Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in November 1799 with the formation of the French Consulate. Many of its ideas are considered fundamental principles of Western liberal de ...
and led several successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon I, he was
Emperor of the French Emperor of the French (French: ''Empereur des Français'') was the title of the monarch of the First and the Second French Empires. Details A title and office used by the House of Bonaparte starting when Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor on 18 Ma ...
from 1804 until 1814, and again in 1815. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions. It produced a brief period of French ...
. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. One of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. He remains one of the most celebrated and controversial political figures in human history.Roberts, Andrew. ''Napoleon: A Life''. Penguin Group, 2014, Introduction. Napoleon had an extensive and powerful impact on the modern world, bringing liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, especially the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl|de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl|de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in northwestern Europe forming ...
Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it|svizzero/svizzera or , rm|Svizzer/Svizra |government_type = Federal semi-direct democracy under a multi-party assembly-independent directorial republic |leader_title1 = Federal Council |leader_name ...
, and large parts of modern
Italy Italy ( it|Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it|Repubblica Italiana|links=no ), is a country consisting of a continental part, delimited by the Alps, a peninsula and several islands surrounding it. Italy is located in Southern Europ ...
Germany ) | image_map = | map_caption = | map_width = 250px | capital = Berlin | coordinates = | largest_city = capital | languages_type = Official language | languages = German | demonym = German | government_type = Federal parliamentary republi ...
. He implemented fundamental liberal policies in France and throughout Western Europe. His lasting legal achievement, the
Napoleonic Code The Napoleonic Code (, lit. "Code Napoleon"), officially the Civil Code of the French (; simply referred to as ''Code civil'') is the French civil code established under the French Consulate in 1804 and still in force, although frequently amende ...
, has been highly influential. Roberts says, "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." Born Napoleone di Buonaparte on the island of
Corsica Corsica (; , ; french: link=no|Corse, ; lij|link=no|Còrsega) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and politically one of the eighteen regions of France. It is the fourth-largest island in the Mediterranean and lies southeast of the French mai ...

not long after its annexation by the
Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro|Reaume de France, frm|Royaulme de France, french: link=no|Royaume de France) was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe. It was among the most powerful states in Europe and a great power from the High ...
, Napoleon's modest family descended from minor
Italian nobility The nobility of Italy (Italian: ''Nobiltà italiana'') comprised individuals and their families of the Italian Peninsula, and the islands linked with it, recognized by the sovereigns of the Italian city-states since the Middle Ages, and by the kings ...
. He supported the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in November 1799 with the formation of the French Consulate. Many of its ideas are considered fundamental principles of Western liberal de ...
in 1789 while serving in the French army, and tried to spread its ideals to his native Corsica. He rose rapidly in the Army after he saved the governing
French Directory The Directory (also called Directorate, ) was the governing five-member committee in the French First Republic from 2 November 1795 until 9 November 1799, when it was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte in the Coup of 18 Brumaire and replaced by th ...
by firing on royalist insurgents. In April 1796, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and their Italian allies, scoring a series of decisive victories and becoming a national hero. Two years later, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power. He engineered a coup in November 1799 and became ''
First Consul The Consulate (French: ''Le Consulat'') was the top-level Government of France from the fall of the Directory in the coup of Brumaire on 10 November 1799 until the start of the Napoleonic Empire on 18 May 1804. By extension, the term ''The Cons ...
of the Republic''. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing the
War of the Third Coalition The War of the Third Coalition) * In French historiography, it is known as the Austrian campaign of 1805 (french: Campagne d'Autriche de 1805) or the German campaign of 1805 (french: Campagne d'Allemagne de 1805) was a European conflict spanning ...
by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the
Ulm Campaign The Ulm campaign was a series of French and Bavarian military maneuvers and battles to outflank and capture an Austrian army in 1805 during the War of the Third Coalition. It took place in the vicinity of and inside the Swabian (then Bavarian) ci ...
, and a historic triumph at the
Battle of Austerlitz The Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805/11 Frimaire An XIV FRC), also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. In what is widely regarded as the greatest victory a ...

Battle of Austerlitz
, which led to the elimination of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la|Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 180 ...
. In 1806, the
Fourth Coalition The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and were defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. The main coalition partners were Prussia and Russia with Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain also contributing. Excluding Prussia, some ...
took up arms against him because
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centered on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was ''de facto'' dissolved by an e ...
became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon quickly knocked out Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, then marched the
Grand Army Grand may refer to: People with the name * Grand (surname) * Grand L. Bush (born 1955), American actor * Grand Mixer DXT, American turntablist * Grand Puba (born 1966), American rapper * Places * Grand, Oklahoma * Grand, Vosges, village and commun ...
deep into
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the region of the European continent between Western Europe and Asia. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and s ...
, annihilating the Russians in June 1807 at
, and forcing the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to accept the
Treaties of Tilsit The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of Fra ...
. Two years later, the Austrians challenged the French again during the
War of the Fifth Coalition The War of the Fifth Coalition was a European conflict in 1809 that was part of the Napoleonic Wars and the Coalition Wars. The main conflict took place in central Europe between the Austrian Empire of Francis I and Napoleon's French Empire. ...
, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the
Battle of Wagram The Battle of Wagram (; 5–6 July 1809) was a military engagement of the Napoleonic Wars that ended in a costly but decisive victory for Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's French and allied army against the Austrian army under the command of Archduke C ...
. Hoping to extend the
Continental System 300px|The French Empire in 1812 The Continental Blockade (), or Continental System, was the foreign policy of Napoleon Bonaparte against the United Kingdom during the Napoleonic Wars. As a response to the naval blockade of the French coasts enact ...
(embargo of Britain), Napoleon invaded
Iberia The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese and Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl|Península Eibérica * eu|Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a peninsula in the southwest corner of Europe, ...
and declared his brother
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef. The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in the Nordic countr ...
the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The
Peninsular War The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was the military conflict fought by Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal against the invading and occupying forces of France for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. In Spain, it is c ...
lasted six years, featured brutal
guerrilla warfare#REDIRECT Guerrilla warfare#REDIRECT Guerrilla warfare {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, and culminated in a defeat for Napoleon. Napoleon launched an invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The resulting campaign witnessed the catastrophic retreat of Napoleon's
Grand Army Grand may refer to: People with the name * Grand (surname) * Grand L. Bush (born 1955), American actor * Grand Mixer DXT, American turntablist * Grand Puba (born 1966), American rapper * Places * Grand, Oklahoma * Grand, Vosges, village and commun ...
and encouraged his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in a
Sixth Coalition Sixth is the ordinal form of the number six. * The Sixth Amendment, to the U.S. Constitution * A keg of beer, equal to 5 U.S. gallons or 1/6 barrel * A fraction (mathematics), such as Music * Sixth interval (music)s: ** major sixth, a musical ...
against France. A chaotic military campaign culminated in a large coalition army defeating Napoleon at the
Battle of Leipzig The Battle of Leipzig, contemporaneously called the Battle of Leipsic (french: Bataille de Leipsick; german: Völkerschlacht bei Leipzig (); sv|Slaget vid Leipzig) and later the Battle of the Nations (french: Bataille des Nations; russian: Б ...
in October 1813. The coalition invaded France and captured Paris, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April 1814. Napoleon was exiled to the island of
Elba Elba ( it|isola d'Elba, ; la|Ilva; Ancient Greek: Αἰθαλία, ''Aithalia'') is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, from the coastal town of Piombino on the Italian mainland, and the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago. It is al ...
, between Corsica and Italy. In France, the
Bourbons The House of Bourbon (, also ; ) is a European dynasty of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty, the royal House of France. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Spanish Bo ...
were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France. The Allies responded by forming a
Seventh Coalition The Hundred Days War (french: les Cent-Jours ), also known as the War of the Seventh Coalition, marked the period between Napoleon's return from eleven months of exile on the island of Elba to Paris on20 March 1815 and the second restoration ...
, which ultimately defeated Napoleon at the
Battle of Waterloo The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo in Belgium, part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time. A French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two of the armies of the Seven ...

Battle of Waterloo
in June 1815. The British exiled him to the remote island of
Saint Helena Saint Helena () is a British possession located in the South Atlantic Ocean. It consists of a remote volcanic tropical island lying some 1,950 kilometres (1,210 mi) west of the coast of southwestern Africa, and east of Rio de Janeiro on th ...
in the
South Atlantic#REDIRECT Atlantic Ocean {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

South Atlantic
. His death in 1821 at the age of 51 was received with shock and grief throughout Europe.

Early life

Napoleon's family was of
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...
origin: his paternal ancestors, the Buonapartes, descended from a minor Tuscan noble family that emigrated to
Corsica Corsica (; , ; french: link=no|Corse, ; lij|link=no|Còrsega) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and politically one of the eighteen regions of France. It is the fourth-largest island in the Mediterranean and lies southeast of the French mai ...

in the 16th century; while his maternal ancestors, the Ramolinos, descended from a minor Genoese noble family. The Buonapartes were also the relatives, by marriage and by birth, of the Pietrasentas, Costas, Paraviccinis, and Bonellis, all Corsican families of the interior. His parents
Carlo Maria di Buonaparte
Carlo Maria di Buonaparte
Maria Letizia Ramolino Maria-Letizia Buonaparte (née Ramolino; 24 August 1749 – 2 February 1836), known as Letizia Bonaparte, was a Corsican noblewoman, mother of Napoleon I of France. She became known as “” after the proclamation of the Empire. She spent her ...
maintained an ancestral home called " Casa Buonaparte" in
Ajaccio Ajaccio (, , , ; it|Aiaccio or ; , Ajaccino dialect: ; ) is a French ''commune'', prefecture of the department of Corse-du-Sud, and head office of the ''Collectivité territoriale de Corse'' (capital city of Corsica). It is also the largest ...
. Napoleon was born there on 15 August 1769, their fourth child and third son. A boy and girl were born first but died in infancy. He had an elder brother,
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef. The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in the Nordic countr ...
, and younger siblings [[Lucien Bonaparte|Lucien, [[Elisa Bonaparte|Elisa, [[Louis Bonaparte|Louis, [[Pauline Bonaparte|Pauline, [[Caroline Bonaparte|Caroline, and [[Jérôme Bonaparte|Jérôme. Napoleon was baptised as a [[Catholic Church|Catholic, under the name ''Napoleone''. In his youth, his name was also spelled as ''Nabulione'', ''Nabulio'', ''Napolionne'', and ''Napulione''. Napoleon was born the same year the [[Republic of Genoa ceded Corsica to France. The state sold [[Westphalian sovereignty|sovereign rights a year before his birth in 1768, and the island was [[French conquest of Corsica|conquered by France during the year of his birth and formally incorporated as a [[Provinces of France|province in 1770, after [[History of Corsica#Renaissance|500 years under Genoese rule and [[Corsican Republic|14 years of independence. Napoleon's parents joined the Corsican resistance and fought against the French to maintain independence, even when Maria was pregnant with him. His father was an attorney who went on to be named Corsica's representative to the court of [[Louis XVI of France|Louis XVI in 1777.Cronin 1994, pp. 20–21 The dominant influence of Napoleon's childhood was his mother, whose firm discipline restrained a rambunctious child. Later in life Napoleon stated, "The future destiny of the child is always the work of the mother." Napoleon's maternal grandmother had married into the Swiss [[Faesch|Fesch family in her second marriage, and Napoleon's uncle, the cardinal [[Joseph Fesch, would fulfill a role as protector of the Bonaparte family for some years. Napoleon's noble, moderately affluent background afforded him greater opportunities to study than were available to a typical Corsican of the time. When he turned 9 years old, he moved to [[Metropolitan France|the French mainland and enrolled at a religious school in [[Autun in January 1779. In May, he transferred with a scholarship to a [[military academy at [[Brienne-le-Château. In his youth he was an outspoken [[Corsican nationalism|Corsican nationalist and supported the state's independence from France. Like many Corsicans, Napoleon spoke and read [[Corsican language|Corsican (as his mother tongue) and [[Italian language|Italian (as the official language of Corsica). He began learning [[French language|French in school at around age 10. Although he became fluent in French, he spoke with a distinctive Corsican accent and never learned how to spell French correctly. He was, however, not an isolated case, as it was estimated in 1790 that fewer than 3 million people, out of France's population of 28 million, were able to speak standard French, and those who could write it were even fewer. Napoleon was routinely bullied by his peers for his accent, birthplace, short stature, mannerisms and inability to speak French quickly. Bonaparte became reserved and melancholy applying himself to reading. 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". In early adulthood, he briefly intended to become a writer; he authored a history of Corsica and a romantic [[novella. On completion of his studies at Brienne in 1784, Napoleon was admitted to the ''[[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. He was the first Corsican to graduate from the ''École Militaire''. He was examined by the famed scientist [[Pierre-Simon Laplace.

