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Napoleon, facts about Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was one of the greatest soldiers in the history of warfare. After the French Revolution of 1789 had overthrown King Louis XVI and set up a republic, there were many great opportunities for ambitious men who could restore order. Napoleon Bonaparte rose to power rapidly —he was a military genius with a brilliant command of strategy. He was given power to bring order back into the country, but his ambitions for France led him to create an empire.

Napoleon picture - Napoleon, facts about Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon picture - facts for kids, Napoleon Bonaparte fun facts

Napoleon facts for kids, Napoleon Bonaparte fun facts

The zenith of Napoleon's career. In 1804 he crowned himself Emperor of the French in Notre Dame, and received the Pope's blessing. Napoleon's decision to become Emperorantagonized many prominent people who had previously considered him an influence for good. This picture of the coronation is by J. L. David

Napoleon picture at the age of thirty-six, by Robert Lefevre

Napoleon was born at Ajaccio, on the island of Corsica, which belongs to France. He went to a cadet school at Brienne and to the leading military school in Paris. By 1792 he was a captain of artillery, and three years later saved the republic by crushing a royalist rebellion in Paris. With 30,000 starving, ragged soldiers, he took control of Lombardy, a province of Italy, and later won Belgium and some territory from Austria. In 1799 he saved the republic from rioters again. He seized power and ruled as a dictator. In 1804 he crowned himself emperor in the presence of Pope Pius VII in Paris.

In spite of many victories in Europe, Napoleon was hampered by Britain's superior sea power. Nelson's defeat of the French and Spanish at Trafalgar in 1805 crushed Napoleon's hopes of invading England. Napoleon won further victories against the Austrians and the Prussians, and made his brothers Joseph and Louis kings of Naples and Holland. But his attempt to stop all European countries from trading with England failed entirely when Russia would not co-operate. He took a great army to Russia in the winter of 1812 to force Tsar Alexander to help, but the campaign ended in disaster (See Napoleonic Wars: timeline, facts, history).

Napoleon met his final defeat at Waterloo, by the combined forces of Britain under Wellington, and Prussia under Blucher, in June 1815. Napoleon surrendered to the British and was exiled on the island of St Helena, where he died in 1821.

Some more fun facts about Napoleon Bonaparte - he was a short man, and his stature earned him the nickname 'the little corporal'. He was adored by his soldiers, and fired by great ambition. His rise, to power was helped by the influence of his first wife, the beautiful Josephine de Beauharnais.

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