Napoleon I of France
Infobox French Royalty|monarch
title=The Emperor of the French
King of Italy
Mediator of the Swiss Confederation
Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine
reign=20 March 1804–6 April 1814
1 March 1815–22 June 1815
coronation=2 December 1804
full name=Napoleon Bonaparte
French Consulate(as Executive Power of the French Republic, with himself as First Consul);
Monarch: Louis XVI as King of the French (died 1793)
successor=Louis XVIII ("
Napoleon II ("
Joséphine de Beauharnais
Marie Louise of Austria
royal anthem =
date of birth=Birth date|1769|8|15|df=yes
place of birth=
Ajaccio, Corsica, France
date of death=Death date and age|1821|5|5|1769|8|15|df=yes
place of death=Longwood,
St. Helena, United Kingdom
place of burial=
Les Invalides, Paris
Napoleon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who had a significant impact on the
history of Europe. He was a general during the French Revolution, the ruler of France as " First Consul" of the French Republic and "Emperor of the French" and King of Italy, "Mediator" of the Swiss Confederation and "Protector" of the Confederation of the Rhine.
Corsicaand trained as an artillery officer in mainland France, he rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led successful campaigns against the First and Second Coalitions arrayed against France. In 1799, Napoleon staged a " coup d'état" and installed himself as First Consul; five years later he crowned himself Emperor of the French. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, he turned the armies of France against every major European power and dominated continental Europe through a lengthy streak of military victories - epitomised through battles such as Austerlitz and Friedland. He maintained France's sphere of influence through the formation of an extensive alliance system, including the appointment of friends and family members to rule other European countries as French client states.
French invasion of Russiain 1812 marked a turning point in Napoleon's fortunes. His " Grande Armée" was decimated in the campaign and never fully recovered. In 1813, the Sixth Coalitiondefeated his forces at the Leipzig, invaded France and exiled him to the island of Elba. Less than a year later, he returned and was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterlooin June 1815. Napoleon spent the last six years of his life under British supervision on the island of Saint Helena, where he died in 1821. The autopsy concluded he died of stomach cancerthough Sten Forshufvudand other scientists in the 1960s alleged he had been poisoned with arsenic.
Napoleon developed few military innovations, drew his tactics from a variety of sources and scored major victories with a modernised French army. His campaigns are studied at military academies all over the world and he is widely regarded as one of history's greatest commanders. Whilst considered a tyrant by his opponents, he is also remembered for the establishment of the
Napoleonic code, which laid the bureaucratic foundations for the modern French state.
Origins and education
"Lapulion" according to Jacques Godechot in cite book|author=Jean Mistler|authorlink=Jean Mistler|title=Naissance d'un empire (Birth of an empire)|pages=p.29|publisher=Marabout|year=1979 Neither Napoleone nor his family used the nobiliary particle "di".] His heritage would later earn him popularity amongst the local populace during his Italian campaigns. [cite book|last=Durant|first=Will|coauthors=Durant, Ariel|title=The Age of Napoleon|publisher=Simon and Schuster|year=1975|isbn=067121988X|page=91|chapter=The Story of Civilisation: Part XI]
The Corsican Buonapartes originated from minor Italian nobility, which came to Corsica in the 16th century when the island was still a possession of Genoa. [cite book|author=Rocca|year=1996|title=Il piccolo caporale|publisher=Mondadori] His father
Carlo Buonaparte, an attorney, was named Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI in 1778, where he remained for a number of years. The dominant influence of Napoleon's childhood was his mother, Maria Letizia Ramolino, whose firm discipline helped restrain the rambunctious Napoleon. [cite book|authorlink=Vincent Cronin|last=Cronin|first=Vincent|title=Napoleon|publisher=HarperCollins|year=1994|isbn=0006375219|pages=pp.20–21; See also: (McLynn 1998, p.8)] Napoleon had an elder brother, Joseph, and younger siblings Lucien, Elisa, Louis, Pauline, Caroline and Jérôme. He was baptised Catholic just before his second birthday, on 21 July 1771 at Ajaccio Cathedral. [cite web|url=http://www.napoleon.org/en/magazine/museums/files/Cathedral-Ajaccio.asp|title=Cathedral - Ajaccio|publisher=La Fondation Napoléon|accessdate=2008-05-31]
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. On 15 May 1779, at age nine, Napoleon was admitted to a French
military academyat Brienne-le-Château, a small town near Troyes. He had to learn French before he entered the school, spoke with a marked Italian accent and never learned to spell properly. [(McLynn 1998, p.18)] During these school years Napoleon was teased by other students for his accent and he buried himself in study. [cite book|title=The Age of Napoleon|isbn=0618154612|publisher=Houghton Mifflin Books|last=Herold|first= J. Christopher|year=2002|pages=p.19] At Brienne, Bonaparte first met the Champagne maker Jean-Rémy Moët. They became good friends and Napoleon would later stay frequently at Moët's estate. Victorious French armies were known for indulging in sabrage. cite book|author=D. & P. Kladstrup|title=Champagne|pages=pp.61–68|publisher= HarperCollins|isbn=0060737921] On completion of his studies at Brienne in 1784, Bonaparte was admitted to the elite École Militairein Paris. Though he had initially sought a naval assignment, he studied artilleryand completed the two-year course of study in one year. [cite book|first=Christopher|last= Hibbert|title=Waterloo: Napoleon's last campaign| publisher=Wordsworth Editions|year=1998|isbn=1853266876|page=p.22|chapter=Napoleon: The Man and the Soldier] An examiner judged him as very applied to "abstract sciences, little curious as to the others; a thorough knowledge of mathematics and geography." [cite book|author=Asprey, Robert|title=The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte|publisher=Basic Books|year= 2000|isbn=0465048811|page=p.13] There does not seem to be any direct evidence that supports a connection with him and Napoleon's theorem. cite book|last=Wells|first=David|title=The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Geometry|publisher= Penguin Books|isbn=0140118136|pages=p.74|year=1992]
Upon graduation in September 1785, he was commissioned a
second lieutenantin "La Fère" artillery regiment and took up his new duties at the age of 16. [(McLynn 1998, p.31)] Napoleon served on garrison duty in Valence and Auxonneuntil after the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, though he took nearly two years of leave in Corsica and Paris during this period. Keen to maintain political connections back home, Napoleon wrote to Pasquale Paoli, the Corsican nationalist, 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 odius sight which was the first to strike me." [(McLynn 1998, p.37)] He spent most of the next four years in Corsica, amidst a complex three-way struggle between royalists, revolutionaries, and Corsican nationalists. Bonaparte supported the Jacobin faction and gained the rank of lieutenant-colonelof a regiment of volunteers. It is not clear how, after he had exceeded his leave of absence and led a riot against a French army in Corsica, he was able to convince military authorities in Paris to promote him to Captain in July 1792. [(McLynn 1998, p.55)] He returned to Corsica but came into conflict with Paoli after the Corsican leader sabotaged an assault, involving Napoleon, on the island of La Maddalena.Paoli had by now split with the National Conventionand sided with the royalists.(McLynn 1998, p.61)] Bonaparte and his family had to flee to the French mainland in June 1793; Napoleon's best opportunity for advancement was now through the French military. [(McLynn 1998, p.64)]
Through the help of fellow Corsican
Antoine Christophe Saliceti, Napoleon was appointed artillery commander of the French forces at the siege of Toulon. The city had risen in revolt against the republican government and was occupied by British troops. [(Schom 1998, p.16)] He spotted an ideal hill placing that allowed French guns to 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 recapture of the city and his promotion to Brigadier General. His actions brought him to the attention of the Committee of Public Safety, and he became a close associate of Augustin Robespierre, younger brother of the Revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre. [(Schom 1998, pp.22–23)] Following the fall of the Robespierres, Napoleon was briefly imprisoned in the Château d'Antibes in August 1794, but was released within two weeks. [(Schom 1998, p.25)] He also became engaged to Désirée Clary, later Queen of Sweden and Norway, but the engagement was broken off by Napoleon in 1796. [(McLynn 1908, p.103)]
Bonaparte was serving in Paris when royalists and counter-revolutionaries organised an armed protest against the
National Conventionon 3 October 1795. Bonaparte was given command of the improvised forces that were defending the Convention in the Tuileries Palace. He seized artillery pieces with the aid of a young cavalry officer, Joachim Murat, who later became his brother-in-law, and used it to repel the attackers, 1400 of whom died and the rest fled. [(McLynn 1998, p.96)] It was claimed he later boasted he had cleared the streets with "a whiff of grapeshot", though this quotation actually came from cite book|author= Thomas Carlyle|publisher=Chapman & Hall|origyear=1837|title=|isbn=0375760229|year=2002] The defeat of the Royalist insurrection extinguished the threat to the Convention and earned him sudden fame, wealth, and the patronage of the new Directory, particularly that of its leader, Barras. Napoleon was quickly promoted to Général de Division and within six months, he was given command of the French Army of Italy. Also, within weeks of Vendémiaire he was romantically attached to Barras's former mistress, Joséphine de Beauharnais, whom he married on 9 March 1796. [(McLynn 1998, p.102)]
First Italian campaign
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 Montenotteand Battle of Lodi, he defeated Austrian forces, then drove them out of Lombardyand defeated the army of the Papal States. [(McLynn 1998, p.119)] Bonaparte argued against the wishes of Directory atheists, such as Louis Marie la Révellière-Lepaux, to march on Rome and dethrone the Pope, because he reasoned this would create a power vacuum that would be exploited by the Kingdom of Naples. Instead, in March 1797, Bonaparte led his army into Austria and forced it to sue for peace. The resulting Treaty of Leobengave France control of most of northern Italy, along with the Low Countriesand Rhineland, but a secret clause promised the Republic of Veniceto Austria. [(McLynn 1998, p.132)] Bonaparte then marched on Venice and forced its surrender, ending more than 1,000 years of independence. By July 1797, Bonaparte had organised many of the French-dominated territories in Italy into the Cisalpine Republic.