Early career

Upon graduating in September 1785, Bonaparte was [[Officer (armed forces)|commissioned a [[second lieutenant in [[1st Artillery Regiment (France)|''La Fère'' artillery regiment. He served in [[Valence (city)|Valence and [[Auxonne until after the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789. The young man still was a fervent Corsican nationalist during this period and asked for leave to join his mentor [[Pasquale Paoli, when the latter was allowed to return to Corsica by the National Assembly. Paoli had no sympathy for Napoleon however as he deemed his father a traitor for having deserted his cause for Corsican independence. He spent the early years of the Revolution in Corsica, fighting in a complex three-way struggle among royalists, revolutionaries, and Corsican nationalists. Napoleon, however, came to embrace the ideals of the Revolution, becoming a supporter of the [[Jacobins and joining the pro-French Corsican Republicans who opposed Paoli's policy and his aspirations of secession. He was given command over a battalion of volunteers and was promoted to captain in the regular army in July 1792, despite exceeding his leave of absence and leading a riot against French troops. When Corsica declared formal secession from France and requested the protection of the British government Napoleon and his commitment to the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in November 1799 with the formation of the French Consulate. Many of its ideas are considered fundamental principles of Western liberal de ...
came into conflict with Paoli, who had decided to sabotage the Corsican contribution to the ''[[French expedition to Sardinia|Expédition de Sardaigne'', by preventing a French assault on the [[Kingdom of Sardinia|Sardinian island of [[La Maddalena. Bonaparte and his family were compelled to flee to Toulon on the French mainland in June 1793 because of the split with Paoli.Roberts 2001, p. xviii Although he was born "Napoleone di Buonaparte", it was after this that Napoleon began styling himself "Napoléon Bonaparte" but his family did not drop the name Buonaparte until 1796. The first known record of him signing his name as Bonaparte was at the age of 27 (in 1796).

Siege of Toulon

In July 1793, Bonaparte published a pro-republican pamphlet entitled ''[[Le souper de Beaucaire'' (Supper at [[Beaucaire, Gard|Beaucaire) which gained him the 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 senior gunner and artillery commander of the republican forces which arrived on 8 September at Toulon. He adopted a plan to capture a hill where republican guns could dominate the city's harbour and force the British to evacuate. The assault on the position led to the capture of the city, but during it Bonaparte was wounded in the thigh on 16 December. Catching the attention of the [[Committee of Public Safety, he was put in charge of the artillery of France's [[Army of Italy (France)|Army of Italy. On 22 December he was on his way to his new post in [[Nice, promoted from the rank of colonel to [[brigadier general at the age of 24. He devised plans for attacking the [[Kingdom of Sardinia as part of France's campaign [[War of the First Coalition|against the First Coalition. The French army carried out Bonaparte's plan in the [[Battle of Saorgio in April 1794, and then advanced to seize [[Ormea in the mountains. From Ormea, they headed west to outflank the Austro-Sardinian positions around [[Saorge. After this campaign, Augustin Robespierre sent Bonaparte on a mission to the [[Republic of Genoa to determine that country's intentions towards France.

13 Vendémiaire

Some contemporaries alleged that Bonaparte was put under [[house arrest at [[Nice for his association with the Robespierres following their fall in the [[Thermidorian Reaction in July 1794, but Napoleon's secretary [[Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne|Bourrienne disputed the allegation in his memoirs. According to Bourrienne, jealousy was responsible, between the Army of the Alps and the Army of Italy (with whom Napoleon was seconded at the time). Bonaparte dispatched an impassioned defence in a letter to the commissar Saliceti, and he was subsequently acquitted of any wrongdoing. He was released within two weeks (on 20 August) 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 British Royal Navy. By 1795, Bonaparte had become engaged to [[Désirée Clary, daughter of [[François Clary. Désirée's sister [[Julie Clary had married Bonaparte's elder brother Joseph. In April 1795, he was assigned to the [[Army of the West (1793)|Army of the West, which was engaged in the [[War in the Vendée—a civil war and royalist [[Counter-revolutionary|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. 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 [[Selim III|Sultan. During this period, he wrote the romantic novella ''[[Clisson et Eugénie'', about a soldier and his lover, in a clear parallel to Bonaparte's own relationship with Désirée. 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. On 3 October, royalists in Paris declared a rebellion against the [[National Convention. [[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. Napoleon had seen the [[Insurrection of 10 August 1792#Assault on the Tuileries|massacre of the King's Swiss Guard there three years earlier and realized that artillery would be the key to its defence.Roberts 2001, p. xvi He ordered a young cavalry officer named [[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|French Republican Calendar; 1,400 royalists died and the rest fled. He had cleared the streets with "a whiff of [[grapeshot", according to 19th-century historian [[Thomas Carlyle in ''[[The French Revolution: A History''. 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 [[French Directory|Directory. Murat married one of Napoleon's sisters, becoming 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. Within weeks, he was romantically involved with [[Empress Joséphine|Joséphine de Beauharnais, the former mistress of Barras. The couple married on 9 March 1796 in a civil ceremony.

First Italian campaign

Two days after the marriage, Bonaparte left [[Paris to take command of the [[Army of Italy (France)|Army of Italy. He immediately went on the offensive, hoping to defeat the forces of [[Kingdom of Sardinia|Piedmont before their Austrian allies could intervene. In a series of rapid victories during the [[Montenotte campaign|Montenotte Campaign, he knocked Piedmont out of the war in two weeks. The French then focused on the Austrians for the remainder of the war, the highlight of which became the protracted [[Siege of Mantua (1796–97)|struggle for Mantua. The [[Austrians launched a series of offensives against the French to break the siege, but Napoleon defeated every relief effort, scoring victories at the battles of [[Battle of Castiglione|Castiglione, [[Battle of Bassano|Bassano, [[Battle of Arcole|Arcole, and [[Battle of Rivoli|Rivoli. The decisive French triumph at Rivoli in January 1797 led to the collapse of the Austrian position in Italy. At Rivoli, the Austrians lost up to 14,000 men while the French lost about 5,000. The next phase of the campaign featured the French invasion of the [[House of Habsburg|Habsburg heartlands. French forces in Southern Germany had been defeated by the [[Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen|Archduke Charles in 1796, but the Archduke withdrew his forces to protect [[Vienna after learning about Napoleon's assault. In the first encounter between the two commanders, Napoleon pushed back his opponent and advanced deep into Austrian territory after winning at the [[Battle of Tarvis (1797)|Battle of Tarvis in March 1797. The Austrians were alarmed by the French thrust that reached all the way to [[Leoben, about 100 km from Vienna, and finally decided to sue for peace. The [[Treaty of Leoben, followed by the more comprehensive [[Treaty of Campo Formio, 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 [[Fall_of_the_Republic_of_Venice#12_May_1797:_the_Fall_of_the_Venetian_Republic|forced its surrender, ending 1,100 years of Venetian independence. He also authorized the French to loot treasures such as the [[Horses of Saint Mark. On the journey, Bonaparte conversed much about the warriors of antiquity especially Alexander, Caesar, Scipio and Hannibal. He studied their strategy and combined it with his own. In a question from Bourrienne, asking whether he gave his preference to Alexander or Caesar, Napoleon said that he places [[Alexander The Great in the first rank, the main reason being his campaign on Asia. His application of conventional military ideas to real-world situations enabled his military triumphs, such as creative use of artillery as a mobile force to support his infantry. He stated later in life: "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". Bonaparte 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 [[Pincer movement|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. In this Italian campaign, Bonaparte's army captured 150,000 prisoners, 540 cannons, and 170 [[flag|standards. The French army fought 67 actions and won 18 [[pitched battles through superior artillery technology and Bonaparte's tactics. 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. The royalists attacked Bonaparte for looting Italy and warned that he might become a dictator. Napoleon's forces extracted an estimated $45 million in funds from Italy during their campaign there, another $12 million in precious metals and jewels. His forces also confiscated more than three-hundred priceless paintings and sculptures. 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. He met [[Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord|Talleyrand, France's new Foreign Minister—who served in the same capacity for Emperor Napoleon—and they began to prepare for an invasion of Britain.

Egyptian expedition

After two months of planning, Bonaparte decided that France's naval strength was not yet sufficient enough to confront the [[Royal Navy|British Royal Navy. He decided on a military expedition to seize [[Egypt Eyalet|Egypt and thereby undermine Britain's access to its [[Company rule in India#Trade|trade interests in India. Bonaparte wished to establish a French presence in the Middle East and join forces with [[Tipu Sultan, the [[Kingdom of Mysore|Sultan of Mysore who was an enemy of the British. 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".Amini 2000, p. 12 The Directory agreed in order to secure a trade route to the [[Indian subcontinent. In May 1798, Bonaparte was elected a member of the [[French Academy of Sciences. His Egyptian expedition included a group of 167 scientists, with mathematicians, naturalists, chemists, and [[geodesy|geodesists among them. Their discoveries included the [[Rosetta Stone, and their work was published in the ''[[Description de l'Égypte'' in 1809. En route to Egypt, Bonaparte reached [[Hospitaller Malta|Malta on 9 June 1798, then controlled by the [[Knights Hospitaller. Grand Master [[Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim surrendered after token resistance, and Bonaparte captured an important naval base with the loss of only three men. Bonaparte and his expedition eluded pursuit by the Royal Navy and landed at [[Alexandria on 1 July. He fought the [[Battle of Shubra Khit against the [[Mamluks, Egypt's ruling military caste. This helped the French practise their defensive tactic for the [[Battle of the Pyramids, fought on 21 July, about from the [[Egyptian pyramids|pyramids. General Bonaparte's forces of 25,000 roughly equalled those of the Mamluks' Egyptian cavalry. Twenty-nine French and approximately 2,000 Egyptians were killed. The victory boosted the morale of the French army. On 1 August 1798, the British fleet under [[Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson|Sir Horatio Nelson captured or destroyed all but two vessels of the French fleet in the [[Battle of the Nile, defeating Bonaparte's goal to strengthen the French position in the Mediterranean.Roberts 2001, p. xx His army had succeeded in a temporary increase of French power in Egypt, though it faced repeated uprisings. In early 1799, he moved an army into the [[Wilayah|Ottoman province of Damascus (Syria and [[Galilee). Bonaparte led these 13,000 French soldiers in the conquest of the coastal towns of [[Arish, [[Gaza City|Gaza, [[Jaffa, and [[Haifa. The [[Siege of Jaffa|attack on Jaffa was particularly brutal. Bonaparte discovered that many of the defenders were former prisoners of war, ostensibly on [[parole, so he ordered the garrison and 1,400 prisoners to be executed by bayonet or drowning to save bullets. Men, women, and children were robbed and murdered for three days. Bonaparte began with an army of 13,000 men; 1,500 were reported missing, 1,200 died in combat, and thousands perished from disease—mostly [[bubonic plague. He failed to [[Siege of Acre (1799)|reduce the fortress of [[Acre, Israel|Acre, so he marched his army back to Egypt in May. To speed up the retreat, Bonaparte ordered plague-stricken men to be poisoned with opium; the number who died remains disputed, ranging from a low of 30 to a high of 580. He also brought out 1,000 wounded men. Back in Egypt on 25 July, Bonaparte defeated an [[Battle of Abukir (1799)|Ottoman amphibious invasion at Abukir.

