Napoleon Bonaparte Biography

(Emperor of the French (1804-1814))

Birthday: August 15, 1769 (Leo)

Born In: Ajaccio, France

The latter years of the French Revolution saw the emergence of a man who played a quintessential role in shaping the future of France – Napoleon Bonaparte. Born as Napoleone Buonapart, he made a huge impact and is considered one of the most famed military and political leaders. During his time, he not only served as the first Consul but even became the first monarch of France to bear the title of the Emperor. What distinguished him from his contemporaries was his techniques that made him win over battles even against enemies who were numerically superior to him. Due to this, he is often regarded as the greatest military commander of all time. Another interesting aspect of his rule was the political and social reforms instituted by him, which pulled the country from the perils of bankruptcy. His Napoleonic Code combined the basic tenets of old Roman law with modern French statutes. The code served as the precedent for subsequent codification of criminal and commercial laws in France and elsewhere.
Quick Facts

French Celebrities Born In August

Also Known As: Napoleon I, Napoleone di Buonaparte

Died At Age: 51


Spouse/Ex-: Duchess of Parma, Marie Louise, Joséphine de Beauharnais

father: Carlo Buonaparte

mother: Letizia Ramolino

siblings: Caroline Bonaparte, Elisa Bonaparte, Jérôme Bonaparte, Joseph Bonaparte, Louis Bonaparte, Lucien Bonaparte, Pauline Bonaparte

children: Charles Léon, Count Alexandre Joseph Colonna-Walewski, Eugène de Beauharnais, Napoleon II

Emperors & Kings French Men

Height: 1.68 m

Died on: May 5, 1821

place of death: Longwood, Saint Helena, England

Ancestry: Italian French

City: Ajaccio, France

  • 1

    What were Napoleon Bonaparte's most significant military victories?

    Napoleon's most significant military victories included the Battle of Austerlitz (1805), Battle of Jena-Auerstedt (1806), Battle of Friedland (1807), and Battle of Wagram (1809).

  • 2

    What was the impact of Napoleon Bonaparte's Napoleonic Code on Europe?

    Napoleon's Napoleonic Code established legal equality, religious tolerance, and property rights, influencing legal systems across Europe and beyond.

  • 3

    How did Napoleon Bonaparte's reign influence the spread of nationalism in Europe?

    Napoleon's reign sparked nationalist movements across Europe as people sought independence from French rule and unity based on shared language and culture.

  • 4

    What led to Napoleon Bonaparte's downfall and exile?

    Napoleon's downfall was primarily caused by his failed invasion of Russia in 1812, leading to a series of military defeats and his eventual exile to the island of Elba in 1814.

  • 5

    What impact did Napoleon Bonaparte have on the development of modern warfare tactics?

    Napoleon revolutionized warfare by introducing new tactics such as maneuver warfare, mass conscription, and the corps system, influencing military strategy for generations to come.

