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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Napoleon I of France)
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This article is about Napoleon I. For other uses, see Napoleon (disambiguation).
Napoleon
Full length portrait of Napoleon in his forties, in high-ranking white and dark blue military dress uniform. He stands amid rich 18th-century furniture laden with papers, and gazes at the viewer. His hair is Brutus style, cropped close but with a short fringe in front, and his right hand is tucked in his waistcoat.
Emperor of the French
Reign 18 May 1804 – 11 April 1814
20 March 1815 – 22 June 1815
Coronation 2 December 1804
Predecessor Himself as First Consul
Successor Louis XVIII (de jure in 1814)
King of Italy
Reign 17 March 1805 – 11 April 1814
Coronation 26 May 1805
Predecessor Himself as President of the Italian Republic
Successor None (kingdom disbanded, next king of Italy was Victor Emmanuel II)
Spouse Joséphine de Beauharnais
Marie Louise of Austria
Issue Napoleon II
Full name
Napoleon Bonaparte
House House of Bonaparte
Father Carlo Buonaparte
Mother Letizia Ramolino
Born (1769-08-15)15 August 1769
Ajaccio, Corsica, France
Died 5 May 1821(1821-05-05) (aged 51)
Longwood, Saint Helena
Burial Les Invalides, Paris, France
Religion Roman Catholicism (excommunicated on June 10, 1809[1] - see Religions section)
Signature
Imperial Standard of Napoleon I
Imperial coat of arms

Napoléon Bonaparte (/nəˈpliən, -ˈpljən/;[2] French: [napɔleɔ̃ bɔnapaʁt], born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the latter stages of the French Revolution and its associated wars. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815.

Napoleon dominated European affairs for almost two decades while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won the large majority of his battles and seized control of most of continental Europe before his ultimate defeat in 1815. One of the greatest commanders in history, his campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide and he remains simultaneously one of the most celebrated and controversial political figures in European history.[3]

In civil affairs he implemented a wide array of liberal reforms across Europe, as summarized by British historian Andrew Roberts:

The ideas that underpin our modern world–meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, and so on–were championed, consolidated, codified and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire.[4]


Napoleon was born in Corsica in a relatively modest family of noble Italian ancestry that had settled in Corsica in the 16th century. Well-educated and an avid reader, he spoke French with a heavy Corsican accent. A supporter of the radical Jacobin faction, his military skills led to very rapid promotions under the French First Republic. His fame came especially in his Italian and Egyptian campaign, against coalitions of enemies of the French Revolution.

Napoleon took power in 1799 and installed himself as First Consul with few restrictions on his control of France. In 1804 he was crowned emperor of the French people. He made peace with the pope and the Catholic Church, much to the relief of the religious element. He launched a new aristocracy for France while allowing the return of most of the aristocrats who had been forced into exile by the Revolution. He fought a series of wars—the Napoleonic Wars—that involved complex ever-changing coalitions against the French Empire. With his victories at Ulm and Austerlitz (1805), he put an end to the Third Coalition, then he dissolved the old Holy Roman Empire and created the Confederation of the Rhine. However, his navy was destroyed at the battle of Trafalgar (1805) and Britain imposed a naval blockade of the French coasts. In retaliation, he established the Continental System to cut off all European trade with Britain. A Fourth Coalition was set up against France, but was defeated at the battles of Jena-Auerstedt (1806), Eylau and Friedland (1807). It resulted in the dismemberment of Prussia and the resurgence of a Polish State. At Wagram (1809), Napoleon dissolved a Fifth Coalition and secured a dominant position in continental Europe.

Napoleon maintained the French sphere of influence through the formation of fluctuating alliances and the elevation of friends and family members to rule other European countries as French vassal states. Napoleon was himself President (1802-1805), then king of Italy (1805-1814), Mediator of the Swiss Confederation (1803-1813) and Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine (1806-1813). When Napoleon placed his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, on the throne of Spain and tried to compel Portugal to follow his Continental System, it led to opposition in both countries and, with assistance of the British army, to the Peninsular War which drained French resources.

To enforce the Continental blockade, his large-scale invasion of Russia (1812) proved to be a major military failure with his Grande Armée virtually destroyed. Most European countries then turned against him. The Sixth Coalition defeated him at the Battle of Leipzig (1813) and invaded France. Napoleon was forced to abdicate and go in exile to the island of Elba, most French territorial gains since 1792 were reversed and the king of France was restored. In 1815, he escaped and returned to power for hundred days, but was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. He spent the last 6 years of his life in confinement by the British on the remote island of Saint Helena. He was the great hero of the French people throughout the 19th century, and his nephew Napoleon III built on that fame to become ruler of France, 1848-70.

Origins and education

Half-length portrait of a wigged middle-aged man with a well-to-do jacket. His left hand is tucked inside his waistcoat.
Napoleon's father, Carlo Buonaparte, was Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI of France.

Napoleon was born on 15 August 1769 to Carlo Maria di Buonaparte and Maria Letizia Ramolino in his family's ancestral home, Casa Buonaparte, in the town of Ajaccio, the capital of the island of Corsica. He was their 4th child and 3rd son. This was a year after the island was transferred to France by the Republic of Genoa.[5] He was christened Napoleone di Buonaparte, probably named after an uncle (an older brother, who did not survive infancy, was the first of the sons to be called Napoleone). In his twenties, he adopted the more French-sounding Napoléon Bonaparte.[6][note 1]

The Corsican Buonapartes were descended from minor Italian nobility of Tuscan origin, who had come to Corsica from Liguria in the 16th century.[7][8]

His father, Nobile Carlo Buonaparte, an attorney, was named Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI in 1777. The dominant influence of Napoleon's childhood was his mother, Letizia Ramolino, whose firm discipline restrained a rambunctious child.[9] Napoleon's maternal grandmother had married into the Swiss Fesch family in her second marriage, and Napoleon's uncle, the later cardinal Joseph Fesch, would fulfill the role as protector of the Bonaparte family for some years.

Head and shoulders portrait of a white-haired, portly, middle-aged man with a pinkish complexion, blue velvet coat and a ruffle
The nationalist Corsican leader Pasquale Paoli; portrait by Richard Cosway, 1798

He had an elder brother, Joseph; and younger siblings, Lucien, Elisa, Louis, Pauline, Caroline and Jérôme. A boy and girl were born before Joseph but died in infancy. Napoleon was baptised as a Catholic.[10]

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.[11] In January 1779, Napoleon was enrolled at a religious school in Autun, in mainland France, to learn French. In May he was admitted to a military academy at Brienne-le-Château.[12] He always spoke with a marked Corsican accent and never learned to spell French properly.[13] Napoleon was teased by other students for his accent and applied himself to reading.[14] An examiner observed that Napoleon "has always been distinguished for his application in mathematics. He is fairly well acquainted with history and geography... This boy would make an excellent sailor."[15][note 2]

On completion of his studies at Brienne in 1784, Napoleon was admitted to the elite École Militaire in Paris. He trained to become an artillery officer and, when his father's death reduced his income, was forced to complete the two-year course in one year.[17] He was the first Corsican to graduate from the École Militaire.[17] He was examined by the famed scientist Pierre-Simon Laplace, whom Napoleon later appointed to the Senate.[18] At the age of 17, Napoleon reputedly said: "Life is a burden to me. Nothing gives me pleasure. I find only sadness in everything around me. It is very difficult because of the ways of those with whom I live, and probably always shall live, are as different from mine as moonlight is from sunlight".[19]

Early career

Napoleon Bonaparte, aged 23, Lieutenant-Colonel of a battalion of Corsican Republican volunteers

Upon graduating in September 1785, Bonaparte was commissioned a second lieutenant in La Fère artillery regiment.[12][note 3] He served on garrison duty in Valence and Auxonne until after the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, and took nearly two years' leave in Corsica and Paris during this period. A fervent Corsican nationalist, Bonaparte wrote to the Corsican leader Pasquale Paoli 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 odious sight which was the first to strike me.[21]

He spent the early years of the Revolution in Corsica, fighting in a complex three-way struggle among royalists, revolutionaries, and Corsican nationalists. He supported the revolutionary Jacobin faction, gained the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Corsican militia, and gained command over a battalion of volunteers. Despite exceeding his leave of absence and leading a riot against a French army in Corsica, he was promoted to captain in the regular army in July 1792.[22]

He returned to Corsica and came into conflict with Paoli, who had decided to split with France and sabotage the French assault on the Sardinian island of La Maddalena in February 1793, where Bonaparte was one of the expedition leaders.[23] Bonaparte and his family fled to the French mainland in June 1793 because of the split with Paoli.[24]

Siege of Toulon

Main article: Siege of Toulon

In July 1793, Bonaparte published a pro-republican pamphlet, Le souper de Beaucaire (Supper at Beaucaire), which gained him the admiration and support of Augustin Robespierre, younger brother of the Revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre. With the help of his fellow Corsican Antoine Christophe Saliceti, Bonaparte was appointed artillery commander of the republican forces at the siege of Toulon. The city had risen against the republican government and was occupied by British troops.[25]

Bonaparte at the Siege of Toulon

He adopted a plan to capture a hill where republican guns could 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 capture of the city. He was promoted to brigadier general at the age of 24. Catching the attention of the Committee of Public Safety, he was put in charge of the artillery of France's Army of Italy.[26]

Whilst waiting for confirmation of this post, Napoleon spent time as inspector of coastal fortifications on the Mediterranean coast near Marseille. He devised plans for attacking the Kingdom of Sardinia as part of France's campaign against the First Coalition.[27] The commander of the Army of Italy, Pierre Jadart Dumerbion, had seen many generals executed for failing or for having the wrong political views. Therefore, he deferred to the powerful représentants en mission, Augustin Robespierre and Saliceti, who in turn were ready to listen to the freshly promoted artillery general.[28]

Carrying out Bonaparte's plan in the Battle of Saorgio in April 1794, the French army advanced north-east along the Italian Riviera then turned north to seize Ormea in the mountains. From Ormea, they thrust west to outflank the Austro-Sardinian positions around Saorge. Later, Augustin Robespierre sent Bonaparte on a mission to the Republic of Genoa to determine that country's intentions towards France.[27]

