Napoleón Bonaparte is better known by his given name, Napoleón. He was born on the 15th of August, 1769 in France. He was a statesman and a successful military leader who gained recognition during the French Revolution.
Napoleón also became the Emperor of the French, and he adopted the Napoleón I name in 1804. He is remembered as a prolific military person who won most of the wars that he led.
Continue reading and discover all these amazing facts about Napoleon Bonaparte.
Napoleon Bonaparte Facts
1. Napoleón’s family background shaped his future
Napoleón was born in a small town called Ajaccio, on a French island called Corsica. He was the fourth child of Carlo Buonaparte, who was a lawyer, and his wife, Letizia Ramolino.
Furthermore, Napoleón was the second surviving child of the couple, as they had previously lost two other children before Napoleón was born.
Corsica, however, was being occupied by France and many of the islanders were truly against the idea of becoming and forming part of the mainland.
They fought a lot, and Carlo Buonaparte, Napoleón’s father, supported the nationalist movement and its leader, Pasquale Paoli.
A couple of days later Paoli was forced to flee the island and Carlo immediately switched sides and he decided to support the French.
Carlo Buonaparte was soon appointed Assessor of the Judicial District of Ajaccio, in 1771, a job that paid very well, and that allowed him to send his sons to one of the most-expensive schools in France, the France’s College d’Autun.
2. Napoleon was famous for his short height
Napoleon was around 5 feet and 7 inches tall, or 170 cms approximately. An interesting fact about Napoleon Bonaparte is that he was a little bit below the average Frenchman of that time.
Some historians believe he was even shorter, as many of the legends that have surrounded this famous character have always stated how short Napoleon was.
3. Napoleon’s military education and training was truly important to him
Napoleon studied at the Military College of Brienne for five years. He then moved to Paris to study at the Military Academy of the city. His father Carlo died a couple of months later.
Napoleon had to take care of his family and he graduated earlier from the Military Academy. He had become a Second Lieutenant of Artillery, and he was really proud about it.
In 1786, Napoleon returned to his hometown in Corsica, and he sided with his father’s former ally and defender of Corsica against the French, Pasquale Paoli.
Things didn’t go according to plan, and Paoli and Napoleon soon had a falling out and they became enemies. A civil war started to emerge in Corsica, and in 1793, Napoleon decided to move with his family to France, where they started using the French version of their last name: Bonaparte.
Napoleon rejoined French’s Army and his former regiment at Nice on that same year.
4. Napoleon saw a great opportunity during the French Revolution
Napoleon was a military leader, and he knew it. He supported the Jacobins, which were a left political movement that was formed prior to the French Revolution.
This Revolution started in 1789, and in 1792, France was already being declared a Republic. The following year, in 1793, King Louis XVI was executed.
Another leader was rising to power, and he was like Maximilien de Robespierre. He became a dictatorship and French citizens suffered a lot because of him. Robespierre was then executed as well.
Less than a year, in 1795, the Directory which was the French Revolutionary government decided to take the reins of the country and it assumed their power until 1799.
However, Napoleon was seen as a saviour in 1795 as he stopped some counter-revolutionary forces that wanted to fight. And he was named Commander of the Army of the Interior. He was also appointed as an Advisor to the Directory on military matters.
An interesting fact about Napoleon Bonaparte is that he won some battles in Italy, Austria and France, and he soon became one of the favourite military men in his country.
Napoleon also travelled alongside his army to the Middle East, in 1798. And even though he tried to undermine Great Britain’s presence in the area, all of Napoleon’s travels proved to be a disaster.
5. Napoleon and his involvement in politics
In 1799, Napoleon decided to return to France. He was next seeing participating in the Coup of 18 Brumaire, which was a bloody and cruel coup d’etat that overthrew the French Directory that was in charge of the country.
Napoleon saw a big opportunity, as the Directory was soon replaced by a three-member type of consulate that was led by Napoleon’s younger brother, Lucien Bonaparte.
Napoleon was then named First Consul, and after this came the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, which was a British and French agreement to stop fighting and to live peacefully.
Then the Napoleonic Wars occured. These were European wars that lasted from 1803 to 1815. Napoleon had run out of money and decided to sell France’s North American Louisiana Territory to the United States in order to be able to fund some of the European wars.
Napoleon wanted to invade Austria and Russia and he won the Battle of Austerlitz. He then expanded the French empire onto Holland, Naples, Italy, Sweden, Westphalia and Spain.
6. The Napoleonic Code and the French Civil Code
In March 1804, the Napoleonic Code was published and governments around the world have based their own Civil Codes on the Napoleonic one.
In it, privileges based on birth were forbidden. There was also a freedom of religion, something that was very unusual at the time, an interesting fact about Napoleon.
After the Napoleonic Code came the French new constitution, which in turn, created the position of first Consul, which ultimately became a dictator.
7. Napoleon and his exile
On April 1814, Napoleon was forced to abdicate to his role in France and he went into exile to an island called Elba, near Italy.
But he wasn’t done with politics, and a year later he escaped the island and went back to Paris, where he was able to return to power as an Emperor. However, he quickly had to abdicate again, and he left his son in power.
Napoleon died at the young age of 51. His death was on May 5th, 1821, at the St. Helena island.
He was bedridden and before he died he was considered to be very weak and fragile. In his will, he stated that he was killed by the British oligarchs.
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