Napoleon Bonaparte I (1769-1821), renowned French general and emperor; Napoleon Bonaparte II (1811-1832), son of Napoleon I; Louis Napoleon Bonaparte III (1808-1873), French president and emperor (1848-1870) (Wikipedia) - Napoleon This article is about Napoleon I. For other uses, see Napoleon (disambiguation).
Imperial Standard of Napoleon IImperial coat of arms
|The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries, by Jacques-Louis David, 1812 |
|Emperor of the French |
|18 May 1804 – 11 April 1814 20 March 1815 – 22 June 1815 |
|2 December 1804 |
|Himself as First Consul |
|Louis XVIII (de jure in 1814) |
|King of Italy |
|17 March 1805 – 11 April 1814 |
|26 May 1805 |
|Himself as President of the Italian Republic |
|None (kingdom disbanded, next king of Italy was Victor Emmanuel II) |
|Joséphine de Beauharnais Marie Louise of Austria |
|Napoleon II |
|Napoleon Bonaparte |
|House of Bonaparte |
|Carlo Buonaparte |
|Letizia Ramolino |
|(1769-08-15)15 August 1769 Ajaccio, Corsica, France |
|5 May 1821(1821-05-05) (aged 51) Longwood, Saint Helena |
|Les Invalides, Paris, France |
|Roman Catholicism (excommunicated on June 10, 1809 - see Religions section) |
Napoléon Bonaparte (French pronunciation: , born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the latter stages of the French Revolution and its associated wars in Europe.
As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He implemented a wide array of liberal reforms across Europe, including the abolition of feudalism and the spread of religious toleration. His legal code in France, the Napoleonic Code, influenced numerous civil law jurisdictions worldwide. Napoleon is remembered for his role in leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won the large majority of his battles and seized control of most of continental Europe in a quest for personal power and to spread the ideals of the French Revolution. Widely regarded as one of the greatest commanders in history, his campaigns are studied at military academies worldwide. He remains one of the most studied political and military leaders in all of history.
Napoleon was born in Corsica in a family of noble Italian ancestry that had settled in Corsica in the 16th century. He spoke French with a heavy Corsican accent. Well-educated, he rose to prominence under the French First Republic and led successful campaigns against the enemies of the French revolution who set up the First and Second Coalitions, most notably his campaigns in Italy.
He took power in a coup d''état in 1799 and installed himself as First Consul. In 1804 he made himself emperor of the French people. He fought a series of wars—the Napoleonic Wars—that involved complex coalitions for and against him. After a streak of victories, France secured a dominant position in continental Europe, and Napoleon maintained the French sphere of influence through the formation of extensive alliances and the elevation of friends and family members to rule other European countries as French vassal states.
The Peninsular War (1807–14) and the French invasion of Russia in 1812 marked major military failures. His Grande Armée was badly damaged and never fully recovered. In 1813, the Sixth Coalition defeated his forces at the Battle of Leipzig and his enemies invaded France. Napoleon was forced to abdicate and go in exile to the Italian island of Elba. In 1815 he escaped and returned to power, but he was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. He spent the last six years of his life in confinement by the British on the island of Saint Helena. An autopsy concluded he died of stomach cancer but there has been debate about the cause of his death, and some scholars have speculated he was a victim of arsenic poisoning. Contents
Origins and educationNapoleon''s father, Carlo Buonaparte, was Corsica''s representative to the court of Louis XVI of France.