13 Vendémiaire

Main article: 13 Vendémiaire
Etching of a street, there are a lot pockets of smoke due to a group of republican artillery firing on royalists across the street at the entrance to a building
Journée du 13 Vendémiaire. Artillery fire in front of the Church of Saint-Roch, Paris, Rue Saint-Honoré

Following the fall of the Robespierres in the Thermidorian Reaction in July 1794, one account alleges that Bonaparte was put under house arrest at Nice for his association with the brothers. Napoleon's secretary, Bourrienne, disputed this allegation in his memoirs. According to Bourrienne, jealousy between the Army of the Alps and the Army of Italy (with whom Napoleon was seconded at the time) was responsible.[29] After an impassioned defense in a letter Bonaparte dispatched to representants Salicetti and Albitte, he was acquitted of any wrongdoing.[30]

He was released within two weeks and, due to his technical skills, was asked to draw up plans to attack Italian positions in the context of France's war with Austria. He also took part in an expedition to take back Corsica from the British, but the French were repulsed by the Royal Navy.[31]

Bonaparte became engaged to Désirée Clary, whose sister, Julie Clary, had married Bonaparte's elder brother Joseph; the Clarys were a wealthy merchant family from Marseilles.[32] In April 1795, he was assigned to the Army of the West, which was engaged in the War in the Vendée—a civil war and royalist counter-revolution in Vendée, a region in west central France, on the Atlantic Ocean. As an infantry command, it was a demotion from artillery general—for which the army already had a full quota—and he pleaded poor health to avoid the posting.[33]

He was moved to the Bureau of Topography of the Committee of Public Safety and sought, unsuccessfully, to be transferred to Constantinople in order to offer his services to the Sultan.[34] During this period, he wrote a romantic novella, Clisson et Eugénie, about a soldier and his lover, in a clear parallel to Bonaparte's own relationship with Désirée.[35] On 15 September, Bonaparte was removed from the list of generals in regular service for his refusal to serve in the Vendée campaign. He faced a difficult financial situation and reduced career prospects.[36]

On 3 October, royalists in Paris declared a rebellion against the National Convention.[37] Paul Barras, a leader of the Thermidorian Reaction, knew of Bonaparte's military exploits at Toulon and gave him command of the improvised forces in defence of the Convention in the Tuileries Palace. Having seen the massacre of the King's Swiss Guard there three years earlier, he realised artillery would be the key to its defence.[12]

He ordered a young cavalry officer, Joachim Murat, to seize large cannons and used them to repel the attackers on 5 October 1795—13 Vendémiaire An IV in the French Republican Calendar. After 1,400 royalists died, the rest fled.[37] He had cleared the streets with "a whiff of grapeshot", according to the 19th-century historian Thomas Carlyle in The French Revolution: A History.[38]

The defeat of the royalist insurrection extinguished the threat to the Convention and earned Bonaparte sudden fame, wealth, and the patronage of the new government, the Directory. Murat married one of his sisters and became his brother-in-law; he also served under Napoleon as one of his generals. Bonaparte was promoted to Commander of the Interior and given command of the Army of Italy.[24]

Within weeks he was romantically attached to Barras's former mistress, Joséphine de Beauharnais. They married on 9 March 1796 after he had broken off his engagement to Désirée Clary.[39]

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 Lodi he defeated Austrian forces and drove them out of Lombardy.[24] He was defeated at Caldiero by Austrian reinforcements, led by József Alvinczi, though Bonaparte regained the initiative at the crucial Battle of the Bridge of Arcole and proceeded to subdue the Papal States.[40]

Bonaparte argued against the wishes of Directory atheists to march on Rome and dethrone the Pope as he reasoned this would create a power vacuum which would be exploited by the Kingdom of Naples. Instead, in March 1797, Bonaparte led his army into Austria and forced it to negotiate peace.[41] The Treaty of Leoben gave France control of most of northern Italy and the Low Countries, and a secret clause promised the Republic of Venice to Austria. Bonaparte marched on Venice and forced its surrender, ending 1,100 years of independence; he also authorised the French to loot treasures such as the Horses of Saint Mark.[42]

His application of conventional military ideas to real-world situations affected his military triumphs, such as creative use of artillery as a mobile force to support his infantry. He referred to his tactics thus: "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."[43]

Napoleon at the Battle of Rivoli, by Philippoteaux

He was adept at espionage and deception and could win battles by concealment of troop deployments and concentration of his forces on the 'hinge' of an enemy's weakened front. If he could not use his favourite envelopment strategy, he would take up the central position and attack two co-operating forces at their hinge, swing round to fight one until it fled, then turn to face the other.[44] In this Italian campaign, Bonaparte's army captured 150,000 prisoners, 540 cannons and 170 standards.[45] The French army fought 67 actions and won 18 pitched battles through superior artillery technology and Bonaparte's tactics.[46]

During the campaign, Bonaparte became increasingly influential in French politics; he founded two newspapers: one for the troops in his army and another for circulation in France.[47] The royalists attacked Bonaparte for looting Italy and warned he might become a dictator.[48] Bonaparte sent General Pierre Augereau to Paris to lead a coup d'état and purge the royalists on 4 September — Coup of 18 Fructidor. This left Barras and his Republican allies in control again but dependent on Bonaparte, who proceeded to peace negotiations with Austria. These negotiations resulted in the Treaty of Campo Formio, and Bonaparte returned to Paris in December as a hero.[49] He met Talleyrand, France's new Foreign Minister—who would later serve in the same capacity for Emperor Napoleon—and they began to prepare for an invasion of Britain.[24]

Egyptian expedition

Napoleon enters Alexandria on 3 July 1798 by Guillaume-François Colson, 1800
Person on a horse looks towards a giant statue of a head in the desert, with a blue sky
Napoleon Bonaparte Before the Sphinx, (ca. 1868) by Jean-Léon Gérôme, Hearst Castle
Cavalry battlescene with pyramids in background
Battle of the Pyramids on 21 July 1798 by Louis-François, Baron Lejeune, 1808

After two months of planning, Bonaparte decided France's naval power was not yet strong enough to confront the Royal Navy in the English Channel and proposed a military expedition to seize Egypt and thereby undermine Britain's access to its trade interests in India.[24] Bonaparte wished to establish a French presence in the Middle East, with the ultimate dream of linking with a Muslim enemy of the British in India, Tipu Sultan.[50]

Napoleon assured the Directory that "as soon as he had conquered Egypt, he will establish relations with the Indian princes and, together with them, attack the English in their possessions."[51] According to a report written in February 1798 by Talleyrand: "Having occupied and fortified Egypt, we shall send a force of 15,000 men from Suez to India, to join the forces of Tipu-Sahib and drive away the English."[51] The Directory agreed in order to secure a trade route to India.[52]

In May 1798, Bonaparte was elected a member of the French Academy of Sciences. His Egyptian expedition included a group of 167 scientists: mathematicians, naturalists, chemists and geodesists among them; their discoveries included the Rosetta Stone, and their work was published in the Description de l'Égypte in 1809.[53]

En route to Egypt, Bonaparte reached Malta on 9 June 1798, then controlled by the Knights Hospitaller.[54] The two-hundred Knights of French origin did not support the Grand Master, Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim, who had succeeded a Frenchman, and made it clear they would not fight against their compatriots. Hompesch surrendered after token resistance, and Bonaparte captured an important naval base with the loss of only three men.[55]

General Bonaparte and his expedition eluded pursuit by the Royal Navy and on 1 July landed at Alexandria.[24] He fought the Battle of Shubra Khit against the Mamluks, Egypt's ruling military caste. This helped the French practice their defensive tactic for the Battle of the Pyramids, fought on 21 July, about 24 km (15 mi) from the pyramids. General Bonaparte's forces of 25,000 roughly equalled those of the Mamluks' Egyptian cavalry, but he formed hollow squares with supplies kept safely inside. Twenty-nine French[56] and approximately 2,000 Egyptians were killed. The victory boosted the morale of the French army.[57]

On 1 August, the British fleet under Horatio Nelson captured or destroyed all but two French vessels in the Battle of the Nile, and Bonaparte's goal of a strengthened French position in the Mediterranean was frustrated.[58] His army had succeeded in a temporary increase of French power in Egypt, though it faced repeated uprisings.[59] In early 1799, he moved an army into the Ottoman province of Damascus (Syria and Galilee). Bonaparte led these 13,000 French soldiers in the conquest of the coastal towns of Arish, Gaza, Jaffa, and Haifa.[60] The attack on Jaffa was particularly brutal: Bonaparte, on discovering many of the defenders were former prisoners of war, ostensibly on parole, ordered the garrison and 1,400 prisoners to be executed by bayonet or drowning to save bullets.[58] Men, women and children were robbed and murdered for three days.[61]

With his army weakened by disease—mostly bubonic plague—and poor supplies, Bonaparte was unable to reduce the fortress of Acre and returned to Egypt in May.[58] To speed up the retreat, he ordered plague-stricken men to be poisoned.[62] (However, British eyewitness accounts later showed that most of the men were still alive and had not been poisoned.) His supporters have argued this was necessary given the continued harassment of stragglers by Ottoman forces, and indeed those left behind alive were tortured and beheaded by the Ottomans. Back in Egypt, on 25 July, Bonaparte defeated an Ottoman amphibious invasion at Abukir.[63]

Ruler of France

Main articles: 18 Brumaire and Napoleonic era
Bonaparte in a simple general uniform in the middle of a scrum of red-robbed members of the Council of Five Hundred
General Bonaparte surrounded by members of the Council of Five Hundred during the 18 Brumaire coup d'état, by François Bouchot

While in Egypt, Bonaparte stayed informed of European affairs through irregular delivery of newspapers and dispatches. He learned that France had suffered a series of defeats in the War of the Second Coalition.[64] 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 explicit orders from Paris.[58] The army was left in the charge of Jean Baptiste Kléber.[65]

Unknown to Bonaparte, the Directory had sent him orders to return to ward off possible invasions of French soil, but poor lines of communication prevented the delivery of these messages.[64] By the time he reached Paris in October, France's situation had been improved by a series of victories. The Republic was, however, bankrupt and the ineffective Directory was unpopular with the French population.[66] The Directory discussed Bonaparte's "desertion" but was too weak to punish him.[64]

Despite the failures in Egypt, Napoleon returned to a hero's welcome. In alliance with the director Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, his brother Lucien; the speaker of the Council of Five Hundred, Roger Ducos; another Director, Joseph Fouché; and Talleyrand, he overthrew the Directory by a coup d'état on November 9, 1799 ("the 18th Brumaire" according to the revolutionary calendar), and closed down the council of five hundred. Napoleon became "first consul" for ten years, with two consuls appointed by him who had consultative voices only. His power was confirmed by the new constitution ("Constitution of the year VIII"), originally devised by Sieyès to give Napoleon a minor role, but rewritten by Napoleon, and accepted by direct popular vote (3,000,000 in favor, 1,567 opposed). The constitution preserved the appearance of a republic but in reality established a military dictatorship. The days of Brumaire sounded the end of the short-lived republic: no more representative government, assemblies, or collegial executive.[67][68]

French Consulate

Bust of Bonaparte as First Consul

Though Sieyès expected to dominate the new regime, he was outmanoeuvred by Bonaparte. Having seized power, Lefebvre notes, "Napoleon immediately set about organizing his dictatorship."[69] He drafted the Constitution of the Year VIII and secured his own election as First Consul, and he took up residence at the Tuileries.[70] The constitution was approved in a plebiscite held the following January, with 99.94 percent officially listed as voting "yes"—an implausibly high result.