His application of conventional military ideas to real-world situations effected many of his military triumphs, such as creative use of
artilleryas a mobile force to support his infantry. He described his tactics: "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." [(McLynn 1998, p.145)] Contemporary paintings of his headquarters during the Italian campaign depict his use of the Claude Chappe semaphore line, first implemented in 1792. He was also adept at both espionage, deception and knew when to strike. He often won battles by his use of spies to gather information about enemy forces, concealment of troop deployments and concentration of his forces on the unsuspecting enemy. In this campaign, often considered his greatest, Napoleon's army captured 150,000 prisoners, 540 cannons and 170 standards. [cite book|last=Horne|first=Alistair|title=The Age of Napoleon|publisher=Modern Library|edition=Trade Paperback|chapter=Chapter 1 -The Will to Power|isbn=0812975553|url=http://www.randomhouse.com/modernlibrary/library/display.pperl?isbn=9780812975550&view=excerpt|accessdate=2008-06-04|year=2006] A year's campaign had seen the French army fight 67 actions and win 18 pitched battles due to superior artillery technology and Napoleon's tactics and strategy. [(McLynn 1998, p.135)]
During the campaign, General Bonaparte became increasingly influential in French politics. He published two newspapers, ostensibly for the troops in his army, but widely circulated within France as well. In May 1797 he founded a third newspaper, published in Paris, "Le Journal de Bonaparte et des hommes vertueux". [cite web|author=Wayne Hanley|year=|url=http://www.gutenberg-e.org/haw01/frames/fhaw03.html|Chapter=3 For Morale or Propaganda? The Newspapers of Bonaparte|title=The Genesis of Napoleonic Propaganda, 1796-1799|publisher=Columbia University Press|accessdate=2008-06-14|year=2000] Elections in mid-1797 gave the royalist party increased power which alarmed Barras and his allies on the Directory. [(Schom 1998, pp.69–70)] The royalists, in turn, attacked Bonaparte for looting Italy and claimed he had overstepped his authority in dealings with the Austrians. Bonaparte sent General Augereau to Paris to lead a coup d'état and purge the royalists on 4 September (18 Fructidor). This left Barras and his Republican allies in firm control again, but dependent on Bonaparte to maintain it. Bonaparte himself proceeded to the peace negotiations with Austria, then returned to Paris in December as the conquering hero and the dominant force in government, more popular than the Directors. [(Schom 1998, p.87)]
In March 1798, Bonaparte proposed a military expedition to seize Egypt, then a province of the
Ottoman Empire, to protect French trade interests and undermine Britain's access to India. The Directory, though troubled by the scope and cost of the enterprise, readily agreed in order that the popular general would be absent from the centre of power. [(Schom 1998, pp.72–73)]
In May, Bonaparte was elected a member of the
French Academy of Sciences. His Egyptian expedition included a group of 167 scientists: mathematicians, naturalists, chemists and geodesers among them; their discoveries included the Rosetta Stoneand their work was published in the "Description of Egypt" in 1809.cite book|first=Ken|last=Alder|title=The Measure of All Things - The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error That Transformed the World|publisher= Free Press (publisher)|year=2002|isbn=074321675X] Ahmed Youssef writes that this deployment of intellectual resources was an indication of Bonaparte's devotion to the principles of the Enlightenment, whilst Juan Coleis inclined to see it as a masterstroke of propaganda, which obfuscated imperialism. [cite book|last=Youssef|first=Ahmed|title=The Fascination of Egypt: From the Dream to the Project|publisher=Harmattan|date=1998|url=http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/exhibits/egypt/int_four.html|accessdate=2008-06-07 cite book|last=Cole|first=Juan|title=Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East|publisher=Palgrave Macmillan|isbn=1403964319] In a largely unsuccessful effort to gain the support of the Egyptian populace, Bonaparte also issued proclamations that cast him as a liberator of the people from Ottoman oppression, and praised the precepts of Islam.In a letter to Sheikh El-Messiri, 28 August 1798, Napoleon wrote, "I hope the time is not far off when I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of the Quran which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness." Letter published in cite book|title=Correspondance de Napoléon Ier|editor=Henri Plon|year=1870|pages=p.420|id=ASIN|B0013Z9HGO|publisher=Dumaine]
En route to his campaign in Egypt, Napoleon seized
Maltaon 9 June 1798. He requested safe harbour to resupply his ships, waited until his ships were safely in port, and then turned his guns on his hosts. The Knights Hospitallerwere unable to defend themselves from this attack.
On 1 July, Napoleon and his army landed at
Alexandria, after they had eluded pursuit by the British Royal Navy. He then successfully fought the Battle of Chobrakitagainst the Mamluks, an old power in the Middle East. This battle helped the French plan their attack in the Battle of the Pyramidsfought over a week later, about 6 km from the pyramids. Bonaparte's forces were greatly outnumbered by the Mamelukes cavalry - 20,000 against 60,000 - he formed hollow squares which kept supplies safely on the inside. In all, 300 French and approximately 6,000 Egyptians were killed. [cite book|last=Smith|first=Digby|title=The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book|publisher=Greenhill Books|date=1998|pages=p.140|isbn=1853672769]
While the battle on land was a resounding French victory, the British Royal Navy won control of the sea. The ships that had landed Bonaparte and his army sailed back to France, while a fleet of ships of the line remained to support the army along the coast. On 1 August the British fleet under
Horatio Nelsoncaptured or destroyed all but two French vessels in the Battle of the Nile. With Bonaparte land-bound, his goal of a strengthened French position in the Mediterranean Seawas frustrated, but his army had temporarily succeeded in the consolidation of French power in Egypt, though it faced repeated uprisings. [(Schom 1998, pp.139–144)]
In early 1799, he led the army into the Ottoman province of
Damascus( Syriaand Galilee) and defeated numerically superior Ottoman forces in several battles, but his army was weakened by disease - mostly bubonic plague- and poor supplies. Napoleon led 13,000 French soldiers in the conquest of the coastal towns of Arish, Gaza, Jaffa, and Haifa.
