Napoleon was born on August the 15th 1769 at Ajaccio former Corsica, Italy. He had four brothers called Jose, Lucien, Luis and Geronimo and three sisters called Elisa, Paulina and Carolina. His father Carlos Maria Bonaparte a lawyer and his mother was Maria Leticia Ramolino and they came from a wealthy and noble family. Napoleon got into a good school at the military academy at Brienne in 1779. Later, in 1784 he enrolled in the École Royale Militaire where he graduated in 1 year as second lieutenant in the artillery instead of 3.
He spent the next 8 years in Corsica, where he played an important role politically and military wise. Initially, he supported his father´s former patron the Corsican rebel Pasquale Paoli. However, when the civil war started in 1793, Napoleon opposed him. By December of 1793, Napoleon Bonaparte became hero of Toulon. A port on the south coast of France which had the most advanced defenses in Europe. Napoleon was chosen by General Carteaux who´s artillery was wounded and had to leave in September. Their aim was to take over the port to secure the nation. He showed great skill in positioning and increasing resources by taking key areas to weaken the British´s grasp on Toulon. The port fell on December 19th 1793 and Napoleon Bonaparte took credit for it because he played a major role. He was therefore promoted to Brigaider General and given the command of Italy´s artillery army. Shortly after the revolution Napoleon was arrested for treason.
In 1795 he became a hero again when he fought against the revolutionary forces to defend the government. Napoleon was promoted to high military office and became respected. He married Josephine de Beauharnais. When France was attacked by Austria in 1796, Napoleon was given command of the Italian army who won various victories against the Austrians. In 1979 Napoleon returned as a hero and he had a profile of a politically independent man.
Napoleon Bonaparte left to carry out the Egyptian campaign to look for new victories in May of 1798. In this year, the French Revolutionary War was at a pause with their enemies but Britain was still at war. The French wanted to secure their position and beat the British but their royal navy was too powerful. This is the reason why he wanted to carry out the Egyptian campaign, because France would get a hold of the Eastern Mediterranean and be a key factor to attack Britain in India. Napoleon took over Malta first with a fleet and an army of over 250 transports and 13 ships.
Napoleon arrived to Egypt with 40,000 French, claiming he was there to defend the Islam but they didn’t believe him. He had also brought with him an army of civilian scientists who were meant to create the institute of Egypt in Cairo. Some historians believe that Egyptology really began at that moment.
The rulers of Egypt, the military Mameluke weren’t happy either and revolts began. On July 21st the French won yet another victory at the Battle of the Pyramids and took over Cairo. Napoleon placed a new government which ended feudalism and imported French structures.
His dreams of taking the east crumbled when he lost the Battle of the Nile on August the 1st. British naval commander Nelson attacked by surprise in the evening while Napoleon´s French ships were resupplying at Aboukir Bay. Only two ships escaped, and consequently his position was weakened and he couldn´t take his army back to France. He later marched a small army into Syria and took over Jaffa where 3,000 prisoners were executed and surrounded Acre. Except plague ravaged the French and Napoleon was forced back to Egypt. He defeated Ottoman troops who used 20,000 British and Russian ships. He attacked before the cavalry, artillery and elites landed at Aboukir and beat them.
Bonaparte abandoned his army on August of 1799. Due to his great political skill he became consul in the year 1800. France was still at war and within a year won at the Battle of Marengo by the French General Desaix on June of 1800. He was elected consulate for life by the French in 1802.
The wars continued because they didn’t like revolutionary France and didn’t trust Napoleon. He forged new states in Europe such as the German Confederation and he placed his family and favorite’s in powerful positions. On March 11th 1810 he married his second wife Marie-Louise and over a year later his only legitimate child Napoleon II was born.
In 1812 Napoleon went to war with Russia, but he couldn’t feed all 400,000 soldiers the weather was terrible and the Russians refused to surrender. Over 80,000 soldiers died, and he retreated humiliated. By 1813 the British had fought out of Spain and into France and now were reaching Paris. On March 30th 1814, Paris surrendered without a fight to allied forces. Napoleon stepped down as Emperor of France and was exiled to the Island of Elba.
In 1815 he returned to power, by attracting huge amounts of people when he secretly returned to France and reclaimed his Imperial Throne. After trying to take control once again, he was eventually defeated at the battle of Waterloo. The British forced him to exile again and died the 5th of May 1821 at the age of 51. He was one of the greatest military leaders of history and established many government and legal reforms.
By: Akena Andonegui
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