In 1800, Bonaparte and his troops crossed the Alps into Italy, where French forces had been almost completely driven out by the Austrians whilst he was in Egypt.[note 4] The campaign began badly for the French after Bonaparte made strategic errors; one force was left besieged at Genoa but managed to hold out and thereby occupy Austrian resources.[72] This effort, and French general Louis Desaix's timely reinforcements, allowed Bonaparte narrowly to avoid defeat and to triumph over the Austrians in June at the significant Battle of Marengo.[73]

Bonaparte's brother Joseph led the peace negotiations in Lunéville and reported that Austria, emboldened by British support, would not recognise France's newly gained territory. As negotiations became increasingly fractious, Bonaparte gave orders to his general Moreau to strike Austria once more. Moreau led France to victory at Hohenlinden. As a result, the Treaty of Lunéville was signed in February 1801; the French gains of the Treaty of Campo Formio were reaffirmed and increased.[73]

Temporary peace in Europe

Both France and Britain had become tired of war and signed the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802. This called for the withdrawal of British troops from most colonial territories it had recently occupied.[72] Bolstered by this treaty, Napoleon was made First Consul for life in a 10 May plebiscite, with an implausible 99.8% voting in favour.

The peace was uneasy and short-lived.[74] Britain did not evacuate Malta as promised and protested against Bonaparte's annexation of Piedmont and his Act of Mediation, which established a new Swiss Confederation, though neither of these territories were covered by the treaty.[75] The dispute culminated in a declaration of war by Britain in May 1803, and he reassembled the invasion camp at Boulogne.[58]

Bonaparte faced a major setback and eventual defeat in the Haitian Revolution. By the Law of 20 May 1802 Bonaparte re-established slavery in France's colonial possessions, where it had been banned following the Revolution.[76] Following a slave revolt a decade earlier, he sent an expeditionary army to reconquer Saint-Domingue (Haiti) on the western side of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea and re-establish a base for an expanded colonial empire in the West Indies and North America. The French Imperial army was soon, however, infected and destroyed by yellow fever, amid fierce resistance led by Haitian revolutionary generals Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Faced by imminent war against Britain, within a year of dispatching the army to Haiti and possible bankruptcy, Napoleon now recognised any French possessions on the mainland of North America would be indefensible considering Britain's control of the sea. So, unexpectedly he sold them to the US in 1803 —the Louisiana Purchase— for less than three cents per acre, $15 million.[77]

French Empire

Main article: First French Empire

Napoleon faced royalist and Jacobin plots as France's ruler, including the Conspiration des poignards (Dagger plot) in October 1800 and the Plot of the Rue Saint-Nicaise (also known as the infernal machine) two months later.[78] In January 1804, his police uncovered an assassination plot against him which involved Moreau and which was ostensibly sponsored by the Bourbon former rulers of France. On the advice of Talleyrand, Napoleon ordered the kidnapping of Louis Antoine, Duke of Enghien, in violation of neighbouring Baden's sovereignty. After a secret trial the Duke was executed, even though he had not been involved in the plot.[79]

Napoleon used the plot to justify the re-creation of a hereditary monarchy in France with himself as emperor. He believed a Bourbon restoration would be more difficult if the Bonapartist succession was entrenched in the constitution.[80] Napoleon was elected as "Emperor of the French" in a plebiscite held in November. Since there would be an heir, it would also make it all but impossible to change the regime by assassinating Napoleon. As before, this vote was implausibly lopsided, with 99.93 percent officially voting yes.

He was crowned by Pope Pius VII as Napoleon I, on 2 December 1804 at Notre Dame de Paris and then crowned Joséphine Empress. According to legend, Napoleon seized the crown out of the hands of the pope at the last minute and crowned himself to avoid being subject to papal authority. However, this story is apocryphal; the coronation procedure had been agreed in advance.[note 5][81] Ludwig van Beethoven, a long-time admirer, was disappointed at this turn towards imperialism and scratched his dedication to Napoleon from his 3rd Symphony.[80]

At Milan Cathedral on 26 May 1805, Napoleon was crowned King of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy. He created eighteen Marshals of the Empire from amongst his top generals, to secure the allegiance of the army.

War of the Third Coalition

Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz, by François Gérard 1805. The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was Napoleon's greatest victory, where the French Empire effectively crushed the Third Coalition.

Great Britain broke the Peace of Amiens and declared war on France in May 1803.[82] Napoleon set up a camp at Boulogne-sur-Mer to prepare for an invasion of Britain. By 1805, Britain had convinced Austria and Russia to join a Third Coalition against France. Napoleon knew the French fleet could not defeat the Royal Navy in a head-to-head battle and planned to lure it away from the English Channel.[83]

The French Navy would escape from the British blockades of Toulon and Brest and threaten to attack the West Indies, thus drawing off the British defence of the Western Approaches, in the hope a Franco-Spanish fleet could take control of the channel long enough for French armies to cross from Boulogne and invade England.[83] However, after defeat at the naval Battle of Cape Finisterre in July 1805 and Admiral Villeneuve's retreat to Cádiz, invasion was never again a realistic option for Napoleon.[84]

As the Austrian army marched on Bavaria, he called the invasion of Britain off and ordered the army stationed at Boulogne, his Grande Armée, to march to Germany secretly in a turning movement—the Ulm Campaign. This encircled the Austrian forces about to attack France and severed their lines of communication. On 20 October 1805, the French captured 30,000 prisoners at Ulm, though the next day Britain's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar meant the Royal Navy gained control of the seas.[85]

Six weeks later, on the first anniversary of his coronation, Napoleon defeated Austria and Russia at Austerlitz. This ended the Third Coalition, and he commissioned the Arc de Triomphe to commemorate the victory. Austria had to concede territory; the Peace of Pressburg led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and creation of the Confederation of the Rhine with Napoleon named as its Protector.[85]

Napoleon would go on to say, "The battle of Austerlitz is the finest of all I have fought."[86] 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".[87] Vincent Cronin disagrees, stating Napoleon was not overly ambitious for himself, that "he embodied the ambitions of thirty million Frenchmen".[88]

Middle-Eastern alliances

A group of men, some wearing beards and turbans, are in a room with a large painting on the wall, they look towards a doorway wear a man in military uniform including white johphurs (Napoleon) looks back at them and has his right hand in his waistcoat.
The Persian Envoy Mirza Mohammed Reza-Qazvini meets with Napoleon I at Finckenstein Palace, 27 April 1807, by François Mulard

Even after the failed campaign in Egypt, Napoleon continued to entertain a grand scheme to establish a French presence in the Middle East.[50] An alliance with Middle-Eastern powers would have the strategic advantage of pressuring Russia on its southern border. From 1803, Napoleon went to considerable lengths to try to convince the Ottoman Empire to fight against Russia in the Balkans and join his anti-Russian coalition.[89]

Napoleon sent General Horace Sebastiani as envoy extraordinary, promising to help the Ottoman Empire recover lost territories.[89] In February 1806, following Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz and the ensuing dismemberment of the Habsburg Empire, the Ottoman Emperor Selim III finally recognised Napoleon as Emperor, formally opting for an alliance with France "our sincere and natural ally", and war with Russia and England.[90]

A Franco-Persian alliance was also formed, from 1807 to 1809, between Napoleon and the Persian Empire of Fat′h-Ali Shah Qajar, against Russia and Great Britain. The alliance ended when France allied with Russia and turned its focus to European campaigns.[50]

War of the Fourth Coalition

The Treaties of Tilsit: Napoleon meeting with Alexander I of Russia on a raft in the middle of the Neman River

The Fourth Coalition was assembled in 1806, and Napoleon defeated Prussia at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt in October.[91] He marched against advancing Russian armies through Poland and was involved in the bloody stalemate of the Battle of Eylau on 6 February 1807.[92]

After a decisive victory at Friedland, he signed the Treaties of Tilsit; one with Tsar Alexander I of Russia which divided the continent between the two powers; the other with Prussia which stripped that country of half its territory. Napoleon placed puppet rulers on the thrones of German states, including his brother Jérôme 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 Saxony as ruler.[93]

With his Milan and Berlin Decrees, Napoleon attempted to enforce a Europe-wide commercial boycott of Britain called the Continental System. This act of economic warfare did not succeed, as it encouraged British merchants to smuggle into continental Europe, and Napoleon's exclusively land-based customs enforcers could not stop them.[94][95]

Peninsular War

Main article: Peninsular War

The former Spanish king was dethroned by Napoleon who put his own brother on the throne. Spaniards revolted. Thompson says the Spanish revolt was, "a reaction against new institutions and ideas, a movement for loyalty to the old order: to the hereditary crown of the Most Catholic kings, which Napoleon, an excommunicated enemy of the Pope, had put on the head of a Frenchman; to the Catholic Church persecuted by republicans who had desecrated churches, murdered priests, and enforced a "loi des cultes"; and to local and provincial rights and privileges threatened by an efficiently centralized government.[96] The peninsular campaign in Spain proved a major disaster for France. Napoleon did well in when he was in direct charge, but that followed severe losses, and was followed by worse losses. Spain proved to be a major, long-term drain on money, manpower and prestige. Historian David Gates called it the "Spanish ulcer." [97]

