One of the greatest historical military figures, French general, first consul and the emperor of the French was born in the family of the Italian lawyer Carlo Bonaparte and his wife Letizia Romolino on 15 August in Ajaccio, Corsica. The Bonapartes were anti-French, and Napoleon’s father Carlo was a member of Paoli’s party, which was fighting against the French occupation. Ironically, life circumstances forced the family to come to terms with invaders when Pasquale Paoli had to flee and the French conquered Corsica.
Napoleon’s education started at Ajaccio school and continued at the Autun military college in Burgundy and one more military school in Brienne. Napoleon spent the final year of studies at the military academy in Paris. By the age of 16, the young man received an excellent education, and by 1785 he was a second lieutenant of artillery in the French army. It was also the year when Napoleon’s father died and left the son at the position of the head of the family.
During his life, Napoleon made several attempts to come back to Corsica. However, after his younger brother Lucien denounced Paoli as a traitor, the Bonapertes were no longer welcome in the homeland. Since then, Napoleon, inspired by French Revolution in 1789, began to make a name for himself.
As soon as France declared the war against Austria in 1792, Napoleon was promoted to the rank of captain, and demonstrated his military skills at Toulon. In recognition of tactics that forced the British to evacuate, Napoleon was soon promoted to brigadier general. Napoleon’s military career grew fast, and in 1794, under Robespierre’s patronage, he was appointed as a commandant of the artillery in the Army of Alps. It was Napoleon who was entrusted to be a second in command while preventing a revolt in Paris and who saved the National Convention and the republic from the rebellion in 1795.
Earning a great standing among politicians of the new regime – the Directory, Napoleon was rewarded with a new rank of a commander in chief of the Army of Italy.
After a great conquer of the Netherlands, Napoleon’s troops were destroyed by British admiral Nelson. Napoleon left his men behind Egypt, returned to France, overthrew the Directory, and became the first consul of the new leading government in Europe. In 1802, Napoleon signed piece with England and Germany.
He also restored the harmony between the church and the government, established the bank system, reformed the education system, and created the Napoleonic Code, which modernized European countries through the legal reforms.
Napoleon’s fall from the glory started since the disastrous attempt to invade Russia. Napoleon’s troops were slowly driven from central Europe, and the empire was crumbling. In 1814, Napoleon was replaced by Louis XVIII and exiled to Elba. Napoleon made a successful try to return the reign for a short period of time. However, on June 18, 1815, Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of Waterloo by British and Prussian forces. Napoleon was once again exiled to the small British territory of St Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died of cancer at the age of 51 on May 5, 1821.
In conclusion, despite the unfortunate end of the reign, the great French commander with a Corsican temperament left a significant footprint on the future of Europe that will remain there forever.
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