- 1 Origins and education
- 2 Early career
- 2.1 Siege of Toulon
- 2.2 13 Vendémiaire
- 2.3 First Italian campaign
- 2.4 Egyptian expedition
- 3 Ruler of France
- 3.1 French Consulate
- 3.1.1 Temporary peace in Europe
- 3.2 French Empire
- 3.2.1 War of the Third Coalition
- 3.2.2 Middle-Eastern alliances
- 3.2.3 War of the Fourth Coalition
- 3.2.4 Peninsular War
- 3.2.5 War of the Fifth Coalition and remarriage
- 3.2.6 Invasion of Russia
- 3.2.7 War of the Sixth Coalition
- 3.2.8 Exile to Elba
- 3.2.9 Hundred Days
- 4 Exile on Saint Helena
- 5 Reforms
- 5.1 Napoleonic Code
- 5.2 Metric system
- 6 Religions
- 6.1 Concordat
- 6.2 Religious emancipation
- 7 Personality
- 8 Image
- 9 Legacy
- 9.1 Warfare
- 9.2 Bonapartism
- 9.3 Criticism
- 9.4 Propaganda and memory
- 9.5 Legacy outside France
- 10 Marriages and children
- 11 Titles, styles, honours and arms
- 11.1 Titles and styles
- 11.2 Full titles
- 11.2.1 1804–1805
- 11.2.2 1805–1806
- 11.2.3 1806–1809
- 11.2.4 1809–1814
- 11.2.5 1815
- 12 Ancestry
- 13 Notes
- 14 Citations
- 15 References
- 15.1 Biographical studies
- 15.2 Specialty studies
- 15.3 Historiography and memory
- 15.4 Primary sources
- 16 External links
Napoleon was born on 15 August 1769 to Carlo Maria di Buonaparte and Maria Letizia Ramolino in his family''s ancestral home, Casa Buonaparte, in the town of Ajaccio, the capital of the island of Corsica. He was their 4th child and 3rd son. This was a year after the island was transferred to France by the Republic of Genoa. He was christened Napoleone di Buonaparte, probably named after an uncle (an older brother, who did not survive infancy, was the first of the sons to be called Napoleone). In his twenties, he adopted the more French-sounding Napoléon Bonaparte.
The Corsican Buonapartes were descended from minor Italian nobility of Tuscan origin, who had come to Corsica from Liguria in the 16th century.
His father, Nobile Carlo Buonaparte, an attorney, was named Corsica''s representative to the court of Louis XVI in 1777. The dominant influence of Napoleon''s childhood was his mother, Letizia Ramolino, whose firm discipline restrained a rambunctious child. Napoleon''s maternal grandmother had married into the Swiss Fesch family in her second marriage, and Napoleon''s uncle, the later cardinal Joseph Fesch, would fulfill the role as protector of the Bonaparte family for some years.The nationalist Corsican leader Pasquale Paoli; portrait by Richard Cosway, 1798
He had an elder brother, Joseph; and younger siblings, Lucien, Elisa, Louis, Pauline, Caroline and Jérôme. A boy and girl were born before Joseph but died in infancy. Napoleon was baptised as a Catholic.
Napoleon''s noble, moderately affluent background and family connections afforded him greater opportunities to study than were available to a typical Corsican of the time. In January 1779, Napoleon was enrolled at a religious school in Autun, in mainland France, to learn French. In May he was admitted to a military academy at Brienne-le-Château. He always spoke with a marked Corsican accent and never learned to spell French properly. Napoleon was teased by other students for his accent and applied himself to reading. An examiner observed that Napoleon "has always been distinguished for his application in mathematics. He is fairly well acquainted with history and geography... This boy would make an excellent sailor."
On completion of his studies at Brienne in 1784, Napoleon was admitted to the elite École Militaire in Paris. He trained to become an artillery officer and, when his father''s death reduced his income, was forced to complete the two-year course in one year. He was the first Corsican to graduate from the École Militaire. He was examined by the famed scientist Pierre-Simon Laplace, whom Napoleon later appointed to the Senate. Early careerNapoleon Bonaparte, aged 23, Lieutenant-Colonel of a battalion of Corsican Republican volunteers
Upon graduating in September 1785, Bonaparte was commissioned a second lieutenant in La Fère artillery regiment. He served on garrison duty in Valence and Auxonne until after the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, and took nearly two years'' leave in Corsica and Paris during this period. A fervent Corsican nationalist, Bonaparte wrote to the Corsican leader Pasquale Paoli in May 1789:
As the nation was perishing I was born. Thirty thousand Frenchmen were vomited on to our shores, drowning the throne of liberty in waves of blood. Such was the odious sight which was the first to strike me.