The storming of Jaffa was particularly brutal. The French took control of the city within a few hours of the start of the attack and bayoneted approximately 2,000 Turkish soldiers that tried to surrender. The soldiers then turned on the inhabitants of the town. Men, women, and children were robbed and murdered for three days, and the massacre ended with even more bloodshed, as Napoleon ordered 3,000 Turkish prisoners executed.cite web|url=http://entomology.montana.edu/historybug/napoleon/plague_syria.htm|title=Insects, Disease, and Military History: The Napoleonic Campaigns and Historical Perception|accessdate=2008-05-28|publisher=American
With his army weakened by the plague, Napoleon 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; it is not clear how many died. [cite book|last=Herold|first=J. Christopher|year=1962|title=Bonaparte in Egypt|publisher=Harper & Row] His supporters have argued this decision was necessary given the continued harassment of stragglers by Ottoman forces. Back in Egypt, on 25 July, Bonaparte defeated an Ottoman amphibious invasion at Abukir. [(Schom 1998, pp.176–179)]
Ruler of France
Whilst in Egypt, Bonaparte stayed informed of European affairs through irregular delivery of newspapers and dispatches. He learnt France had suffered a 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 orders from Paris. The army was left in the charge of Jean Baptiste Kléber. [(Schom 1998, pp.186–188)]
Unknown to Napoleon, the Directory had earlier sent him orders to return with his army to ward off possible invasions of French soil but poor lines of communication meant the messages had failed to reach the French general.cite book|year=2006|title=Blundering to Glory: Napoleon's Military Campaigns|first=Owen|last=Connelly|pages=p.57|publisher=Rowman & Littlefield|isbn=0742553183] By the time he reached Paris in October, France's situation had been improved by a series of victories. The Republic was bankrupt however, and the ineffective Directory was unpopular with the public. [(Schom 1998, p.194)] The Directory had discussed Napoleon's "desertion" but it was now too weak to punish him.Bonaparte was approached by one of the Directors,
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, who sought his support for a coup to overthrow the constitutional government. The leaders of the plot included Bonaparte's brother Lucien, the speaker of the Council of Five Hundred, Roger Ducos, another Director, Joseph Foucheand Talleyrand. On 9 November - 18 Brumaire - Bonaparte was charged with the safety of the legislative councils, who were persuaded to remove to Château de Saint-Cloud, to the west of Paris, after a rumour of a Jacobin rebellion was spread by the plotters. [(McLynn 1998, p.215)] By the following day, the deputies had realized they faced an attempted coup. Faced with their remonstrations, Napoleon led troops to seize control and disperse them, which left a rump legislatureto name Bonaparte, Sièyes, and Ducos as provisional Consuls to administer the government. Though Sieyès expected to dominate the new regime, he was outmanoeuvered by Bonaparte, who drafted the Constitution of the Year VIIIand secured his own election as First Consul. [(McLynn 1998, p.224)] This made Bonaparte the most powerful person in France, powers that were increased by the Constitution of the Year X, which declared him First Consul for life.Article 1.- Le Peuple français nomme, et le Senat proclame Napoleon Bonaparte Premier consul à vie. Translation: The French people name, and the Senate proclaims Napoleon Bonaparte First Consul for life. cite web|url=http://www.conseil-constitutionnel.fr/textes/constitution/c1802.htm|title=Constitution du 16 thermidor an X|publisher=Constitutional council|accessdate=2008-05-30]
Bonaparte instituted several lasting reforms, including centralised administration of the departements,
higher education, a tax system, a central bank, law codes, and road and sewer systems. He negotiated the Concordat of 1801with the Catholic Church, which sought to reconcile the mostly Catholic population with his regime. It was presented alongside the Organic Articles, which regulated public worship in France. His set of civil laws, the Napoleonic codeor Civil Code, has importance to this day in modern continental Europe, Latin America and the US, specifically Louisiana. [cite journal|journal=Louisiana Law Review|title=A Civil Law to Common Law Dictionary|publisher=KinsellaLaw.com|url=http://www.kinsellalaw.com/publications/kinsella_civil-common-law-dictionary.pdf|year=1994|issue=vol.54|accessdate=2008-10-11]
The Code was prepared by committees of legal experts under the supervision of
Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, who held the office Second Consulfrom 1799 to 1804; Bonaparte participated actively in the sessions of the Council of State that revised the drafts. Other codes were commissioned by Bonaparte to codify criminal and commerce law. In 1808, a Code of Criminal Instruction was published, which enacted precise rules of due process. [cite web|url=http://ledroitcriminel.free.fr/la_legislation_criminelle/anciens_textes/code_instruction_criminelle_1808.htm|title=Code d'instruction criminelle de 1808 (Code of Criminal Instruction 1808)|publisher=Le droit criminel|accessdate=2008-05-30] When enacted, it sought to protect personal freedoms and to remedy the prosecutorial abuses commonplace in contemporary European courts.
econd Italian campaign
In 1800, Bonaparte returned to Italy, which the Austrians had reconquered during his absence in Egypt. With his troops he crossed the Alps on a mule, as depicted in "
Bonaparte Crossing the Alps" by Hippolyte Delaroche- not on a charger as shown in Jacques-Louis David's " Napoleon Crossing the Alps". [cite book|last=Chandler|first=David|title=Napoleon|publisher=Leo Cooper|year=2002|isbn=0850527503|pages=p.51] in France which had been banned following the revolution. [cite book|title=Race, Racism, and Science|publisher=ABC-CLIO|isbn=1851094482|pages=p.33|last=Jackson|first=John P.]
Interlude of peace
The British signed the
Treaty of Amiensin October 1801 and March 1802, this set the terms for peace, which included the withdrawal of British troops from most colonial territories recently occupied. [(McLynn 1998, p.235)] The peace between France and Britain was uneasy and short-lived. The monarchies of Europe were reluctant to recognise a republic as they feared the ideas of the revolution might be exported to them. In Britain, the brother of Louis XVI was welcomed as a state guest though officially Britain recognised France as a republic. Britain failed to evacuate Malta, as promised, and protested against France's annexationof Piedmont, and Napoleon's Act of Mediationin Switzerland, though neither of these areas were covered by the Treaty.
In 1803 Bonaparte faced a major setback and eventual defeat in the
Haitian Revolution. Following a slaverevolt, he sent an army to reconquer Saint-Domingueand establish a base. The force was, however, destroyed by yellow feverand fierce resistance led by Haitian Generals Toussaint Louvertureand Jean-Jacques Dessalines.Claude Ribbe advances the thesis the French used gas chambers. cite book|year=2007|title=|publisher=Oneworld Publications|first=Claude|last=Ribbe|isbn=1851685332] Faced by imminent war with Britain and bankruptcy, he recognised French possessions on the mainland of North America would be indefensible and sold them to the United States - the Louisiana Purchase- for less than three cents per acre($7.40 per km²). [cite web|url=http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/american_originals/louistxt.html|title=The Louisiana Purchase|publisher=U.S. National Archives and Records Administration|accessdate=2008-05-28] The dispute over Malta ended with a declaration of war on France by Britain in 1803, to support French royalists.
In January 1804, Bonaparte's police uncovered an assassination plot against him, ostensibly sponsored by the former rulers of France, the Bourbons.Napoleon faced several Royalist and Jacobin plots during his life including the '
Conspiration des poignards' (Daggers Conspiracy) in October 1800 and the Plot of the Rue Saint-Nicaise(also known as 'The Infernal Machine') in December of the same year. cite book|last =Bruce|first=Evangeline|title=Napoleon & Josephine, An Improbable Marriage|publisher=Scribners|year=1995|pages=pp.321-323] In retaliation, Bonaparte ordered the arrest of the Duke of Enghien, in violation of Baden's sovereignty. After a hurried secret trial, the Duke was executed on 21 March. [cite book|last=Gay|first=Peter|coauthors=Robert Kiefer Webb|title=Modern Europe to 1815|pages=p.512|date=1973|publisher=Harper & Row] Bonaparte used this incident to justify the re-creation of a hereditary monarchy in France, with himself as Emperor, on the theory that a Bourbon restoration would be impossible once the Bonapartist succession was entrenched in the constitution.
Napoleon crowned himself Emperor on 2 December 1804 at
Notre Dame de Parisand then crowned Joséphine Empress. At Milan Cathedralon 26 May 1805, Napoleon was crowned King of Italywith the Iron Crown of Lombardy.Claims he seized the crown out of the hands of Pope Pius VIIduring the ceremony - to avoid subjecting himself to the authority of the pontiff - are apocryphal; the coronation procedure had been agreed in advance. See also: Napoleon Tiara.]
