Napoléon Bonaparte

Napoléon Bonaparte

Napoléon 1, French in full Napoléon Bonaparte, original Italian, Napoléon Bonaparte, by name the Corsican or the little corporal, French byname le corse or le petit corporal (born August 15, 1769, Ajaccio, corscica- died May 5, 1821, St Helena Island), French general, first consul (1799-1804) and emperor of the French (1804-1874/15), one of the celebrated personages in the history of the West. He revolutionized military organisation and training, sponsored the Napoleon’s Code, the prototype of later and law codes, re-organised education and established the long-lived concordat with the papacy.

Napoléon’s many reforms left a lasting work on the institutions of France and of much of western Europe but his driving passion was the military expansion of French dominion and though at his fall he left France little larger than it had been at the outbreak of the revolution in 1789, he was almost unanimously revered during his lifetime and until the end of the second empire under his nephew, Napoleon III as one of the history great heroes.

Napoléon was born in Corsican shortly after the Island’s cession to France by the Crenoese, he was the fourth, and second surviving, the child of Carlo Buonaparte (a lawyer) and his wife, Letizra Ramolino, his father’s family of ancient Tuscan mobility had migrated to Corsica in the 16th century.

Carlo Bonaparte had married the beautiful and strong willed Letizra when she was only 14 years old, they eventually had eight children to bring up in very difficult times. The French occupation of their native country was resisted by a number of Corsicans led by Pasquale paoli. Carlo Bonaparte joined the Paoli’s party, but when Paoli had to flee, Bonaparte came to terms with the French. Winning the protection of the governor of Corsica, he was appointed assessor for the judicial district of Ajjacro in 1771. In 1778 he obtained the admission of his two eldest sons, Joseph and Napoleon, to the colleged Autum.

A Corsican by birth, heredity and childhood association, Napoléon continued for some time after his arrival in continental France to regard himself a foreigner, yet from age nine he was educated in France as other Frenchmen were.

While the tendency to see in Napoleon a re-incarnation of some 14th century Italian condottrere is an over emphasis on one aspect of his character, he did in fact share neither the tradition nor the prejudices of his new country, remaining a Corsican in temperamental, he was first and foremost through both his education and reading, a man of the 18th century.

A Corsican by birth, heredity and childhood associations, Napoleon continued for some time after his arrival in Continental France to regard himself a foreigner, yet from age nine he was educated in France as Frenchmen were, while the tendency to see in Napoleon a reincarnation of some 14th century Italian condottrere is an overemphasis on one aspect of his character, he did in fact share neither the traditions nor the prejudices of his new country remaining a Corsican in temperament, he was first and foremost, through both his education and reading, a man of the 18th century.

Napoleon was educated at three schools, briefly at Athun, for five years at the military college of Brrenne, and finally for one year at the military academy in Paris. It was during Napoleon’s year in Paris that his father died of a stomach cancer in February 1785, leaving his family in straightened circumstances. In September he graduated from the military academy, ranking 42nd in a class of 58, and although not the eldest son assumed the position of head in his family before the age of 16.

He was made second lieutenant of artillery in the regiment of La Fere, a kind of training school for young artillery officers. Garrisoned at valence, Napoleon continued his education, reading much, in particular works on strategy and tactics. He also wrote letters sur la corse (letters on Corsica) in which he reveals his feeling for his native island. He went back to Corsica in September 1786 and did not rejoin his regiment until June 1788. By that time the agitation that was to culminate in the French revolution.


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