Childhood & Early Life
Born to Carlo Buonaparte, a lawyer, and his wife, Letizia Ramolino, Napoleone Buonaparte was the fourth and the second surviving child of the couple.
Academically brilliant, young Buonaparte completed his preliminary education from a France’s College d'Autun before applying at the �cole Militaire in Paris. However, his two-years term was cut short to one year post his father’s demise.
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Trained as an artillery officer, he joined as second lieutenant in La F�re artillery regiment in 1785. Serving at the Revolution in Corsica, he was promoted to the rank of a captain in the regular army in 1792.
In 1793, following a split with Paoli, the nationalist Corsican leader, he along with his family, shifted base to France. There he joined his regiment at Nice. It was his pro-republican pamphlet, Le souper de Beaucaire that earned him the admiration and support of Augustin Robespierre, younger brother of the Revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre.
At the age of 24, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and was put in charge of the artillery of France’s Army of Italy. Adhering to his plans, the French army slowly and steadily captured the north, east and west coast in the Battle of Saorgio.
The fall of the Jacobins led to the rise of Maximilien de Robespierre, thus initiating the dictatorship of the Committee of Public Safety. In 1795, the Directory took over the control of the country.
Bonaparte who had supported the Directory all through came under their good books and was named Commander of the Army of the Interior. Additionally, he was made trusted advisor to the Directory on military matters.
In 1796, he took over the working of the Army of Italy and transformed the once underfed-disgruntled army into a strong military force that helped expand the French empire by winning numerous battles
Post the great victory over Austria, he moved over to Middle East, occupying Egypt. Meanwhile, he also weakened the British Empire by upsetting their trade route with India.
Just as much his image was enhanced in his initial accomplishments, the battle of Nile tarnished it all as Admiral Horatio nelson crushed his army. Also, the same resulted in the crushing defeat of France against the coalition formed by Britain, Austria, Russia and Turkey.
Returning to France, he made plans with Emmanuel Sieyes that would allow them to retain their topmost position in the government. He formed a new constitution which created position of the first consul.
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In 1800, he became the first consul of the French administration and brought about reforms in various sectors including economy, legal system and education. He made Roman Catholicism the state religion and introduced the Napoleonic Code.
He was involved in the creation of Bank of France and supervised the centralisation of the government. Such was the escalating popularity of this French military and political leader that he was elected consul for life in 1802 and in 1804 made the Emperor of France.
Meanwhile, the negotiated peace lasted for about three years after which France was at war with Britain, Russia and Austria. While it lost to British at Trafalgar, the French army registered a victory against both Austria and Russia at Austerlitz.
In 1810, defeat of his army resulted in the fall of his empire. The country was in bad shape as both the country’s military budget and military officials were devastated. The news spread like wildfire and with increasing international pressure and lack of resources, he surrendered to the allied force in 1814.
Despite being exiled to Elba, he did not lose his will power and soon escaped to Paris, where after a short stay, he returned to power. Though he did manage to make a magnificent comeback at Belgium where he defeated the Prussians, at Waterloo, he suffered a blow once again with a defeat against the British.
In 1815, he resigned from the powerful position that he held. Though he did make an offer that his son, Napolean II to be named the emperor, the coalition declined the same.
The British government, for the fear of his return, sent him to a remote island of St. Helena in the southern Atlantic. Though he was free to do what he pleased, the routine life did not get very well with this military leader.
Major Milestones
He served as the first Consul of France and was later became the Emperor of France. During his time, he brought about major reforms in the country, such as introduction of higher education, establishment centralized government, foundation of Bank of France, tax code, road and sewer systems. He reworked the laws of France which is why his civil code was known as Napoleonic Code
The royal decoration Legion of Honor was instituted by him to honour people with civilian and military achievements. Till date, it serves as the highest decoration of France.
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Personal Life & Legacy
He married Jos�phine de Beauharnais, widow of General Alexandre de Beauharnais in 1796. She had two children from her previous marriage. The union did not last long and the couple separated in 1810.
He then tied the knot with Marie-Louise, daughter of the emperor of Austria, who bore him a son, Napolean II.
His health started deteriorating during his last days, which was caused by the damp and wretched living conditions.
He finally succumbed to the rapidly failing health on February 5, 1821. An autopsy later on confirmed that he was suffering from stomach cancer. He was initially cremated at St Helena after which he was transported to Paris, where a state funeral was held. His remains were entombed in a porphyry sarcophagus in the crypt under the dome at Les Invalides
Facts About Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte was a lover of animals, particularly his pet dogs. He had several dogs during his lifetime and was known to treat them with care and affection.

Despite his reputation as a military leader, Napoleon was also a talented writer. He wrote numerous letters, speeches, and even a romantic novella during his exile on the island of Saint Helena.

Napoleon was a fan of fine art and was known to have a keen eye for collecting valuable paintings and sculptures. He amassed a significant art collection during his reign as Emperor of France.

Napoleon was a visionary leader in many ways, implementing numerous reforms and advancements in areas such as education, infrastructure, and law during his rule.

Napoleon had a strong interest in science and technology, particularly in the field of engineering. He supported various innovations and projects aimed at improving France's infrastructure and military capabilities.

See the events in life of Napoleon Bonaparte in Chronological Order

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