He spent the early years of the Revolution in Corsica, fighting in a complex three-way struggle among royalists, revolutionaries, and Corsican nationalists. He supported the revolutionary Jacobin faction, gained the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Corsican militia, and gained command over a battalion of volunteers. Despite exceeding his leave of absence and leading a riot against a French army in Corsica, he was promoted to captain in the regular army in July 1792.
He returned to Corsica and came into conflict with Paoli, who had decided to split with France and sabotage the French assault on the Sardinian island of La Maddalena in February 1793, where Bonaparte was one of the expedition leaders. Bonaparte and his family fled to the French mainland in June 1793 because of the split with Paoli. Siege of Toulon Main article: Siege of Toulon
In July 1793, Bonaparte published a pro-republican pamphlet, Le souper de Beaucaire (Supper at Beaucaire), which gained him the admiration and support of Augustin Robespierre, younger brother of the Revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre. With the help of his fellow Corsican Antoine Christophe Saliceti, Bonaparte was appointed artillery commander of the republican forces at the siege of Toulon. The city had risen against the republican government and was occupied by British troops.Bonaparte at the Siege of Toulon
He adopted a plan to capture a hill where republican guns could dominate the city''s harbour and force the British ships to evacuate. The assault on the position, during which Bonaparte was wounded in the thigh, led to the capture of the city. He was promoted to brigadier general at the age of 24. Catching the attention of the Committee of Public Safety, he was put in charge of the artillery of France''s Army of Italy.
Whilst waiting for confirmation of this post, Napoleon spent time as inspector of coastal fortifications on the Mediterranean coast near Marseille. He devised plans for attacking the Kingdom of Sardinia as part of France''s campaign against the First Coalition. The commander of the Army of Italy, Pierre Jadart Dumerbion, had seen many generals executed for failing or for having the wrong political views. Therefore, he deferred to the powerful représentants en mission, Augustin Robespierre and Saliceti, who in turn were ready to listen to the freshly promoted artillery general.
Carrying out Bonaparte''s plan in the Battle of Saorgio in April 1794, the French army advanced north-east along the Italian Riviera then turned north to seize Ormea in the mountains. From Ormea, they thrust west to outflank the Austro-Sardinian positions around Saorge. Later, Augustin Robespierre sent Bonaparte on a mission to the Republic of Genoa to determine that country''s intentions towards France. 13 Vendémiaire Main article: 13 VendémiaireJournée du 13 Vendémiaire. Artillery fire in front of the Church of Saint-Roch, Paris, Rue Saint-Honoré
Following the fall of the Robespierres in the Thermidorian Reaction in July 1794, one account alleges that Bonaparte was put under house arrest at Nice for his association with the brothers. Napoleon''s secretary, Bourrienne, disputed this allegation in his memoirs. According to Bourrienne, jealousy between the Army of the Alps and the Army of Italy (with whom Napoleon was seconded at the time) was responsible. After an impassioned defense in a letter Bonaparte dispatched to representants Salicetti and Albitte, he was acquitted of any wrongdoing.
He was released within two weeks and, due to his technical skills, was asked to draw up plans to attack Italian positions in the context of France''s war with Austria. He also took part in an expedition to take back Corsica from the British, but the French were repulsed by the Royal Navy.
Bonaparte became engaged to Désirée Clary, whose sister, Julie Clary, had married Bonaparte''s elder brother Joseph; the Clarys were a wealthy merchant family from Marseilles. In April 1795, he was assigned to the Army of the West, which was engaged in the War in the Vendée—a civil war and royalist counter-revolution in Vendée, a region in west central France, on the Atlantic Ocean. As an infantry command, it was a demotion from artillery general—for which the army already had a full quota—and he pleaded poor health to avoid the posting.
He was moved to the Bureau of Topography of the Committee of Public Safety and sought, unsuccessfully, to be transferred to Constantinople in order to offer his services to the Sultan. During this period, he wrote a romantic novella, Clisson et Eugénie, about a soldier and his lover, in a clear parallel to Bonaparte''s own relationship with Désirée. On 15 September, Bonaparte was removed from the list of generals in regular service for his refusal to serve in the Vendée campaign. He faced a difficult financial situation and reduced career prospects.
