Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte

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Napoleon was born in the town of Ajaccio, on the island of Corsica, France, on August 15th, 1769. On May 15th, 1779, at nine years old, Napoleon was applied to a French military school at Brienne-le-Château, a small town near Troyes. Napoleon and his family had it made well on their home island. His father, Carlo Buonaparte, was an attorney, his mother, Letizia Ramolino, was lucky enough not to have to work, so she was there for Napoleon during most of his childhood. They were able to pay for the best schooling for Napoleon and because of it he was a brilliant man. He had to learn French before entering the school, but he spoke with an Italian accent throughout his life and never learned to spell properly. At graduation from Brienne in 1784, Bonaparte was admitted to the elite École Royale Militaire in Paris, where he completed the two-year course of study in only one year. Although he had sought a naval career, he studied artillery at the École Militaire. Upon graduation in September 1785, he was promoted as a second lieutenant of artillery on January 1786, at the age of 16.
Napoleon was appointed as artillery commander in the French forces, which had risen in revolt against the republican government and was occupied by British troops. He made a successful plan: he placed guns at Point 'Eguillete, threatening the British ships in the harbor, forcing them to retreat. A successful assault, but Bonaparte was wounded in the thigh during it, led to the capture of the city again and a promotion to brigadier-general for Napoleon. His remarkable wins were a result of his ability to apply his knowledge of military thought to real-world situations, as demonstrated by his creative use of artillery tactics, using it as a mobile force to support his infantry. Napoleon often said: "I have fought sixty battles and I have learned nothing which I did not know at the beginning."
In March 1798, Bonaparte proposed a military seize of Egypt, then a province of the Ottoman Empire, seeking to protect French trade routes. After landing on the coast of Egypt, he fought the Battle of the Pyramids against the Mamelukes, a power in the Middle East, four miles from the pyramids. Bonaparte's forces were greatly outnumbered by the Mamelukes cavalry, 20,000 to 60,000, but Bonaparte formed hollow squares, keeping cannons and supplies safely on the inside.

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In all, only 300 French were killed, but approximately 6,000 Egyptians were also killed. But Napoleon’s army was weakened by disease, mostly bubonic plague, and poor supplies. Napoleon led 13,000 French soldiers to the conquest of the coastal towns of El Arish, Gaza, Jaffa, and Haifa. The storming of Jaffa was brutal. Although the French took control of the city within a few hours after the attack began, the French soldiers bayoneted approximately 2,000 Turkish soldiers who were trying to surrender. Men, women, and children were robbed and murdered for three days, and the massacre ended with even more bloodshed, as Napoleon ordered 3,000 additional Turkish prisoners be killed. After his army was weakened by the plague, Napoleon was unable to reduce the fortress of Acre, and was forced to return to Egypt in May. In order to speed up the retreat, Bonaparte killed prisoners and plague-stricken men along the way.
Bonaparte made several lasting reforms, including higher education, a tax system, a central bank, law codes, and road and sewer systems. His set of civil laws, the Napoleonic Code or Civil Code, has importance to this day in many countries. The Code was prepared by legal experts under Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, who held the office Second Consul from 1799 to 1804; Bonaparte, however, participated in the sessions of the Council of State that revised the drafts. Other codes were made by Bonaparte to hide criminal and commerce law. In 1808, a Code of Criminal Instruction was published, which introduced specific rules of judicial procedure. Although standards say this only was beneficial to the prosecution, when they made it they tried to preserve personal freedoms and to stop the abuses of prosecution in European courts.
During Napoleon’s rule he found out about an assassination plan on him. The Bourbons were planning to kill him, this forced Napoleon to do something. He then made a hurried trial to accuse The Bourbons and have them executed. After the execution, on December 2, 1804, at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon decided to crown himself emperor of France literally. During the ceremony, he took the crown from the pope’s hands and placed it upon his own head. Then later on May 26, 1805, Napoleon was crowned King of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy.
Alexander and Napoleon had a friendly relationship since their first meeting in 1807; Alexander had been under strong pressure from the Russia to stop the alliance with France. If Russia withdrew without France doing anything the other countries would have followed and revolted against Napoleon. So, it was necessary to show that France would retaliate. By 1812, Alexander suggested the possibility of an invasion of the French Empire. Alexander later retreated to Moscow and left France open to attack. Napoleon then ordered his army to burn Moscow, but fearing the loose of France they decided not to burn the city. The French suffered greatly during its retreat, the Army numbered as over 650,000, but fewer than 40,000 crossed the Berezina River to escape. In total, French losses in the campaign were 570,000 against about 400,000 Russian casualties and several hundred thousand civilian deaths.
Napoleon being the power hungry man he was, also wanted more, this caused him to go to Spain. He claimed Spain was an easy win and let his brother take the crown there. What Napoleon really wanted was to take over Britain, but thought they were too strong. So, he had to hit them hard, in order to do this he cut all trade with them off and made it illegal to trade with Britain.
Other than successes, however, the numbers continued to stack against Napoleon as Sweden and Austria joined in the Alliance against him. Eventually the French army was up against a force twice its size at the Battle of Nations at Leipzig. Some of the German states switched sides in the middle of the battle. This was by far the largest battle of the Napoleonic Wars and cost both sides over 120,000 deaths.
After this Napoleon retreated back to France, but his army was now reduced to less than 100,000 against more than half a million Allied troops. The French were surrounded and outnumbered. The French armies could only delay defeat. Paris was occupied on March 31st, 1814. At the urging of his marshals, Napoleon gave up on April 6th for his son. The Allies, however, demanded he fight till he could not fight anymore and Napoleon gave up again on April 11th . In the Treaty of Fontainebleau, the Allies exiled him to Elba, a small island in the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy. He later escaped from the island and was imprisoned by the British.
Napoleon had asked in his will to be buried on the banks of the Seine; however, he was buried on Saint Helena, in the "valley of the willows" in 1840. In May, 2005 a team of Swiss physicians said that the reason for Napoleon's death was stomach cancer, which was also the cause of his father's death.
Napoleon has many things he is remembered for, though not all are good. Some remember him as a killer and some as a hero. He is remembered most for his reforms, his conquests and his rise to power.
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