Ruler of France

While in Egypt, Bonaparte stayed informed of European affairs. He learned that France had suffered a [[Campaigns of 1799 in the French Revolutionary Wars|series of defeats in the [[War of the Second Coalition. On 24 August 1799, he took advantage of the temporary departure of British ships from French coastal ports and set sail for France, despite the fact that he had received no explicit orders from Paris. The army was left in the charge of [[Jean-Baptiste Kléber. 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.Connelly 2006, p. 57 By the time that he reached Paris in October, France's situation had been improved by a series of victories. The Republic, however, was bankrupt and the ineffective Directory was unpopular with the French population. The Directory discussed Bonaparte's "desertion" but was too weak to punish him. Despite the failures in Egypt, Napoleon returned to a hero's welcome. He drew together an alliance with director [[Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, his brother Lucien, speaker of the [[Council of Five Hundred [[Roger Ducos, director [[Joseph Fouché, and Talleyrand, and they overthrew the Directory by a [[coup d'état on 9 November 1799 ("the 18th Brumaire" according to the revolutionary calendar), closing 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 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 favour, 1,567 opposed). The constitution preserved the appearance of a republic but in reality, established a dictatorship.

French Consulate

Napoleon established a political system that historian [[Martyn Lyons called "dictatorship by plebiscite". Worried by the democratic forces unleashed by the Revolution, but unwilling to ignore them entirely, Napoleon resorted to regular electoral consultations with the French people on his road to imperial power. He drafted the [[Constitution of the Year VIII and secured his own election as
First Consul The Consulate (French: ''Le Consulat'') was the top-level Government of France from the fall of the Directory in the coup of Brumaire on 10 November 1799 until the start of the Napoleonic Empire on 18 May 1804. By extension, the term ''The Cons ...
, taking up residence at the Tuileries. The constitution was approved in [[1800 French constitutional referendum|a rigged plebiscite held the following January, with 99.94 percent officially listed as voting "yes". Napoleon's brother, Lucien, had falsified the returns to show that 3 million people had participated in the plebiscite. The real number was 1.5 million. Political observers at the time assumed the eligible French voting public numbered about 5 million people, so the regime artificially doubled the participation rate to indicate popular enthusiasm for the consulate. In the first few months of the consulate, with war in Europe still raging and internal instability still plaguing the country, Napoleon's grip on power remained very tenuous. In the spring of 1800, Napoleon and his troops crossed the Swiss Alps into Italy, aiming to surprise the Austrian armies that had reoccupied the peninsula when Napoleon was still in Egypt. After a difficult crossing over the Alps, the French army entered the plains of Northern Italy virtually unopposed. While one French army approached from the north, the Austrians were busy with another stationed in [[Genoa, which was [[Siege of Genoa (1800)|besieged by a substantial force. The fierce resistance of this French army, under [[André Masséna, gave the northern force some time to carry out their operations with little interference. After spending several days looking for each other, the two armies collided at the [[Battle of Marengo on 14 June. [[Michael von Melas|General Melas had a numerical advantage, fielding about 30,000 Austrian soldiers while Napoleon commanded 24,000 French troops. The battle began favourably for the Austrians as their initial attack surprised the French and gradually drove them back. Melas stated that he had won the battle and retired to his headquarters around 3 pm, leaving his subordinates in charge of pursuing the French. The French lines never broke during their tactical retreat. Napoleon constantly rode out among the troops urging them to stand and fight. Late in the afternoon, a full division under [[Louis Desaix|Desaix arrived on the field and reversed the tide of the battle. A series of artillery barrages and cavalry charges decimated the Austrian army, which fled over the [[Bormida (river)|Bormida River back to [[Alessandria, leaving behind 14,000 casualties. The following day, the Austrian army agreed to abandon Northern Italy once more with the [[Convention of Alessandria, which granted them safe passage to friendly soil in exchange for their fortresses throughout the region. Although critics have blamed Napoleon for several tactical mistakes preceding the battle, they have also praised his audacity for selecting a risky campaign strategy, choosing to invade the Italian peninsula from the north when the vast majority of French invasions came from the west, near or along the coastline. As Chandler points out, Napoleon spent almost a year getting the Austrians out of Italy in his first campaign. In 1800, it took him only a month to achieve the same goal. German strategist and field marshal [[Alfred von Schlieffen concluded that "Bonaparte did not annihilate his enemy but eliminated him and rendered him harmless" while "[attaining] the object of the campaign: the conquest of North Italy". Napoleon's triumph at Marengo secured his political authority and boosted his popularity back home, but it did not lead to an immediate peace. Bonaparte's brother, Joseph, led the complex negotiations in [[Lunéville and reported that Austria, emboldened by British support, would not acknowledge the new territory that France had acquired. As negotiations became increasingly fractious, Bonaparte gave orders to his general [[Jean Victor Marie Moreau|Moreau to strike Austria once more. Moreau and the French swept through [[Bavaria and scored an overwhelming victory at [[Battle of Hohenlinden|Hohenlinden in December 1800. As a result, the Austrians capitulated and signed the [[Treaty of Lunéville in February 1801. The treaty reaffirmed and expanded earlier French gains at [[Treaty of Campo Formio|Campo Formio.

Temporary peace in Europe

After a decade of constant warfare, France and Britain signed the [[Treaty of Amiens in March 1802, bringing the Revolutionary Wars to an end. Amiens called for the withdrawal of British troops from recently conquered colonial territories as well as for assurances to curtail the expansionary goals of the French Republic. With Europe at peace and the economy recovering, Napoleon's popularity soared to its highest levels under the consulate, both domestically and abroad. In a [[1802 French constitutional referendum|new plebiscite during the spring of 1802, the French public came out in huge numbers to approve a constitution that made the Consulate permanent, essentially elevating Napoleon to dictator for life. Whereas the plebiscite two years earlier had brought out 1.5 million people to the polls, the new referendum enticed 3.6 million to go and vote (72 percent of all eligible voters). There was no secret ballot in 1802 and few people wanted to openly defy the regime. The constitution gained approval with over 99% of the vote. His broad powers were spelled out in the new constitution: ''Article 1. The French people name, and the Senate proclaims Napoleon-Bonaparte First Consul for Life.'' After 1802, he was generally referred to as Napoleon rather than Bonaparte. The brief peace in Europe allowed Napoleon to focus on [[French colonial empire|French colonies abroad. [[Saint-Domingue had managed to acquire a high level of political autonomy during the Revolutionary Wars, with [[Toussaint Louverture|Toussaint L'Ouverture installing himself as de facto dictator by 1801. Napoleon saw a chance to reestablish control over the colony when he signed the Treaty of Amiens. In the 18th century, Saint-Domingue had been France's most profitable colony, producing more sugar than all the [[British West Indies colonies combined. However, during the Revolution, the National Convention voted to abolish slavery in February 1794. Aware of the expenses required to fund his wars in Europe, Napoleon made the decision to reinstate slavery in all French Caribbean colonies. The 1794 decree had only affected the colonies of Saint-Domingue, [[Guadeloupe and [[French Guiana|Guiana, and did not take effect in [[Mauritius, [[Réunion|Reunion and [[Martinique, the last of which had been captured by the British and as such remained unaffected by French law. In [[Guadeloupe, slavery had been abolished and (violently enforced) by [[Victor Hugues against opposition from slaveholders thanks to the 1794 law. However, when slavery was reinstated in 1802, a [[Slave rebellion|slave revolt broke out under the leadership [[Louis Delgrès|Louis Delgres. The resulting [[Law of 20 May 1802|Law of 20 May had the express purpose of reinstating slavery in Saint-Domingue, Guadeloupe and French Guiana, and restored slavery throughout most of the French colonial empire (excluding Saint-Domingue) for another half a century, while the French [[Atlantic slave trade|transatlantic slave trade continued for another twenty years. Napoleon sent [[Saint-Domingue expedition|an expedition under his brother-in-law [[Charles Leclerc (general, born 1772)|General Leclerc to reassert control over Saint-Domingue. Although the French managed to capture Toussaint Louverture, the expedition failed when high rates of disease crippled the French army, and [[Jean-Jacques Dessalines won a string of victories, first against Leclerc, and when he died from yellow fever, then against [[Donatien-Marie-Joseph de Vimeur, vicomte de Rochambeau, whom Napoleon sent to relieve Leclerc with another 20,000 men. In May 1803, Napoleon acknowledged defeat, and the last 8,000 French troops left the island and the slaves proclaimed an independent republic that they called [[Haiti in 1804. In the process, Dessalines became arguably the most successful military commander in the struggle against Napoleonic France. Seeing the failure of his efforts in Haiti, Napoleon decided in 1803 to [[Louisiana Purchase|sell the [[Louisiana Territory to the United States, instantly doubling the size of the U.S. The selling price in the [[Louisiana Purchase was less than three cents per acre, a total of $15 million. The peace with Britain proved to be uneasy and controversial. Britain did not evacuate Malta as promised and protested against Bonaparte's [[annexation of Piedmont and his [[Act of Mediation, which established a new [[Switzerland in the Napoleonic era|Swiss Confederation. Neither of these territories were covered by Amiens, but they inflamed tensions significantly. The dispute culminated in a declaration of war by Britain in May 1803; Napoleon responded by reassembling the invasion camp at Boulogne.

French Empire

During the consulate, Napoleon faced several royalist and Jacobin [[Assassination attempts on Napoleon Bonaparte|assassination plots, including the ''[[Conspiration des poignards'' (Dagger plot) in October 1800 and the [[Plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise|Plot of the Rue Saint-Nicaise (also known as the ''Infernal Machine'') two months later. In January 1804, his police uncovered an assassination plot against him that involved Moreau and which was ostensibly sponsored by the [[House of Bourbon|Bourbon family, the former rulers of France. On the advice of Talleyrand, Napoleon ordered the kidnapping of the [[Louis Antoine, Duke of Enghien|Duke of Enghien, violating the sovereignty of [[Baden. The Duke was quickly executed after a secret military trial, even though he had not been involved in the plot. Enghien's execution infuriated royal courts throughout Europe, becoming one of the contributing political factors for the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars. To expand his power, Napoleon used these [[Assassination attempts on Napoleon Bonaparte|assassination plots to justify the creation of an imperial system based on the Roman model. He believed that a Bourbon restoration would be more difficult if his family's succession was entrenched in the constitution. Launching yet [[1804 French constitutional referendum|another referendum, Napoleon was elected as ''Emperor of the French'' by a tally exceeding 99%. As with the Life Consulate two years earlier, this referendum produced heavy participation, bringing out almost 3.6 million voters to the polls. A keen observer of Bonaparte's rise to absolute power, [[Madame de Rémusat, explains that "men worn out by the turmoil of the Revolution […] looked for the domination of an able ruler" and that "people believed quite sincerely that Bonaparte, whether as consul or emperor, would exert his authority and save [them] from the perils of anarchy." Napoleon's coronation, at which [[Pope Pius VII officiated, took place at [[Notre-Dame de Paris|Notre Dame de Paris, on 2 December 1804. Two separate crowns were brought for the ceremony: a golden laurel wreath recalling the Roman Empire and a replica of Charlemagne's crown.Roberts, Andrew. ''Napoleon: A Life''. Penguin Group, 2014, p. 355. Napoleon entered the ceremony wearing the laurel wreath and kept it on his head throughout the proceedings. For the official coronation, he raised the Charlemagne crown over his own head in a symbolic gesture, but never placed it on top because he was already wearing the golden wreath. Instead he placed the crown on [[Empress Joséphine|Josephine's head, the event commemorated in the officially sanctioned painting by [[Jacques-Louis David. Napoleon was also crowned [[King of Italy, with the [[Iron Crown of Lombardy, at the [[Milan Cathedral|Cathedral of Milan on 26 May 1805. He created eighteen [[List of Marshals of France|Marshals of the Empire from among his top generals to secure the allegiance of the army on 18 May 1804, the official start of the Empire.

