Napoleon Bonaparte I

Napoleon Bonaparte, was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica. His nationality was Corsican-Italian and his original name was Napoleone. He had seven brothers and sisters. He despised the French and felt they were the oppressors of his native land. When Napoleon was nine, he was sent to a French military government school by his father. He attended Brienne in Paris. From 1784 to 1785, Napoleon attended the Ecole Militaire in Paris. He studied to be an artillery soldier and joined the French army as an officer when he was 16 years old. Napoleon was stationed in Paris when the French Monarchy was overthrown on August 10, 1792. Shortly after, Napoleon was made commander of the French army in Italy. He defeated four Austrian generals in succession, and each army he fought their numbers grew. This forced Austria and its allies to make peace with France. But after this Napoleon was relieved of his command.
In 1795 Napoleon was appointed to put down a revolt in Paris. He calmly took complete control of the situation. He had his men shoot all the rebels in the streets. The French government survived. They decided to form a new government called the Directory. Under the new government Napoleon was made commander of the French army in Italy. Napoleon had won 14 pitched battles and 70 combats. He made the rich lands he conquered feed and pay the French soldiers. In addition millions of Francs were sent back to France. When Napoleon returned to Paris, he received a huge welcome. He began pursuing political and military power. He took a large enough army to conquer the empire which included Egypt, India, and other middle and far east regions. Napoleon decided to invade Syria. He battled with the English and Turkish troops in Syria. They held up against his attack. This forced Napoleon' retreat to Egypt. He advanced again in July 1799. He then defeated 10,000 Turks at Aoukir.
He returned to France shortly after and saw this as the perfect time for self-advancement. In November of 1799 he overthrew the Directory. Napoleon set up a government called the Consulate. The Consulate 1799-1804 was set up with Bonaparte as first consul, or dictator. He centralized the administration, stabilized the currency, and reformed the tax system. He also made peace with the Roman Catholic Church by the Concordat of 1801 and reformed the legal system with the Code Napoleon. In 1802 Napoleon became first consul for life. Napoleon instituted a new name for himself, Napoleon I. He had complete political and military power in France. But he hadn't built up a great eastern empire, like Charlemagne who ruled many years ago. The Austrian's had been defeated at Marenegro. The German states and England tired of fighting. They signed the peace treaty of Aimens in 1802. This was the first time since 1792 that France was at peace with the whole world. During the next 14 months of peace Napoleon drastically altered Europe. He became president of the Italian Republic, and he reshaped Switzerland. He annexed Piedmont, Parma, and the island of Elba to France.

 

He also restructured France internally. He reestablished the University of France, reformed the education system, and founded the Bank of France and the Legion of Honor. He also decreed the Napoleonic Code. It was the first clear compact statement of French law. He engaged in many battles, defeating Austria and Russia in Austerlitz; he crushed the Prussians at Pena; and finally created the treaty called the Peace of Tilsit. The only country left for him to conquer was England. The English navy was under the command of Admiral Horatio Nelson. Nelson destroyed the French fleet in the battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805. He ended his marriage to Josephine de Beauharnais in 1809 and remarried in 1810. He married Marie Louise, who was the daughter of the Austrian emperor.


On September 7, 1812 With this marriage he had more than 42 million people at his control. Britain, Russia, Sweden and Turkey were the only countries outside of his control. This allowed Napoleon to invade Russia with a huge army of soldiers from 20 different nations.He began the battle for Russia on September 14. Napoleon reached Moscow and expected to find food and shelter for his troops instead he found the city in flames. Winter had just begun and he couldn't stay in the burned out freezing city of Moscow. He started his retreat on October 19. With this defeat Napoleons' empire fell apart. England, Russia, Prussia, and Austria allied together to fight the French. On March 30, 1814, the allies captured Paris. Napoleon was forced to abdicate the throne on April 6, 1814.

Napoleon was exiled from France to the small island of Elba. He took a few of his soldiers with him. He was allowed to keep his title of emperor,promising to pay two million francs every year to France. Ten months after his exile Napoleon escaped, returning to France. His destination was the city of Paris. He gained support along his route to Paris. He finally marched into Paris with a thousand of his old soldiers and new supporters. He took over the city and was back in power for a short period of time that is now known as "The Hundred Days". Napoleon's return led him to a final campaign in Belgium. He was defeated in the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon fled to Rochefort, where he surrendered on the British battleship Bellerophon. He was again exiled, but this time to St. Helena, a remote island in the south Atlantic. He lived there until he died on May 5, 1821. His remains were brought to Paris in 1840 and placed at Invalides, where they still lie.