War of the Third Coalition
In 1805 Britain convinced Austria and Russia to join a Third Coalition against France. Napoleon knew the French fleet could not defeat the
Royal Navyand tried to lure it away from the English Channelin the hope a Spanish and French fleet could take control of the Channel long enough for French armies to cross and invade England. [cite web|url=http://www.napoleon.org/en/reading_room/articles/files/omeara_napo_invasion.asp|title=O'Meara's account of Napoleon on the invasion of the England|publisher=cite web|url=http://www.napoleon.org/en/fun_stuff/dico/index.asp|title=Bogeyman|publisher=La Fondation Napoléon|accessdate=2008-10-02|accessdate=2008-05-29] However, because Austria and Russia had prepared an invasion of France, he had to change his plans and turn his attention to the continent. The newly formed Grande Arméesecretly marched to Germany. On 20 October 1805, it surprised the Austrians at Ulm, but the next day Britain's victory at the Battle of Trafalgarmeant the Royal Navy gained control of the seas. A few weeks later on 2 December, the first anniversary of his coronation, Napoleon defeated Austria and Russia at Austerlitz which ended the third coalition. Historian Frank Mclynn suggests Napoleon was so successful at Austerlitz he lost touch with reality, and what used to be French foreign policy became a "personal Napoleonic one". [(McLynn 1998, p.350)] Again Austria had to sue for peace: the Peace of Pressburgled to the creation of the Confederation of the Rhinewith Napoleon as its "Protector". [cite book|title=1805: Austerlitz: Napoleon and the Destruction of the Third Coalition|publisher=Greenhill Books|author=Robert Goetz|year=2005|pages=p.301|isbn=1853676446]
War of the Fourth Coalition
The Fourth Coalition was assembled the following year, and Napoleon defeated
Prussiaat the Battle of Jena-Auerstedtin October. [(McLynn 1998, p.356)] He marched on against advancing Russian armies through Poland, and was involved at the bloody stalemate of the Battle of Eylauon 6 February 1807. After a decisive victory at Friedland, he signed the Treaties of Tilsitwith Tsar Alexander I of Russiawhich divided Europe between the two powers. He placed puppet rulers on the thrones of German states, including his brother Jerome as king of the new Kingdom of Westphalia. In the French-controlled part of Poland, he established the Duchy of Warsaw, with King Frederick Augustus I of Saxonyas ruler. Between 1809 and 1813, Napoleon also served as Regent of the Grand Duchy of Berg for his brother Louis Bonaparte.
In addition, Napoleon also waged economic war with an attempt to enforce a Europe-wide commercial boycott of Britain called the "
Continental System", though it did not succeed. [(McLynn 1998, p.497)]
Portugal did not comply with the Continental System and in 1807 Napoleon invaded Portugal with the support of Spain. [cite web|url=http://www.historynet.com/napoleons-total-war.htm|title=Napoleon’s Total War|publisher=Weider History Group|accessdate=2008-05-28] Under the pretext of a reinforcement of the Franco-Spanish army that was occupying Portugal, Napoleon invaded Spain as well, replaced Charles IV with his brother Joseph and placed his brother-in-law Joachim Murat in Joseph's stead at Naples. This led to resistance from the Spanish army and civilians in the
Dos de Mayo Uprising. [(Gates 2001, p.20)] Following a French retreat from much of the country, Napoleon himself took command and defeated the Spanish army, retook Madrid and then outmanoeuvred a British army sent to support the Spanish, driving it to the coast. [(Chandler 1995, p.631)] But before the Spanish population had been fully subdued, Austria again threatened war and Napoleon returned to France. The costly and often brutal Peninsular War continued, and Napoleon left several hundred thousand of his finest troops to battle Spanish guerrillas as well as British and Portuguese forces commanded by the Duke of Wellington. [(Gates 2001, p.177)] French control over the Iberian Peninsuladeteriorated and collapsed in 1813; the war went on through allied victories and concluded after Napoleon's abdication in 1814. [(Gates 2001, p.467)]
War of the Fifth Coalition
In April 1809, Austria abruptly broke its alliance with France and Napoleon was forced to assume command of forces on the Danube and German fronts. After early successes, the French faced difficulties in crossing the
Danubeand then suffered a defeat in May at Aspern-Essling near Vienna. The Austrians failed to capitalise on the situation and allowed Napoleon's forces to regroup. The Austrians were defeated once again at Wagram and a new peace was signed between Austria and France. [cite book|title=Aspern & Wagram 1809: Mighty Clash Of Empires|publisher=Osprey|year=1994|author=Ian Castle|isbn=1855323664] The other member of the coalition was Britain. In addition to its position in the Iberian Peninsula, the British planned to open another front in mainland Europe. However, by the time the British landed at Walcheren, Austria had already sued for peace. The expedition was a disaster and was characterised by little fighting but 4,000 casualties due to what the soldiers called, "Walcheren Fever". [(McLynn 1998, p.422)] This fever was in fact a lethal combination of old diseases: malaria, typhus, typhoid, and dysentery.]
Concurrently with this war, Napoleon annexed the
Papal Statesbecause of the Church's refusal to support the Continental System. Pius VII responded by excommunicating the emperor and the Pope was then abducted by Napoleon's officers. Though Napoleon did not order his abduction, he did not order Pius' release either. The Pope was moved throughout Napoleon's territories, sometimes whilst ill, and Napoleon sent delegations to pressure him into issues including giving-up power and a new concordat with France. The Pope remained confined for 5 years, and did not return to Rome until May 1814. [(McLynn 1998, p.433-5)] In 1810 the Austrian Archduchess Marie Louise married Napoleon, following his divorce of Joséphine. The marriage further strained relations with the Church and thirteen cardinals were imprisoned for non-attendance at the ceremony. [(McLynn 1998, p.470)]
Invasion of Russia
Congress of Erfurthad sought to preserve the Russo-French alliance and the leaders had had a friendly personal relationship after their first meeting at Tilsit in 1807.Napoleon wrote to Cambaceres: "Complete harmony reigns between the emperor of Russia, the king of Prussia and me."(Correspondence n°12 843) cite web|url=http://www.napoleon.org/en/reading_room/timelines/files/tilsit.asp|title=From Friedland to Tilsit (June to July 1807)|publisher=La Fondation Napoléon|accessdate=2008-07-13] By 1811, however, tensions were building between the two nations and Alexander was under strong pressure from the Russian nobilityto break off the alliance. The first clear sign the alliance was deteriorating was the relaxation of the Continental Systemin Russia, which angered Napoleon. [(Riehn 1991, p.24)] By 1812, advisers to Alexander suggested the possibility of an invasion of the French Empire and the recapture of Poland.
Russia deployed large numbers of troops on the Polish borders, more than 300,000 of its total army strength of 410,000. On receipt of intelligence reports on Russia's war preparations, Napoleon expanded his
Grande Arméeto more than 450,000 men, in addition to at least 300,000 men already deployed in Iberia. Napoleon ignored repeated advice against an invasion of the vast Russian heartland, and prepared for an offensive campaign. [(Riehn 1991, p.81)]
On 23 June 1812, Napoleon's invasion of Russia commenced. [(McLynn 1998, p.506)] In an attempt to gain increased support from Polish nationalists and patriots, Napoleon termed the war the "Second Polish War" - the "first Polish war" was the
Bar Confederationuprising by Polish nobles against Russia. Polish patriots wanted the Russian part of partitioned Poland to be incorporated into the Duchy of Warsawand a new Kingdom of Poland created, though this was rejected by Napoleon, who feared it would bring Prussia and Austria into the war against France. Napoleon also rejected requests to free the Russian serfs, due to concerns this might provoke a reaction in his army's rear.
The Russians avoided Napoleon's objective of a decisive engagement and instead retreated ever deeper into Russia. A brief attempt at resistance was made at Smolensk in the middle of August, but the Russians were defeated in a series of battles in the area and Napoleon resumed his advance. The Russians then repeatedly avoided battle with the Grande Armée, though in a few cases this was only because Napoleon uncharacteristically hesitated to attack when the opportunity arose. Thanks to the Russian army's
scorched earthtactics, the French were finding it increasingly difficult to forage food for themselves and their horses. [cite book|author=George Nafziger|authorlink=George Nafziger|title=Napoleon's Invasion of Russia|year=1998|isbn=0891416617|publisher=Presidio Press] Along with hunger, the French also suffered from the harsh Russian winter.
