, when an army he sent to reconquer Saint-Domingue and establish a base, following a slave revolt, was destroyed by a combination of yellow fever and fierce resistance led by Haitian Generals Toussaint L'Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines.[33] Facing imminent war with Britain and bankruptcy, he recognized that French possessions on the mainland of North America would now be indefensible and sold them to the United States—the Louisiana Purchase—for less than three cents per acre ($7.40/km²).[34] The dispute over Malta ended with Britain declaring war on France in 1803 to support French royalists.

Coronation as Emperor

In January 1804, Bonaparte's police uncovered an assassination plot against him, ostensibly sponsored by the Bourbons.[35] After a hurried secret trial, the Duke was executed on 21 March.

In retaliation, Bonaparte ordered the arrest of the Duc d'Enghien, in a violation of the sovereignty of Baden. Bonaparte then used this incident to justify the re-creation of a hereditary monarchy in France, with himself as Emperor, on the theory that a Bourbon restoration would be impossible once the Bonapartist succession was entrenched in the constitution.

Napoleon crowned himself Emperor on 2 December 1804 at Notre Dame de Paris. Claims he seized the crown out of the hands of Pope Pius VII during the ceremony - in order to avoid subjecting himself to the authority of the pontiff - are apocryphal; the coronation procedure had been agreed in advance. Napoleon then crowned his wife Josephine Empress. At Milan's cathedral on 26 May 1805, Napoleon was crowned King of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy.

In May 1809, Napoleon declared the Pontifical States annexed to the empire and Pius VII responded with an excommunication against him. Though Napoleon did not instruct his officers to kidnap the Pope, once Pius was a prisoner, Napoleon did not offer his release. The Pope was moved throughout Napoleon's territories, sometimes whilst ill, and Napoleon sent delegations to pressure him into issues from giving-up power, to signing a new concordat with France. The Pope remained confined for 5 years, and did not return to Rome until May 1814.[36]

Napoleonic Wars

Main article: Napoleonic Wars

Third Coalition

Main article: Third Coalition

In 1805 Britain convinced Austria and Russia to join a Third Coalition against France. Napoleon knew the French fleet could not defeat the Royal Navy and therefore tried to lure the British fleet away from the English Channel in hopes that a Spanish and French fleet could take control of the Channel long enough for French armies to cross to England.[37] However, with Austria and Russia preparing an invasion of France and its allies, he had to change his plans and turn his attention to the continent. The newly formed Grande Armee secretly marched to Germany. On 20 October 1805, it surprised the Austrians at Ulm. The next day, however, with the Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805), the Royal Navy gained lasting control of the seas. A few weeks later, Napoleon defeated Austria and Russia at Austerlitz - a decisive victory for which he remained more proud than any other - on 2 December, the first anniversary of his coronation.[38] Again Austria had to sue for peace.

Fourth Coalition

The Fourth Coalition was assembled the following year, and Napoleon defeated Prussia at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt (14 October 1806).[39] He marched on against advancing Russian armies through Poland, and was involved at the bloody stalemate of the Battle of Eylau on 6 February 1807. After a decisive victory at Friedland, he signed a treaty at Tilsit in East Prussia with Tsar Alexander I of Russia, dividing Europe between the two powers. He placed puppet rulers on the thrones of German states, including his brother Jerome as king of the new state of Westphalia. In the French-controlled part of Poland, he established the Duchy of Warsaw, with King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony as ruler. Between 1809 and 1813, Napoleon also served as Regent of the Grand Duchy of Berg for his brother Louis Bonaparte.

In addition to military endeavours against Britain, Napoleon also waged economic war, attempting to enforce a Europe-wide commercial boycott of Britain called the "Continental System". Although this action hurt the British economy, it also damaged the French economy and was not a decisive blow against the enemy.

