Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a military and political leader of France and Emperor of
the French as Napoleon I, whose actions shaped European politics in the early
Bonaparte was born the second of eight children, in Casa
Buonaparte in the town
of Ajaccio, Corsica
. In January 1779, Napoleon was enrolled at a religious school in Autun to learn French, and in May he was
admitted to a military academy at Brienne-le-Château. On completion of his studies at
Brienne in 1784 Napoleon started to train to become an artillery
officer and graduated a year later as a second lieutenant in the artillery. At
16, Napoleon Bonaparte joined the French army.
In 1792, Napoleon Bonaparte was
promoted to rank of captain. In 1793, Napoleon Bonaparte led the forces in
Toulon. Later Napoleon was promoted to rank of brigadier general. Bonaparte was
made commander of the French army in Italy. He defeated four Austrian generals
in succession. In 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte put down a revolt in Paris. Napoleon
became known as Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, with complete political and
In 1803, war broke out between France
and England. Russia, Austria and Sweden allied with Britain. Napoleon defeated
Austria and Russia. He planned to invade England, but England's navy defeated
Having concluded treaties that left
Europe at peace Bonaparte began working on France, reforming the economy, legal
system (the famous and enduring Code Napoleon), church, military, education and
government. He studied and commented on minute details, often while travelling
with the army, and the reforms continued for most of his rule.
Napoleon ended his marriage to
Josephine de Beauharnais in 1809, then remarried in 1810 to Hapsburg
Archduchess Marie Louise.
In 1812 Napoleon went to war with Russia, assembling a force
of over 400,000 soldiers, accompanied by the same number of followers and
support. Such an army was almost impossible to feed or adequately control and
the Russians repeatedly retreated, destroying the local resources and
separating Bonaparte from his supplies. The Emperor was thrilled, eventually reaching Moscow on
September 8th after the Battle of Borodino, a brutal conflict where over 80,000 soldiers
died. However, the Russians refused to surrender, instead burning
Moscow and forcing
Napoleon into a long retreat back to friendly territory.
this war, throughout 1813 and into 1814 the pressure grew on Napoleon - he
denied his Emperor of France status and was exiled to the Island of Elba. He
tried to return in 1815 but he lost very important Waterloo battle, which
of the biggest battles in the world's history, whereupon British forces forced
him into further exile.