On 3 October, royalists in Paris declared a rebellion against the National Convention. Paul Barras, a leader of the Thermidorian Reaction, knew of Bonaparte''s military exploits at Toulon and gave him command of the improvised forces in defence of the Convention in the Tuileries Palace. Having seen the massacre of the King''s Swiss Guard there three years earlier, he realised artillery would be the key to its defence.
He ordered a young cavalry officer, Joachim Murat, to seize large cannons and used them to repel the attackers on 5 October 1795—13 Vendémiaire An IV in the French Republican Calendar. After 1,400 royalists died, the rest fled. He had cleared the streets with "a whiff of grapeshot", according to the 19th-century historian Thomas Carlyle in The French Revolution: A History.
The defeat of the royalist insurrection extinguished the threat to the Convention and earned Bonaparte sudden fame, wealth, and the patronage of the new government, the Directory. Murat married one of his sisters and became his brother-in-law; he also served under Napoleon as one of his generals. Bonaparte was promoted to Commander of the Interior and given command of the Army of Italy.
Within weeks he was romantically attached to Barras''s former mistress, Joséphine de Beauharnais. They married on 9 March 1796 after he had broken off his engagement to Désirée Clary. First Italian campaign Main article: Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary WarsBonaparte at the Pont d''Arcole, by Baron Antoine-Jean Gros, (ca. 1801), Musée du Louvre, Paris
Two days after the marriage, Bonaparte left Paris to take command of the Army of Italy and led it on a successful invasion of Italy. At the Battle of Lodi he defeated Austrian forces and drove them out of Lombardy. He was defeated at Caldiero by Austrian reinforcements, led by József Alvinczi, though Bonaparte regained the initiative at the crucial Battle of the Bridge of Arcole and proceeded to subdue the Papal States.
Bonaparte argued against the wishes of Directory atheists to march on Rome and dethrone the Pope as he reasoned this would create a power vacuum which would be exploited by the Kingdom of Naples. Instead, in March 1797, Bonaparte led his army into Austria and forced it to negotiate peace. The Treaty of Leoben gave France control of most of northern Italy and the Low Countries, and a secret clause promised the Republic of Venice to Austria. Bonaparte marched on Venice and forced its surrender, ending 1,100 years of independence; he also authorised the French to loot treasures such as the Horses of Saint Mark.
His application of conventional military ideas to real-world situations affected his military triumphs, such as creative use of artillery as a mobile force to support his infantry. He referred to his tactics thus: "I have fought sixty battles and I have learned nothing which I did not know at the beginning. Look at Caesar; he fought the first like the last."Napoleon at the Battle of Rivoli, by Philippoteaux
He was adept at espionage and deception and could win battles by concealment of troop deployments and concentration of his forces on the ''hinge'' of an enemy''s weakened front. If he could not use his favourite envelopment strategy, he would take up the central position and attack two co-operating forces at their hinge, swing round to fight one until it fled, then turn to face the other. In this Italian campaign, Bonaparte''s army captured 150,000 prisoners, 540 cannons and 170 standards. The French army fought 67 actions and won 18 pitched battles through superior artillery technology and Bonaparte''s tactics.
During the campaign, Bonaparte became increasingly influential in French politics; he founded two newspapers: one for the troops in his army and another for circulation in France. The royalists attacked Bonaparte for looting Italy and warned he might become a dictator. Bonaparte sent General Pierre Augereau to Paris to lead a coup d''état and purge the royalists on 4 September — Coup of 18 Fructidor. This left Barras and his Republican allies in control again but dependent on Bonaparte, who proceeded to peace negotiations with Austria. These negotiations resulted in the Treaty of Campo Formio, and Bonaparte returned to Paris in December as a hero. He met Talleyrand, France''s new Foreign Minister—who would later serve in the same capacity for Emperor Napoleon—and they began to prepare for an invasion of Britain. Egyptian expedition Main article: French campaign in Egypt and SyriaNapoleon enters Alexandria on 3 July 1798 by Guillaume-François Colson, 1800Napoleon Bonaparte Before the Sphinx, (ca. 1868) by Jean-Léon Gérôme, Hearst CastleBattle of the Pyramids on 21 July 1798 by Louis-François, Baron Lejeune, 1808
After two months of planning, Bonaparte decided France''s naval power was not yet strong enough to confront the Royal Navy in the English Channel and proposed a military expedition to seize Egypt and thereby undermine Britain''s access to its trade interests in India. Bonaparte wished to establish a French presence in the Middle East, with the ultimate dream of linking with a Muslim enemy of the British in India, Tipu Sultan.