Peninsular War

Portugal did not comply with the Continental System and in 1807 Napoleon invaded Portugal with the support of Spain.[41] Under the pretext of reinforcing the Franco-Spanish army occupying Portugal, Napoleon invaded Spain as well, replacing Charles IV with his brother Joseph, placing brother-in-law Joachim Murat in Joseph's stead at Naples. This led to unexpected resistance from the Spanish army and civilians. Following a French retreat from much of the country, Napoleon himself took command and defeated the Spanish army, retook Madrid and then outmaneuvered a British army sent to support the Spanish, driving it to the coast. But before the Spanish population had been fully subdued, Austria again threatened war and Napoleon returned to France. The costly and often brutal Peninsular War continued, and Napoleon left several hundred thousand of his finest troops to battle Spanish guerrillas as well as British and Portuguese forces commanded by the Duke of Wellington. French control over the Iberian Peninsula deteriorated in 1812, and collapsed the following year when Joseph abdicated his throne. The last French troops were driven from the peninsula in 1814.

Fifth Coalition

Main article: Fifth Coalition

In 1809, Austria abruptly broke its alliance with France and Napoleon was forced to assume command of forces on the Danube and German fronts. After achieving early successes, the French faced difficulties crossing the Danube and then suffered a defeat at Aspern-Essling (21–22 May 1809) near Vienna. The Austrians failed to capitalise on the situation and allowed Napoleon's forces to regroup. The Austrians were defeated once again at Wagram (6 July), and a new peace was signed between Austria and France. In the following year the Austrian Archduchess Marie Louise married Napoleon, following his divorce of Josephine.

The other member of the coalition was Britain. Along with efforts in the Iberian Peninsula, the British planned to open another front in mainland Europe. However, by the time the British landed at Walcheren, Austria had already sued for peace.[42] The expedition was a disaster and was characterized by little fighting but many casualties thanks to the popularly dubbed "Walcheren Fever".

Invasion of Russia

Main article: French invasion of Russia

Although the Congress of Erfurt had sought to preserve the Russo-French alliance, by 1811 tensions were again increasing between the two nations. Although Alexander and Napoleon had a friendly personal relationship since their first meeting in 1807, Alexander had been under strong pressure from the Russian aristocracy to break off the alliance with France. In order to keep other countries from revolting against France, Napoleon decided to make an example of Russia.

The first sign that the alliance was deteriorating was the easing of the application of the Continental System in Russia, angering Napoleon. By 1812, advisors to Alexander suggested the possibility of an invasion of the French Empire and the recapture of Poland.

Russia deployed large numbers of troops to the Polish borders, eventually placing there more than 300,000 of its total army strength of 410,000. After receiving initial reports of Russia's war preparations, Napoleon began expanding his Grande Armée to more than 450,000–600,000 men (in addition to more than 300,000 men already deployed in Iberia).[43] Napoleon ignored repeated advice against an invasion of the vast Russian heartland, and prepared for an offensive campaign.

On 22 June 1812, Napoleon's invasion of Russia commenced.[44] In an attempt to gain increased support from Polish nationalists and patriots, Napoleon termed the war the "Second Polish War" (the first Polish war being the liberation of Poland from Russia, Prussia and Austria). Polish patriots wanted the Russian part of partitioned Poland to be incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Warsaw and a new Kingdom of Poland created, although this was rejected by Napoleon, who feared it would bring Prussia and Austria into the war against France. Napoleon also rejected requests to free the Russian serfs, fearing this might provoke a conservative reaction in his rear.

The Russians under Mikhail Bogdanovich Barclay de Tolly avoided a decisive engagement which Napoleon longed for, preferring to retreat ever deeper into the heart of Russia. A brief attempt at resistance was offered at Smolensk (16–17 August), but the Russians were defeated in a series of battles in the area and Napoleon resumed the advance. The Russians then repeatedly avoided battle with the Grande Armée, although in a few cases only because Napoleon uncharacteristically hesitated to attack when the opportunity arose. Thanks to the Russian army's scorched earth tactics, the Grande Armée had more and more trouble foraging food for its men and horses.[45] Along with hunger, the French also suffered from the harsh Russian winter.

