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Napoleon Bonaparte: Another Fallen Leader

NaQuinn McCall, Writer

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Napoleon Bonaparte came into the world August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio to Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Buonaparte. The second born of eight children, Napoleon’s father worked as an attorney, but the family did not prosper.

Forced to graduate early to help his family financially, Napoleon shortened his studies resulting in him graduating 42nd in a class of 57 students, a poor decision he never discussed openly. Napoleon attended school in France where he learned to speak French, and he also graduated from a French military academy in 1785. Napoleon then earned a second lieutenant position in a French army artillery regiment.

In 1796, Napoleon married Josephine de Beauharnais. Married for over a decade, Napoleon learned that Josephine could not have children. He then annulled their marriage so he could find a new wife who would bear him a family.

Soon afterwards in 1810, Napoleon married Marie Louise, an Austrian emperor’s daughter. The following year, she gave birth to their son, Napoleon Francois Joseph Bonaparte, also known as Napoleon II, and he inherited the title the king of Rome.

In 1796, Napoleon then commanded a French army that defeated larger Austrian armies who also rivaled Italy. Later, Napoleon then planned to invade England between 1803-1805, but called it off when he reconsidered strategic plans.

On June 16, 1815, he defeated the Prussians and sent 33,000 men, about one-third of his total force, to pursue the retreating Prussians. On June 18, Napoleon led his remaining 72,000 troops against the Duke of Wellington’s allied army.

In June 1815, he resigned from the powerful position that he held after his defeat at Waterloo. The British government, fearing his return, then sent him to a remote island, free to do whatever he wanted.

Removed from his country in October 1815, Napoleon died in 1821 on the British-held Saint Helena island at age 51 from stomach cancer, a condition he suffered from for many years. Despite his request for burial on the island’s banks, the local residents interred him at another island location.

Napoleon Bonaparte: not a grand statesman, but another fallen leader and sad chapter in world history.

 

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

 

 

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Napoleon Bonaparte: Another Fallen Leader