Portugal defied the Continental System, so in 1807 Napoleon invaded with the support of Spain. Under the pretext of a reinforcement of the Franco-Spanish army 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.[98]

Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, as King of Spain

In Spain, Napoleon faced a new type of war, termed a guerrilla war, in which the local population, inspired by religion and patriotism, took up arms. The French had to contend not only with regular armies, but also attacks by guerrillas using ambushes, sabotage and armed uprisings. Vicious reprisals by the French only escalated the hatreds and attacks.[99]

Following a French retreat from much of the country, and the surrender of Dupont's French army of 18,000 men, Napoleon took personal command and defeated the Spanish Army. He retook Madrid, then outmanoeuvred a British army sent to support the Spanish and drove it to the coast. Before the Spanish population had been fully subdued, Austria again threatened war, and Napoleon returned to France.[96][100]

The costly and often brutal Peninsular War continued in Napoleon's absence. Although Napoleon left 300,000 of his finest troops to battle Spanish guerrillas as well as British and Portuguese forces commanded by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, French control over the peninsula again deteriorated.[101]

France lost the Peninsular War; Napoleon realized it had been a disaster for his cause, writing later, "That unfortunate war destroyed me....All the circumstances of my disasters are bound up in that fatal knot."[102]

War of the Fifth Coalition and remarriage

Napoleon at Wagram, painted by Horace Vernet

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 Danube and suffered a defeat in May at the Battle of Aspern-Essling near Vienna. The Austrians failed to capitalise on the situation and allowed Napoleon's forces to regroup. He defeated the Austrians again at Wagram, and the Treaty of Schönbrunn was signed between Austria and France.[103]

Britain was the other member of the coalition. In addition to the Iberian Peninsula, the British planned to open another front in mainland Europe. However, Napoleon was able to rush reinforcements to Antwerp, owing to Britain's inadequately organised Walcheren Campaign.[104]

Map of Europe. French Empire shown as bigger than present day France as it included parts of present-day Netherlands and Italy.
First French Empire at its greatest extent in 1811
  French Empire
  French satellite states
  Allied states

He concurrently annexed the Papal States because of the Church's refusal to support the Continental System; Pope Pius VII responded by excommunicating the emperor. The pope was then abducted by Napoleon's officers, and though Napoleon had not ordered his abduction, he did not order Pius' release. The pope was moved throughout Napoleon's territories, sometimes while ill, and Napoleon sent delegations to pressure him on issues including agreement to a new concordat with France, which Pius refused. In 1810 Napoleon married Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, following his divorce of Joséphine; this further strained his relations with the Church, and thirteen cardinals were imprisoned for non-attendance at the marriage ceremony.[105] The pope remained confined for 5 years and did not return to Rome until May 1814.[106]

In November 1810, Napoleon consented to the ascent to the Swedish throne of Bernadotte, one of his marshals, with whom Napoleon had always had strained relations. Napoleon had indulged Bernadotte's indiscretions because he was married to Désirée Clary, his former fiancée and sister of the wife of his brother Joseph. Napoleon came to regret accepting this appointment when Bernadotte later allied Sweden with France's enemies.[107]

In September/October 1811 Napoleon visited the Dutch départements; Amsterdam became the third capital of his empire.

Main article: Napoleon in Holland

Invasion of Russia

The Moscow fire depicted by an unknown German artist

The Congress of Erfurt sought to preserve the Russo-French alliance, and the leaders had a friendly personal relationship after their first meeting at Tilsit in 1807.[108] By 1811, however, tensions had increased and Alexander was under pressure from the Russian nobility to break off the alliance. An early sign the relationship had deteriorated was the Russian's virtual abandonment of the Continental System, which led Napoleon to threaten Alexander with serious consequences if he formed an alliance with Britain.[109]

By 1812, advisers to Alexander suggested the possibility of an invasion of the French Empire and the recapture of Poland. On receipt of intelligence reports on Russia's war preparations, Napoleon expanded his Grande Armée to more than 450,000 men.[110] He ignored repeated advice against an invasion of the Russian heartland and prepared for an offensive campaign; on 23 June 1812 the invasion commenced.[111]

Napoleon's withdrawal from Russia, a painting by Adolph Northen

In an attempt to gain increased support from Polish nationalists and patriots, Napoleon termed the war the Second Polish War—the First Polish War had been the Bar Confederation uprising by Polish nobles against Russia in 1768. Polish patriots wanted the Russian part of Poland to be joined with the Duchy of Warsaw and an independent Poland created. This was rejected by Napoleon, who stated he had promised his ally Austria this would not happen. Napoleon refused to manumit the Russian serfs because of concerns this might provoke a reaction in his army's rear. The serfs later committed atrocities against French soldiers during France's retreat.[112]

The Russians avoided Napoleon's objective of a decisive engagement and instead retreated deeper into Russia. A brief attempt at resistance was made at Smolensk in August; the Russians were defeated in a series of battles, and Napoleon resumed his advance. The Russians again avoided battle, although in a few cases this was only achieved because Napoleon uncharacteristically hesitated to attack when the opportunity arose. Owing to the Russian army's scorched earth tactics, the French found it increasingly difficult to forage food for themselves and their horses.[113]

The Russians eventually offered battle outside Moscow on 7 September: the Battle of Borodino resulted in approximately 44,000 Russian and 35,000 French dead, wounded or captured, and may have been the bloodiest day of battle in history up to that point in time.[114] Although the French had won, the Russian army had accepted, and withstood, the major battle Napoleon had hoped would be decisive. Napoleon's own account was: "The most terrible of all my battles was the one before Moscow. The French showed themselves to be worthy of victory, but the Russians showed themselves worthy of being invincible."[115]

The Russian army withdrew and retreated past Moscow. Napoleon entered the city, assuming its fall would end the war and Alexander would negotiate peace. However, on orders of the city's governor Feodor Rostopchin, rather than capitulation, Moscow was burned. After five weeks, Napoleon and his army left. Early November Napoleon got concerned about loss of control back in France after the Malet coup of 1812. His army walked through the snow up till their knees and nearly 10,000 men and horses froze to death on the night of November 8/9 alone. After Battle of Berezina Napoleon succeeded to escape but had to abandon much of the remaining artillery and baggage train. On 5 December, shortly before arriving in Vilnius, Napoleon left the army in a sledge.[116]

The French suffered greatly in the course of a ruinous retreat, including from the harshness of the Russian Winter. The Armée had begun as over 400,000 frontline troops, but in the end fewer than 40,000 crossed the Berezina River in November 1812.[117] The Russians had lost 150,000 in battle and hundreds of thousands of civilians.[118]

War of the Sixth Coalition

Adieux de Napoléon à la Garde impériale dans la cour du Cheval-Blanc du château de Fontainebleau [Napoleon's farewell to the Imperial Guard in the White Horse courtyard of the Palace of Fontainebleau] – on 20 April 1814; by Antoine Alphonse Montfort, Palace of Versailles national museum

There was a lull in fighting over the winter of 1812–13 while both the Russians and the French rebuilt their forces; Napoleon was then able to field 350,000 troops.[119] Heartened by France's loss in Russia, Prussia joined with Austria, Sweden, Russia, Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal in a new coalition. Napoleon assumed command in Germany and inflicted a series of defeats on the Coalition culminating in the Battle of Dresden in August 1813.[120]

Despite these successes, the numbers continued to mount against Napoleon, and the French army was pinned down by a force twice its size and lost at the Battle of Leipzig. This was by far the largest battle of the Napoleonic Wars and cost more than 90,000 casualties in total.[121]

The Allies offered peace terms in the Frankfurt proposals in November 1813. Napoleon would remain as Emperor of France, but it would be reduced to its "natural frontiers." That meant that France could retain control of Belgium, Savoy and the Rhineland (the west bank of the Rhine River), while giving up control of all the rest, including all of Spain and the Netherlands, and most of Italy and Germany. Metternich told Napoleon these were the best terms the Allies were likely to offer; after further victories, the terms would be harsher and harsher. Metternich's motivation was to maintain France as a balance against Russian threats, while ending the highly destabilizing series of wars.[122]

Napoleon, expecting to win the war, delayed too long and lost this opportunity; by December the Allies had withdrawn the offer. When his back was to the wall in 1814 he tried to reopen peace negotiations on the basis of accepting the Frankfurt proposals. The Allies now had new, harsher terms that included the retreat of France to its 1791 boundaries, which meant the loss of Belgium. Napoleon would remain Emperor, however he rejected the term. The British wanted Napoleon permanently removed; they prevailed. Napoleon adamantly refused.[123][124]

Napoleon withdrew back into France, his army reduced to 70,000 soldiers, and little cavalry; he faced more than three times as many Allied troops.[125] The French were surrounded: British armies pressed from the south, and other Coalition forces positioned to attack from the German states. Napoleon won a series of victories in the Six Days' Campaign, though these were not significant enough to turn the tide. The leaders of Paris surrendered to the Coalition in March 1814.[126]

On 1 April, Alexander addressed Sénat conservateur which had previously been docile to Napoleon but under Talleyrand's prodding had turned against him. Alexander told the Sénat that the Allies were fighting against Napoleon, not France, and they were prepared to offer honorable peace terms if Napoleon were removed from power. The next day, the Sénat passed the Acte de déchéance de l'Empereur ("Emperor's Demise Act"), which declared Napoleon deposed. Napoleon had advanced as far as Fontainebleau when he learned that Paris was lost. When Napoleon proposed the army march on the capital, his marshals decided to mutiny.[127] On 4 April, led by Ney, they confronted Napoleon. Napoleon asserted the army would follow him, and Ney replied the army would follow its generals. While the ordinary soldiers and regimental officers wanted to fight on, without any senior officers or marshals any prospective invasion of Paris would have been impossible. Bowing to the inevitable, on 4 April Napoleon abdicated in favour of his son, with Marie-Louise as regent. However, the Allies refused to accept this under prodding from Alexander, who feared that Napoleon might find an excuse to retake the throne.[128] Napoleon was then forced to announce his unconditional abdication only two days later.