Barclay was criticized for his tentative strategy of continual retreat and was replaced by Kutuzov. However, Kutuzov continued Barclay's strategy. Kutuzov eventually offered battle outside Moscow on 7 September. Losses were nearly even for both armies, with slightly more casualties on the Russian side, after what may have been the bloodiest day of battle in history: the Battle of Borodino (see article for comparisons to the Battle of the Somme). Although Napoleon was far from defeated, the Russian army had accepted, and withstood, the major battle the French hoped would be decisive. After the battle, the Russian army withdrew and retreated past Moscow.

Napoleon then entered Moscow, assuming that the fall of Moscow would end the war and that Alexander I would negotiate peace. However, on orders of the city's military governor and commander-in-chief, Fyodor Rostopchin, rather than capitulating, Moscow was ordered burned.[46] Within the month, fearing loss of control back in France, Napoleon left Moscow.

The French suffered greatly in the course of a ruinous retreat; the Army had begun as over 650,000 frontline troops, but in the end fewer than 40,000 crossed the Berezina River (November 1812) to escape.[47] The strategy employed by Barclay and Kutuzov had worn down the invaders and maintained the Tsar's domination over the Russian people. In total, French losses in the campaign were 570,000[48] against about 400,000 Russian casualties and several hundred thousand civilian deaths.[49]

One American study concluded that the winter only had a major effect once Napoleon was in full retreat:

"However, in regard to the claims of "General Winter," the main body of Napoleon's Grande Armée diminished by half during the first eight weeks of his invasion before the major battle of the campaign. This decrease was partly due to garrisoning supply centres, but disease, desertions, and casualties sustained in various minor actions caused thousands of losses. At Borodino on 7 September 1812 — the only major engagement fought in Russia — Napoleon could muster no more than 135,000 troops, and he lost at least 30,000 of them to gain a narrow and Pyrrhic victory almost 600 miles (970 km) deep in hostile territory. The sequels were his uncontested and self-defeating occupation of Moscow and his humiliating retreat, which began on 19 October, before the first severe frosts later that month and the first snow on 5 November."[50]

Sixth Coalition, defeat and first exile

Main article: Sixth Coalition

There was a lull in fighting over the winter of 1812–13 while both the Russians and the French recovered from their massive losses. A small Russian army harassed the French in Poland and eventually 30,000 French troops there withdrew to the German states to rejoin the expanding force there — numbering 130,000 with the reinforcements from Poland. This force continued to expand, with Napoleon aiming for a force of 400,000 French troops supported by 250,000 German troops.

Heartened by Napoleon's losses in Russia, Prussia rejoined the Coalition that now included Russia, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal. Napoleon assumed command in Germany and inflicted a series of defeats on the Allies culminating in the Battle of Dresden on 26–27 August 1813 causing almost 26,000 casualties to the Coalition forces, whilst the French sustained only around 8,000.[51]

Despite these initial successes, the numbers continued to mount against Napoleon as Sweden and Austria joined the Coalition. Eventually the French army was pinned down by a force twice its size at the Battle of Leipzig (Battle of Nations) from 16–19 October. Some of the German states switched sides in the midst of the battle to fight against France. This was by far the largest battle of the Napoleonic Wars and cost more than 100,000 casualties in total.[52]

After this Napoleon withdrew back into France. His army was now reduced to less than 100,000 against more than half a million Coalition troops. The French were now surrounded and vastly outnumbered with British armies pressing from the south, in addition to the Coalition forces moving in from the German states.

Paris was occupied on 31 March 1814. Napoleon proposed that they march on Paris. His soldiers and regimental officers were eager to fight on. But his marshals mutinied. On April 4, Napoleon's marshals, led by Ney, confronted him. They said they refused to march. Napoleon asserted the army would follow him and Ney replied that the army would follow its generals. On April 6, 1814, Napoleon abdicated in favor of his son, but the Allies refused to accept this and demanded unconditional surrender. Napoleon abdicated again, unconditionally, on 11 April; however, the Allies allowed him to retain his title of Emperor. In the Treaty of Fontainebleau the victors exiled him to Elba, a small island in the Mediterranean 20 km off the coast of Italy. After his abdication Napoleon attempted to commit suicide by taking poison from a vial he had always carried. However, the poison had weakened with age and he survived to be deported to Elba.[53]

