Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Who was Napoléon Bonaparte? - Random Wednesday

(15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821)

Napoléon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution. He was one of the greatest military leaders in history and emperor of France, he conquered much of Europe.

As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815. His legal reform, the Napoleonic Code, has been a major influence on many civil law jurisdictions worldwide, but he is best remembered for his role in the wars led against France by a series of coalitions, the so-called Napoleonic Wars. He established hegemony over most of continental Europe and sought to spread the ideals of the French Revolution, while consolidating an imperial monarchy which restored aspects of the deposed ancien régime. Due to his success in these wars, often against numerically superior enemies, he is generally regarded as one of the greatest military commanders of all time.

Napoleon Bonaparte was born on 15 August 1769 in Corsica into a gentry family. Educated at military school, he was rapidly promoted and in 1796, was made commander of the French army in Italy, where he forced Austria and its allies to make peace. In 1798, Napoleon conquered Ottoman-ruled Egypt in an attempt to strike at British trade routes with India. He was stranded when his fleet was destroyed by the British at the Battle of the Nile.

France now faced a new coalition - Austria and Russia had allied with Britain. Napoleon returned to Paris where the government was in crisis. In a coup d'etat in November 1799, Napoleon became first consul. In 1802, he was made consul for life and two years later, emperor. He oversaw the centralisation of government, the creation of the Bank of France, the reinstatement of Roman Catholicism as the state religion and law reform with the Code Napoleon.

In 1800, he defeated the Austrians at Marengo. He then negotiated a general European peace which established French power on the continent. In 1803, Britain resumed war with France, later joined by Russia and Austria. Britain inflicted a naval defeat on the French at Trafalgar (1805) so Napoleon abandoned plans to invade England and turned on the Austro-Russian forces, defeating them at Austerlitz later the same year. He gained much new territory, including annexation of Prussian lands which ostensibly gave him control of Europe. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved, Holland and Westphalia created, and over the next five years, Napoleon's relatives and loyalists were installed as leaders (in Holland, Westphalia, Italy, Naples, Spain and Sweden).

In 1810, he had his childless marriage to Josephine de Beauharnais annulled and married the daughter of the Austrian emperor in the hope of having an heir. A son, Napoleon, was born a year later.

The Peninsular War began in 1808. Costly French defeats over the next five years drained French military resources. Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 resulted in a disastrous retreat. The tide started to turn in favour of the allies and in March 1814, Paris fell. Napoleon went into exile on the Mediterranean island of Elba. In March 1815 he escaped and marched on the French capital. The Battle of Waterloo ended his brief second reign. The British imprisoned him on the remote Atlantic island of St Helena, where he died on 5 May 1821.

Some good links to read about Napoleon Bonaparte:




Famous Quotes by Napoleon Bonaparte:

"A celebrated people lose dignity upon a closer view."

"A leader is a dealer in hope."

"A man cannot become an atheist merely by wishing it."

"A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights."

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

"A revolution can be neither made nor stopped. The only thing that can be done is for one of several of its children to give it a direction by dint of victories."

"A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets."

"A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon."

"A throne is only a bench covered with velvet."

"A true man hates no one."

"Ability is nothing without opportunity."

"All religions have been made by men."

"Ambition never is in a greater hurry that I; it merely keeps pace with circumstances and with my general way of thinking."

"Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress."

"An army marches on its stomach."

"Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment."

"Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily."

"You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war."

"There are only two forces that unite men - fear and interest."

"The people to fear are not those who disagree with you, but those who disagree with you and are too cowardly to let you know."


  1. I have tried to find this sort of thing, this is really very good to me. thank you for your post. good luck ...

    1. ^_^ I'm glad my post was worthy enough! :) Thanks for your visit friend! :)


Kindly keep the comments clean and make quality comments that would be worthy in making this blog better! :)