Napoleon Bonaparte Biography

During the latter years of the French Revolution, a man emerged who would shape the future of France. Napoleon Bonaparte, born as Napoleone Buonapart, became one of the most renowned military and political leaders in history. Serving as the first Consul and later becoming the first monarch of France to bear the title of Emperor, Napoleon’s impact was immense. What set him apart from his contemporaries was his innovative techniques that allowed him to win battles against numerically superior enemies. This led to him being hailed as the greatest military commander of all time. Additionally, Napoleon implemented significant political and social reforms that rescued France from the brink of bankruptcy. His Napoleonic Code, which blended elements of old Roman law with modern French statutes, served as a model for criminal and commercial laws in France and beyond.

Quick Facts

  • French Celebrities Born In August Also Known As: Napoleon I, Napoleone di Buonaparte
  • Died At Age: 51
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Duchess of Parma, Marie Louise, Joséphine de Beauharnais
    • Father: Carlo Buonaparte
    • Mother: Letizia Ramolino
    • Siblings: Caroline Bonaparte, Elisa Bonaparte, Jérôme Bonaparte, Joseph Bonaparte, Louis Bonaparte, Lucien Bonaparte, Pauline Bonaparte
    • Children: Charles Léon, Count Alexandre Joseph Colonna-Walewski, Eugène de Beauharnais, Napoleon II
  • Emperors & Kings
  • Military Leaders
  • Height: 1.68 m
  • Died on: May 5, 1821
  • Place of death: Longwood, Saint Helena, England
  • Ancestry: Italian French
  • City: Ajaccio, France

Childhood & Early Life

Napoleone Buonaparte was born to Carlo Buonaparte, a lawyer, and Letizia Ramolino. He was the fourth child of the couple and the second to survive. He received his preliminary education at France’s College d’Autun before attending the �cole Militaire in Paris. However, his time at the �cole Militaire was cut short to one year after his father’s death.


Buonaparte trained as an artillery officer and joined the La F�re artillery regiment as a second lieutenant in 1785. He served in Corsica during the Revolution and was promoted to the rank of captain in the regular army in 1792. In 1793, he and his family moved to France after a split with the nationalist Corsican leader, Paoli. Buonaparte joined his regiment at Nice and gained support from Augustin Robespierre, the younger brother of Maximilien Robespierre, for his pro-republican pamphlet, Le souper de Beaucaire.

At the age of 24, Buonaparte was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and put in charge of the artillery of France’s Army of Italy. He led the French army to capture the north, east, and west coast in the Battle of Saorgio. After the fall of the Jacobins, Maximilien de Robespierre rose to power and the Directory took control of the country. Buonaparte supported the Directory and was named Commander of the Army of the Interior and trusted advisor on military matters.

In 1796, Buonaparte took over the Army of Italy and transformed it into a strong military force. He expanded the French empire by winning numerous battles. However, his image was tarnished after the Battle of Nile, where Admiral Horatio Nelson crushed his army and resulted in a defeat for France against the coalition formed by Britain, Austria, Russia, and Turkey.

Buonaparte returned to France and made plans with Emmanuel Sieyes to retain their top positions in the government. He formed a new constitution and became the first consul of the French administration in 1800. He brought about reforms in various sectors, including the economy, legal system, and education. He made Roman Catholicism the state religion and introduced the Napoleonic Code. In 1804, he became the Emperor of France.

Downfall and Legacy

After a negotiated peace, France was at war again with Britain, Russia, and Austria. Buonaparte suffered a defeat against Austria in 1810, resulting in the fall of his empire. He was exiled to Elba but managed to escape and return to power briefly. However, he was defeated by the British at Waterloo in 1815. He resigned from his position and was sent to the remote island of St. Helena by the British government.

Buonaparte’s health deteriorated on St. Helena, and he died on February 5, 1821, from stomach cancer. He was initially cremated on the island and later transported to Paris for a state funeral. His remains were entombed in Les Invalides.

Personal Life

Buonaparte married Jos�phine de Beauharnais in 1796, but the marriage ended in separation in 1810. He then married Marie-Louise, daughter of the emperor of Austria, and had a son named Napolean II.


Buonaparte brought about major reforms in France, including the introduction of higher education, establishment of a centralized government, foundation of the Bank of France, and the Napoleonic Code. He also created the Legion of Honor, which remains the highest decoration in France.

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