Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte

Born: Aug 15, 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica, France
Died: May 5, 1821 (at age 51) in Longwood, Saint Helena
Nationality: French
Famous For: Emperor of France from 1804 to 1815

Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader who rose to power during the last stages of French Revolution and its wars in Europe. He was a great military commander and leader of his people.

Early Life

Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Corsia on August 15, 1769. His father was a lawyer and a political opportunist. Napolean was born into a rather wealthy background from Corsican nobility. His great skills enabled him to have an easy way joining the military academy in 1779.

In 1784, he shifted to Parisian Ecole Royale- Militaire and then graduated after one year being a second-lieutenant in artillery. Spurred by his father’s death in February of 1785, Napoleon completed a course that was supposed to take three years in only one.

Early Career

Napoleon Bonaparte was posted on the French mainland. However, he was still able to spend a lot of his next eight years in Corsica, thanks to his great letter writing, luck, rule-bending and effects of French Revolution.

While here, he held an active role in political and even military matters. At first he supported Corsican rebel Pasquale-Paoli. But after he was promoted, he opposed Paoli. Just when civil war started in 1793, his family fled to live in France.

Napoleon and the French Revolution

The French Revolution had basically decimated the republic’s officer class and actually favored individuals who could achieve fast promotion. However, Napoleon’s fortunes constantly rose and fell since new patrons came and left. By December of 1783, Napoleon was the great hero of Toulon. Shortly after this, the wheels of revolution simply turned and Napoleon was arrested for charges of treason.

Napoleon’s Rise to Leadership

In 1795, Napoleon became a great hero again after defending his government from some angry counter-revolutionary armies. Paul Barras, one of the main military leaders at the time, rewarded Napoleon by promoting him to a high military office. In his new position, Napoleon was able to access the political spine of the country. He swiftly grew to become one of the most respected military personnel in that country.

Leading the Army of Italy

In 1796, France’s army attacked Austria. Napoleon Bonaparte was given the command of the Army of Italy. He led this army into war and won victory after another victory against the stronger Austrian opponents. He went back to France in 1797 as the country’s brightest star.

In May of 1798, he left for a serious campaign in Syria and Egypt, driven by his great desire for more fresh victories.

Leadership as an Emperor

After concluding several treaties that ensured Europe was at peace, Napoleon started working on France. He wanted to reform the economy, the legal system, church, military, government and education.

He spent time studying and commenting on minute details, in most cases while travelling with his army. These reforms continued for the better part of his rule. Napoleon exhibited great skills as a legislator and a statesman.

However, Europe did not remain peaceful for long and Napoleon had to return to war. For the next eight years, he dominated Europe by fighting and defeating many alliances.


Despite being a great leader, Napoleon Bonaparte made some mistakes and suffered great setbacks. He died on May 5, 1821, at the age of 51.