Exile to Elba

Cartoon of Napoleon sitting back to front on a donkey with a broken sword and two soldiers in the background drumming
British etching from 1814 in celebration of Napoleon's first exile to Elba at the close of the War of the Sixth Coalition

The Allied Powers having declared that Emperor Napoleon was the sole obstacle to the restoration of peace in Europe, Emperor Napoleon, faithful to his oath, declares that he renounces, for himself and his heirs, the thrones of France and Italy, and that there is no personal sacrifice, even that of his life, which he is not ready to do in the interests of France.
Done in the palace of Fontainebleau, 11 April 1814.

—Act of abdication of Napoleon[129]

In the Treaty of Fontainebleau, the victors exiled him to Elba, an island of 12,000 inhabitants in the Mediterranean, 20 km (12 mi) off the Tuscan coast. They gave him sovereignty over the island and allowed him to retain his title of emperor. Napoleon attempted suicide with a pill he had carried since a near-capture by Russians on the retreat from Moscow. Its potency had weakened with age, and he survived to be exiled while his wife and son took refuge in Austria.[130] In the first few months on Elba he created a small navy and army, developed the iron mines, and issued decrees on modern agricultural methods.[131]

Hundred Days

Main article: Hundred Days
Napoleon returned from Elba, by Karl Stenben, 19th century

Separated from his wife and son, who had returned to Austria, 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,[132] Napoleon escaped from Elba in the ship Swiftsure on 26 February 1815.[132][133] He landed at Golfe-Juan on the French mainland, two days later.[132]

The 5th Regiment was sent to intercept him and made contact just south of Grenoble on 7 March 1815. Napoleon approached the regiment alone, dismounted his horse and, when he was within gunshot range, shouted, "Here I am. Kill your Emperor, if you wish."[134]

The soldiers responded with, "Vive L'Empereur!" and marched with Napoleon to Paris; [135] Louis XVIII fled. On 13 March, the powers at the Congress of Vienna declared Napoleon an outlaw, and 4 days later Great Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia bound themselves to each put 150,000 men into the field to end his rule.[136]

Napoleon arrived in Paris on 20 March and governed for a period now called the Hundred Days. By the start of June the armed forces available to him had reached 200,000, and he decided to go on the offensive to attempt to drive a wedge between the oncoming British and Prussian armies. The French Army of the North crossed the frontier into the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, in modern-day Belgium.[137]

Napoleon's forces fought the allies, led by Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815. Wellington's army withstood repeated attacks by the French and drove them from the field while the Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon's right flank.

Napoleon returned to Paris and found that both the legislature and the people had turned violently on him. Realizing his position was untenable, he abdicated on 22 June in favour of his son. He left Paris 3 days later and settled at Josephine's former home in Malmaison. Coalition forces swept into France soon afterward, intent on restoring Louis XVIII to the French throne.

When Napoleon got word that Prussian troops had orders to capture him dead or alive, he fled to Rochefort, considering an escape to the US. However, British ships were blocking every port. Finally, Napoleon demanded asylum from the British Captain Frederick Maitland on HMS Bellerophon on 15 July 1815.[138]

Exile on Saint Helena

Napoleon on Saint Helena

Napoleon was imprisoned and then exiled to the island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,870 km (1,162 mi) from the west coast of Africa. In his first two months there, he lived in a pavilion on the Briars estate, which belonged to a William Balcombe. Napoleon became friendly with his family, especially his younger daughter Lucia Elizabeth, who later wrote Recollections of the Emperor Napoleon.[139] This friendship 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.[140]

Napoleon moved to Longwood House in December 1815; it had fallen into disrepair, and the location was damp, windswept and unhealthy. The Times published articles insinuating the British government was trying to hasten his death, and he often complained of the living conditions in letters to the governor and his custodian, Hudson Lowe.[141]

With a small cadre of followers, Napoleon dictated his memoirs and criticised his captors—particularly Lowe. Lowe's treatment of Napoleon is regarded as poor by historians such as Frank McLynn.[142] Lowe exacerbated a difficult situation through measures including a reduction in Napoleon's expenditure, a rule that no gifts could be delivered to him if they mentioned his imperial status, and a document his supporters had to sign that guaranteed they would stay with the prisoner indefinitely.[142]

Photo of a front garden and large brown building. French flag on a flagpole next to a small cannon.
Longwood House, Saint Helena: site of Napoleon's captivity

In 1818, The Times reported a false rumour of Napoleon's escape and said the news had been greeted by spontaneous illuminations in London.[note 6] There was sympathy for him in the British Parliament: Lord Holland gave a speech that demanded the prisoner be treated with no unnecessary harshness.[144] Napoleon kept himself informed of the events through The Times and hoped for release in the event that Holland became prime minister. He also enjoyed the support of Lord Cochrane, who was involved in Chile's and Brazil's struggle for independence, and wanted to rescue Napoleon and help him set up a new empire in South America, a scheme frustrated by Napoleon's death in 1821.[145]

There were other plots to rescue Napoleon from captivity, including one from Texas, where exiled soldiers from the Grande Armée wanted a resurrection of the Napoleonic Empire in America. There was even a plan to rescue him with a primitive submarine.[146] For Lord Byron, Napoleon was the epitome of the Romantic hero, the persecuted, lonely and flawed genius. The news that Napoleon had taken up gardening at Longwood also appealed to more domestic British sensibilities.[147]

Death

Further information: Napoleon's Death Mask and Retour des cendres
Napoleon's funeral carriage passes along the Champs-Élysées, engraving by Louis-Julien Jacottet after a drawing by Louis Marchand

His personal physician, Barry O'Meara, warned the authorities of his declining state of health mainly caused, according to him, by the harsh treatment of the captive in the hands of his "gaoler", Lowe, which led Napoleon to confine himself for months in his damp and wretched habitation of Longwood. O'Meara kept a clandestine correspondence with a clerk at the Admiralty in London, knowing his letters were read by higher authorities: he hoped, in such way, to raise alarm in the government, but to no avail.[148]

In February 1821, Napoleon's health began to deteriorate rapidly, and on 3 May two British physicians, who had recently arrived, attended on him but could only recommend palliatives.[149] He died two days later, after confession, Extreme Unction and Viaticum in the presence of Father Ange Vignali.[149] His last words were, "France, l'armée, tête d'armée, Joséphine." ("France, army, head of the army, Joséphine.")[149]

Napoleon's original death mask was created around 6 May, although it is not clear which doctor created it.[150][note 7] In his will, he had asked to be buried on the banks of the Seine, but the British governor said he should be buried on Saint Helena, in the Valley of the Willows. Hudson Lowe insisted the inscription should read "Napoleon Bonaparte"; Montholon and Bertrand wanted the Imperial title "Napoleon" as royalty were signed by their first names only. As a result the tomb was left nameless.[149]

Photo of a large, shiny burgundy cuboid-shaped vessel raised on a dark green plinth. There are two female statues in the background either side of the vessel.
Napoleon's tomb at Les Invalides

In 1840, Louis Philippe I obtained 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 Rouen and on to Paris.[152]

On 15 December, a state funeral was held. The hearse proceeded from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Élysées, across the Place de la Concorde to the Esplanade des Invalides and then to the cupola in St Jérôme's Chapel, where it remained until the tomb designed by Louis Visconti was completed. In 1861, Napoleon's remains were entombed in a porphyry sarcophagus in the crypt under the dome at Les Invalides.[152]

Cause of death

The cause of his death has been debated. Napoleon's physician, François Carlo Antommarchi, led the autopsy, which found the cause of death to be stomach cancer. Antommarchi did not, however, sign the official report.[153] Napoleon's father had died of stomach cancer, although this was seemingly unknown at the time of the autopsy.[154] Antommarchi found evidence of a stomach ulcer; this was the most convenient explanation for the British, who wanted to avoid criticism over their care of Napoleon.[149]

Gold-framed portrait painting of a gaunt middle-aged man with receding hair and laurel wreath, lying eyes-closed on white pillow with a white blanket covering to his neck and a gold Jesus cross resting on his chest
Napoléon sur son lit de mort (Napoleon on his death bed), by Horace Vernet, 1826

In 1955, the diaries of Napoleon's valet, Louis Marchand, were published. His description of Napoleon in the months before his death led Sten Forshufvud in a 1961 paper in Nature to put forward other causes for his death, including deliberate arsenic poisoning.[155] Arsenic was used as a poison during the era because it was undetectable when administered over a long period. Forshufvud, in a 1978 book with Ben Weider, noted that Napoleon's body was found to be remarkably well preserved when moved in 1840. Arsenic is a strong preservative, and therefore this supported the poisoning hypothesis. Forshufvud and Weider observed that Napoleon had attempted to quench abnormal thirst by drinking large amounts of orgeat syrup that contained cyanide compounds in the almonds used for flavouring.[155]

They maintained that the potassium tartrate used in his treatment prevented his stomach from expelling these compounds and that his thirst was a symptom of the poison. Their hypothesis was that the calomel given to Napoleon became an overdose, which killed him and left extensive tissue damage behind.[155] According to a 2007 article, the type of arsenic found in Napoleon's hair shafts was mineral, the most toxic, and according to toxicologist Patrick Kintz, this supported the conclusion that he was murdered.[156]

There have been modern studies that have supported the original autopsy finding.[156] In a 2008 study, researchers analysed samples of Napoleon's hair from throughout his life, as well as samples from his family and other contemporaries. All samples had high levels of arsenic, approximately 100 times higher than the current average. According to these researchers, Napoleon's body was already heavily contaminated with arsenic as a boy, and the high arsenic concentration in his hair was not caused by intentional poisoning; people were constantly exposed to arsenic from glues and dyes throughout their lives.[note 8] Studies published in 2007 and 2008 dismissed evidence of arsenic poisoning, and confirmed evidence of peptic ulcer and gastric cancer as the cause of death.[158]

Reforms

First remittance of the Légion d'Honneur, 15 July 1804, at Saint-Louis des Invalides, by Jean-Baptiste Debret (1812).

