- 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)
Napoleon - French Dictator (2:29)
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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Napoleon's negotiated peace with Europe lasted just three years. In 1803 France again returned to war with Britain, and then with Russia and Austria. The British registered an important naval victory against Napoleon in 1805 at Trafalgar, which led Napoleon to scrap his plans to invade England. Instead he set his sights on Austria and Russia, and beat back both militaries in Austerlitz.
Other victories soon followed, allowing Napoleon to greatly expand the French empire,
paving the way for loyalists to his government to be installed in Holland, Italy, Naples, Sweden, Spain and Westphalia.
Changes were also afoot in Napoleon's personal life. In 1810 he arranged for the annulment of his marriage to Joséphine, who was unable to give him a son, so that he could marry Marie-Louise, the 18-year-old daughter of the emperor of Austria. The couple had a son, Napoleon II (a.k.a. the King of Rome) on March 20, 1811.
Napoleon's military success, however, soon gave way to broader defeats, beginning in 1810, when France suffered a string of losses that tapped the country's military budget. In 1812 France was devastated when its invasion of Russia turned out to be a colossal failure in which scores of soldiers in Napoleon's Grand Army were killed or badly wounded. Out of an original fighting force of some 600,000 men, just 10,000 soldiers were still fit for battle.
News of the defeat reinvigorated Napoleon's enemies, both inside and outside of France. A failed coup was attempted while Napoleon led his charge against Russia, while the British began to advance through French territories.
With international pressure mounting and his government lacking the resources to fight back against his enemies, Napoleon surrendered to allied forces on March 30, 1814. He went into exile on the island of Elba.
Napoleon's exile did not last long. He watched as France stumbled forward without him. In March 1815 he escaped the island and quickly made his way to Paris, where he triumphantly returned to power. But the enthusiasm that greeted Napoleon when he resumed control of the government soon gave way to old frustrations and fears about his leadership.
Napoleon immediately led his country back into battle. He led troops into Belgium and defeated the Prussians on June 16, 1815. But then, two days later, at Waterloo, he was defeated in a raging battle against British, who were reinforced by Prussian fighters. Napoleon once again suffered a humiliating loss.
On June 22, 1815, he abdicated his powers. In an effort to prolong his dynasty, Napoleon pushed to have his young son, Napoleon II, named emperor, but the coalition rejected the offer. Additionally, fearing a repeat of his earlier return from exile, the British government sent him to the remote island of St. Helena in the southern Atlantic.
For the most part Napoleon was free to do as he pleased at his new home. He had leisurely mornings, wrote often and read a lot. But the routine of life soon got to him, and he often shut himself indoors.
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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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