Napoleon assured the Directory that "as soon as he had conquered Egypt, he will establish relations with the Indian princes and, together with them, attack the English in their possessions." According to a report written in February 1798 by Talleyrand: "Having occupied and fortified Egypt, we shall send a force of 15,000 men from Suez to India, to join the forces of Tipu-Sahib and drive away the English." The Directory agreed in order to secure a trade route to India.
In May 1798, Bonaparte was elected a member of the French Academy of Sciences. His Egyptian expedition included a group of 167 scientists: mathematicians, naturalists, chemists and geodesists among them; their discoveries included the Rosetta Stone, and their work was published in the Description de l''Égypte in 1809.
En route to Egypt, Bonaparte reached Malta on 9 June 1798, then controlled by the Knights Hospitaller. The two-hundred Knights of French origin did not support the Grand Master, Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim, who had succeeded a Frenchman, and made it clear they would not fight against their compatriots. Hompesch surrendered after token resistance, and Bonaparte captured an important naval base with the loss of only three men.
General Bonaparte and his expedition eluded pursuit by the Royal Navy and on 1 July landed at Alexandria. He fought the Battle of Shubra Khit against the Mamluks, Egypt''s ruling military caste. This helped the French practice their defensive tactic for the Battle of the Pyramids, fought on 21 July, about 24 km (15 mi) from the pyramids. General Bonaparte''s forces of 25,000 roughly equalled those of the Mamluks'' Egyptian cavalry, but he formed hollow squares with supplies kept safely inside. Twenty-nine French and approximately 2,000 Egyptians were killed. The victory boosted the morale of the French army.
On 1 August, the British fleet under Horatio Nelson captured or destroyed all but two French vessels in the Battle of the Nile, and Bonaparte''s goal of a strengthened French position in the Mediterranean was frustrated. His army had succeeded in a temporary increase of French power in Egypt, though it faced repeated uprisings. In early 1799, he moved an army into the Ottoman province of Damascus (Syria and Galilee). Bonaparte led these 13,000 French soldiers in the conquest of the coastal towns of Arish, Gaza, Jaffa, and Haifa. The attack on Jaffa was particularly brutal: Bonaparte, on discovering many of the defenders were former prisoners of war, ostensibly on parole, ordered the garrison and 1,400 prisoners to be executed by bayonet or drowning to save bullets. Men, women and children were robbed and murdered for three days.
With his army weakened by disease—mostly bubonic plague—and poor supplies, Bonaparte was unable to reduce the fortress of Acre and returned to Egypt in May. To speed up the retreat, he ordered plague-stricken men to be poisoned. (However, British eyewitness accounts later showed that most of the men were still alive and had not been poisoned.) His supporters have argued this was necessary given the continued harassment of stragglers by Ottoman forces, and indeed those left behind alive were tortured and beheaded by the Ottomans. Back in Egypt, on 25 July, Bonaparte defeated an Ottoman amphibious invasion at Abukir. Ruler of France Main articles: 18 Brumaire and Napoleonic eraGeneral Bonaparte surrounded by members of the Council of Five Hundred during the 18 Brumaire coup d''état, by François Bouchot
While in Egypt, Bonaparte stayed informed of European affairs through irregular delivery of newspapers and dispatches. He learned that France had suffered a series of defeats in the War of the Second Coalition. On 24 August 1799, he took advantage of the temporary departure of British ships from French coastal ports and set sail for France, despite the fact he had received no explicit orders from Paris. The army was left in the charge of Jean Baptiste Kléber.