In his exile, he ran Elba as a little country; he created a tiny navy and army, opened some mines, and helped farmers improve their land.[54]

The Hundred Days

In France, the royalists had taken over and restored Louis XVIII to power. Meanwhile Napoleon, separated from his wife and son (who had come under Austrian control), cut off from the allowance guaranteed to him by the Treaty of Fontainebleau, and aware of rumours that he was about to be banished to a remote island in the Atlantic, escaped from Elba on 26 February 1815 and returned to the French mainland on 1 March 1815. Louis XVIII sent the 5th Regiment of the Line, led by Marshal Ney who had formerly served under Napoleon in Russia, to meet him at Grenoble on 7 March 1815. Napoleon approached the regiment alone, dismounted his horse and, when he was within earshot of Ney's forces, shouted, "Soldiers of the Fifth, you recognize me. If any man would shoot his emperor, he may do so now."[55] Following a brief silence, the soldiers shouted, "Vive L'Empereur!" With that, they marched with Napoleon to Paris. He arrived on 20 March, quickly raising a regular army of 140,000 and a volunteer force of around 200,000, and governed for a period now called the Hundred Days.

The powers at the Congress of Vienna declared him an outlaw; four days later the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Russia, Austria and Prussia bound themselves to put 150,000 men into the field to end his rule.[56]

Napoleon was finally defeated by the Duke of Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher at Waterloo in present-day Belgium on 18 June 1815. Wellington's army withstood repeated attacks by the French, until the evening when they counter-attacked and drove the French from the field. Simultaneously the Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon's right flank. Finally, the French army left the battlefield in disorder, allowing Coalition forces to enter France and restore Louis XVIII to the French throne.

Off the port of Rochefort, after considering an escape to the United States, Napoleon made his formal surrender to Captain Frederick Maitland of HMS Bellerophon on 15 July 1815.

Exile and death on Saint Helena

Napoleon was imprisoned and then exiled by the British to the island of St. Helena (2,800 km off the Bight of Guinea in the South Atlantic Ocean) from 15 October 1815. Before Napoleon moved to Longwood House in November 1815, he lived in a pavilion on the estate The Briars belonging to William Balcombe (1779-1829), and became friendly with the family, especially the younger daughter Lucia Elizabeth (Betsy) who later wrote Recollections of the Emperor Napoleon (London, 1844). This relationship ended in March 1818 when Balcombe was accused of acting as an intermediary between Napoleon and Paris.[57] Whilst there, with a small cadre of followers, he dictated his memoirs, and criticized his captors. There were several plots to rescue Napoleon from captivity, including one from Brazil and another from Texas, where 400 exiled soldiers from the Grand Army dreamed of a resurrection of the Napoleonic Empire in America. There was even a plan to rescue him using a submarine.[58]

The question of the British treatment of Napoleon is a matter of some dispute. Certainly his accommodation was poorly built, and the location was damp, windswept and generally considered unhealthy. The behaviour of Hudson Lowe exacerbated a difficult situation in the eyes of Napoleon and his supporters: for exxample, the news that rescue expeditions were being planned by the Bonapartists in the United States led to the enforcement of somewhat stricter regulations in October 1816, Lowe causing sentries to be posted round Longwood garden at sunset instead of at 9 p.m.[59] At the same time Napoleon and his entourage never accepted the legality or justice of his captivity, and the slights they received tended to be magnified. In the early years of the captivity Napoleon received many visitors, to the anger and consternation of the French minister Richelieu. From 1818 however, as the restrictions placed on him were increased, he lived the life of a recluse.

In 1818 The Times, which Napoleon received in exile, in reporting a false rumour of his escape, said this had been greeted by spontaneous illuminations in London. There was some sympathy for him also in the political opposition in the British Parliament. Lord Holland, the nephew of Charles James Fox, the former Whig leader, sent more than 1,000 books and pamphlets to Longwood, as well as jam and other comforts. Holland also accused the government of attempting to kill the Emperor by a process of slow assassination. Napoleon based his hopes for release on the possibility of Holland becoming Prime Minister.