The Russians eventually offered battle outside Moscow on 7 September. Losses were almost even, with slightly more casualties on the Russian side, after what may have been the bloodiest day of battle in history: the
Battle of Borodino.See Borodino article for comparisons to the Battle of the Somme.] Though Napoleon had won, the Russian army had accepted, and withstood, the major battle the French had hoped would be decisive. Napoleon's own account was: "Of the fifty battles I have fought, the most terrible was that before Moscow. The French showed themselves to be worthy victors, and the Russians can rightly call themselves invincible." [cite web|url=http://www.napoleon.org/en/magazine/museums/files/Borodino.asp|title=Borodino|publisher=La Fondation Napoléon|accessdate=2008-06-24] . [Cite book|title=With Napoleon in Russia: The Memoirs of General de Caulaincourt, Duke of Vicenza|chapter=VI 'The Fire'|pages=pp.109–107|publisher=Greenwood Press Reprint|year=1976|author=Armand Augustin Louis Caulaincourt] Within the month, concerned about loss of control back in France, Napoleon and his army left.
The French suffered greatly in the course of a ruinous retreat; the Armée had begun as over 450,000 frontline troops, but in the end fewer than 40,000 crossed the
Berezina Riverin November 1812, to escape. [cite book|last=Markham|first=Felix|title=Napoleon|publisher=Mentor|pages=pp.190 and 199] The strategy employed by the Russians had worn down the invaders: French losses in the campaign were about 570,000 in total. [cite book|last=Zamoyski|first=Adam|title=|publisher=HarperCollins|date=2004|pages=p.537|isbn=0007123752] The Russians lost 150,000 in battle and hundreds of thousands of civilians. [(McLynn 1998, p.541)]
War of the Sixth Coalition
There was a lull in fighting over the winter of 1812–13 while both the Russians and the French recovered from their massive losses. A small Russian army harassed the French in Poland and eventually French troops withdrew to the German states to rejoin the expanding force there. This force continued to expand to the point where Napoleon could field a force of 350,000 troops. [(McLynn 1998, p.549)]
Heartened by Napoleon's losses in Russia, Prussia rejoined the Coalition that now included Russia, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal. Napoleon assumed command in Germany and inflicted a series of defeats on the Allies which culminated in the
Battle of Dresdenon 26–27 August 1813 - the battle resulted in 38,000 casualties to the Coalition forces, whilst the French sustained around 10,000. [(McLynn 1998, p.565)]
Despite these initial successes, the numbers continued to mount against Napoleon as Sweden and Austria joined the Coalition. Eventually the French army was pinned down by a force twice its size at the
Battle of Leipzigfrom 16–19 October. Some of the German states switched sides in the midst of the battle to fight against France. This was by far the largest battle of the Napoleonic Warsand cost more than 90,000 casualties in total. [(Chandler 1995, p.1020)]
Napoleon withdrew back into France; his army was now reduced to 70,000 men still in formed units and 40,000 stragglers, against more than three times as many Allied troops. [cite book|last=Rothenberg|first=Gunther|title=The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon|publisher=Indiana University Press|year=1981|pages=p.57|isbn=0253202604 cite book|last=Fremont-Barnes|first=Gregory|coauthors=Todd Fisher|title=The Napoleonic Wars: The Rise and Fall of an Empire|publisher=Osprey|date=2004|pages=p.14|isbn=1841768316] The French were surrounded and vastly outnumbered: British armies pressed from the south, in addition to other Coalition forces positioned to attack from the German states. Napoleon won a series of victories in the
Six Days Campaign, though this was not significant enough to change the overall strategic position and Paris was captured by the Coalition in March 1814.When Napoleon proposed the army march on the capital, his Marshals decided to mutiny. [cite book|author=Gates, David|title=The Napoleonic Wars, 1803-1815|publisher=Pimlico|isbn=0712607196|pages=p.259|year=2003] On 4 April, led by Ney, they confronted Napoleon. Ney said the army would not march on Paris. Napoleon asserted the army would follow him and Ney replied the army would follow its generals. On 6 April 1814, Napoleon abdicated in favour of his son, but the Allies refused to accept this and demanded unconditional surrender. Napoleon abdicated again, unconditionally, on 11 April; however, the Allies allowed him to retain his title of Emperor. In the Treaty of Fontainebleau the victors exiled him to Elba, a small island in the Mediterranean Sea20 km off the coast of Italy. Napoleon attempted to commit suicide by taking poison from a vial he carried. However, the poison had weakened with age and he survived to be deported whilst his wife and son took refuge in Vienna. [(Schom 1998, p.702)] In exile, he ran Elba as a little country, created a tiny navy and army, opened mines, and helped farmers improve their land. [cite web|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4208/is_19950323/ai_n10190027|title=Elba: Why did Napoleon ever leave this island paradise|date=1995-05-23|accessdate=2008-05-28|publisher=Milwaukee Sentinel|author=Jones, Meg]
In France, the royalists had taken over and restored Louis XVIII to power. Meanwhile Napoleon, separated from his wife and son (who had come under Austrian control), cut off from the allowance guaranteed to him by the Treaty of Fontainebleau, and aware of rumours he was about to be banished to a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean, escaped from Elba on 26 February 1815 and returned to the French mainland on 1 March 1815. Louis XVIII sent the 5th Regiment of the Line to meet him at
Grenobleon 7 March 1815. Napoleon approached the regiment alone, dismounted his horse and, when he was within gunshot shouted, "Here I am. Kill your Emperor, if you wish." [(McLynn 1998, p.605)] The soldiers responded with, "Vive L'Empereur!" and marched with Napoleon to Paris. On 13 March, the powers at the Congress of Viennadeclared him an outlawand four days later the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Russia, Austria and to the French throne.
Off the port of
Rochefort, Charente-Maritime, blocked from an escape to the United States, Napoleon made his formal surrender to Captain Frederick Maitland of HMS|Bellerophon|1786|6 on 15 July 1815. [cite book|title=The Billy Ruffian: The Bellerophon and the Downfall of Napoleon|pages=p.254|author=David Cordingly|year=2004|publisher=Bloomsbury USA|isbn=158234468X]
Exile on Saint Helena
Napoleon was imprisoned and then exiled by the British in October 1815, to the island of
St. Helenain the Atlantic Ocean, 2,000 km from any major landmass. Before Napoleon moved to Longwood Housein December 1815, he lived in a pavilion on the "Briars" estate, which belonged to William Balcombe (1779-1829), and became friendly with the family, especially the younger daughter Lucia Elizabeth (Betsy) who later wrote "Recollections of the Emperor Napoleon". [cite book|year=1845|title=Recollections of the Emperor Napoleon|author=Lucia ElizabethBalcombe Abell|publisher=J. Murray] This relationship ended in 1818 when British authorities became suspicious that Balcombe had acted as an intermediary between Napoleon and Paris, and dismissed him from the island. [cite web|url=http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A030078b.htm|title=Balcombe, Alexander Beatson (1811 - 1877)|publisher=Australian Dictionary of Biography Online|accessdate=2008-05-27]
Longwood had fallen into disrepair, and the location was damp, windswept and considered unhealthy even by the British. [(McLynn 1998, p.644)] With a small cadre of followers, Napoleon dictated his memoirs and criticised his captors - particularly
Hudson Lowe, the British governor of the island and Napoleon's custodian. Lowe's treatment of Napoleon is regarded by historians, such as Frank McLynn, as poor.(McLynn 1998, p.642)] Lowe exacerbated a difficult situation through several measures including: a reduction in Napoleon's expenditure, no gifts could be delivered to him if they mentioned his imperial status and all his supporters had to sign a document that guaranteed they would stay with the prisoner indefinitely. Napoleon and his entourage did not accept the legality or justice of his captivity, and the slights they received could become magnified. In the early years of exile Napoleon received many visitors, to the anger and consternation of the French minister Richelieu. From 1818 however, as the restrictions placed on him were increased, he lived the life of a recluse.