War of the Third Coalition

[[Great Britain had broken the Peace of Amiens by declaring war on France in May 1803. In December 1804, an Anglo-Swedish agreement became the first step towards the creation of the Third Coalition. By April 1805, Britain had also signed an alliance with Russia. Austria had been defeated by France twice in recent memory and wanted revenge, so it joined the coalition a few months later. Before the formation of the Third Coalition, Napoleon had assembled an invasion force, the ''Armée d'Angleterre'', around six camps at [[Boulogne-sur-Mer|Boulogne in Northern France. He intended to use this invasion force to strike at England. They never invaded, but Napoleon's troops received careful and invaluable training for future military operations. The men at Boulogne formed the core for what Napoleon later called ''La Grande Armée''. At the start, this French army had about 200,000 men organized into seven [[corps, which were large field units that contained 36–40 [[cannons each and were capable of independent action until other corps could come to the rescue. A single corps properly situated in a strong defensive position could survive at least a day without support, giving the ''Grande Armée'' countless strategic and tactical options on every campaign. On top of these forces, Napoleon created a [[cavalry reserve of 22,000 organized into two [[cuirassier [[Division (military)|divisions, four mounted [[dragoon divisions, one division of dismounted dragoons, and one of light cavalry, all supported by 24 [[artillery pieces. By 1805, the ''Grande Armée'' had grown to a force of 350,000 men, who were well equipped, well trained, and led by competent officers. Napoleon knew that the French fleet could not defeat the Royal Navy in a head-to-head battle, so he planned to lure it away from the English Channel through diversionary tactics. The main strategic idea involved the [[French Navy escaping from the British blockades of [[Toulon and [[Brest, France|Brest and threatening to attack the West Indies. In the face of this attack, it was hoped, the British would weaken their defence of the [[Western Approaches by sending ships to the Caribbean, allowing a combined Franco-Spanish fleet to take control of the channel long enough for French armies to cross and [[Napoleon's planned invasion of the United Kingdom|invade. However, the plan unravelled after the British victory at the [[Battle of Cape Finisterre (1805)|Battle of Cape Finisterre in July 1805. French [[Pierre-Charles Villeneuve|Admiral Villeneuve then retreated to [[Cádiz instead of linking up with French naval forces at Brest for an attack on the [[English Channel. By August 1805, Napoleon had realized that the strategic situation had changed fundamentally. Facing a potential invasion from his continental enemies, he decided to strike first and turned his army's sights from the English Channel to the [[Rhine. His basic objective was to destroy the isolated Austrian armies in Southern Germany before their Russian allies could arrive. On 25 September, after great secrecy and feverish marching, 200,000 French troops began to cross the Rhine on a front of . Austrian commander [[Karl Mack von Leiberich|Karl Mack had gathered the greater part of the Austrian army at the fortress of [[Ulm in [[Swabia. Napoleon swung his forces to the southeast and the ''Grande Armée'' performed an elaborate wheeling movement that outflanked the Austrian positions. The [[Ulm campaign|Ulm Maneuver completely surprised General Mack, who belatedly understood that his army had been cut off. After some minor engagements that culminated in the [[Battle of Ulm, Mack finally surrendered after realizing that there was no way to break out of the French encirclement. For just 2,000 French casualties, Napoleon had managed to capture a total of 60,000 Austrian soldiers through his army's rapid marching. The [[Ulm campaign|Ulm Campaign is generally regarded as a strategic masterpiece and was influential in the development of the [[Schlieffen Plan in the late 19th century. For the French, this spectacular victory on land was soured by the decisive victory that the Royal Navy attained at the [[Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October. After Trafalgar, Britain had total domination of the seas for the duration of the Napoleonic Wars. Following the Ulm Campaign, French forces managed to capture [[Vienna in November. The fall of Vienna provided the French a huge bounty as they captured 100,000 muskets, 500 cannons, and the intact bridges across the [[Danube. At this critical juncture, both [[Alexander I of Russia|Tsar Alexander I and [[Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor|Holy Roman Emperor Francis II decided to engage Napoleon in battle, despite reservations from some of their subordinates. Napoleon sent his army north in pursuit of the Allies but then ordered his forces to retreat so that he could feign a grave weakness. Desperate to lure the Allies into battle, Napoleon gave every indication in the days preceding the engagement that the French army was in a pitiful state, even abandoning the dominant Pratzen Heights near the village of Austerlitz. At the
Battle of Austerlitz The Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805/11 Frimaire An XIV FRC), also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. In what is widely regarded as the greatest victory a ...

Battle of Austerlitz
, in [[Moravia on 2 December, he deployed the French army below the Pratzen Heights and deliberately weakened his right flank, enticing the Allies to launch a major assault there in the hopes of rolling up the whole French line. A forced march from Vienna by [[Louis-Nicolas Davout|Marshal Davout and his [[III Corps (Grande Armée)|III Corps plugged the gap left by Napoleon just in time. Meanwhile, the heavy Allied deployment against the French right flank weakened their center on the Pratzen Heights, which was viciously attacked by the [[IV Corps (Grande Armée)|IV Corps of [[Jean-de-Dieu Soult|Marshal Soult. With the Allied center demolished, the French swept through both enemy flanks and sent the Allies fleeing chaotically, capturing thousands of prisoners in the process. The battle is often seen as a tactical masterpiece because of the near-perfect execution of a calibrated but dangerous plan—of the same stature as [[Battle of Cannae|Cannae, the celebrated triumph by [[Hannibal some 2,000 years before. The Allied disaster at Austerlitz significantly shook the faith of Emperor Francis in the British-led war effort. France and Austria agreed to an armistice immediately and the Treaty of Pressburg followed shortly after on 26 December. Pressburg took Austria out of both the war and the Coalition while reinforcing the earlier treaties of [[Treaty of Campo Formio|Campo Formio and of [[Treaty of Lunéville|Lunéville between the two powers. The treaty confirmed the Austrian loss of lands to France in [[Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic)|Italy and [[Electorate of Bavaria|Bavaria, and lands in Germany to Napoleon's German allies. It also imposed an indemnity of 40 million francs on the defeated Habsburgs and allowed the fleeing Russian troops free passage through hostile territories and back to their home soil. Napoleon went on to say, "The battle of Austerlitz is the finest of all I have fought". Frank McLynn suggests that Napoleon was so successful at Austerlitz that he lost touch with reality, and what used to be French foreign policy became a "personal Napoleonic one". [[Vincent Cronin disagrees, stating that Napoleon was not overly ambitious for himself, "he embodied the ambitions of thirty million Frenchmen".

Middle-Eastern alliances

Napoleon continued to entertain a grand scheme to establish a [[France|French presence in the [[Middle East in order to put pressure on [[United Kingdom|Britain and [[Russia, and perhaps form an alliance with the [[Ottoman Empire.Watson 2003, pp. 13–14 In February 1806, Ottoman Emperor [[Selim III recognised Napoleon as ''Emperor''. He also opted for an alliance with France, calling France "our sincere and natural ally". That decision brought the Ottoman Empire into a losing war against Russia and Britain. A Franco-Persian alliance was also formed between Napoleon and the [[Qajar dynasty|Persian Empire of [[Fath-Ali Shah Qajar|Fat′h-Ali Shah Qajar. It collapsed in 1807 when [[France and Russia themselves formed an unexpected alliance. In the end, Napoleon had made no effective alliances in the Middle East.

War of the Fourth Coalition and Tilsit

After Austerlitz, Napoleon established the [[Confederation of the Rhine in 1806. A collection of German states intended to serve as a buffer zone between France and Central Europe, the creation of the Confederation spelled the end of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la|Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 180 ...
and significantly alarmed the Prussians. The brazen reorganization of German territory by the French risked threatening Prussian influence in the region, if not eliminating it outright. War fever in Berlin rose steadily throughout the summer of 1806. At the insistence of his court, especially his wife [[Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz|Queen Louise, [[Frederick William III of Prussia|Frederick William III decided to challenge the French domination of Central Europe by going to war. The initial military manoeuvres began in September 1806. In a letter to [[Jean-de-Dieu Soult|Marshal Soult detailing the plan for the campaign, Napoleon described the essential features of Napoleonic warfare and introduced the phrase ''le bataillon-carré'' ("square battalion").Chandler 1966, pp. 467–68 In the ''bataillon-carré'' system, the various corps of the ''Grande Armée'' would march uniformly together in close supporting distance. If any single corps was attacked, the others could quickly spring into action and arrive to help.Brooks 2000, p. 110 Napoleon invaded Prussia with 180,000 troops, rapidly marching on the right bank of the [[Saale|River Saale. As in previous campaigns, his fundamental objective was to destroy one opponent before reinforcements from another could tip the balance of the war. Upon learning the whereabouts of the Prussian army, the French swung westwards and crossed the Saale with overwhelming force. At the twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt, fought on 14 October, the French convincingly defeated the Prussians and inflicted heavy casualties. With several major commanders dead or incapacitated, the Prussian king proved incapable of effectively commanding the army, which began to quickly disintegrate. In a vaunted pursuit that epitomized the "peak of Napoleonic warfare", according to historian Richard Brooks, the French managed to capture 140,000 soldiers, over 2,000 cannons and hundreds of ammunition wagons, all in a single month. Historian David Chandler wrote of the Prussian forces: "Never has the morale of any army been more completely shattered". Despite their overwhelming defeat, the Prussians refused to negotiate with the French until the Russians had an opportunity to enter the fight. Following his triumph, Napoleon imposed the first elements of the Continental System through the [[Berlin Decree issued in November 1806. The Continental System, which prohibited European nations from trading with Britain, was widely violated throughout his reign. In the next few months, Napoleon marched against the advancing Russian armies through Poland and was involved in the bloody stalemate at the [[Battle of Eylau in February 1807. After a period of rest and consolidation on both sides, the war restarted in June with an initial struggle at [[Battle of Heilsberg|Heilsberg that proved indecisive. On 14 June Napoleon obtained an overwhelming victory over the Russians at the [[Battle of Friedland, wiping out the majority of the Russian army in a very bloody struggle. The scale of their defeat convinced the Russians to make peace with the French. On 19 June, Tsar Alexander sent an envoy to seek an armistice with Napoleon. The latter assured the envoy that the [[Vistula|Vistula River represented the natural borders between French and Russian influence in Europe. On that basis, the two emperors began peace negotiations at the town of [[Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast|Tilsit after meeting on an iconic raft on the [[Neman|River Niemen. The very first thing Alexander said to Napoleon was probably well-calibrated: "I hate the English as much as you do". Alexander faced pressure from his brother, [[Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich of Russia|Duke Constantine, to make peace with Napoleon. Given the victory he had just achieved, the French emperor offered the Russians relatively lenient terms—demanding that Russia join the Continental System, withdraw its forces from [[Wallachia and [[Moldavia, and hand over the [[Ionian Islands to France. By contrast, Napoleon dictated very harsh peace terms for Prussia, despite the ceaseless exhortations of [[Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz|Queen Louise. Wiping out half of Prussian territories from the map, Napoleon created a new kingdom of called [[Kingdom of Westphalia|Westphalia and appointed his young brother Jérôme as its monarch. Prussia's humiliating treatment at Tilsit caused a deep and bitter antagonism that festered as the [[Napoleonic era progressed. Moreover, Alexander's pretensions at friendship with Napoleon led the latter to seriously misjudge the true intentions of his Russian counterpart, who would violate numerous provisions of the treaty in the next few years. Despite these problems, the
Treaties of Tilsit The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of Fra ...
at last gave Napoleon a respite from war and allowed him to return to France, which he had not seen in over 300 days.