Bonaparte instituted lasting reforms, including higher education, a tax code, road and sewer systems, and established the Banque de France (central bank). He negotiated the Concordat of 1801 with the Catholic Church, which sought to reconcile the mostly Catholic population to his regime. It was presented alongside the Organic Articles, which regulated public worship in France. Later that year, Bonaparte became President of the French Academy of Sciences and appointed Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre its Permanent Secretary.[159]

In May 1802, he instituted the Legion of Honour, a substitute for the old royalist decorations and orders of chivalry, to encourage civilian and military achievements; the order is still the highest decoration in France.[160] His powers were increased by the Constitution of the Year X including: Article 1. The French people name, and the Senate proclaims Napoleon-Bonaparte First Consul for Life.[161] After this he was generally referred to as Napoleon rather than Bonaparte.[20]

Napoleon's set of civil laws, the Code Civil—now often known as the Napoleonic Code—was prepared by committees of legal experts under the supervision of Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, the Second Consul. Napoleon participated actively in the sessions of the Council of State that revised the drafts. The development of the code was a fundamental change in the nature of the civil law legal system with its stress on clearly written and accessible law. Other codes ("Les cinq codes") were commissioned by Napoleon to codify criminal and commerce law; a Code of Criminal Instruction was published, which enacted rules of due process.[162] See Legacy.

Page of French writing
First page of the 1804 original edition of the Code Civil

Napoleonic Code

Main article: Napoleonic Code

The Napoleonic code was adopted throughout much of Europe, though only in the lands he conquered, and remained in force after Napoleon's defeat. Napoleon said: "My true glory is not to have won forty battles...Waterloo will erase the memory of so many victories. ... But...what will live forever, is my Civil Code."[163] The Code still has importance today in a quarter of the world's jurisdictions including in Europe, the Americas and Africa.[164]

Dieter Langewiesche described the code as a "revolutionary project" which spurred the development of bourgeois society in Germany by the extension of the right to own property and an acceleration towards the end of 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; this provided the basis for the German Confederation and the unification of Germany in 1871.[165]

The movement toward national unification in Italy was similarly precipitated by Napoleonic rule.[166] These changes contributed to the development of nationalism and the nation state.[167]

Metric system

40 francs coin depicting Bonaparte from year XII (1803) during the First Consulate. The franc is subdivided in 100 centimes.

The official introduction of the metric system in September 1799 was unpopular in large sections of French society. Napoleon's rule greatly aided adoption of the new standard not only across France but also across the French sphere of influence. Napoleon ultimately took a retrograde step in 1812 when he passed legislation to introduce the mesures usuelles (traditional units of measurement) for retail trade[168]—a system of measure that resembled the pre-revolutionary units but were based on the kilogram and the metre; for example the livre metrique (metric pound) was 500 g[169] instead of 489.5 g—the value of the livre du roi (the king's pound).[170] Other units of measure were rounded in a similar manner. This however laid the foundations for the definitive introduction of the metric system across Europe in the middle of the 19th century.[171]

Religions

Reorganisation of the religious geography: France is divided into 59 dioceses and 10 ecclesiastical provinces.

Napoleon's baptism took place in Ajaccio on 21 July 1771; he was piously raised and received a Christian education; however, his teachers failed to give faith to the young boy.[172] As an adult, Napoleon was described as a "deist with involuntary respect and fondness for Catholicism."[173] He never believed in a living God; Napoleon's deity was an absent and distant God,[172] but he pragmatically considered organised religions as key elements of social order,[172] and especially Catholicism, whose, according to him, "splendorous ceremonies and sublime moral better act over the imagination of the people than other religions".[172]

Napoleon had a civil marriage with Joséphine de Beauharnais, without religious ceremony, on 9 March 1796. During the campaign in Egypt, Napoleon showed much tolerance towards religion for a revolutionary general, holding discussions with Muslim scholars and ordering religious celebrations, but General Dupuy, who accompanied Napoleon, revealed, shortly after Pope Pius VI's death, the political reasons for such behaviour: "We are fooling Egyptians with our pretended interest for their religion; neither Bonaparte nor we believe in this religion more than we did in Pius the Defunct's one".[note 9] In his memoirs, Bonaparte's secretary Bourienne wrote about Napoleon's religious interests in the same vein.[175] His religious opportunism is epitomized in his famous quote: "It is by making myself Catholic that I brought peace to Brittany and Vendée. It is by making myself Italian that I won minds in Italy. It is by making myself a Moslem that I established myself in Egypt. If I governed a nation of Jews, I should reestablish the Temple of Solomon."[176] However, according to Juan Cole, "Bonaparte's admiration for the Prophet Muhammad, in contrast, was genuine"[177] and during his captivity on St Helena he defended him against Voltaire's critical play Mahomet.

Napoleon was crowned Emperor Napoleon I on 2 December 1804 at Notre Dame de Paris by Pope Pius VII. On 1 April 1810, Napoleon religiously married the Austrian princess Marie Louise. During his brother's rule in Spain, he abolished the Spanish Inquisition in 1813. In a private discussion with general Gourgaud during his exile on Saint Helena, Napoleon expressed materialistic views on the origin of man,[note 10]and doubted the divinity of Jesus, stating that it is absurd to believe that Socrates, Plato, Muslims, and the Anglicans should be damned for not being Roman Catholics.[note 11] He also said to Gourgaud in 1817 "I like the Mohammedan religion best. It has fewer incredible things in it than ours."[180] and that "the Mohammedan religion is the finest of all".[181] However, Napoleon was anointed by a priest before his death.[182]

Concordat

Further information: Concordat of 1801
Leaders of the Catholic Church taking the civil oath required by the Concordat

Seeking national reconciliation between revolutionaries and Catholics, the Concordat of 1801 was signed on 15 July 1801 between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII. It solidified the Roman Catholic Church as the majority church of France and brought back most of its civil status.

During the French Revolution, the National Assembly had taken Church properties and issued the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which made the Church a department of the State, removing it from the authority of the Pope. This caused hostility among the Vendeans towards the change in the relationship between the Catholic Church and the French government. Subsequent laws abolished the traditional Gregorian calendar and Christian holidays.

While the Concordat restored some ties to the papacy, it was largely in favor of the state; the balance of church-state relations had tilted firmly in Napoleon's favour. Now, Napoleon could win favor with the Catholics within France while also controlling Rome in a political sense. Napoleon once told his brother Lucien in April 1801, "Skillful conquerors have not got entangled with priests. They can both contain them and use them."[183] As a part of the Concordat, he presented another set of laws called the Organic Articles.

Religious emancipation

Further information: Napoleon and the Jews

Napoleon emancipated Jews, as well as Protestants in Catholic countries and Catholics in Protestant countries, from laws which restricted them to ghettos, and he expanded their rights to property, worship, and careers. Despite the anti-semitic reaction to Napoleon's policies from foreign governments and within France, he believed emancipation would benefit France by attracting Jews to the country given the restrictions they faced elsewhere.[184]

He stated, "I will never accept any proposals that will obligate the Jewish people to leave France, because to me the Jews are the same as any other citizen in our country. It takes weakness to chase them out of the country, but it takes strength to assimilate them."[185] He was seen as so favourable to the Jews that the Russian Orthodox Church formally condemned him as "Antichrist and the Enemy of God".[186]

Personality

Napoleon visiting the Palais Royal for the opening of the 8th session of the Tribunat in 1807, by Merry-Joseph Blondel

Historians agree that Napoleon's remarkable personality was one key to his influence. They emphasize the strength of his ambition that took him from a backwoods village to command of most of Europe.[187] George F. E. Rudé stresses his "rare combination of will, intellect and physical vigour."[188] At 5'6" (170 cm)[189] He was not physically imposing but in one-on-one situations he typically had a hypnotic impact on people and seemingly bent the strongest leaders to his will.[190] Second, his intellectual powers were unrivaled. He had a "photographic memory" for facts, people, events, numbers, military units, and maps. He devoured statistical information and reports, memorized maps, and had a perfect recall of a fantastic stock of information. He understood military technology, but was not an innovator in that regard.[191] He was an innovator in using the financial, bureaucratic, and diplomatic resources of France. He could quickly organize and integrate all that information, generating brilliant insights on complex situations. He could organize his own thoughts and rapidly dictate a series of complex commands to all his subordinates, keeping in mind where each major unit was expected to be at every future point, and like a chess master, "seeing" the best plays many moves ahead.[192]

Napoleon maintained strict, efficient work habits, prioritizing what needed to be done then dispatching each task promptly. He found ample time for theatre, balls, games and hunting. He cheated at cards, but repaid the losses; he had to win at everything he attempted.[193] Combined with his inexhaustible energy, he kept relays of staff and secretaries at work. Unlike many generals, Napoleon did not examine history to ask what Hannibal or Alexander or anyone else did in a similar situation. Critics said he won many battles simply because of luck; Napoleon responded, "Give me lucky generals," aware that "luck" comes to leaders who recognize opportunity, and seize it.[194] Dwyer argues that Napoleon's victories at Austerlitz and Jena in 1805-06 heightened his sense of self-grandiosity, leaving him even more certain of his destiny and invincibility.[195] By the Russian campaign in 1812, however, Napoleon seems to have lost his old verve. On the great Russian campaign of 1812, with crisis after crisis at hand, he rarely rose to the occasion. After that débâcle, compatriots noticed a loss of the old flair. Some historians have suggested a physical deterioration, but others note that an impaired Napoleon was still a brilliant general.[192]

In terms of impact on events, it was more than Napoleon's personality that took effect. He chose outstanding generals, and stood by them. He reorganized France itself to supply the men and money needed for great wars.[196] Above all he inspired his men—Wellington said his presence on the battlefield was worth 40,000 soldiers, for he inspired confidence from privates to field marshals.[197] He also unnerved the enemy. At the Battle of Auerstadt in 1806, King Frederick William III of Prussia outnumbered the French by 63,000 to 27,000; however, when he mistakenly was told that Napoleon was in command, he ordered a hasty retreat that turned into a rout.[198] The force of his personality neutralized material difficulties as his soldiers fought with the confidence that with Napoleon in charge they would surely win.[199]

Image

Further information: Cultural depictions of Napoleon
Napoleon is often represented in his green colonel uniform of the Chasseur à Cheval of the Imperial Guard, the regiment that often served as his personal escort, with a large bicorne and a hand-in-waistcoat gesture.