In 1818 "
The Times" reported a false rumour of Napoleon's escape and said that the news was greeted by spontaneous illuminations in London - a custom in which householders place candles in street-facing windows, to herald good news. [cite web|url=http://www.historytoday.com/MainArticle.aspx?m=31103&amid=30222626|title=Napoleon's Last Journey|publisher=History Today|accessdate=2008-07-12] There was sympathy for him also in the political opposition in the British Parliament. Lord Holland - the nephew of the former Whig leader Charles James Fox- made a speech to the House of Lordsthat the prisoner should be treated with no unnecessary harshness. [cite book|title=Napoleon's Jailer|year=1996|publisher=Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press|isbn=0838636578|pages=p.140|last=Gregory|first=Desmond] As Napoleon read "The Times" during his exile, he hoped for release on the possibility that Holland would become Prime Minister.
Napoleon also enjoyed the support of
Lord Cochranewho was closely involved in Chile and Brazil's struggle for independence. It was Cochrane's aim to rescue and then help him set up a new empire in South America, a scheme frustrated by Napoleon's death in 1821. [cite book|title=Dom Pedro: The Struggle for Liberty in Brazil and Portugal, 1798-1834|author=Macaulay, Neill|publisher=Duke University Press|year=1986|isbn=0822306816] There were several plots to rescue Napoleon from captivity, including one from Brazil and another from Texas, where 400 exiled soldiers from the Grand Armée dreamed of a resurrection of the Napoleonic Empire in America. There was even a plan to rescue him with a submarine. [cite book|title=Napoleon's Submarine|year=1972|last=Wilkins|first=Vaughan|isbn=0450010287|publisher=New English Library] For Lord Byron, amongst others, Napoleon was the epitome of the Romantic hero, the persecuted, lonely and flawed genius. Conversely, the news that Napoleon had taken-up gardening at Longwood appealed to more domestic British sensibilities. [(McLynn 1998, p.651)]
In February 1821, his health began to fail rapidly and on 3 May, two English physicians who had recently arrived, attended him and could only recommend palliatives.(McLynn 1998, p.655)] He died two days later, having confessed his sins and received Extreme Unction and
Viaticumat the hands of Father Ange Vignali. [cite journal|journal=Notes and Queries|issue=vol.12|year=1873|title=How the Great Nepoleon (Sic) Died|author=Murray, Henry|url=http://nq.oxfordjournals.org/content/vols4-XII/issue299/|accessdate=2008-06-08|pages=p.223] His last words were, "France, armée, tete d'armée, Joséphine." He had asked in his will to be buried on the banks of the Seine, but was buried on St. Helena, in the "valley of the willows", in an unmarked tomb. Hudson Loweinsisted the inscription should read 'Napoleon Bonaparte', but Charles Tristan, marquis de Montholonand Henri Gratien, Comte Bertrandwanted the Imperial title 'Napoleon' - royalty were signed by their first names only. As a result the tomb was left nameless. (Mclynn 1998, p.655)] In 1840, Louis-Philippe of Franceobtained permission from the British to return Napoleon's remains to France. The remains were transported aboard the frigate "Belle-Poule", which had been painted black for the occasion and on 29 November she arrived in Cherbourg. The remains were transferred to the steamship "Normandie", which transported them to Le Havre, up the Seine to Rouenand on to Paris. On 15 December a state funeral was held. The hearse proceeded from the Arc de Triomphedown the Champs-Elysees, across the Place de la Concordeto the Esplanadeand then to the cupola in St Jerome's Chapel, where it stayed until the tomb designed by Louis Viscontiwas completed. In 1861 Napoleon's remains were entombed in a porphyry sarcophagus in the crypt under the dome at Les Invalides. [cite book|title=As Befits a Legend|publisher=Kent State University Press|isbn=0873384849|last=Driskel|first=Paul|year=1993] Egyptian porphyry used for the tombs of Roman emperors was unavailable, so red quartzitewas obtained from Russian Finland, this elicited protests from those who still remembered the Russians as enemies.] Hundreds of millions have since visited his tomb.
death maskwas created around 6 May, though it is not clear which doctor took it. [cite journal|last=Wilson|first=J|date=8 August 1975|title=Dr. Archibald Arnott: Surgeon to the 20th Foot and Physician to Napoleon|publisher= British Medical Journal|issue=vol.3|pages=pp.293–295|url=http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1674241&blobtype=pdf|accessdate=2008-06-07] During this period, it was customary to cast a death mask or mold of a leader. A mixture of wax or plaster was placed over his face and removed after the form hardened. From this impression, subsequent copies were cast.There are four genuine death masks that are known to exist. One located in the Cabildo, a state museum located in the New Orleans French Quarter, one in a Liverpool museum, another in Havana, Cuba and the last in the library of the University of North Carolina.cite web|url=http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/gallery/napo.html|title= Death Mask of Napoleon|accessdate=2008-08-04|publisher=University of North Carolina]
Cause of death
Francesco Antommarchi, led the autopsywhich found the cause of death to be stomach cancer, though he did not sign the official English report, stating, "What had I to do with...English reports?" [(McLynn 1998, p.656)] Napoleon's father had died of stomach cancer though this was seemingly unknown at the time of the autopsy. [cite book|author=Johnson, P.|title=Napoleon: A life|publisher=Penguin Books|year=2002|pages=pp.180–181] Antommarchi found evidence of a stomach ulcer and it was the most convenient explanation for the British who wanted to avoid criticism over their care of the former French emperor.In 1955 the diaries of Napoleon's valet, Louis Marchand, appeared in print. His description of Napoleon in the months before his death led Sten Forshufvudto put forward other causes for his death, including deliberate arsenic poisoning, in a 1961 paper in Nature. [cite web|url=http://www.napoleon.org/en/reading_room/articles/files/arsenic_emperor.asp|title=Arsenic and the Emperor|last=Krajewska|first=Barbara|publisher=La Fondation Napoléon|accessdate=2008-06-07] A 2004 group of researchers claimed treatments imposed on the emperor caused death by Hypokalemia. cite web|title=Doctors may have killed Napoleon|date=2004-07-23|url=http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6187|accessdate=2008-08-11|publisher= New Scientist] Arsenic was used as a poison during the era because it was then undetectable when administered over a long period. Forshufvud, in a 1978 book with Ben Weider, noted the emperor's body was found to be remarkably well-preserved when it was moved in 1840, which supported the hypothesis of unusually high levels of arsenic, a strong preservative, and therefore the poisoning theory.In 2001 a French researcher added credence to the theory, with results that showed arsenic levels in Napoleon's hair to be 7 to 38 times higher than normal. cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1364994.stm|title=Napoleon 'may have been poisoned'|publisher=BBC|date=2001-06-01|accessdate=2008-08-11] Forshufvud and Weider noted Napoleon had attempted to quench abnormal thirst by drinking high levels of orgeat syrupthat contained cyanide compounds in the almonds used for flavouring. Forshufvud and Weider maintained that the potassium tartrate used in his treatment prevented his stomach from expelling these compounds. They claimed the thirst was a symptom of arsenic poisoning, and the calomelgiven to Napoleon became a massive overdose, which caused stomach bleeding that killed him and left behind extensive tissue damage. Forshufvud and Weider suggested the autopsy doctors could have mistaken this damage for cancer aftereffects.Antommarchi was the only pathologist present. cite web|url=http://www.napoleon.org/en/reading_room/articles/files/arsenic_emperor.asp|title=Arsenic and the Emperor|last=Krajewska|first=Barbara|publisher=La Fondation Napoléon|accessdate=2008-06-07] A 2007 article stated that the type of arsenic found in Napoleon's hair shafts was mineral type, the most toxic, and therefore according to toxicologist Dr Patrick Kintz, this supported the conclusion that his death was murder. [cite journal|last=Fournier|first=John|title=Napoleon Bonaparte Really Was Murdered. The Weapon: Rat Poison|journal=International Surgery|publisher=International College of Surgeons|issue=vol 92, number 5] Different researchers, in another 2008 study, analysed samples of Napoleon's hair from throughout his life, and from his family and other contemporaries. All samples had high levels of arsenic, approximately 100 times higher than the current average. According to researchers, Napoleon's body was already heavily contaminated with arsenic as a boy, and the high arsenic concentration in his hair was not due to intentional poisoning; people were constantly exposed to arsenic from glues and dyes, throughout their lives.The body can tolerate quite large doses of arsenic if ingested regularly, and arsenic had become a fashionable cure-all from 1780. cite web|title=Hair Analysis Deflates Napoleon Poisoning Theories|publisher=The New York Times|accessdate=2008-06-11|date=2008-06-10|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/10/science/10napo.html The wallpaper used in Longwood contained a high level of arsenic compound used for colouring by British manufacturers. The adhesive, which in the cooler British environment was innocuous, may have grown moldin the more humid climate and emitted the poisonous gas arsine. The wallpaper theory was ruled out as it did not explain the arsenic absorption patterns found in other analyses and the original proponent of the wallpaper theory did not claim the concentration levels of arsine actually lead to Napoleon's death. cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1364994.stm|title=Napoleon 'may have been poisoned'|publisher=BBC|date=2001-06-01|accessdate=2008-08-11]