Peninsular War and Erfurt

The settlements at Tilsit gave Napoleon time to organize his empire. One of his major objectives became enforcing the Continental System against the British forces. He decided to focus his attention on the [[Kingdom of Portugal, which consistently violated his trade prohibitions. After defeat in the [[War of the Oranges in 1801, Portugal adopted a [[double-sided policy. At first, [[John VI of Portugal|John VI agreed to close his ports to British trade. The situation changed dramatically after the Franco-Spanish defeat at Trafalgar; John grew bolder and officially resumed diplomatic and trade relations with Britain. Unhappy with this change of policy by the Portuguese government, Napoleon negotiated a [[Treaty of Fontainebleau (October 1807)|secret treaty with [[Charles IV of Spain and sent an army to invade Portugal. On 17 October 1807, 24,000 French troops under [[Jean-Andoche Junot|General Junot crossed the [[Pyrenees with [[Spain|Spanish cooperation and headed towards Portugal to enforce Napoleon's orders. This attack was the first step in what would eventually become the Peninsular War, a six-year struggle that significantly sapped French strength. Throughout the winter of 1808, French agents became increasingly involved in Spanish internal affairs, attempting to incite discord between members of the [[House of Bourbon|Spanish royal family. On 16 February 1808, secret French machinations finally materialized when Napoleon announced that he would intervene to mediate between the rival political factions in the country. [[Joachim Murat|Marshal Murat led 120,000 troops into Spain. The French arrived in [[Madrid on 24 March, where wild riots against the occupation erupted just a few weeks later. Napoleon appointed his brother, [[Joseph Bonaparte, as the new King of Spain in the summer of 1808. The appointment enraged a heavily religious and conservative Spanish population. Resistance to French aggression soon spread throughout Spain. The shocking French defeat at the [[Battle of Bailén in July gave hope to Napoleon's enemies and partly persuaded the French emperor to intervene in person. Before going to Iberia, Napoleon decided to address several lingering issues with the Russians. At the [[Congress of Erfurt in October 1808, Napoleon hoped to keep Russia on his side during the upcoming struggle in Spain and during any potential conflict against Austria. The two sides reached an agreement, the Erfurt Convention, that called upon Britain to cease its war against France, that recognized the Russian conquest of [[Sweden–Finland|Finland from [[Gustavian era|Sweden and made it an [[Grand Duchy of Finland|autonomous Grand Duchy, and that affirmed Russian support for France in a possible war against Austria "to the best of its ability". Napoleon then returned to France and prepared for war. The ''Grande Armée'', under the Emperor's personal command, rapidly crossed the [[Ebro River in November 1808 and inflicted a series of crushing defeats against the Spanish forces. After clearing the last Spanish force guarding the capital at [[Battle of Somosierra|Somosierra, Napoleon entered Madrid on 4 December with 80,000 troops. He then unleashed his soldiers against [[John Moore (British Army officer)|Moore and the British forces. The British were swiftly driven to the coast, and they withdrew from Spain entirely after a last stand at the [[Battle of Corunna in January 1809. Napoleon would end up leaving Iberia in order to deal with the Austrians in Central Europe, but the Peninsular War continued on long after his absence. He never returned to Spain after the 1808 campaign. Several months after Corunna, the British sent another army to the peninsula under the future [[Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington|Duke of Wellington. The war then settled into a complex and asymmetric strategic deadlock where all sides struggled to gain the upper hand. The highlight of the conflict became the brutal ''
guerrilla warfare#REDIRECT Guerrilla warfare#REDIRECT Guerrilla warfare {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
'' that engulfed much of the Spanish countryside. Both sides committed the worst atrocities of the Napoleonic Wars during this phase of the conflict. The vicious guerrilla fighting in Spain, largely absent from the French campaigns in Central Europe, severely disrupted the French lines of supply and communication. Although France maintained roughly 300,000 troops in Iberia during the Peninsular War, the vast majority were tied down to garrison duty and to intelligence operations. The French were never able to concentrate all of their forces effectively, prolonging the war until events elsewhere in Europe finally turned the tide in favour of the Allies. After the invasion of Russia in 1812, the number of French troops in Spain vastly declined as Napoleon needed reinforcements to conserve his strategic position in Europe. By 1814, after scores of battles and sieges throughout Iberia, the Allies had managed to push the French out of the peninsula. The impact of the Napoleonic invasion of Spain and ousting of the Spanish Bourbon monarchy in favour of his brother Joseph had an enormous impact on the [[Spanish Empire|Spanish empire. In [[Hispanic America|Spanish America many local elites formed juntas and set up mechanisms to rule in the name of [[Ferdinand VII of Spain, whom they considered the legitimate Spanish monarch. The outbreak of the [[Spanish American wars of independence in most of the empire was a result of Napoleon's destabilizing actions in Spain and led to the rise of [[Strongman (politics)|strongmen in the wake of these wars.

War of the Fifth Coalition and Marie Louise

After four years on the sidelines, Austria sought another war with France to avenge its recent defeats. Austria could not count on Russian support because the latter was at war with [[Anglo-Russian War (1807–1812)|Britain, [[Finnish War|Sweden, and the [[Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812)|Ottoman Empire in 1809. [[Frederick William III of Prussia|Frederick William of Prussia initially promised to help the Austrians but reneged before conflict began.Fisher & Fremont-Barnes, p. 106. A report from the Austrian finance minister suggested that the treasury would run out of money by the middle of 1809 if the large army that the Austrians had formed since the Third Coalition remained mobilized. Although [[Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen|Archduke Charles warned that the Austrians were not ready for another showdown with Napoleon, a stance that landed him in the so-called "peace party", he did not want to see the army demobilized either. On 8 February 1809, the advocates for war finally succeeded when the Imperial Government secretly decided on another confrontation against the French. In the early morning of 10 April, leading elements of the Austrian army crossed the [[Inn (river)|Inn River and invaded Bavaria. The early Austrian attack surprised the French; Napoleon himself was still in Paris when he heard about the invasion. He arrived at [[Donauwörth on the 17th to find the ''Grande Armée'' in a dangerous position, with its two wings separated by and joined together by a thin cordon of Bavarian troops. Charles pressed the left wing of the French army and hurled his men towards the III Corps of Marshal Davout. In response, Napoleon came up with a plan to cut off the Austrians in the celebrated ''Landshut Maneuver''. He realigned the axis of his army and marched his soldiers towards the town of [[Eckmühl. The French scored a convincing win in the resulting [[Battle of Eckmühl, forcing Charles to withdraw his forces over the [[Danube and into [[Bohemia. On 13 May, Vienna fell for the second time in four years, although the war continued since most of the Austrian army had survived the initial engagements in Southern Germany. By 17 May, the main Austrian army under Charles had arrived on the Marchfeld. Charles kept the bulk of his troops several kilometres away from the river bank in hopes of concentrating them at the point where Napoleon decided to cross. On 21 May, the French made their first major effort to cross the Danube, precipitating the [[Battle of Aspern-Essling. The Austrians enjoyed a comfortable numerical superiority over the French throughout the battle. On the first day, Charles disposed of 110,000 soldiers against only 31,000 commanded by Napoleon. By the second day, reinforcements had boosted French numbers up to 70,000. The battle was characterized by a vicious back-and-forth struggle for the two villages of Aspern and Essling, the focal points of the French bridgehead. By the end of the fighting, the French had lost Aspern but still controlled Essling. A sustained Austrian artillery bombardment eventually convinced Napoleon to withdraw his forces back onto Lobau Island. Both sides inflicted about 23,000 casualties on each other. It was the first defeat Napoleon suffered in a major set-piece battle, and it caused excitement throughout many parts of Europe because it proved that he could be beaten on the battlefield. After the setback at Aspern-Essling, Napoleon took more than six weeks in planning and preparing for contingencies before he made another attempt at crossing the Danube.David G. Chandler, ''The Campaigns of Napoleon''. p. 708 From 30 June to the early days of July, the French recrossed the Danube in strength, with more than 180,000 troops marching across the Marchfeld towards the Austrians. Charles received the French with 150,000 of his own men. In the ensuing
Battle of Wagram The Battle of Wagram (; 5–6 July 1809) was a military engagement of the Napoleonic Wars that ended in a costly but decisive victory for Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's French and allied army against the Austrian army under the command of Archduke C ...
, which also lasted two days, Napoleon commanded his forces in what was the largest battle of his career up until then. Napoleon finished off the battle with a concentrated central thrust that punctured a hole in the Austrian army and forced Charles to retreat. Austrian losses were very heavy, reaching well over 40,000 casualties. The French were too exhausted to pursue the Austrians immediately, but Napoleon eventually caught up with Charles at [[Znojmo|Znaim and the latter signed an [[Armistice of Znaim|armistice on 12 July. In the [[Kingdom of Holland, the British launched the [[Walcheren Campaign to open up a second front in the war and to relieve the pressure on the Austrians. The British army only landed at [[Walcheren on 30 July, by which point the Austrians had already been defeated. The Walcheren Campaign was characterized by little fighting but heavy casualties thanks to the popularly dubbed "[[Walcheren|Walcheren Fever". Over 4000 British troops were lost in a bungled campaign, and the rest withdrew in December 1809. The main strategic result from the campaign became the delayed political settlement between the French and the Austrians. Emperor Francis wanted to wait and see how the British performed in their theatre before entering into negotiations with Napoleon. Once it became apparent that the British were going nowhere, the Austrians agreed to peace talks. The resulting [[Treaty of Schönbrunn in October 1809 was the harshest that France had imposed on Austria in recent memory. [[Klemens von Metternich|Metternich and Archduke Charles had the preservation of the [[Austrian Empire|Habsburg Empire as their fundamental goal, and to this end, they succeeded by making Napoleon seek more modest goals in return for promises of friendship between the two powers.Todd Fisher & Gregory Fremont-Barnes, ''The Napoleonic Wars: The Rise and Fall of an Empire''. p. 144. Nevertheless, while most of the hereditary lands remained a part of the Habsburg realm, France received [[Carinthia (Slovenia)|Carinthia, [[Carniola, and the [[Adriatic Sea|Adriatic ports, while [[Galicia (Eastern Europe)|Galicia was given to the [[Duchy of Warsaw|Poles and the [[Salzburg area of the [[County of Tyrol|Tyrol went to the [[Kingdom of Bavaria|Bavarians. Austria lost over three million subjects, about one-fifth of her total population, as a result of these territorial changes. Although fighting in Iberia continued, the War of the Fifth Coalition would be the last major conflict on the European continent for the next three years. Napoleon turned his focus to domestic affairs after the war. [[Empress Joséphine had still not given birth to a child from Napoleon, who became worried about the future of his empire following his death. Desperate for a legitimate heir, Napoleon divorced Joséphine on 10 January 1810 and started looking for a new wife. Hoping to cement the recent alliance with Austria through a family connection, Napoleon married the [[Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, daughter of [[Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor|Francis II, who was 18 years old at the time. On 20 March 1811, Marie Louise gave birth to a baby boy, whom Napoleon made heir apparent and bestowed the title of ''[[King of the Romans|King of Rome''. His son never actually ruled the empire, but given his brief titular rule and cousin Louis-Napoléon's subsequent naming himself Napoléon III, historians often refer to him as ''[[Napoleon II''.

Invasion of Russia

In 1808, Napoleon and [[Alexander I of Russia|Tsar Alexander met at the [[Congress of Erfurt to preserve the Russo-French alliance. The leaders had a friendly personal relationship after their first meeting at Tilsit in 1807. By 1811, however, tensions had increased and Alexander was under pressure from the [[Russian nobility to break off the alliance. A major strain on the relationship between the two nations became the regular violations of the Continental System by the Russians, which led Napoleon to threaten Alexander with serious consequences if he formed an alliance with Britain. 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. He ignored repeated advice against an invasion of the Russian heartland and prepared for an offensive campaign; on 24 June 1812 the invasion commenced. 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 [[manumission|manumit the Russian [[Serfdom|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. The Russians avoided Napoleon's objective of a decisive engagement and instead retreated deeper into Russia. A brief attempt at resistance was made at [[Battle of Smolensk (1812)|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. 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. 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". 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 [[Fyodor Rostopchin|Feodor Rostopchin, rather than capitulation, Moscow was burned. After five weeks, Napoleon and his army left. In early November Napoleon became concerned about the loss of control back in France after the [[Malet coup of 1812. His army walked through snow up to their knees, and nearly 10,000 men and horses froze to death on the night of 8/9 November alone. After the [[Battle of Berezina Napoleon managed 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. The French suffered 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, with fewer than 40,000 crossing the [[Berezina|Berezina River in November 1812. The Russians had lost 150,000 soldiers in battle and hundreds of thousands of civilians.

