Napoleon Bonaparte - “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake"

Also known as Napoleon I lived 1769-1821 as a French military leader and emperor who conquered the many European countries during the early 19th century. He was born on the island of Corsica on the 15th of August, 1769, in Ajaccio and was one of the eight kids of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Romalina Buonaparte. The Buonaparte family were members of the minor Corsican nobility but were not wealthy. One year prior to Napoleon's birth, France took control over Corsican from the city-state of Genoa, Italy, and thus Napoleon gained a French spelling of his last name.

Napoleon learned french from a school in mainland France and graduated from a French military academy in 1785, which made him the second lieutenant in an artillery regiment of the French army. In 1989, The French Revolution began and within three years, the revolutionaries overthrew the monarchy and proclaimed a French republic. During this time, Napoleon became associated with Augustin Robespierre who was brother to the revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre, a Jacobin, key force behind the Reign of Terror (1793-1794). Eventually, Napoleon was promoted to the rank of brigadier general, but when Augustin and Maximilien were guillotined n July 1794, Napoleon fell under house arrest due to his association with them. By 1795, he helped defeat a violent uprising against the revolutionary government in Paris and was promoted to major general.


France's revolutionary government had been engaged in military conflicts since 1792, and by 1796, Napoleon led an army and defeated the larger armies of Austria. By 1797, France and Austria signed the Treaty of Campo Formio, resulting in territorial gains for the French. Furthermore, Napoleon was ordered by the government to lead an invasion of England in 1798. Bonaparte believed the British Royal Navy to be superior and thus proposed an invasion of Egypt in order to defeat the British trade routes with India. The victory was scored against the Egyptian rulers, Mamluks at the "Battle Of The Pyramids" in July 1798. However, the naval fleet was nearly destroyed by the British at the "Battle Of The Nile" in August 1798, leading to Napoleons forces left stranded. 1799, another launch of invasion against the Ottoman Empire-ruled Syria ended with a failed siege of Acre and due to the uncertain political situation in France, Napoleon was forced to leave his army in Egypt and return to France.

In November 1799, a group that included Napoleon overthrew the French Directory and the event is known as the coup of 18 Brumaire. A three-member Consulate was formed and Napoleon became the first consul and leading political figure in France. "The Battle Of Marengo" led by Napoleon in June 1800, forced Austria out of Italy. By 1802, the Treaty Of Amiens was signed by the British agreeing to peace with the French, of which only lasted one year. Napoleon centralized the government, instituted reforms in banking and education, improved relations between the regime and the pope following Catholicism, supported science and the arts and made the Napoleonic Code that forms the foundation of the French civil law to this day. A constitutional amendment made napoleon the first consul for life in 1802. Two years later, he crowned himself emperor of France in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. In 1810, he married Marie Louise, daughter of the emperor of Austria and she gave birth to Napoleon François Joseph Charles Bonaparte (1811-1832), also known as Napoleon II king of Rome. Prior to this marriage, Napoleon was married to widowed Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796 who had two teenage children, but it was annulled due to Napoleon not getting any offspring of his own from her. In addition, Napoleon had several illegitimate children as well. Napoleonic Wars lasted between 1803-1815. The Louisiana Purchase occurred in 1803 when Napoleon decided to sell Frances Louisiana territory in North America to the USA for $15 million. During October of 1805, the British defeated Napoleon's fleet at the "Battle Of Trafalgar". A loss led to again by December, as Napoleon defeated the Austrians and Russians at "The Battle Of Austerlitz". Thus the Holy Roman Empire fell, forming the Confederation of the Rhine. In 1806, Napoleon established the Continental System of European port blockades against British trade and defeated the Russians at the Friedland in Prussia. The following year, Alexander was forced to sign the Treaty of Tilsit and in 1809 the Austrians were defeated at "The Battle Of Wagram".

As Russia withdrew from the Continental System in 1810, Napoleon attacked in 1812. Russia's strategy was to retreat whenever Napoleon attacked in order to lead the french army deeper into Russia. In September, as both parties suffered in "The Battle Of Borodino", the French army marched into the fully evacuated city, Moscow. Consequently, the Russians set fire to the city. With low supplies and the Russian winter sets in, as well as further attacks from the Russian army, Napoleon's 600,000 troops fully retreated with only 100,000 of them surviving.

Another loss was the Peninsular War (1808-1814) against the Spanish and Portuguese assisted by the British driving Napoleon's army out of the Iberian Peninsula. Additional loss in 1812 during the "Battle Of Leipzig" (Battle Of Nations) against Austrian, Prussian, Russian, and Swedish forces. These forces eventually captured Paris in March 1814.


By 16th of April, 1814, Napoleon was forced to abdicate the throne, and following the Treaty of Fontainebleau, he was given sovereignty to Elba and exiled to it. However, his wife and son went to live in Austria. On February 26, 1815, Napoleon fled the Island and with his 1,000 supporters returned to Paris by March 20. King Louis XVIII fled and crowds cheered Napoleon.

Napoleon's Hundred Days campaign


Austria, Britain, Prussia and Russia formed allies and prepared for war upon Napoleon's return. In June 1815, Bonaparte invaded the British and Prussian troops in Belgium and by June 16 defeated the Prussians at "The Battle Of Ligny". During "The Battle Of Waterloo", on June 18, the French lost against the British assisted by Prussian forces and as a result Napoleon was forced to abdicate again by June 22, 1815. Napoleon was once again exiled, this time to the British-held island of Saint Helena in October 1815, and died there on May 5, 1821. His death is believed to be due to some form of stomach cancer. In 1840, his remains were entombed in a crypt at Les Invalides in Paris beside other French military leaders.


Reference

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd6E38FfuMg

  3. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Napoleon-I

  4. https://www.biography.com/dictator/napoleon

  5. https://www.history.com/topics/france/napoleon

Cover Image Credit: https://www.history.com/topics/france/napoleon

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