Napoleon has become a worldwide cultural icon who symbolises military genius and political power. Martin van Creveld described him as "the most competent human being who ever lived".[200] Since his death, many towns, streets, ships, and even cartoon characters have been named after him. He has been portrayed in hundreds of films and discussed in hundreds of thousands of books and articles.[201]

During the Napoleonic Wars he was taken seriously by the British press as a dangerous tyrant, poised to invade. He was often referred to by the British as Boney. A nursery rhyme warned children that Bonaparte ravenously ate naughty people; the "bogeyman".[202] The British Tory press sometimes depicted Napoleon as much smaller than average height, and this image persists. Confusion about his height also results from the difference between the French pouce and British inch—2.71 cm and 2.54 cm, respectively; he was 1.68 metres (5 ft 6 in) tall, average height for the period.[note 12]

In 1908 Alfred Adler, a psychologist, cited Napoleon to describe an inferiority complex in which short people adopt an over-aggressive behaviour to compensate for lack of height; this inspired the term Napoleon complex.[204] The stock character of Napoleon is a comically short "petty tyrant" and this has become a cliché in popular culture. He is often portrayed wearing a large bicorne hat with a hand-in-waistcoat gesture—a reference to the painting produced in 1812 by Jacques-Louis David.[205]

Legacy

Warfare

Photo of a grey and phosphorous-coloured equestrian statue. Napoleon is seated on the horse, which is rearing up, he looks forward with his right hand raised and pointing forward; his left hand holds the reins.
Statue in Cherbourg-Octeville unveiled by Napoleon III in 1858. Napoleon I strengthened the town's defences to prevent British naval incursions.

In the field of military organisation, Napoleon borrowed from previous theorists such as Jacques Antoine Hippolyte, Comte de Guibert, and from the reforms of preceding French governments, and then developed much of what was already in place. He continued the policy, which emerged from the Revolution, of promotion based primarily on merit.[206]

Corps replaced divisions as the largest army units, mobile artillery was integrated into reserve batteries, the staff system became more fluid and cavalry returned as an important formation in French military doctrine. These methods are now referred to as essential features of Napoleonic warfare.[206] Though he consolidated the practice of modern conscription introduced by the Directory, one of the restored monarchy's first acts was to end it.[207]

His opponents learned from Napoleon's innovations. The increased importance of artillery after 1807 stemmed from his creation of a highly mobile artillery force, the growth in artillery numbers, and changes in artillery practices. As a result of these factors, Napoleon, rather than relying on infantry to wear away the enemy's defenses, now could use massed artillery as a spearhead to pound a break in the enemy's line that was then exploited by supporting infantry and cavalry. McConachy rejects the alternative theory that growing reliance on artillery by the French army beginning in 1807 was an outgrowth of the declining quality of the French infantry and, later, France's inferiority in cavalry numbers.[208] Weapons and other kinds of military technology remained largely static through the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, but 18th-century operational mobility underwent significant change.[209]

Napoleon's biggest influence was in the conduct of warfare. Antoine-Henri Jomini explained Napoleon's methods in a widely used textbook that influenced all European and American armies.[210] Napoleon was regarded by the influential military theorist Carl von Clausewitz as a genius in the operational art of war, and historians rank him as a great military commander.[211] Wellington, when asked who was the greatest general of the day, answered: "In this age, in past ages, in any age, Napoleon."[212]

Under Napoleon, a new emphasis towards the destruction, not just outmanoeuvring, of enemy armies emerged. Invasions of enemy territory occurred over broader fronts which made wars costlier and more decisive. The political impact of war increased significantly; defeat for a European power meant more than the loss of isolated enclaves. Near-Carthaginian peaces intertwined whole national efforts, intensifying the Revolutionary phenomenon of total war.[213]

Bonapartism

Main article: Bonapartism

Bonapartism refers to his nephew Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte who exploited the family name to be elected president in 1848 and then made himself Emperor Napoleon III.

Criticism

The Third of May 1808 by Francisco Goya, showing Spanish resisters being executed by Napoleon's troops.

British historian Max Hastings says there is no question that as a military genius Napoleon ranks with Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar in greatness. However, in the political realm, historians debate whether Napoleon was "an enlightened despot who laid the foundations of modern Europe or, instead, a megalomaniac who wrought greater misery than any man before the coming of Hitler." [214]

Napoleon ended lawlessness and disorder in post-Revolutionary France.[215] He was, however, considered a tyrant and usurper by his opponents.[216] His critics charge that he was not significantly troubled when faced with the prospect of war and death for thousands, turned his search for undisputed rule into a series of conflicts throughout Europe and ignored treaties and conventions alike. His role in the Haitian Revolution and decision to reinstate slavery in France's oversea colonies are controversial and have an impact on his reputation.[217]

Napoleon institutionalised plunder of conquered territories: French museums contain art stolen by Napoleon's forces from across Europe. Artefacts were brought to the Musée du Louvre for a grand central museum; his example would later serve as inspiration for more notorious imitators.[218] He was compared to Adolf Hitler most famously by the historian Pieter Geyl in 1947[219] and Claude Ribbe in 2005.[220] David G. Chandler, a foremost historian of Napoleonic warfare, wrote in 1973 that, "Nothing could be more degrading to the former [Napoleon] and more flattering to the latter [Hitler]."[221]

Critics argue Napoleon's true legacy must reflect the loss of status for France and needless deaths brought by his rule: 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."[222] McLynn notes that, "He can be viewed as the man who set back European economic life for a generation by the dislocating impact of his wars."[216] However, Vincent Cronin replies that such criticism relies on the flawed premise that Napoleon was responsible for the wars which bear his name, when in fact France was the victim of a series of coalitions which aimed to destroy the ideals of the Revolution.[223]

Propaganda and memory

Main article: Napoleonic propaganda

Napoleon's use of propaganda contributed to his rise to power, legitimated his régime, and established his image for posterity. Strict censorship, controlling aspects of the press, books, theater, and art, was part of his propaganda scheme, aimed at portraying him as bringing desperately wanted peace and stability to France. The propagandistic rhetoric changed in relation to events and to the atmosphere of Napoleon's reign, focusing first on his role as a general in the army and identification as a soldier, and moving to his role as emperor and a civil leader. Specifically targeting his civilian audience, Napoleon fostered an important, though uneasy, relationship with the contemporary art community, taking an active role in commissioning and controlling different forms of art production to suit his propaganda goals.[224]

Hazareesingh (2004) explores how Napoleon's image and memory are best understood. They played a key role in collective political defiance of the Bourbon restoration monarchy in 1815–1830. People from different walks of life and areas of France, particularly Napoleonic veterans, drew on the Napoleonic legacy and its connections with the ideals of the 1789 revolution.[225]

Widespread rumors of Napoleon's return from St. Helena and Napoleon as an inspiration for patriotism, individual and collective liberties, and political mobilization manifested themselves in seditious materials, displaying the tricolor and rosettes. There were also subversive activities celebrating anniversaries of Napoleon's life and reign and disrupting royal celebrations - they demonstrated the prevailing and successful goal of the varied supporters of Napoleon to constantly destabilize the Bourbon regime.[225]

Datta (2005) shows that, following the collapse of militaristic Boulangism in the late 1880s, the Napoleonic legend was divorced from party politics and revived in popular culture. Concentrating on two plays and two novels from the period—Victorien Sardou's Madame Sans-Gêne (1893), Maurice Barrès's Les Déracinés (1897), Edmond Rostand's L'Aiglon (1900), and André de Lorde and Gyp's Napoléonette (1913) Datta examines how writers and critics of the Belle Époque exploited the Napoleonic legend for diverse political and cultural ends.[226]

Reduced to a minor character, the new fictional Napoleon became not a world historical figure but an intimate one - fashioned by individuals' needs and consumed as popular entertainment. In their attempts to represent the emperor as a figure of national unity, proponents and detractors of the Third Republic used the legend as a vehicle for exploring anxieties about gender and fears about the processes of democratization that accompanied this new era of mass politics and culture.[226]

International Napoleonic Congresses take place regularly, with participation by members of the French and American military, French politicians and scholars from different countries.[227] In January 2012, the mayor of Montereau-Fault-Yonne, near Paris—the site of a late victory of Napoleon—proposed development of Napoleon's Bivouac, a commemorative theme park at a projected cost of 200 million euros.[228]

Legacy outside France

Bas-relief of Napoleon I in the chamber of the United States House of Representatives

Napoleon was responsible for spreading the values of the French Revolution to other countries, especially in legal reform and the abolition of serfdom.[229]

The Napoleonic Code is a codification of law including civil, family and criminal law that Napoleon imposed on French-conquered territories. After the fall of Napoleon, not only was Napoleonic Code retained by such countries including the Netherlands, Belgium, parts of Italy and Germany, but has been used as the basis of certain parts of law outside Europe including the Dominican Republic, the US state of Louisiana and the Canadian province of Quebec.[230]

The memory of Napoleon in Poland is highly favorable, for his support for independence and opposition to Russia, his legal code, the abolition of serfdom, and the introduction of modern middle class bureaucracies.[231]

Marriages and children

Napoleon's first wife, Joséphine, Empress of the French, painted by François Gérard, 1801
Napoleon's first wife, Joséphine, Empress of the French
Empress Marie-Louise and the King of Rome, by Joseph Franque, 1812.
Napoleon's second wife, Marie-Louise, Empress of the French

Napoleon married Joséphine de Beauharnais 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 been known as "Rose", a name which he disliked. He called her "Joséphine" instead, and she went by this name henceforth. Bonaparte often sent her love letters while on his campaigns.[232] 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.[233]

Joséphine had lovers, including a Hussar lieutenant, Hippolyte Charles, during Napoleon's Italian campaign.[234] Napoleon learnt the full extent of her affair with Charles while in Egypt, and a letter he wrote to his brother Joseph regarding the subject was intercepted by the British. The letter appeared in the London and Paris presses, much to Napoleon's embarrassment. Napoleon had his own affairs too: during the Egyptian campaign he took Pauline Bellisle Foures, the wife of a junior officer, as his mistress. She became known as "Cleopatra" after the Ancient Egyptian ruler.[235][note 13]

While Napoleon's mistresses had children by him, Joséphine did not produce an heir, possibly because of either the stresses of her imprisonment during the Reign of Terror or an abortion she may have had in her 20s.[237] Napoleon ultimately chose divorce so he could remarry in search of an heir. In March 1810, he married Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria, and a great niece of Marie Antoinette by proxy; thus he had married into a German royal and imperial family.[238]