War of the Sixth Coalition

There was a lull in fighting over the winter of 1812–13 while both the Russians and the French rebuilt their forces; Napoleon was able to field 350,000 troops. 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. 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 The Battle of Leipzig, contemporaneously called the Battle of Leipsic (french: Bataille de Leipsick; german: Völkerschlacht bei Leipzig (); sv|Slaget vid Leipzig) and later the Battle of the Nations (french: Bataille des Nations; russian: Б ...
. This was by far the largest battle of the Napoleonic Wars and cost more than 90,000 casualties in total. The Allies offered peace terms in the [[Frankfurt proposals in November 1813. Napoleon would remain as Emperor of the French, 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. 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, and they prevailed, but Napoleon adamantly refused. 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. [[Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s older brother, abdicated as king of Spain on the 13th of December 1813 and assumed the title of lieutenant general to save the collapsing empire. The French were surrounded: British armies pressed from the south, and other Coalition forces positioned to attack from the German states. By the middle of January 1814, the Coalition has already entered France’s borders and launched a two-pronged attack on Paris, with Prussia entering from the north, and Austria from the East, marching out of the capitulated Swiss confederation. The French Empire, however, would not go down so easily. Napoleon launched a series of victories in the [[Six Days' Campaign. While they repulsed the coalition forces and delayed the capture of Paris by at least a full month, these were not significant enough to turn the tide. The coalitionaries camped on the outskirts of the capital on the 29th of March. A day later, they advanced onto the demoralised soldiers protecting the city. Joseph Bonaparte led a final [[Battle of Paris (1814)|battle at the gates of Paris. They were greatly outnumbered, as 30,000 French soldiers were pitted against a combined coalition force that was 5 times greater than theirs. They were defeated, and Joseph retreated out of the city. The leaders of Paris surrendered to the Coalition on the last day of March 1814. On 1 April, Alexander addressed the [[Sénat conservateur. Long docile to Napoleon, under Talleyrand's prodding it had turned against him. Alexander told the Sénat that the Allies were fighting against Napoleon, not France, and they were prepared to offer honourable 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 had fallen. When Napoleon proposed the army march on the capital, his senior officers and marshals mutinied. On 4 April, led by [[Michel Ney|Ney, the senior officers confronted Napoleon. When Napoleon asserted the army would follow him, Ney replied the army would follow its generals. While the ordinary soldiers and regimental officers wanted to fight on, the senior commanders were unwilling to continue. 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. Napoleon was then forced to announce his unconditional abdication only two days later.

Exile to Elba

In the [[Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814)|Treaty of Fontainebleau, the Allies exiled Napoleon to
Elba Elba ( it|isola d'Elba, ; la|Ilva; Ancient Greek: Αἰθαλία, ''Aithalia'') is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, from the coastal town of Piombino on the Italian mainland, and the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago. It is al ...
, an island of 12,000 inhabitants in the Mediterranean, off the Tuscan coast. They gave him [[principality of Elba|sovereignty over the island and allowed him to retain the title of ''Emperor''. Napoleon attempted suicide with a pill he had carried after nearly being captured by the Russians during the retreat from Moscow. Its potency had weakened with age, however, and he survived to be exiled, while his wife and son took refuge in Austria. He was conveyed to the island on [[HMS Undaunted (1807)|HMS ''Undaunted'' by Captain [[Thomas Ussher, and he arrived at [[Portoferraio on 30 May 1814. In the first few months on Elba he created a small navy and army, developed the iron mines, oversaw the construction of new roads, issued decrees on modern agricultural methods, and overhauled the island's legal and educational system. A few months into his exile, Napoleon learned that his ex-wife Josephine had died in France. He was devastated by the news, locking himself in his room and refusing to leave for two days.

Hundred Days

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, Napoleon escaped from Elba in the [[brig [[French brig Inconstant (1811)|''Inconstant'' on 26 February 1815 with 700 men. Two days later, he landed on the French mainland at [[Golfe-Juan and started heading north. The 5th Regiment was sent to intercept him and made contact [[Route Napoléon|just south of [[Grenoble on 7 March 1815. Napoleon approached the regiment alone, dismounted his horse and, when he was within gunshot range, shouted to the soldiers, "Here I am. Kill your Emperor, if you wish." The soldiers quickly responded with, "Vive L'Empereur!" Ney, who had boasted to the restored Bourbon king, [[Louis XVIII of France|Louis XVIII, that he would bring Napoleon to Paris in an iron cage, affectionately kissed his former emperor and forgot his oath of allegiance to the Bourbon monarch. The two then marched together toward Paris with a growing army. The unpopular Louis XVIII fled to Belgium after realizing that he had little political support. On 13 March, the powers at the [[Congress of Vienna declared Napoleon an [[outlaw. Four days later, Great Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia each pledged to put 150,000 men into the field to end his rule. 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 [[Army of the North (France)|French Army of the North crossed the frontier into the [[United Kingdom of the Netherlands, in modern-day Belgium. Napoleon's forces fought two Coalition armies, commanded by the British [[Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington|Duke of Wellington and the Prussian [[Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher|Prince Blücher, at the
Battle of Waterloo The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo in Belgium, part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time. A French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two of the armies of the Seven ...

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 against him. Realizing that his position was untenable, [[Abdication of Napoleon, 1815|he abdicated on 22 June in favour of his son. He left Paris three days later and settled at Josephine's former palace in [[Château de Malmaison|Malmaison (on the western bank of the [[Seine about west of Paris). Even as Napoleon travelled to Paris, the Coalition forces swept through France (arriving in the vicinity of Paris on 29 June), with the stated intent of restoring Louis XVIII to the French throne. When Napoleon heard that Prussian troops had orders to capture him dead or alive, he fled to [[Rochefort, Charente-Maritime|Rochefort, considering an escape to the United States. British ships were blocking every port. Napoleon surrendered to [[Frederick Lewis Maitland|Captain Frederick Maitland on on 15 July 1815.

Exile on Saint Helena

The British kept Napoleon on the island of
Saint Helena Saint Helena () is a British possession located in the South Atlantic Ocean. It consists of a remote volcanic tropical island lying some 1,950 kilometres (1,210 mi) west of the coast of southwestern Africa, and east of Rio de Janeiro on th ...
in the Atlantic Ocean, from the west coast of Africa. They also took the precaution of sending a small garrison of soldiers to both Saint Helena and the uninhabited [[Ascension Island, which lay between St. Helena and Europe to prevent any escape from the island. Napoleon was moved to [[Longwood House on Saint Helena 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. Napoleon often complained of the living conditions of Longwood House in letters to the island's governor and his custodian, [[Hudson Lowe, while his attendants complained of "colds, [[catarrhs, damp floors and poor provisions." Modern scientists have speculated that his later illness may have arisen from arsenic poisoning caused by [[Scheele's Green|copper arsenite in the wallpaper at Longwood House. With a small cadre of followers, Napoleon dictated his memoirs and grumbled about the living conditions. Lowe cut Napoleon's expenditure, ruled that no gifts were allowed if they mentioned his imperial status, and made his supporters sign a guarantee they would stay with the prisoner indefinitely. When he held a dinner party, men were expected to wear military dress and women appeared in "women in evening gowns and gems. It was an explicit denial of the circumstances of his captivity". While in exile, Napoleon wrote a book about [[Julius Caesar, one of his great heroes. He also studied English under the tutelage of [[Emmanuel, comte de Las Cases|Count Emmanuel de Las Cases with the main aim of being able to read English newspapers and books, as access to French newspapers and books was heavily restricted to him on Saint Helena. There were rumours of plots and even of his escape from Saint Helena, but in reality, no serious attempts were ever made. For English poet [[Lord Byron, Napoleon was the epitome of the Romantic hero, the persecuted, lonely, and flawed genius.


Napoleon's personal physician, [[Barry O'Meara, warned London that his declining state of health was mainly caused by the harsh treatment. During the last few years of his life, Napoleon confined himself for months on end in his damp, mold-infested and wretched habitation of Longwood. In February 1821, Napoleon's health began to deteriorate rapidly, and he reconciled with the Catholic Church. He died on 5 May 1821 at Longwood House at age 51, after making his last confession, [[Anointing of the Sick in the Catholic Church|Extreme Unction and [[Viaticum in the presence of Father Ange Vignali from his deathbed. His last words were, ''France, l'armée, tête d'armée, Joséphine'' ("France, the army, head of the army, Joséphine"). Shortly after his death, an autopsy was conducted and [[Francesco Antommarchi, the doctor conducting the autopsy, cut off several of Napoleon's body parts, including his [[Napoleon's penis|penis. Napoleon's original [[death mask was created around 6 May, although it is not clear which doctor created it. 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. In 1840, [[Louis Philippe I obtained permission from the British government to return Napoleon's remains to France. His casket was opened to confirm that it still contained the former emperor. Despite being dead for nearly two decades, Napoleon had been very well preserved and not decomposed at all. On 15 December 1840, a [[state funeral was held. The horse-drawn hearse proceeded from the Arc de Triomphe down the [[Champs-Élysées, across the [[Place de la Concorde to the [[Les Invalides|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 (geology)|porphyry stone [[sarcophagus in the crypt under the dome at [[Les Invalides.

Cause of death

The cause of Napoleon’s death has been debated. His physician, [[François Carlo Antommarchi, led the autopsy, which found the cause of death to be [[stomach cancer. Antommarchi did not sign the official report. Napoleon's father had died of stomach cancer, although this was apparently unknown at the time of the autopsy. 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. 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 (journal)|Nature'' to put forward other causes for his death, including deliberate [[arsenic poisoning.Cullen 2008, pp. 146–48 Arsenic was used as a poison during the era because it was undetectable when administered over a long period. Furthermore, in a 1978 book with [[Ben Weider, Forshufvud noted that Napoleon's body was found to be 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. 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 (biology)|tissue damage behind. 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.Cullen 2008, p. 156 There have been modern studies that have supported the original autopsy finding. 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. Studies published in 2007 and 2008 dismissed evidence of arsenic poisoning, and confirmed evidence of [[Peptic ulcer disease|peptic ulcer and [[Stomach cancer|gastric cancer as the cause of death.


Napoleon was baptised in
Ajaccio Ajaccio (, , , ; it|Aiaccio or ; , Ajaccino dialect: ; ) is a French ''commune'', prefecture of the department of Corse-du-Sud, and head office of the ''Collectivité territoriale de Corse'' (capital city of Corsica). It is also the largest ...
on 21 July 1771. He was raised as a Catholic but never developed much faith. As an adult, Napoleon was a [[Deism|deist, believing in an absent and distant God. However, he had a keen appreciation of the power of organized religion in social and political affairs, and he paid a great deal of attention to bending it to his purposes. He noted the influence of Catholicism's rituals and splendors. Napoleon had a [[civil marriage with Joséphine de Beauharnais, without religious ceremony. Napoleon was crowned Emperor on 2 December 1804 at [[Notre-Dame de Paris in a ceremony presided over by [[Pope Pius VII. On the eve of the coronation ceremony, and at the insistence of Pope Pius VII, a private religious wedding ceremony of Napoleon and Joséphine was celebrated. Cardinal Fesch performed the wedding. This marriage was annulled by tribunals under Napoleon's control in January 1810. On 1 April 1810, Napoleon married the Austrian princess [[Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma|Marie Louise in a Catholic ceremony. Napoleon was excommunicated by the [[Catholic Church but later reconciled with the Church before his death in 1821. While in exile in
Saint Helena Saint Helena () is a British possession located in the South Atlantic Ocean. It consists of a remote volcanic tropical island lying some 1,950 kilometres (1,210 mi) west of the coast of southwestern Africa, and east of Rio de Janeiro on th ...
he is recorded to have said "I know men; and I tell you that [[Jesus|Jesus Christ is not a man." He also defended [[Muhammad ("a great man") against Voltaire's ''[[Mahomet (play)|Mahomet''.