Napoleon also enjoyed the support of Admiral Lord Cochrane, one of the greatest sailors of the age, closely involved in Chile and Brazil's struggle for independence. It was his expressed aim to make him Emperor of a unified South American state, a scheme that was frustrated by Napoleon's death in 1821. For Lord Byron, amongst others, Napoleon was the very epitome of the Romantic hero, the persecuted, lonely and flawed genius. At quite the other extreme, the news that Napoleon had taken up gardening at Longwood appealed to more domestic British sensibilities.

Religious Faith

Further information: Napoleon and the Jews

The nature of Napoleon's personal religious faith has become a frequent topic of debate. Not long after Napoleon’s death Henry Parry Liddon asserted that Napoleon, while in exile on St. Helena, compared himself unfavorably to Jesus Christ. According to Liddon's sources, Napoleon pointed out to Count Montholon that while he and others such as "Alexander, Caesar and Charlemagne" founded vast empires, their achievements relied on force, while Jesus "founded his empire on love." After further discourse about Christ and his legacy, Napoleon then reputedly said, "It...proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ."[60]

An earlier quotation attributed to Napoleon suggests there had been a time he may have also been an admirer of Islam:

I hope the time is not far off when I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of Qur'an which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness.[61]

However, Napoleon's private secretary during his conquest of Egypt, Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne, wrote in his memoirs that Napoleon had no serious interest in Islam or any other religion beyond their political value.[62]

Death

Napoleon died reconciled to the Catholic Church, having confessed his sins and received Extreme Unction and Viaticum at the hands of Father Ange Vignali on May 5, 1821.[63]

Napoleon had asked in his will to be buried on the banks of the Seine, but was buried on St. Helena, in the "valley of the willows". He was buried in an unmarked tomb.[64]

In 1840 his remains were taken to France in the frigate Belle-Poule and were to be entombed in a porphyry sarcophagus at Les Invalides, Paris. Egyptian porphyry (used for the tombs of Roman emperors) was unavailable, so red quartzite was obtained from Russian Finland, eliciting protests from those who still remembered the Russians as enemies. Hundreds of millions have visited his tomb since that date. A replica of his simple St. Helena tomb is also to be found at Les Invalides.

Cause of death

Antommarchi, the physician chosen by Napoleon's family and the leader of the autopsy,[65] gave stomach cancer as a reason on Napoleon's death certificate. In the latter half of the twentieth century, several people conjectured other theories for his death including that Napoleon was the victim of arsenic poisoning.[66] Later studies provided more evidence that he died from stomach cancer.

Arsenic poisoning theory

In 1955 the diaries of Louis Marchand, Napoleon's valet, appeared in print; his description of Napoleon in the months before his death led many, most notably Sten Forshufvud and Ben Weider, to conclude he had been killed by arsenic poisoning. Arsenic was sometimes used as a poison because, at that time it was undetectable when administered over a long period. As Napoleon's body was found to be remarkably well-preserved when it was moved in 1840, this supported the arsenic theory as it is a strong preservative.[67]

Forshufvud and Weider noted Napoleon was attempting to quench abnormal thirst by drinking high levels of orgeat which contained cyanide compounds in the almonds used for flavoring and which, Forshufvud and Weider maintained, the antimony potassium tartrate used in his treatment, were preventing his stomach from expelling. They remarked that the thirst was a possible symptom of arsenic poisoning, and the calomel given to Napoleon became a massive overdose. They said it caused stomach bleeding, killing him and leaving behind extensive tissue damage. Forshufvud and Weider suggested some of the autopsy doctors could have mistaken this damage for cancer after effects.[68] In 2008, researchers analyzed samples of Napoleon's hair from throughout his life, and also samples from his family and other contemporaries. All had high levels of arsenic, approximately 100 times higher than the current average. The research showed that the type of arsenic in the hair shafts was not of the organic type but of a mineral type suggesting that the death was murder. [69] According to some researchers, Napoleon's body was already heavily contaminated with arsenic as a boy, the high arsenic concentration in his hair was not due to poisoning and he was constantly exposed to arsenic[70] from materials such as glues and dyes of the era.[71]

