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Napoleon I (15.08.1769 - 05.05.1821) - Emperor of the French

Napoleon I Bonaparte was a brilliant military leader and a statesman, who laid the foundation of the modern French state. He came from a family of a humble Corsican nobleman, but the heights that he reached were well noticed in the world. Napoleon was born on August 15, 1769, in Ajaccio which is the capital of Corsica. There were eight children in his family. At junior age he was sent to study in the Brienne military school in France.

In 1784 he entered the Parisian military academy and a year later joined the artillery troops. He was rather enthusiastic about the start of the French Revolution. In fact, he was appointed a Chief of artillery while returning Toulon occupied by the British. He led a brilliant operation which brought him the rank of brigadier general at the age of 24. In 1795 he became the Commander of the Italian army. The next year he got a chance to show all his leadership skills during the Italian campaign. That was the time when Napoleon gained European fame.

He was very proud of his first large victory. Soon he was sent to run more serious expeditions at the Middle East. The French army was defeated, but it wasnt Napoleons fault as he left the army long before the end of the campaign. He headed to Italy to fight Suvorovs army. By the time he returned to Paris the country was on the peak of crisis. He was rather popular among the citizens and highly respected. Thats why it was of no difficulty to stage a coup d'etat and proclaim the consulate. In 1802 he was appointed a lifelong consul and two years later - an emperor.

His internal policy was meant to strengthen the all-round personal power. He undertook a number of important reforms in the legal and administrative areas. In fact, when he came to power France was at war with some neighboring countries. Thats why he arranged another Italian campaign to eliminate the outer threats. Moreover, as a result of his military campaigns most of the Western European countries fell under the French subordination. Even Austria, Prussia and Russia were forced to enter the Union that he created.

The first years of his regime were met by French people with enthusiasm. They saw the savior of the motherland in Napoleon. However, the constant war and increasing economic crisis made people exhausted. The bourgeoisie was dissatisfied with the need to spend that much money on everlasting wars. In 1812 the Napoleons regime collapsed. It happened right after the Russian troops defeated his army. Two years later he was forced to abdicate. The only title he retained was that of the emperors. Soon he was sent into exile on the Elba Island in the Mediterranean.

His second exile, that lasted six years, was on the island of St. Helena. On May, 1821 he died there, but his ashes were brought to Paris in 1840. During his life he was married twice, but had only one heir from Marie-Louise - the Austrian emperors daughter. Napoleon I went down in history as an outstanding person with high intellectual abilities and amazing capacity for work.



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