Seeking national reconciliation between revolutionaries and Catholics, Napoleon and [[Pope Pius VII signed the Concordat of 1801 on 15 July 1801. It solidified the Roman Catholic Church as the majority church of France and brought back most of its civil status. The hostility of devout Catholics against the state had now largely been resolved. The Concordat did not restore the vast church lands and endowments that had been seized during the revolution and sold off. As a part of the Concordat, Napoleon presented another set of laws called the [[Organic Articles. While the Concordat restored much power to the [[pope|papacy, the balance of church–state relations had tilted firmly in Napoleon's favour. He selected the bishops and supervised church finances. Napoleon and the Pope both found the Concordat useful. Similar arrangements were made with the Church in territories controlled by Napoleon, especially Italy and Germany. Now, Napoleon could win favour with the Catholics while also controlling Rome in a political sense. Napoleon said in April 1801, "Skillful conquerors have not got entangled with priests. They can both contain them and use them". French children were issued a catechism that taught them to love and respect Napoleon.

Arrest of Pope Pius VII

In 1809, under Napoleon's orders, [[Pope Pius VII was placed under arrest in Italy, and in 1812 the prisoner Pontiff was transferred to France, being held in the [[Palace of Fontainebleau. Because the arrest was made in a clandestine manner, some sources describe it as a kidnapping. In January 1813, Napoleon personally forced the Pope to sign a humiliating "Concordat of Fontainebleau" which was later repudiated by the Pontiff. The Pope was not released until 1814, when the Coalition invaded France.

Religious emancipation

Napoleon [[Jewish emancipation|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 antisemitic 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. In 1806 an assembly of Jewish notables was gathered by Napoleon to discuss 12 questions broadly dealing with the relations between Jews and Christians, as well as other issues dealing with the Jewish ability to integrate into French society. Later, after the questions were answered in a satisfactory way according to the Emperor, a "[[Grand Sanhedrin|great Sanhedrin" was brought together to transform the answers into decisions that would form the basis of the future status of the Jews in France and the rest of the empire Napoleon was building. 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". He was seen as so favourable to the Jews that the [[Russian Orthodox Church formally condemned him as "[[Antichrist and the Enemy of God". One year after the final meeting of the Sanhedrin, on 17 March 1808, Napoleon placed the Jews on probation. Several new laws restricting the citizenship the Jews had been offered 17 years previously were instituted at that time. However, despite pressure from leaders of a number of Christian communities to refrain from granting Jews emancipation, within one year of the issue of the new restrictions, they were once again lifted in response to the appeal of Jews from all over France.


It is not known for certain if Napoleon was initiated into [[Freemasonry. As Emperor, he appointed his brothers to Masonic offices under his jurisdiction: Louis was given the title of [[Grand Master (Masonic)|Deputy Grand Master in 1805; Jerome the title of Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Westphalia; Joseph was appointed Grand Master of the [[Grand Orient de France; and finally Lucien was a member of the Grand Orient of France.


Historians emphasize the strength of the ambition that took Napoleon from an obscure village to rule over most of Europe. In-depth academic studies about [[#origins and education|his early life conclude that up until age 2, he had a "gentle [[disposition". His older brother,
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef. The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in the Nordic countr ...
, frequently received their mother's attention which made Napoleon more assertive and approval-driven. During his early schooling years, he would be harshly bullied by classmates for his Corsican identity and limited command of the [[French language. To withstand the stress he became domineering, eventually developing an [[inferiority complex. George F. E. Rudé stresses his "rare combination of [[will (philosophy)|will, [[intellect and physical [[wikt:vigour|vigour". In one-on-one situations he typically had a hypnotic effect on people, seemingly bending the strongest leaders to his will. He understood military technology, but was not an innovator in that regard. He was an innovator in using the financial, bureaucratic, and diplomatic resources of France. He could rapidly dictate a series of complex commands to his subordinates, keeping in mind where major units were expected to be at each future point, and like a chess master, "seeing" the best plays moves ahead.See David Chandler, "General Introduction" to his ''The Campaigns of Napoleon: The Mind and Method of History's Greatest Soldier '' (1975). Napoleon maintained strict, efficient work habits, prioritizing what needed to be done. He cheated at cards, but repaid the losses; he had to win at everything he attempted. He kept relays of staff and secretaries at work. Unlike many generals, Napoleon did not examine history to ask what [[Hannibal or [[Alexander the Great|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", arguing that "[[luck" comes to leaders who recognize opportunity, and seize it. Dwyer states 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. "I am of the race that founds empires" he once boasted, deeming himself an heir to the Ancient Romans. In terms of influence on events, it was more than Napoleon's personality that took effect. He reorganized France itself to supply the men and money needed for wars. He inspired his men—[[Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington|the Duke of Wellington said his presence on the battlefield was worth 40,000 soldiers, for he inspired confidence from privates to field marshals. He also unnerved the enemy. At the [[Battle of Auerstadt in 1806, the forces of King [[Frederick William III of Prussia outnumbered the French by 63,000 to 27,000; however, when he was told, mistakenly, that Napoleon was in command, he ordered a hasty retreat that turned into a rout. The force of his personality neutralized material difficulties as his soldiers fought with the [[confidence that with Napoleon in charge they would surely win.


Napoleon has become a worldwide cultural icon who symbolizes military genius and political power. [[Martin van Creveld described him as "the most competent human being who ever lived". 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. When met in person, many of his contemporaries were surprised by his apparently unremarkable physical appearance in contrast to his significant deeds and reputation, especially in his youth, when he was consistently described as small and thin. Joseph Farington, who observed Napoleon personally in 1802, commented that "Samuel Rogers stood a little way from me and ... seemed to be disappointed in the look of [Napoleon's] countenance [face] and said it was that of a little Italian." Farington said Napoleon's eyes were "lighter, and more of a grey, than I should have expected from his complexion", that "His person is below middle size", and that "his general aspect was milder than I had before thought it." A personal friend of Napoleon's said that when he first met him in [[Brienne-le-Château as a young man, Napoleon was only notable "for the dark color of his complexion, for his piercing and scrutinising glance, and for the style of his conversation"; he also said that Napoleon was personally a serious and somber man: "his conversation bore the appearance of ill-humor, and he was certainly not very amiable." Johann Ludwig Wurstemberger, who accompanied Napoleon from Camp Fornio in 1797 and on the Swiss campaign of 1798, noted that "Bonaparte was rather slight and emaciated-looking; his face, too, was very thin, with a dark complexion ... his black, unpowdered hair hung down evenly over both shoulders", but that, despite his slight and unkempt appearance, "His looks and expression were earnest and powerful." [[Denis Davydov met him personally and considered him remarkably average in appearance: "His face was slightly swarthy, with regular features. His nose was not very large, but straight, with a slight, hardly noticeable bend. The hair on his head was dark reddish-blond; his eyebrows and eyelashes were much darker than the colour of his hair, and his blue eyes, set off by the almost black lashes, gave him a most pleasing expression ... The man I saw was of short stature, just over five feet tall, rather heavy although he was only 37 years old." During the Napoleonic Wars he was taken seriously by the British press as a dangerous [[tyrant, poised to invade. Napoleon was mocked in British newspapers as a short tempered small man and he was nicknamed "Little Boney in a strong fit". A nursery rhyme warned children that Bonaparte ravenously ate naughty people; the "[[bogeyman". At , he was the height of an average French male but short for an aristocrat or officer (part of why he was assigned to the artillery, since at the time the infantry and cavalry required more commanding figures). It is possible he was taller at due to the difference in the French measurement of inches. Some historians believe the reason for the mistake about his size at death came from the use of an obsolete old French yardstick (a French foot equals 33 cm, while an English foot equals 30.47 cm). Napoleon was a champion of the metric system and had no use for the old yardsticks. It is more likely that he was , the height he was measured at on St. Helena (a British island), since he would have most likely been measured with an English yardstick rather than a yardstick of the Old French Regime. Napoleon surrounded himself with tall bodyguards and was affectionately nicknamed ''le petit caporal'' (the little corporal), reflecting his reported camaraderie with his soldiers rather than his height. When he became First Consul and later Emperor, Napoleon eschewed his general's uniform and habitually wore the green colonel uniform (non-Hussar) of a colonel of the [[Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde Impériale|Chasseur à Cheval of the Imperial Guard, the regiment that served as his personal escort many times, with a large [[bicorne. He also habitually wore (usually on Sundays) the blue uniform of a colonel of the [[Imperial Guard (Napoleon I)|Imperial Guard Foot Grenadiers (blue with white facings and red cuffs). He also wore his [[Legion of Honour|Légion d'honneur star, medal and ribbon, and the [[Order of the Iron Crown decorations, white French-style [[culottes and white stockings. This was in contrast to the complex uniforms with many decorations of his [[Marshal of the Empire|marshals and those around him. In his later years he gained quite a bit of weight and had a complexion considered pale or sallow, something contemporaries took note of. Novelist Paul de Kock, who saw him in 1811 on the balcony of the Tuileries, called Napoleon "yellow, obese, and bloated". A British captain who met him in 1815 stated "I felt very much disappointed, as I believe everyone else did, in his appearance ... He is fat, rather what we call pot-bellied, and although his leg is well shaped, it is rather clumsy ... He is very sallow, with light grey eyes, and rather thin, greasy-looking brown hair, and altogether a very nasty, priestlike-looking fellow." 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—sideways—with a [[hand-in-waistcoat gesture—a reference to the painting produced in 1812 by [[Jacques-Louis David. 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''.


Napoleon instituted various reforms, such as [[higher education, a [[Tax law|tax code, road and sewer systems, and established the [[Bank of France|Banque de France, the first [[central bank in French history. 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. He dissolved the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la|Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 180 ...
prior to [[Unification of Germany|German Unification later in the 19th century. The sale of the [[Louisiana Territory to the [[United States doubled the size of the United States. In May 1802, he instituted the [[Legion of Honour, a substitute for the old royalist decorations and [[Order of chivalry|orders of chivalry, to encourage civilian and military achievements; the order is still the highest decoration in France.

Napoleonic Code

Napoleon's [[civil code|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|Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, the ''Second Consul''. Napoleon participated actively in the sessions of the [[Council of State (France)|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)|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. The Napoleonic code was adopted throughout much of Continental 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". The Code influences a quarter of the world's jurisdictions such as that of in Continental Europe, the Americas and Africa. Dieter Langewiesche described the code as a "revolutionary project" that spurred the development of [[bourgeoisie|bourgeois society in Germany by the extension of the right to own property and an acceleration towards the end of [[feudalism. Napoleon reorganized 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 helped promote the [[German Confederation and the [[unification of Germany in 1871. The movement toward national unification in Italy was similarly precipitated by Napoleonic rule. These changes contributed to the development of nationalism and the [[nation state. Napoleon implemented a wide array of liberal reforms in France and across Continental Europe, especially in Italy and Germany, as summarized by British historian [[Andrew Roberts (historian)|Andrew Roberts: Napoleon directly overthrew remnants of feudalism in much of western Continental Europe. He liberalized [[property laws, ended [[Manorialism|seigneurial dues, abolished the [[guild of merchants and craftsmen to facilitate entrepreneurship, legalized divorce, closed the [[Ghetto|Jewish ghettos and made Jews equal to everyone else. The [[Spanish Inquisition|Inquisition ended as did the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la|Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 180 ...
. The power of church courts and religious authority was sharply reduced and [[Equality before the law|equality under the law was proclaimed for all men.


In the field of [[military organization, 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. [[Corps replaced divisions as the largest army units, [[Self-propelled artillery|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.Archer et al. 2002, p. 397 Though he consolidated the practice of modern [[conscription introduced by the Directory, one of the restored monarchy's first acts was to end it. 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 defences, 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. Weapons and other kinds of military technology remained static through the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, but 18th-century [[Operational level of war|operational mobility underwent change. 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. 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. Wellington, when asked who was the greatest general of the day, answered: "In this age, in past ages, in any age, Napoleon". Under Napoleon, a new emphasis towards the destruction, not just outmaneuvering, of enemy armies emerged. Invasions of enemy territory occurred over broader fronts which made wars costlier and more decisive. The political effect of war increased; 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.