Stomach cancer

The original autopsy concluded Napoleon died of stomach cancer without Antommarchi knowing Napoleon’s father had died of this form of cancer.[72] In May 2005, a team of Swiss physicians claimed the reason for Napoleon's death was stomach cancer[73] and in October a document was unearthed in Scotland that presented an account of the autopsy, which again seemed to confirm Antommarchi's conclusion.[74] A 2007 study found no evidence of arsenic poisoning in the organs and concluded stomach cancer was the cause of death.[75]

Marriages and children

Napoleon married Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796, when he was aged 26. He formally adopted her son Eugène and cousin Stéphanie after assuming the throne to arrange "dynastic" marriages for them. Josephine had her daughter Hortense marry Napoleon's brother, Louis.[76]

Napoleon's and Josephine's marriage was unconventional, and both were known to have many affairs. Josephine agreed to divorce so he could remarry in the hopes of producing an heir.[77]

So, on 11 March 1810, he was married by proxy to Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria, then in a ceremony on 1 April. This meant he married into the family of German rulers.[78] They remained married until his death, although the Archduchess did not join him in his exile. The couple had one child Napoleon Francis Joseph Charles (20 March 1811 – 22 July 1832), known from birth as the King of Rome. He was later Napoleon II though he reigned in name only and for just two weeks. He was awarded the title of the Duke of Reichstadt in 1818 and had no children himself.

Napoleon Bonaparte acknowledged two illegitimate children, both of whom had issue: Charles, Count Léon, (1806 – 1881) by Louise Catherine Eléonore Denuelle de la Plaigne (1787 – 1868) and Alexandre Joseph Colonna, Count Walewski, (4 May 1810 – 27 October 1868) by Countess Walewski (1789 – 1817).

Napoleon may have had further illegitimate offspring: Émilie Louise Marie Françoise Josephine Pellapra by Françoise-Marie LeRoy; Karl Eugin von Mühlfeld by Victoria Kraus;[2] Hélène Napoleone Bonaparte by Countess Albine de Montholon| and Jules Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire (19 August 1805 – 24 November 1895) whose mother remains unknown.

Legacy

Napoleonic Code

Main article: Napoleonic Code

The Napoleonic Code was adopted throughout much of Europe and remained in force after Napoleon's defeat. Napoleon himself once said: "My true glory is not to have won 40 battles...Waterloo will erase the memory of so many victories. ... But what nothing will destroy, what will live forever, is my Civil Code."[79] Professor Dieter Langewiesche of the University of Tübingen described the code as a "revolutionary project" which spurred the development of bourgeois society in Germany by expanding the right to own right to own property and breaking the back of feudalism. Langewiesche also credits Napoleon with reorganizing what had been the Holy Roman Empire, made up of more than 1,000 entities, into a more streamlined network of 40 states, providing the basis for the German Confederation and the future unification of Germany under the German Empire in 1871.[80]

Rise of the Nation State and Bonapartism

Further information: Bonapartism and Bonapartism (epithet)

In France, Napoleon is seen by some as having ended lawlessness and -------------------- Napoléon Bonaparte (15. elokuuta 1769 Ajaccio, Korsika – 5. toukokuuta 1821[1] Longwood, Saint Helena), alkujaan Napoleone Buonaparte, oli Ranskan ensimmäinen konsul

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Napoléon I, emperor of the French's Timeline

1769
August 15, 1769
Ajaccio, Corse-du-Sud, Corsica, France
1796
March 9, 1796
Age 26
France
1806
November 11, 1806
Age 37
Lyon, Rhône-Alpes, France
December 15, 1806
Age 37
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
1810
January 10, 1810
Age 40
Paris, 75, France
March 11, 1810
Age 40
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
May 3, 1810
Age 40
Versailles, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
May 4, 1810
Age 40
Walewice, Bielawy / Łowicz, Łódzkie, Poland
1811
March 20, 1811
Age 41
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
1821
May 5, 1821
Age 51
Saint Helena, Great Britain