A-Z: General definitions: Napoleon Bonaparte


Emperor of France (1769-1821). Bonaparte was born in Corsica and joined the French army in 1785. After the French Revolution of 1789, he became one of the finest generals in the republican Army with victories over the Austrians and in northern Italy. His campaign in Egypt in 1799 was less successful, but when he returned to France he overthrew the ruling regime and became First Consul and Consul for life in 1802. He continued to win remarkable victories and by the time he crowned himself Emperor in 1804 he was ruler of not only of France but of many new dependent territories. After 1808 his campaigns began to meet with less success, culminating in the disastrous retreat from Moscow in 1812. He abdicated in 1814 and was exiled to the island of Elba, from where he escaped in 1815 and resumed power, before being defeated at the battle of Waterloo in the same year. He was then exiled to the remote island of St Helena, where he died.

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