Portrait of Napoleon in his forties, in high-ranking white and dark blue military dress uniform. In the original image He stands amid rich 18th-century furniture laden with papers, and gazes at the viewer. His hair is Brutus style, cropped close but with a short fringe in front, and his right hand is tucked in his waistcoat.
Emperor of the French
Reign 18 May 1804 – 6 April 1814
Coronation 2 December 1804
Notre-Dame Cathedral
Predecessor Himself (as First Consul)
Successor Louis XVIII ( Bourbon Restoration)
Reign 20 March 1815 – 22 June 1815
Predecessor Louis XVIII
Successor Louis XVIII ( Bourbon Restoration)
Napoleon III ( Second Empire)
King of Italy
Reign 17 March 1805 – 11 April 1814
Coronation 26 May 1805
Milan Cathedral
Predecessor Himself (as President)
Successor Victor Emmanuel II (1861)
Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine
Reign 12 July 1806 – 19 October 1813
Predecessor Francis II & I (as Holy Roman Emperor)
Successor Francis II & I (as President of the German Confederation)
Born (1769-08-15)15 August 1769
Ajaccio, Corsica, France
Died 5 May 1821(1821-05-05) (aged 51)
Longwood, Saint Helena
Burial Les Invalides, Paris, France
Napoleon II
Full name
Napoléon Bonaparte
House Bonaparte
Father Carlo Buonaparte
Mother Letizia Ramolino
Religion see religion section
Signature Napoleon's signature
Imperial coat of arms

Napoléon Bonaparte ( t/; [1] French:  [napɔleɔ̃ bɔnapaʁt]; Italian:  [napoleˈoːŋe bɔŋaˈparte]; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814, and again briefly in 1815 (during the Hundred Days). Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. 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. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history. [2] [3]

He was born Napoleone di Buonaparte (Italian:  [napoleˈoːŋe di bwɔŋaˈparte]) in Corsica, to a relatively modest family from minor Italian nobility. When the Revolution broke out in 1789, Napoleon was serving as an artillery officer in the French army. Seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution, he rapidly rose through the ranks of the military, becoming a general at age 24. The Directory eventually gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents. At age 26, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and their Italian allies—winning virtually every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year, and becoming a national hero. In 1798, 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 of the Republic. His ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, and in 1804 he became the first Emperor of the French. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the Ulm Campaign and a historic triumph over Russia and Austria at the Battle of Austerlitz, which led to the elimination of the thousand-year-old Holy Roman Empire. In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon quickly defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, then marched the Grand Army deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France then forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high watermark of the French Empire. In 1809, the Austrians and the British challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram in July.

Hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, Napoleon invaded Iberia and declared his brother Joseph the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, and ended in victory for the Allies. The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia. Unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade, the Russians routinely violated the Continental System and enticed Napoleon into another war. The French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The resulting campaign witnessed the collapse of the Grand Army and the destruction of Russian cities, and inspired a renewed push against Napoleon by his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in a Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813. The Allies then invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba near Rome and the Bourbons were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition, which defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in June. The British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years later at the age of 51. [4] [5]

Napoleon had an extensive and powerful influence on the modern world, bringing liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, such as the Low Countries, Switzerland, and large parts of modern Italy and Germany. He implemented fundamental liberal policies in France and throughout Western Europe. [note 1] His legal achievement, the Napoleonic Code, has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world. British historian Andrew Roberts stated, "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". [12]

Origins and education

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

Napoleon was born on 15 August 1769, to Carlo Maria di Buonaparte and Maria Letizia Ramolino, in his family's ancestral home Casa Buonaparte in Ajaccio, the capital of the island of Corsica. He was their fourth child and third son. This was a year after the island was transferred to France by the Republic of Genoa. [13] He was christened Napoleone di Buonaparte, probably named after an uncle (an older brother who did not survive infancy was the first of the sons to be called Napoleone). In his 20s, he adopted the more French-sounding Napoléon Bonaparte. [14] [note 2]

The Corsican Buonapartes were descended from minor Italian nobility of Tuscan origin, who had come to Corsica from Liguria in the 16th century. [15] [16]

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

His father Nobile Carlo Buonaparte was an attorney, and was named Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI in 1777. The dominant influence of Napoleon's childhood was his mother, Letizia Ramolino, whose firm discipline restrained a rambunctious child. [17] Napoleon's maternal grandmother had married into the Swiss 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.