There have been modern studies which have supported the original autopsy finding. In May 2005, a team of Swiss physicians suggested there was more evidence for stomach cancer after studies of his trouser waist sizes indicated he had lost weight just before his death. Also, in October 2005 a document was unearthed in Scotland that presented an account of the autopsy which seemed to confirm its conclusion. [cite web|title=Napoleon died of stomach cancer, new report|url=http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1481694.htm|publisher=
Australian Broadcasting Corporation|accessdate=2008-08-11|author=Rossella Lorenzi|date=2005-10-14] A 2007 study found no evidence of arsenic poisoning in the relevant organs and concluded stomach cancer was the cause of death. [cite journal|url=http://www.nature.com/ncpgasthep/journal/v4/n1/full/ncpgasthep0684.html|title=Napoleon Bonaparte's gastric cancer: a clinicopathologic approach to staging, pathogenesis, and etiology|author=Lugli, Alessandro "et al."|year=2007|journal=Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology|issue=vol.4(1)|pages=pp.52–57|month=January|doi=10.1038/ncpgasthep0684]
After Napoleon's death,
Henry Parry Liddonasserted that Napoleon, while in exile on St. Helena, compared himself unfavourably to Christ. According to Liddon's sources, Napoleon said to Count Montholon that while he and others such as "Alexander, Caesar and Charlemagne" founded vast empires, their achievements relied on force, while Jesus "founded his empire on love." After further discourse about Christ and his legacy, Napoleon then reputedly said, "It...proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ." [cite web|url=http://thriceholy.net/Texts/Liddon3.html|title=Note 171 of Lecture 3 - The Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ|accessdate=2008-05-28|publisher=Holy, Holy, Holy: the Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity Also see: Cite web|url=http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/person.iv.xv.html|title=Paragraph 315 onwards of "Napoleon Bonaparte"|publisher=Christian Classics Ethereal Library|accessdate=2008-05-27]
An earlier quotation attributed to Napoleon suggested he may have been an admirer of Islam: "I hope the time is not far off when I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of Qur'an which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness." [cite book|author=Christian Cherfils|title=Bonaparte and Islam|publisher=Pedone|year=1914|pages=pp.105 and 125] However, Napoleon's private secretary during his conquest of Egypt,
Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne, wrote that Napoleon had no serious interest in Islam or any other religion beyond their political value."Bonaparte's principle was...to look upon religions as the work of men, but to respect them everywhere as a powerful engine of government...If Bonaparte spoke as a Mussulman ( Muslim), it was merely in his character of a military and political chief in a Mussulman country. To do so was essential to his success, to the safety of his army, and...to his glory...In India he would have been for Ali, at Thibet for the Dalai-lama, and in China for Confucius." From Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne, Memoirs of Bonaparte, R. W. Phipps Ed., New York: Charles Schribner's Sons, 1889, p.168–169; as quoted on cite web|url=http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/612/|title=Bonaparte and Islam.|publisher=George Mason University Center for History and New Media|accessdate=2008-01-05]
Marriages and children
Napoleon married Joséphine in 1796, when he was 26; she was a 32-year old widow whose first husband had been executed during the revolution. Until she met Bonaparte, she had always been Rose, a name which he disliked. He called her 'Joséphine,' which she took up, and sent her many love letters whilst on his campaigns. [(McLynn 1998, p.117)] He formally adopted her son Eugène and cousin Stéphanie, and arranged dynastic marriages for them. Joséphine had her daughter Hortense marry Napoleon's brother, Louis. [(McLynn 1998, p.271)]
Joséphine had several lovers, including a
Hussarlieutenant Hippolyte Charles during Napoleon's Italian campaign. [(McLynn 1998, p.118)] Napoleon also had many affairs: during the Egyptian campaign he became involved with Pauline Bellisle Foures, the wife of a junior officer; she became known as "Napoleon's Cleopatra." Shortly before the imperial coronation, Joséphine caught Napoleon in the bedroom of her lady-in-waiting, Elisabeth de Vaudey. Napoleon threatened to divorce Joséphine as she had not produced an heir, an impossibility due to the stresses of her imprisonment during the Terror or she may have had an abortion in her twenties. [(McLynn 1998, p.100)] They were temporarily reconciled through the efforts of Hortense.
Napoleon ultimately decided to divorce so he could remarry in search of an heir. [(McLynn 1998, p.465)] Therefore in March 1810, he married Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria by proxy; he had married into the German royal family.Every single ruler of Germany was related to every other by marriage, and hence they can all be put into this single tree.] They remained married until his death, though she did not join him in exile. The couple had one child Napoleon Francis Joseph Charles (1811–32), known from birth as the King of Rome. He was later to become Napoleon II though reigned for only two weeks and was awarded the title of the Duke of Reichstadt in 1818; he had no children himself.
Napoleon acknowledged two illegitimate children:
Charles Léon, (1806–81) by Louise Catherine Eléonore Denuelle de la Plaigne
Count Alexandre Joseph Colonna-Walewski, (1810-68) by Countess Marie Walewska.He may have had further illegitimate offspring:
Émilie Louise Marie Françoise Josephine Pellapra, (1806–71) by Françoise-Marie LeRoy
*Karl Eugin von Mühlfeld, by Victoria Kraus
Hélène Napoleone Bonaparte(1816–1910) by Albine de Montholon
Jules Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire, whose mother also remains unknown. [cite book|first=Marie Adelaide Belloc|last=Lowndes|authorlink=Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes|title=Where Love And Friendship Dwelt|publisher=Macmillan|year=1943]
Napoleon has become a worldwide
cultural iconwho symbolises strength, geniusand militaryand political power. Since his death, countless towns, streets, ships, and even cartoon characters have been named after him. In apparent contradiction, the stock characterof Napoleon is generally a comically short "petty tyrant" which has been a clichéin popular culture. Napoleon's name has been lent to the "Napoleon complex", a colloquial term that describes a type of inferiority complexassociated with shortness. He is often portrayed with a comically large bicorneand one hand tucked inside his coat - a reference to the 1812 painting by Jacques-Louis David. This caricaturesometimes displaces the real historical figure.
During the Napoleonic Wars he was taken seriously by the British as a dangerous
tyrant, poised to invade.A nursery rhymewarned children that Bonaparte ravenously ate naughty people. His contracted last name 'Boney' became 'Bogey' and then ' bogeyman'. cite web|url=http://www.napoleon.org/en/fun_stuff/dico/index.asp|title=Bogeyman|publisher=La Fondation Napoléon|accessdate=2008-10-02] British propaganda of the time depicted Napoleon as of smaller than average height and it is this image that persists. Confusion about his height also stems from the fact that the French and English inches are different sizes - 2.70 and 2.54 cm respectively. [cite book|title=Resolute and Undertaking Characters|isbn=9027726523|publisher=Springer|year=1988|last=Batten|first=Alan|pages=p.xvi] According to contemporary sources, he in fact grew to just under 1.7 m, just under average height for a Frenchman at the time.Napoleon's height was put at around 5 ft 2 French inches, equivalent to 1.7 m, by French sources: his valet Constant, Gaspard Gourgaud, and Antommarchi at Napoleon's autopsy. English sources put his height at around 5 ft 7 ins, equivalent, on the Imperial scale, to 1.7 m. cite web|url=http://www.napoleon.org/fr/salle_lecture/articles/files/Taillenapo_RIN_89_oct1963_2006.asp|title=Napoleon's height|language=French|accessdate=2008-05-30|publisher=La Fondation Napoléon Napoleon's nickname of "le petit caporal" has added to the confusion, as non- Francophoneshave mistakenly interpreted "petit" as its literal meaning of "small". In fact, it was an affectionate term that reflected his reported camaraderie with ordinary soldiers. "Petit ami" and "petit amie" are French for "boyfriend" and "girlfriend".]
