Napoleon Bonaparte, who is also known as
the "little Corsican", was born on August 15,1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica.
His family had moved there from Italy in the 16th century. His original
name was Napoleone. He had 7 brothers and sisters. His original nationality
was Corsican-Italian. He also despised the French. He thought they were
oppressors of his native land. His father was a lawyer, and was also anti-French.
One reason Napoleon may have been such a great leader and revolutionary
because was he was raised in a family of radicals. When Napoleon was nine,
his father sent him to Brienne, a French military government school in
Paris. While there he was constantly teased by the French students. Because
of this Napoleon started having dreams of personal glory and triumph. From
1784 to 1785 Napoleon attended the Ecole Militaire in Paris. It was there
that he received his military training. He studied to be an artillery man
and an officer. He finished his training and he joined the French army
when he was just 16 years old. His father died after that and he had to
provide for his entire family.
Napoleon was stationed in Paris in 1792.
After the French monarchy was overthrown in August of that year, Napoleon
started to make a name for himself and become a well known military leader.
In 1792 Napoleon was promoted to captain.
In 1793 he was chosen to direct the artillery against the siege in Toulon.
Soon after that Toulon fell and Napoleon was promoted to brigadier general.
Napoleon was made commander of the French army in Italy. He defeated many
Austrian Generals. Soon after this Austria and France made peace. Afterwards
Napoleon was relieved of his command. He had been suspected of treason.
In 1795 he broke up a revolt and saved the French government. He had earned
back respect and he was once again give command of the French Army in Italy.
He came up with a plan that worked very well. He would cut the enemy's
army in to two parts, then attack one side of them before the other side
could help them. This worked very well against the Sardinian troops, he
defeated them 5 times in 11 days.
After this Napoleon was almost impossible
to stop. This was when he began conquering most of Europe. The first country
he defeated was Austria. He collected lots of money and sent it back to
Paris, this helped the weak economy of France. After he came close to Vienna,
the Austrians surrendered, and made a treaty with France. This gave France
the Netherlands, and it made the Rhine River the eastern border of France.
He made an unsuccessful attempt to invade Egypt. And in 1799 he returned
to France to find the Directory (the French Government) was a mess. The
overthrew the Directory, and created a new government, in which there were
three consuls, and he was the most important one. At this time, everyone
in France loved napoleon, and his power increased. In 1802 France signed
a peace treaty with England and Germany, and was now not at war with anyone.
He re-established the University of France,
reformed the education system, and he founded the Bank of France. He also
made the Napolionic Code: The first clear, compact statement of the French
law. The Napolionic Code has served as a base for legal systems around
the world. He changed the government again and made himself ruler of the
French Empire. He divorced his wife Josephine in 1809 and married Marie
Louise, the daughter of the Emperor of Austria. He soon had a son by his
second wife, and made him king of Rome. He now was the ruler of a great
empire, and he had 42 million people under his control.
After he tried to invade Russia, his empire
began to crumble. And on April 6, 1814 he was forced from the throne. He
was exiled to the island of Elba. About a year later, he gathered about
1,000 soldiers and went to Paris and regained power. He ruled for a short
time, and then he surrendered to the English. He was exiled to the island
of St. Helena in the south Atlantic, where he stayed until he died on May
5, 1821. He supposedly died of cancer, but there are rumors that he was