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Napoleon Bonaparte, who is also known as the "little Corsican", was born on August 15,1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica. His family had moved there from Italy in the 16th century. His original name was Napoleone. He had 7 brothers and sisters. His original nationality was Corsican-Italian. He also despised the French. He thought they were oppressors of his native land. His father was a lawyer, and was also anti-French. One reason Napoleon may have been such a great leader and revolutionary because was he was raised in a family of radicals. When Napoleon was nine, his father sent him to Brienne, a French military government school in Paris. While there he was constantly teased by the French students. Because of this Napoleon started having dreams of personal glory and triumph. From 1784 to 1785 Napoleon attended the Ecole Militaire in Paris. It was there that he received his military training. He studied to be an artillery man and an officer. He finished his training and he joined the French army when he was just 16 years old. His father died after that and he had to provide for his entire family.
Napoleon was stationed in Paris in 1792. After the French monarchy was overthrown in August of that year, Napoleon started to make a name for himself and become a well known military leader.
In 1792 Napoleon was promoted to captain. In 1793 he was chosen to direct the artillery against the siege in Toulon. Soon after that Toulon fell and Napoleon was promoted to brigadier general. Napoleon was made commander of the French army in Italy. He defeated many Austrian Generals. Soon after this Austria and France made peace. Afterwards Napoleon was relieved of his command. He had been suspected of treason. In 1795 he broke up a revolt and saved the French government. He had earned back respect and he was once again give command of the French Army in Italy. He came up with a plan that worked very well. He would cut the enemy's army in to two parts, then attack one side of them before the other side could help them. This worked very well against the Sardinian troops, he defeated them 5 times in 11 days.
After this Napoleon was almost impossible to stop. This was when he began conquering most of Europe. The first country he defeated was Austria. He collected lots of money and sent it back to Paris, this helped the weak economy of France. After he came close to Vienna, the Austrians surrendered, and made a treaty with France. This gave France the Netherlands, and it made the Rhine River the eastern border of France. He made an unsuccessful attempt to invade Egypt. And in 1799 he returned to France to find the Directory (the French Government) was a mess. The overthrew the Directory, and created a new government, in which there were three consuls, and he was the most important one. At this time, everyone in France loved napoleon, and his power increased. In 1802 France signed a peace treaty with England and Germany, and was now not at war with anyone.
He re-established the University of France, reformed the education system, and he founded the Bank of France. He also made the Napolionic Code: The first clear, compact statement of the French law. The Napolionic Code has served as a base for legal systems around the world. He changed the government again and made himself ruler of the French Empire. He divorced his wife Josephine in 1809 and married Marie Louise, the daughter of the Emperor of Austria. He soon had a son by his second wife, and made him king of Rome. He now was the ruler of a great empire, and he had 42 million people under his control.
After he tried to invade Russia, his empire began to crumble. And on April 6, 1814 he was forced from the throne. He was exiled to the island of Elba. About a year later, he gathered about 1,000 soldiers and went to Paris and regained power. He ruled for a short time, and then he surrendered to the English. He was exiled to the island of St. Helena in the south Atlantic, where he stayed until he died on May 5, 1821. He supposedly died of cancer, but there are rumors that he was poisoned.