He had an elder brother, Joseph, and younger siblings: Lucien, Elisa, Louis, Pauline, Caroline, and Jérôme. A boy and girl were born before Joseph but died in infancy. Napoleon was baptised as a Catholic. [18]

Napoleon's noble, moderately affluent background afforded him greater opportunities to study than were available to a typical Corsican of the time. [19] In January 1779, he was enrolled at a religious school in Autun. In May, he was admitted to a military academy at Brienne-le-Château. [20] His first language was Corsican, and he always spoke French with a marked Corsican accent and never learned to spell French properly. [21] He was teased by other students for his accent and applied himself to reading. [22] 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". [23] [note 3]

On completion of his studies at Brienne in 1784, Napoleon was admitted to the elite École Militaire in Paris. He trained to become an artillery officer and, when his father's death reduced his income, was forced to complete the two-year course in one year. [25] He was the first Corsican to graduate from the École Militaire. [25] He was examined by the famed scientist Pierre-Simon Laplace. [26]

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Наполеон I
Alemannisch: Napoléon Bonaparte
azərbaycanca: Napoleon Bonapart
Bân-lâm-gú: Napoléon 1-sè
башҡортса: Наполеон I
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Напалеон I Банапарт
Bikol Central: Napoleon I
български: Наполеон I
brezhoneg: Napoleon Iañ
Cebuano: Napoleon I
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Napoleon
Chi-Chewa: Napoleon
eesti: Napoleon I
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Napulèòṅ
français: Napoléon Ier
贛語: 拿破崙
Gĩkũyũ: Napoleon
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Napoleon 1-sṳ
Bahasa Indonesia: Napoleon Bonaparte
interlingua: Napoléon Bonaparte
Kreyòl ayisyen: Napoléon Bonaparte
لۊری شومالی: ناپئلون بئناپارت
Lëtzebuergesch: Napoléon Bonaparte
Livvinkarjala: Napoleon I
la .lojban.: napoleon
македонски: Наполеон Бонапарт
Malagasy: Napoleon
مازِرونی: ناپلئون
Bahasa Melayu: Napoleon Bonaparte
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Napoléon Bonaparte
မြန်မာဘာသာ: နပိုလီယန်
Dorerin Naoero: Napoleon Bonaparte
Nederlands: Napoleon Bonaparte
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нохчийн: Наполеон I
Nordfriisk: Napoleon Bonaparte
norsk nynorsk: Napoléon Bonaparte
Oromoo: Napoleon
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Napoleon Bonapart
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਨਪੋਲੀਅਨ
پنجابی: نیپولین
Piemontèis: Napoleon Bon-a-part
Plattdüütsch: Napoléon Bonaparte
Qaraqalpaqsha: Napoleon I Bonapart
română: Napoleon I
русиньскый: Наполеон І
русский: Наполеон I
Gagana Samoa: Napoelon
Scots: Napoleon
Simple English: Napoleon
slovenčina: Napoleon Bonaparte
slovenščina: Napoleon Bonaparte
Soomaaliga: Napoleon Bonaparte
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Napoleon I Bonaparte
Basa Sunda: Napoleon Bonaparte
suomi: Napoleon I
svenska: Napoleon I
Taqbaylit: Napoleon
татарча/tatarça: Наполеон Бонапарт
తెలుగు: నెపోలియన్
ᏣᎳᎩ: Napoleon
тыва дыл: Наполеон I
удмурт: Наполеон
اردو: نپولین
vepsän kel’: Napoleon I Bonapart
Tiếng Việt: Napoléon Bonaparte
Võro: Napoleon I
West-Vlams: Napoleong
Winaray: Napoleon
吴语: 拿破仑
Xitsonga: Napoleon
粵語: 拿破崙
Zeêuws: Napoleon
žemaitėška: Napaleuons