Unknown to Bonaparte, the Directory had sent him orders to return to ward off possible invasions of French soil, but poor lines of communication prevented the delivery of these messages. By the time he reached Paris in October, France''s situation had been improved by a series of victories. The Republic was, however, bankrupt and the ineffective Directory was unpopular with the French population. The Directory discussed Bonaparte''s "desertion" but was too weak to punish him.
Despite the failures in Egypt, Napoleon returned to a hero''s welcome. In alliance with the director Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, his brother Lucien; the speaker of the Council of Five Hundred, Roger Ducos; another Director, Joseph Fouché; and Talleyrand, he overthrew the Directory by a coup d''état on November 9, 1799 ("the 18th Brumaire" according to the revolutionary calendar), and closed down the council of five hundred. Napoleon became "first consul" for ten years, with two consuls appointed by him who had consultative voices only. His power was confirmed by the new constitution ("Constitution of the year VIII"), originally devised by Sieyès to give Napoleon a minor role, but rewritten by Napoleon, and accepted by direct popular vote (3,000,000 in favor, 1,567 opposed). The constitution preserved the appearance of a republic but in reality established a military dictatorship. The days of Brumaire sounded the end of the short-lived republic: no more representative government, assemblies, a collegial executive, or liberty. French ConsulateBust of Bonaparte as First ConsulMain articles: French Consulate and War of the Second Coalition
Though Sieyès expected to dominate the new regime, he was outmanoeuvred by Bonaparte. Having seized power, Lefebvre notes, "Napoleon immediately set about organizing his dictatorship." He drafted the Constitution of the Year VIII and secured his own election as First Consul, and he took up residence at the Tuileries. The constitution was approved in a plebiscite held the following January, with 99.94 percent officially listed as voting "yes"—an implausibly high result that could have only been obtained through fraud.
In 1800, Bonaparte and his troops crossed the Alps into Italy, where French forces had been almost completely driven out by the Austrians whilst he was in Egypt. The campaign began badly for the French after Bonaparte made strategic errors; one force was left besieged at Genoa but managed to hold out and thereby occupy Austrian resources. This effort, and French general Louis Desaix''s timely reinforcements, allowed Bonaparte narrowly to avoid defeat and to triumph over the Austrians in June at the significant Battle of Marengo.
Bonaparte''s brother Joseph led the peace negotiations in Lunéville and reported that Austria, emboldened by British support, would not recognise France''s newly gained territory. As negotiations became increasingly fractious, Bonaparte gave orders to his general Moreau to strike Austria once more. Moreau led France to victory at Hohenlinden. As a result, the Treaty of Lunéville was signed in February 1801; the French gains of the Treaty of Campo Formio were reaffirmed and increased. Temporary peace in Europe See also: Haitian RevolutionBonaparte, First Consul, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
Both France and Britain had become tired of war and signed the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802. This called for the withdrawal of British troops from most colonial territories it had recently occupied. Bolstered by this treaty, Napoleon was made First Consul for life in a 10 May plebiscite, with an implausible 99.8% voting in favour.
The peace was uneasy and short-lived. Britain did not evacuate Malta as promised and protested against Bonaparte''s annexation of Piedmont and his Act of Mediation, which established a new Swiss Confederation, though neither of these territories were covered by the treaty. The dispute culminated in a declaration of war by Britain in May 1803, and he reassembled the invasion camp at Boulogne.
Bonaparte faced a major setback and eventual defeat in the Haitian Revolution. By the Law of 20 May 1802 Bonaparte re-established slavery in France''s colonial possessions, where it had been banned following the Revolution. Following a slave revolt a decade earlier, he sent an expeditionary army to reconquer Saint-Domingue (Haiti) on the western side of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea and re-establish a base for an expanded colonial empire in the West Indies and North America. The French Imperial army was, soon however, infected and destroyed by the disease of yellow fever, amid fierce resistance led by Haitian revolutionary generals Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Faced by imminent war against Britain, within a year of dispatching the army to Haiti and possible bankruptcy, Napoleon now recognised any French possessions on the mainland of North America would be indefensible considering Britain''s control of the sea. So, unexpectedly he sold them to the US in 1803 —the Louisiana Purchase— for less than three cents per acre, $15 million. French Empire Main article: First French Empire