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The story of Napoleon Bonaparte, first emperor of France

 Military leader and first emperor of France after the revolution that overthrew the monarchy in 1789. He was able to unite large parts of Europe by force, but he suffered successive defeats, the last of which was the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, after which he took refuge with the British forces, who exiled him to the island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean. He died there six years later, at the age of 51.

Birth and education

Napoleon was born in 1769 in the town of Ajaccio, on the island of Corsica, after France took over the island from the Italian principality of Genoa. He was the fourth member of his Corsican family.

study and training

At the age of nine, Napoleon traveled to France and joined the Military Academy of Brienne with the help of Count Marbef, ruler of Corsica. The academy was then reserved for the children of the aristocracy, and Napoleon found himself discordant among them on reason. to his financial standing and his distinctive Italian accent.

He devoted most of his time to reading and was very interested in history in general and military history in particular, as well as mathematics, and he was also interested in art.

Jobs and responsibilities

Napoleon graduated at the age of 15 from the Academy of Brienne to enter the military school of Paris. He was able to complete a degree in one year, whereas normally students need two years.

He graduated with the rank of lieutenant, specialist in artillery, with remarkable academic distinction. Early in his military career, he performed well in the battle to retake the naval base of Toulon from the British in 1793, which became the Supreme. The command of the armed forces decided to promote him to the rank of major general, and he was only 24 years old.

Napoleon was able to organize the French army on the Italian front, and the victory of France over Austria and its allies and their agreement to sign the peace agreement with it in 1797 at Campo Forno, then Napoleon was received at Paris as a hero. Which fueled his political ambitions for power.

On November 10, 1799, representatives in Parliament close to Napoleon launched a political coup against the ruling council known as the Joint Command, replacing it with a new executive mechanism called the "Consulate", and Napoleon was named head of the Consulate.

A month later, a constitutional amendment granted Bonaparte broad powers and reduced the room for maneuver before both houses of Parliament.

In 1802, Bonaparte declared himself consul for life after his overwhelming victory in the elections for the presidency of the Council, in which he obtained more than 5.3 million votes against only 8,500 votes for his competitors, and the way was opened for he became the first emperor in the history of France.

the emperor

In May 1804, France was declared an empire, encompassing France, Italy, part of Belgium, Germany, Austria and Russia.

On December 2, 1804, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Bari hosted the coronation ceremony of Napoleon as emperor, in the presence of thousands of notables, politicians, military leaders and the Pope. Six months later, Napoleon was crowned Emperor of Italy. , and the ceremony took place in the city of Milan.

Napoleon became an emperor ruling much of Europe in his forties. Despite this, his expansionist ambition was limitless. He continued his military campaigns and launched his third war against the Allies, "Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia and Great Britain." » During the winter of 1805, he won the Battle of Austerlitz, subjugated the Allies, imposed a protectorate on Spain and placed it under the command of his brother.

the end

Things stabilized for Napoleon as they had not for anyone before him in Europe. He divided the kingship among his brothers and made sovereignty over the continent a purely family affair which the executive councils were forbidden to discuss. But in 1810, the reign of Bonaparte. was on its way to its end, driven by the numerous military campaigns and the enormous losses that resulted.

Russia announced that it was renouncing its alliance with France and its alliance with Austria, and opened its waters to British ships. At the end of the year, the Tsar announced the imposition of taxes on French products.

These measures caused the economic strangulation of France and Napoleon decided to invade Russia during the winter of 1812. He went there at the head of an army of six hundred thousand soldiers, but the extreme cold and the snow turned the campaign into a disaster in which more than 90% of the soldiers died.

The Allies launched a new attack which resulted in a resounding loss for the French army during the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813. Napoleon withdrew at the head of his defeated armies when news arrived from Paris that Parliament was on the march. point to put it down. He therefore took refuge on the island of Elba and declared himself emperor despite the fact that the inhabitants of this island do not exceed 13 thousand villagers.

In February 1815, Napoleon landed on the French coast and headed towards Paris amid unprecedented support from the population and army garrisons who joined him one after the other, in light of the news coming from the campaigns. French. The government flees and Bonaparte enters Paris. on March 20, announcing his intention to launch a new battle against the Allies.

This period was called the Hundred Days, named after the period between the date of entry into Paris and the date of defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, June 18, 1815.

Napoleon resorted to the British army in the hope of obtaining political asylum, but the British exiled him to the island of Saint Helena on the African coast, where he died on May 5, 1821.


During his brief reign, Napoleon was able to create the French Central Bank and promulgate the French Civil Code, which included 36 sections and over two thousand chapters, which has remained a basic legal reference for much legislation around the world .

Napoleon administratively divided France into provinces, and this is still the case today. He founded the Court of Auditors, which is - to this day - one of the financial control and control bodies in France and in a large number of countries around the world. He also founded the Council of State, the Court of Cassation and the Paris Stock Exchange.

In the architectural field, Paris owes two of its most striking tourist attractions to Bonaparte: the Arc de Triomphe and the Lebelesque statue on the Place de la Concorde, which line the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the most famous street in the capital.


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