Metric system

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 took a retrograde step in 1812 when he passed legislation to introduce the ''[[mesures usuelles'' (traditional units of measurement) for retail trade, 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, in contrast to the value of the ''livre du roi'' (the king's pound), 489.5 g. Other units of measure were rounded in a similar manner prior to the definitive introduction of the [[metric system across parts of Europe in the middle of the 19th century.


Napoleon's educational reforms laid the foundation of a modern system of education in France and throughout much of Europe. Napoleon synthesized the best academic elements from the ''[[Ancien Régime'', [[Age of Enlightenment|The Enlightenment, and [[French Revolution|the Revolution, with the aim of establishing a stable, well-educated and prosperous society. He made French the only official language. He left some primary education in the hands of religious orders, but he offered public support to secondary education. Napoleon founded a number of state secondary schools (''[[Secondary education in France#Lycée|lycées'') designed to produce a standardized education that was uniform across France. All students were taught the sciences along with modern and classical languages. Unlike the system during the ''Ancien Régime'', religious topics did not dominate the curriculum, although they were present with the teachers from the clergy. Napoleon hoped to use religion to produce social stability. He gave special attention to the advanced centers, such as the [[École Polytechnique, that provided both military expertise and state-of-the-art research in science. Napoleon made some of the first efforts at establishing a system of secular and public education. The system featured scholarships and strict discipline, with the result being a French educational system that outperformed its European counterparts, many of which borrowed from the French system.

Memory and evaluation


In the political realm, historians debate whether Napoleon was "an [[Enlightened absolutism|enlightened despot who laid the foundations of modern Europe" or "a [[Narcissistic personality disorder|megalomaniac who wrought greater misery than any man before the coming of Hitler". Many historians have concluded that he had grandiose foreign policy ambitions. The Continental powers as late as 1808 were willing to give him nearly all of his gains and titles, but some scholars maintain he was overly aggressive and pushed for too much, until his empire collapsed. Napoleon ended lawlessness and disorder in post-Revolutionary France. He was considered a [[tyrant and [[usurper by his opponents. His critics charge that he was not 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 overseas colonies are controversial and affect his reputation. Napoleon institutionalized plunder of conquered territories: French museums contain art stolen by Napoleon's forces from across Europe. Artefacts were brought to the [[Louvre|Musée du Louvre for a grand central museum; an example which would later be followed by others. He was compared to [[Adolf Hitler by the historian [[Pieter Geyl in 1947, and [[Claude Ribbe in 2005. [[David G. Chandler, a historian of Napoleonic warfare, wrote in 1973 that, "Nothing could be more degrading to the former [Napoleon] and more flattering to the latter [Hitler]. The comparison is odious. On the whole Napoleon was inspired by a noble dream, wholly dissimilar from Hitler's ... Napoleon left great and lasting testimonies to his genius—in codes of law and national identities which survive to the present day. Adolf Hitler left nothing but destruction." 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 [[Napoleonic Wars casualties|six million Europeans dead, France bankrupt, her overseas colonies lost." McLynn states that, "He can be viewed as the man who set back European economic life for a generation by the dislocating impact of his wars." [[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 that aimed to destroy the ideals of the Revolution.Cronin 1994, pp. 342–43 British military historian [[Correlli Barnett calls him "a social misfit" who exploited France for his personal megalomaniac goals. He says Napoleon's reputation is exaggerated. French scholar [[Jean Tulard provided an influential account of his image as a saviour. Louis Bergeron has praised the numerous changes he made to French society, especially regarding the law as well as education. His greatest failure was the Russian invasion. Many historians have blamed Napoleon's poor planning, but Russian scholars instead emphasize the Russian response, noting the notorious winter weather was just as hard on the defenders. The large and growing historiography in French, English, Russian, Spanish and other languages has been summarized and evaluated by numerous scholars.

Propaganda and memory

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, theatre, and art were 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 a relationship with the contemporary art community, taking an active role in commissioning and controlling different forms of art production to suit his propaganda goals. In [[England, [[Russia and across [[Europe—though not in France—Napoleon was a popular topic of [[caricature. 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.Sudhir Hazareesingh, "Memory and Political Imagination: the Legend of Napoleon Revisited". ''French History'', 2004 18(4): 463–83 Widespread rumours 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. Datta (2005) shows that, following the collapse of militaristic [[Georges Ernest Boulanger|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 [[Sibylle Gabrielle Marie Antoinette Riqueti de Mirabeau|Gyp's ''Napoléonette'' (1913)—Datta examines how writers and critics of the ''[[Belle Époque'' exploited the Napoleonic legend for diverse political and cultural ends.Venita Datta, "'L'appel Au Soldat': Visions of the Napoleonic Legend in Popular Culture of the Belle Epoque". ''French Historical Studies'' 2005 28(1): 1–30 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. International Napoleonic Congresses take place regularly, with participation by members of the French and American military, French politicians and scholars from different countries. In January 2012, the [[Mayor (France)|mayor of [[Montereau-Fault-Yonne, near Paris—the site of a [[Battle of Montereau|late victory of Napoleon—proposed development of [[Napoleonland|Napoleon's Bivouac, a commemorative theme park at a projected cost of 200 million euros. File:Napoleon at the Great St. Bernard - Jacques-Louis David - Google Cultural Institute.jpg|''[[Napoleon Crossing the Alps'', [[Romanticism|romantic version by [[Jacques-Louis David in 1805 File:Paul Delaroche - Napoleon Crossing the Alps - Google Art Project 2.jpg|''[[Bonaparte Crossing the Alps'', [[Realism (art movement)|realist version by [[Paul Delaroche in 1848

Long-term influence outside France

Napoleon was responsible for spreading the values of the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in November 1799 with the formation of the French Consulate. Many of its ideas are considered fundamental principles of Western liberal de ...
to other countries, especially in [[Law reform|legal reform. Napoleon did not touch [[serfdom in Russia. After the fall of Napoleon, not only was the
Napoleonic Code The Napoleonic Code (, lit. "Code Napoleon"), officially the Civil Code of the French (; simply referred to as ''Code civil'') is the French civil code established under the French Consulate in 1804 and still in force, although frequently amende ...
retained by conquered 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. The code was also used as a model in many parts of Latin America. The memory of Napoleon in Poland is favorable, for his support for [[independence and opposition to Russia, his legal code, the [[Timeline of abolition of slavery and serfdom|abolition of serfdom, and the introduction of modern [[middle class bureaucracies. Napoleon could be considered one of the founders of [[History of Germany#1815–1871|modern Germany. After dissolving the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la|Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 180 ...
, he reduced the number of German states from about 300 to fewer than 50, prior to [[Unification of Germany|German Unification. A byproduct of the French occupation was a strong development in [[German nationalism. Napoleon also significantly aided the [[United States when he agreed to [[Louisiana Purchase|sell the territory of [[Louisiana for 15 million dollars during the presidency of [[Thomas Jefferson. That territory almost doubled the size of the United States, adding the equivalent of 13 states to the Union. From 1796 to 2020 inclusive, at least 95 ships associated with the name of the Emperor of the French were identified as an object of intangible heritage. In the 21st century, at least 18 Napoleon ships are operated under the flag of [[Indonesia,
Germany ) | image_map = | map_caption = | map_width = 250px | capital = Berlin | coordinates = | largest_city = capital | languages_type = Official language | languages = German | demonym = German | government_type = Federal parliamentary republi ...
Italy Italy ( it|Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it|Repubblica Italiana|links=no ), is a country consisting of a continental part, delimited by the Alps, a peninsula and several islands surrounding it. Italy is located in Southern Europ ...
, [[Australia, [[Argentina, [[India, [[Netherlands, [[United Kingdom and [[France.

Wives, mistresses, and children

Napoleon married [[Empress Joséphine|Joséphine (''[[née'' Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie) in 1796, when he was 26; she was a 32-year-old widow whose first husband, [[Alexandre de Beauharnais, had been executed during the [[Reign of Terror. Five days after Alexandre de Beauharnais' death, the Reign of Terror initiator [[Maximilien de Robespierre [[Fall of Maximilien Robespierre|was overthrown and executed, and, with the help of high-placed friends, Joséphine was freed. 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. He formally adopted her son [[Eugène de Beauharnais|Eugène and second cousin (via marriage) [[Stéphanie de Beauharnais|Stéphanie and arranged dynastic marriages for them. Joséphine had her daughter [[Hortense de Beauharnais|Hortense marry Napoleon's brother [[Louis Bonaparte|Louis. Joséphine had lovers, such as [[Hippolyte Charles|Lieutenant Hippolyte Charles, during Napoleon's Italian campaign. Napoleon learnt of that affair and a letter he wrote about it was intercepted by the British and published widely, to embarrass Napoleon. Napoleon had his own affairs too: during the Egyptian campaign he took [[Pauline Fourès|Pauline Bellisle Fourès, the wife of a junior officer, as his mistress. She became known as "Cleopatra". 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 twenties. Napoleon chose divorce so he could remarry in search of an heir. Despite his divorce from Josephine, Napoleon showed his dedication to her for the rest of his life. When he heard the news of her death while on exile in Elba, he locked himself in his room and would not come out for two full days. Her name would also be his final word on his deathbed in 1821. On 11 March 1810 by [[proxy marriage|proxy, he married the 19-year-old [[Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma|Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria, and a great-niece of [[Marie Antoinette. Thus he had married into a [[Family tree of the German monarchs|German royal and imperial family. Louise was less than happy with the arrangement, at least at first, stating: "Just to see the man would be the worst form of torture". Her great-aunt had been executed in France, while Napoleon had fought numerous campaigns against Austria all throughout his military career. However, she seemed to warm up to him over time. After her wedding, she wrote to her father: "He loves me very much. I respond to his love sincerely. There is something very fetching and very eager about him that is impossible to resist". Napoleon and Marie Louise 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 II|Napoleon Francis Joseph Charles (1811–1832), known from birth as the [[King of the Romans|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. Napoleon acknowledged one illegitimate son: [[Charles Léon (1806–1881) by [[Eléonore Denuelle de La Plaigne. [[Alexandre Colonna-Walewski (1810–1868), the son of his mistress [[Maria Walewska, although acknowledged by Walewska's husband, was also widely known to be his child, and the DNA of his direct male descendant has been used to help confirm Napoleon's [[Haplotype#Y-DNA haplotypes from genealogical DNA tests|Y-chromosome haplotype. He may have had further unacknowledged illegitimate offspring as well, such as by and [[Hélène Napoleone Bonaparte (1816–1907) by [[Albine de Montholon.

See also

* [[Arenenberg




Biographical studies

* * only 140pp; by a scholar * * * * * * * Gueniffey, Patrice. ''Bonaparte: 1769–1802'' (Harvard UP, 2015, French edition 2013); 1008 pp.; vol 1 of most comprehensive recent scholarly biography by leading French specialist; less emphasis on battles and campaign
online review
* ; 200 pp.; quite hostile * influential wide-ranging history ** * * ; 303 pp.; short biography by an Oxford schola
* * * , 412 pp.; by an Oxford scholar

Primary sources

* Broadley, A. M., and J. Holland Rose. ''Napoleon in caricature 1795–1821'' (John Lane, 1911
illustrated *

Specialty studies

* * * * * * * * * * * * Clausewitz, Carl von (2018). ''Napoleon's 1796 Italian Campaign.'' Trans and ed. Nicholas Murray and Christopher Pringle. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Mowat, R.B. (1924) ''The Diplomacy of Napoleon'' (1924) 350 pp
* * * Richardson, Hubert N.B. ''A Dictionary of Napoleon and His Times'' (1921
online free
489pp * * * advanced diplomatic history of Napoleon and his era * * * *

Historiography and memory

* * * * Englund, Steven. "Napoleon and Hitler". ''Journal of the Historical Society'' (2006) 6#1 pp. 151–69. * * *
excerpt and text search
** Hazareesingh, Sudhir. "Memory and Political Imagination: The Legend of Napoleon Revisited", ''French History'' (2004) 18#4 pp. 463–83. **

External links

Napoleon Series

International Napoleonic Society

by the US [[Public Broadcasting Service *
Hit the road with Napoleon

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