Napoleon Bonaparte


     Napoleon Bonaparte, who was also known as the "Little Corsican" (and later
known as Emperor of France, and the prime mover of the Napolionic Wars), was
born on August 15, in 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica. From 1784 to 1785, Napoleon
attended the Ecole Militire in Paris, where he received his military training.

After the French Monarchy was overthrown on August 10, 1792, Napoleon decided to
make his move up in the ranks. In 1793, Napoleon was chosen to direct the
artillery against the siege in Toulon. He seized ground where he could get his
guns in range of British ships. Soon after that, Toulon fell and he was promoted
to the rank of brigadier general. In 1794, he was wed to Josephine de

Beauharnais. In 1795 Napoleon was appointed to put down a revolt in Paris. All
he did was have his men shoot all the rebels in the streets. The French
government was saved, but they decided to form a new government called the

Directory. Napoleon was made commander of the French army in Italy, and he could
not be stopped. Soon, instead of taking the defensive position Napoleon started
taking the offensive position and thus, he started his conquest of Europe.

During one attack he showed his bravery by forcing his way across a burning
bridge. After that his troops gave him the name "Petit Caporal" or in

English "Little Corporal" and the name stuck with him. In 1797 Napoleon
negotiated a treaty with Austria called Campo Formio. Austria gave up its

Netherlands and Lombardy to France. Austria also recognized Rhine as the eastern
boundary of France. In return France gave Austria most of the old Venetian

Republic. Napoleon returned in 1799 to find that the Directory was a mess. He,
in his selfish way, saw this as the perfect time for self-advancement. So in

November of 1799 he overthrew the Directory. He set up a government called the
consulate in which he was the first of three consuls. About three years later,
he made himself first consul for life. Everyone in France loved him then. Soon
after the change in government, Napoleon began calling himself Napoleon I,
instead of General Bonaparte. At this time, Napoleon had complete military and
political power. In 1802, Germany and England were tired of fighting, so they
signed a peace treaty. During the 14 months that followed, Napoleon drastically
changed Europe. He reshaped Switzerland with France. He annexed Piedmont, Parma,
and the Island of Elba to France. He also made the Napolionic code, which was
the first clear, compact statement of the French law. The Napolionic Code has
served as a base for legal systems all over the world. In 1803, war broke out
between England and France. He crushed the Prussians at Pena. And he defeated
more Russians at Friedland. He then created a peace treaty called the Peace of

Tilsit. This basically brought all of Europe to his feet. In 1809 he ended his
marriage with Josephine, but remarried again in 1810. At that time, he got a
son, which made him very secure. Secure enough to wipe out most of the German
states, which totally dissolved what was left of the Holy Roman Empire. Russia
did not like Napoleonís continental system. The continental system basically
cut off trade with Britain. Everyone had found ways to work around it, but

Russia finally decided to abandon it. In 1812, Napoleon made a strategic error.

Initially defeating the Russians at Borodino, he found the advance into Russia
restrained by the "burnt-earth" strategy practiced by the Russians. As it
became cold and wintry, Napoleon retreated from Moscow. In 1814, Napoleon
attempted suicide, but failed. He was then exiled to the Island of Elba. In

1815, he escaped from Elba. He collected devotees along the way back to Paris,
making a triumphant entry in March 1815, and forcing Louis XVIII to flee to the

Netherlands. Over the next 100 days, he raised a new Grand Army, with the aim of
striking at the allied armies, currently dispersed. Wellington at Waterloo then
defeated him. He then abdicated in favor of his son. He was then exiled to The

Atlantic Island of St. Helena. He never saw his family again. Napoleon Bonaparte
died on May 5, 1821 from stomach cancer.