The Napoleonic code was adopted throughout much of Europe and remained in force after Napoleon's defeat. Napoleon himself said: "My true glory is not to have won 40 battles...Waterloo will erase the memory of so many victories. ... But...what will live forever, is my Civil Code." [cite book|title=The Way the World Works|last=Wanniski|first=Jude|publisher=Regnery Gateway|pages=p.184|isbn=0895263440|year=1998] Dieter Langewiesche described the code as a "revolutionary project" which spurred the development of
bourgeoisiesociety in Germany by extending the right to own propertyand breaking feudalism. Napoleon reorganised what had been the Holy Roman Empire, made-up of more than a thousand entities, into a more streamlined forty-state Confederation of the Rhine, providing the basis for the German Confederationand the future unification of Germanyinto a German Empirein 1871. [cite book|chapter=The Road to National Unification|isbn=184520817X|first=Raffael|last=Scheck|publisher=Berg|title=Germany, 1871-1945: A Concise History|year=2008] The movement of national unification in Italy was also precipitated by Napoleonic rule in the country. [cite book|title=Between Salt Water And Holy Water: A History Of Southern Italy|author=Astarita, Tommaso|year=2005|page=p.264|publisher=W. W. Norton & Company|isbn=0393058646] These changes contributed to the development of nationalismand the Nation state. [cite book|author=Alter, Peter|title=Playing with the Nation: Napoleon and the Culture of Nationalism|title=United and Diversity in European Culture c. 1800|editor=Tim Blanning and Hagen Schulze|publisher=Oxford University Press|year=2006|pages=pp.61-76]
Even though the official introduction of the metric system in the Paris region in September 1799 was never popular with large sections of French society, Napoleon's rule greatly aided adoption of the new standard across the French sphere of influence. Napoleon ultimately took a retrograde step in 1812, as he passed legislation to return France to its traditional units of measurement, but these were decimalised and as such the foundations were laid for the definitive introduction of the metric system across Europe in the middle of the 19th century. [cite web|url=http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/HistTopics/Measurement.html|title=The history of measurement|publisher=St Andrew's University|accessdate=2008-07-18]
Napoleon left a Bonapartist dynasty that would rule France again: his nephew,
Napoleon III of France, became Emperor of the Second French Empireand was the first President of France. In a wider sense, Bonapartism now refers to a Marxistconcept of a government that forms when class rule is not secure and a military, police, and state bureaucracy intervenes to establish order. [cite web|url=http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/b/o.htm|title=Bonapartism|accessdate=2008-06-02|publisher=Marxists Internet Archive]
Napoleon ended lawlessness and disorder according to historian John Abbott. [cite web|url=http://www.fullbooks.com/Napoleon-Bonaparte3.html|title=Napoleon Bonaparte|last=Abbott|first=John|pages=p.3|accessdate=2008-06-07|publisher=FullBooks.com|year=2003] However, Napoleon has been compared with later , by his opponents. [(McLynn 1998, p.666)] When other countries offered terms to Napoleon which would have restored France's borders to positions that would have delighted his predecessors, he refused compromise and only accepted surrender. Critics of Napoleon argue his true legacy was a loss of status for France and needless deaths. Historian Victor Davis Hanson writes, "After all, the military record is unquestioned - 17 years of wars, perhaps six million Europeans dead, France bankrupt, her overseas colonies lost." [cite web|title=The Claremont Institute: The Little Tyrant, A review of "Napoleon: A Penguin Life"|url=http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.1038/article_detail.asp|accessdate=2008-05-30|publisher=The Claremont Institute|author=Hanson, Victor Davis] Napoleon's initial success may have sowed the seeds for his downfall; not used to such catastrophic defeats in the rigid power system of 18th century Europe, nations found life under the French yoke intolerable, this sparked revolts, wars, and general instability that plagued the continent until 1815. Nevertheless, internationally there are still many who admire his accomplishments.International Napoleonic Congresses are held regularly including participation by members of the French and American military, French politicians and scholars from different countries. cite web|url=http://www.napoleon.org/en/magazine/presse_review/files/dinard_callforpapers.asp|title=Call for Papers: International Napoleonic Society, Fourth International Napoleonic Congress|accessdate=2008-06-27|publisher=La Fondation Napoléon]
In the field of
military organisation, he borrowed from previous theorists and the reforms of preceding French governments and developed much of what was already in place. He continued, for example, the Revolution's policy of promotion based primarily on merit. Corpsreplaced divisions as the largest army units, artillery was integrated into reserve batteries, the staff system became more fluid, and cavalry once again became an important formation in French military doctrine.(Archer et al 2002, p.397)] Though he is credited with the introduction of conscription, one of the restored monarchy's first acts was to end it. [cite book|isbn=031331912X|title=Conscription and democracy: The Draft in France, Great Britain, and the United States|publisher=Greenwood PublishingGroup|year=2001|first=George Q.|last=Flynn|pages=p.16] Weapons and technology remained largely static through the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, but 18th century operational mobilityunderwent massive restructuring. [(Archer et al 2002, p.383)] Napoleon's biggest influence was in the conduct of warfare, he was regarded by the influential military theorist Carl von Clausewitzas a genius in the operational art of war. [(Archer et al 2002, p.380)] A new emphasis towards the destruction, not just outmanoeuvering, of enemy armies emerged. Invasions of enemy territory occurred over broader fronts which made wars costlier and more decisive - a phenonemon that came to be known as Napoleonic warfare, though he did not give it this name. The political aspects of war had been totally revolutionised, defeat for a European power now meant more than the loss of isolated enclaves. Near- Carthaginian peaces intertwined whole national efforts, economic and militaristic, into collisions that upset international conventions. [(Archer et al 2002, p.404)]
Historians place Napoleon as one of the greatest military strategists who ever lived, along with
Alexander the Greatand Julius Caesar. Wellington, when asked who was the greatest general of the day, answered: "In this age, in past ages, in any age, Napoleon." [cite book|title=Wellington|page=p.508|last=Longford|first=Elizabeth|year=1992|publisher=Abacus|isbn=0349112916 See also: cite web|url=http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-137875955.html|title=How Canova and Wellington honoured Napoleon|publisher=Apollo|accessdate=2008-05-29]
*cite book|title=World History of Warfare|first=Christon I.|last=Archer|coauthors=John R. Ferris, Holger H. Herwig|publisher=University of Nebraska Press|year=2002|isbn=0803244231
*cite book|last=Chandler|first=David|authorlink=David G. Chandler|title=The Campaigns of Napoleon|publisher=Simon & Schuster|year=1995|isbn=0025236601
*cite book|last=Gates|first=David|title=The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War|publisher=Da Capo Press|year=2001|isbn=0306810832
*cite book|last=Riehn|first=Richard|title=1812 Napoleon's Russian Campaign|publisher=Wiley|year=1991|isbn=0471543020
*cite book|last=Schom|first=Alan|authorlink=Alan Schom|title= Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life|year=1998|publisher=Harper Perennial|isbn=0060929588
*cite wikisource|title-link= (in French)
*cite wikisource|title-link= (in French)
*gutenberg|no=3567|name=Memoirs of Napoleon
*gutenberg|no=14300|name=The Life of Napoleon I
*gutenberg|no=17579|name=The History of Napoleon Buonaparte
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/bonaparte_napoleon.shtml BBC profile]
* [http://www.pbs.org/empires/napoleon/home.html Biography] by the US
* [http://napoleon.thepodcastnetwork.com/ Napoleon 101] , podcast by
* [http://www.napoleon-series.org/ Napoleon Series]
* [http://www.napoleonicsociety.com/ International Napoleonic Society]
* [http://www.napoleonexhibit.com/ Napoleon: A Traveling Exhibition]
*Find A Grave|id=1350
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Napoleon I Bonaparte, Emperor of the French, King of Italy
SHORT DESCRIPTION=French general and ruler
DATE OF BIRTH=15 August 1769
PLACE OF BIRTH=
DATE OF DEATH=5 May 1821
PLACE OF DEATH=
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