- NAME: Napoleon
- OCCUPATION: Military Leader, Political Leader, Emperor
- BIRTH DATE: August 15, 1769
- DEATH DATE: May 05, 1821
- EDUCATION: College d'Autun, Military College of Brienne, Military Academy in Paris
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Ajaccio, Corsica, France
- PLACE OF DEATH: St. Helena (island in the South Atlantic Ocean), United Kingdom
- AKA: Napoleone Buonaparte
- Full Name: Napoleon Bonaparte
- AKA: Napoleon
- AKA: Napoleon I
Best Known For
Napoleon Bonaparte was a military general who became the first emperor of France. His drive for military expansion changed the world.
Napoleon - The Fall (3:50)
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Napoleon would become the most powerful man in the world, but he couldn't control his calculating high society wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais.
Used to being right in almost all his political maneuvers, Napoleon's unraveling was his dogged determination to ruin Great Britain's economy through his Continental System/Blockade policy.
Growing up as an underdog from Corsica, Napoleon started showing signs of great military and intellectual promise when he attended military school in France.
Napoleon took control over the government in a bloodless coup in 1799 and was looked on by the French people as a hero.
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Military general and first emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769, in Ajaccio, Corsica, France. One of the most celebrated leaders in the history of the West, he revolutionized military organization and training, sponsored Napoleonic Code, reorganized education and established the long-lived Concordat with the papacy. He died on May 5, 1821, on the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.
"I am never angry when contradicted; I seek to be enlightened."
"I wish my ashes to rest on the banks of the Seine, in the midst of that French people which I have loved so much. I die before my time, killed by the English oligarchy and its hired assassins."
"A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets."
"A great people may be killed, but they will not be intimidated."
"He who fears being conquered is certain of defeat."
"Love does more harm than good."
"A man is not dependent upon his fellow creature, when he does not fear death."
"It is the cause, and not the death that makes the martyr."
"Even when I am gone, I shall remain in people's minds the star of their rights, my name will be the war cry of their efforts, the motto of their hopes."
"Men of genius are meteors, intended to burn to light their century."
"Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."
"In choosing a wife, a man does not renounce his mother, and still less is he justified with breaking her heart."
"Napoleon wanted to turn Paris into Rome under the Caesars, only with louder music and more marble. And it was done. His architects gave him the Arc de Triomphe and the Madeleine."
Considered one of the world's greatest military leaders, Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769, in Ajaccio, Corsica, France. He was the fourth, and second surviving, child of Carlo Buonaparte, a lawyer, and his wife, Letizia Ramolino.
By the time around Napoleon's birth, Corsica's occupation by the French had drawn considerable local resistance. Carlo Buonaparte had at first supported the nationalists siding with their leader, Pasquale Paoli. But after Paoli was forced to flee the island, Carlo switched his allegiance to the French. After doing so he was appointed assessor of the judicial district of Ajaccio in 1771, a plush job that eventually enabled him to enroll his two sons, Joseph and Napoleon, in France's College d'Autun.
Eventually, Napoleon ended up at the military college of Brienne, where he studied for five years, before moving on to the military academy in Paris. In 1785, while Napoleon was at the academy, his father died of stomach cancer. This propelled Napoleon to take the reins as the head of the family. Graduating early from the military academy, Napoleon, now second lieutenant of artillery, returned to Corsica in 1786.
Back home Napoleon got behind the Corsican resistance to the French occupation, siding with his father's former ally, Pasquale Paoli. But the two soon had a falling-out, and when a civil war in Corsica began in April 1793, Napoleon, now an enemy of Paoli, and his family relocated to France, where they assumed the French version of their name: Bonaparte.
For Napoleon, the return to France meant a return to service with the French military. Upon rejoining his regiment at Nice in June 1793, the young leader quickly showed his support for the Jacobins, a far-left political movement and the most well-known and popular political club from the French Revolution.
It had certainly been a tumultuous few years for France and its citizens. The country was declared a republic in 1792, three years after the Revolution had begun, and the following year King Louis XVI was executed.
Ultimately, these acts led to the rise of Maximilien de Robespierre and what became, essentially, the dictatorship of the Committee of Public Safety. The years of 1793 and 1794 came to be known as the Reign of Terror, in which many as 40,000 people were killed. Eventually the Jacobins fell from power and Robespierre was executed. In 1795 the Directory took control of the country, a power it would it assume until 1799.
All of this turmoil created opportunities for ambitious military leaders like Napoleon.
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Napoleon did not care for Josephine's given name, Rose, so he renamed her Josephine, which she kept for the rest of her life. He proposed in January 1796 and sent her intensely romantic love letters from numerous posts around the world with the French army. Despite rumors of her infidelity and his jealous temperament, Napoleon and Josephine were crowned Emperor and Empress of the French in 1804. The couple divorced in 1810 after her infertility was confirmed, freeing Napoleon to take a wife who could provide an heir. The couple remained on good terms, with Napoleon once saying that the only thing to come between them was her debts.
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An unsolved crime never fails to fascinate us, especially when it involves the death of a celebrity. Over the years many famous individuals, from movie stars to politicians to rockers, have died in mysterious circumstances. Conspiracy theories and accusations of foul play abound, but we may never know fact from fiction. Here's a look at some of the most famous mysterious deaths.
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