They remained married until his death, though she did not join him in exile on Elba and thereafter never saw her husband again. The couple had one child, Napoleon Francis Joseph Charles (1811–1832), known from birth as the King of Rome. He became Napoleon II in 1814 and reigned for only two weeks. He was awarded the title of the Duke of Reichstadt in 1818 and died of tuberculosis aged 21, with no children.[238]

Napoleon acknowledged one illegitimate son: Charles Léon (1806–1881) by Eléonore Denuelle de La Plaigne,.[239][239] He may have had further unacknowledged illegitimate offspring as well, such as Karl Eugin von Mühlfeld by Victoria Kraus;[103] Hélène Napoleone Bonaparte (1816–1910) by Albine de Montholon; and Jules Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire, whose mother remains unknown.[240] In addition; he was widely assumed to be the biological father of Count Alexandre Joseph Colonna-Walewski (1810–1868) by Countess Marie Walewska; who was, however, acknowledged by his mother's husband as his son, and he was not acknowledged by Napoleon.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Emperor Napoleon I of France
Political offices
Preceded by
French Directory
Provisional Consul of France
11 November – 12 December 1799
Served alongside:
Roger Ducos and Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès
Became Consul
New title
First Consul of France
12 December 1799 – 18 May 1804
Served alongside:
Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès (Second Consul)
Charles-François Lebrun (Third Consul)
Became Emperor
Regnal titles
Vacant
French Revolution
Title last held by
Louis XVI of France
as King of the French
Emperor of the French
18 May 1804 – 11 April 1814
Succeeded by
Louis XVIII of France
as King of France and Navarre
Vacant
Title last held by
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
as last crowned monarch, 1530
King of Italy
17 March 1805 – 11 April 1814
Vacant
Title next held by
Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy
Preceded by
Louis XVIII of France
as King of France and Navarre
Emperor of the French
20 March – 22 June 1815
Succeeded by
Louis XVIII of France
as King of France and Navarre
(Napoleon II
according to his will only)
Vacant
Title last held by
Louis XVI of France
Co-Prince of Andorra
1806 – 11 April 1814
Succeeded by
Louis XVIII of France
Preceded by
none
Sovereign of the Island of Elba
11 April 1814 – 20 March 1815
Succeeded by
none
New title
State created
Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine
12 July 1806 – 19 October 1813
Rhine Confederation dissolved
successive ruler:
Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
as President of the German Confederation
Titles in pretence
New title — TITULAR —
Emperor of the French
11 April 1814 – 20 March 1815
Vacant
Title next held by
Napoleon II

Titles and styles

Monarchical styles of
Napoleon I of France
Grandes Armes Impériales (1804-1815)2.svg
Reference style His Imperial Majesty
Spoken style Your Imperial Majesty
Alternative style My Lord
Monarchical styles of
Napoleon I of Italy
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Italy (1805-1814), round shield version.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style My Lord
  • 1769 – circa 1795: Nobile Napoleone Buonaparte
  • circa 1795 – 1799: Napoleon Bonaparte
  • 12 December 1799 – 18 May 1804: Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic
  • 18 May 1804 – 11 April 1814: His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of the French
  • 17 March 1805 – 11 April 1814: His Imperial and Royal Majesty the Emperor of the French, King of Italy
  • 11 April 1814 – 20 March 1815: His Imperial Majesty the Sovereign of the Island of Elba
  • 20 March 1815 – 22 June 1815: His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of the French

Full titles

1804–1805

His Imperial Majesty Napoleon I, By the Grace of God and the Constitutions of the Republic, Emperor of the French.

1805–1806

His Imperial and Royal Majesty Napoleon I, By the Grace of God and the Constitutions of the Republic, Emperor of the French, King of Italy.

1806–1809

His Imperial and Royal Majesty Napoleon I, By the Grace of God and the Constitutions of the Republic, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine.

1809–1814

His Imperial and Royal Majesty Napoleon I, By the Grace of God and the Constitutions of the Empire, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, Mediator of the Helvetic Confederation.

1815

His Imperial Majesty Napoleon I, By the Grace of God and the Constitutions of the Empire, Emperor of the French.

Ancestry

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
16. Giuseppe Maria Buonaparte
(1663–1703)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
8. Sebastiano Nicola Buonaparte
(1683–1720/60)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
17. Maria Colonna Bozzi
(1668–1704)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Giuseppe Maria Buonaparte
(1713–1763)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
18. Carlo Tusoli
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
9. Maria Anna Tusoli
(1690–1760)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
19. Isabella
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. Carlo Maria Buonaparte
(1746–1785)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
10. Giuseppe Maria Paravicini
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5. Maria Saveria Paravicini
(1715–bef. 1750)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
22. Angelo Agostino Salineri
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
11. Maria Angela Salineri
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
23. Francetta Merezano
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1. Napoleon I, Emperor of the French and King of Italy
(1769–1821)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
24. Giovanni Girolamo Ramolino
(1645–?)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
12. Giovanni Agostino Ramolino
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
25. Maria Laetitia Boggiano
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. Giovanni Geronimo Ramolino (1723–1755)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
26. Andrea Peri
(1669–?)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
13. Angela Maria Peri
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
27. Maria Maddalena Colonna d'Istria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. Maria Letizia Ramolino
(1750–1836)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
28. Giovanni Antonio Pietrasanta
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
14. Giuseppe Maria Pietrasanta
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
29. Paola Brigida Sorba
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7. Angela Maria Pietrasanta (1725–1790)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
15. Maria Giuseppa Malerba
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Notes

  1. ^ His name was also spelled as Nabulione, Nabulio, Napolionne, and Napulione.[6]
  2. ^ Aside from his name, there does not appear to be a connection between him and Napoleon's theorem.[16]
  3. ^ He was mainly referred to as Bonaparte until he became First Consul for life.[20]
  4. ^ This is depicted in Bonaparte Crossing the Alps by Hippolyte Delaroche and in Jacques-Louis David's imperial Napoleon Crossing the Alps, he is less realistically portrayed on a charger in the latter work.[71]
  5. ^ Napoleon gave the pope a tiara following the ceremony, now referred to as the Napoleon Tiara.
  6. ^ A custom in which householders place candles in street-facing windows to herald good news.[143]
  7. ^ It was customary to cast a death mask or mold of a leader. Four genuine death masks of Napoleon are known to exist: one in The Cabildo, a state museum located in New Orleans, one in a Liverpool museum, another in Havana and one in the library of the University of North Carolina.[151]
  8. ^ The body can tolerate large doses of arsenic if ingested regularly, and arsenic was a fashionable cure-all.[157]
  9. ^ "Nous trompons les Égyptiens par notre simili attachement à leur religion, à laquelle Bonaparte et nous ne croyons pas plus qu'à celle de Pie le défunt."[174]
  10. ^ "I think the matter that made man was slime, warmed by the sun and vivified by electric fluids. What are animals —an ox, for example— but organized matter? Well, when we see that our physical frame resembles theirs, may we not believe that we are only better organized matter... The most simple idea consists in worshiping the sun, which gives life to everything. I repeat, I think man was created in an atmosphere warmed by the sun, and that after a certain time this productive power ceased." [178]
  11. ^ "I do not think Jesus Christ ever existed. I would believe in the Christian religion if it dated from the beginning of the world. That Socrates, Plato, the Mohammedan, and all the English should be damned is too absurd. Jesus was probably put to death, like many other fanatics who proclaimed themselves to be prophets or the expected Messiah. Every year there were many of these men."[179]
  12. ^ Napoleon's height was 5 ft 2 in in French measure according to Antommarchi at Napoleon's autopsy, whereas British sources put his height at 5 ft 6 in in imperial measure: both equivalent to 1.68 m.[203] Napoleon surrounded himself with tall bodyguards and had a nickname of le petit caporal which was an affectionate term that reflected his reported camaraderie with his soldiers rather than his height.
  13. ^ One night, during an illicit liaison with the actress Marguerite George, Napoleon had a major fit. This and other more minor attacks have led historians to debate whether he had epilepsy and, if so, to what extent.[236]

Citations

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  5. ^ McLynn 1998, p.6
  6. ^ a b Dwyer 2008, p.xv
  7. ^ McLynn 1998, p.2
  8. ^ 2012 DNA tests found some of the family's ancestors were from the Caucasus region; lefigaro.fr (15 January 2012). "Le Figaro – Mon Figaro : Selon son ADN,les ancêtres de Napoléon seraient du Caucase!". Le Figaro. Retrieved 20 February 2012. ; The study found haplogroup type E1b1c1*, which originated in Northern Africa circa 1200 BC; the people migrated into the Caucasus and into Europe. "Haplogroup of the Y Chromosome of Napoléon the First; Gerard Lucotte, Thierry Thomasset, Peter Hrechdakian; Journal of Molecular Biology Research". December 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  9. ^ Cronin 1994, pp. 20–21
  10. ^ Philip Dwyer, Napoleon (2008) ch 1
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References

Biographical studies

Specialty studies

Historiography and memory

  • Arnold, E. A. "English Language Napoleonic Historiography, 1973-1998: Thoughts and Considerations." Proceedings-Western Society for French History Vol. 26. (2000)
  • Dunne, John. "Recent Napoleonic Historiography: 'Poor Relation' Makes Good?" French History (2004) 18#4 pp 484–491.
  • Dwyer, Philip. "Remembering and Forgetting in Contemporary France: Napoleon, Slavery, and the French History Wars," French Politics, Culture & Society (2008) 26#3 pp 110–122. online
  • Geyl, Pieter (1982) [1947]. Napoleon For and Against. Penguin Books. 
  • Hanson, Victor Davis (2003). "The Claremont Institute: The Little Tyrant, A review of Napoleon: A Penguin Life". The Claremont Institute. 
  • Hazareesingh, Sudhir. "Napoleonic Memory in Nineteenth-Century France: The Making of a Liberal Legend," MLN (2005) 120#4 pp 747–773 online
  • Hazareesingh, Sudhir. The Legend of Napoleon (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Nutting, Sinclair Holmes. "Napoleonic historiography" (MA Thesis, U. of Saskatchewan, 1950) citation; full text online free

Primary sources

  • Herold, J. Christopher, ed. Mind of Napoleon: A Selection of His Written and Spoken Words (1955), 322pp
  • Thompson, J.M. ed. Napoleon's Letters (1954)

External links

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