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Napoleon, Napoleon I. (n&ä;*p&ō;"l&ē;*ŭn; F. pron. n&ä;`p&ō;`l&ā;`ŏN") Napoleon Bonaparte (or Buonaparte), Born at Ajaccio, Corsica, Aug. 15, 1766, or, according to some, at Corte, Jan. 7, 1768; died at Longwood, St. Helena, May 5, 1821. Emperor of the French 1804-14.
He was the son of Charles Marie Bonaparte and Lætitia Ramolino; studied at the military school of Brienne 1779-84, and at that of Paris 1784-85; and received a lieutenant's commission in the French army in 1785. He opposed the patriot movement under Paoli in Corsica in 1793; commanded the artillery in the attack on Toulon in the same year; served in the army in Italy in 1794; and, as second in command to Barras, subdued the revolt of the sections at Paris in Oct., 1795. He married Josephine de Beauharnais March 9, 1796. Toward the close of this month (March 27) he assumed command at Nice of the army in Italy, which he found opposed by the Austrians and the Sardinians. He began his campaign April 10, and, after defeating the Austrians at Montenotte (April 12), Millesimo (April 14), and Dego (April 15), turned (April 15) against the Sardinians, whom he defeated at Ceva (April 20) and Mondovi (April 22), forcing them to sign the separate convention of Cherasco (April 29). In the following month he began an invasion of Lombardy, and by a brilliant series of victories, including those of Lodi (May 10) and Arcole (Nov. 15-17), expelled the Austrians from their possessions in the north of Italy, receiving the capitulation of Mantua, their last stronghold, Feb. 2, 1797. Crossing the Alps, he penetrated Styria as far as Leoben, where he dictated preliminaries of peace April 18. The definitive peace of Campo-Formio followed (Oct 17). By the treaty of Campo-Formio northern Italy was reconstructed in the interest of France, which furthermore acquired the Austrian Netherlands, and received a guarantee of the left bank of the Rhine. Campo-Formio destroyed the coalition against France, and put an end to the Revolutionary war on the Continent. The only enemy that remained to France was England. At the instance of Bonaparte the Directory adopted the plan of attacking the English in India, which involved the conquest of Egypt. Placed at the head of an expedition of about 85,000 men, he set sail from Toulon May 19, 1798; occupied Malta June 12; disembarked at Alexandria July 2; and defeated the Mamelukes in the decisive battle of the Pyramids July 21. He was master of Egypt, but the destruction of his fleet by Nelson in the battle of the Nile (Aug. 1) cut him off from France and doomed his expedition to failure. Nevertheless he undertook the subjugation of Syria, and stormed Jaffa March 7, 1799. Repulsed at Acre, the defense of which was supported by the English, he commenced a retreat to Egypt May 21. He inflicted a final defeat on the Turks at Abukir July 26; transferred the command in Egypt to Kléber Aug. 22; and, setting sail with two frigates, arrived in the harbor of Fréjus Oct. 9. During his absence a new coalition had been formed against France, and the Directory saw its armies defeated, both on the Rhine and in Italy. With the assistance of his brother Lucien and of Sieyès and Roger Ducos, he executed the coup d'etat of Brumaire, whereby he abolished the Directory and virtually made himself monarch under the title of first consul, holding office for a term of 10 years. He crossed the Great St. Bernard in May, 1800, and restored the French ascendancy in Italy by the victory of Marengo (June 14), which, with that won by Moreau at Hohenlinden (Dec. 8), brought about the peace of Lunéville (Feb. 9, 1801). The treaty of Lunéville, which was based on that of Campo-Formio, destroyed the coalition, and restored peace on the Continent. He concluded the peace of Amiens with England March 27, 1802. After the peace of Lunéville he commenced the legislative reconstruction of France, the public institutions of which had been either destroyed or thrown into confusion during the Revolution. To this period belong the restoration of the Roman Catholic Church bythe Concordat (concluded July 15, 1801), the restoration of higher education by the erection of the new university (May 1, 1802), and the establishment of the Legion of Honor (May 19, 1802): preparation had been previously made for the codification of the laws.
He was made consul for life Aug. 2, 1802; executed the Duc d'Enghien March 21, 1804; was proclaimed hereditary emperor of the French May 18, 1804 (the coronation ceremony took place Dec. 2, 1804); and was crowned king of Italy May 26, 1805. In the meantime England had been provoked into declaring war (May 18, 1803), and a coalition consisting of England, Russia, Austria, and Sweden was formed against France in 1806: Spain was allied with France. The victory of Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar (Oct. 21, 1805) followed the failure of the projected invasion of England. Breaking up his camp at Boulogne, he invaded Austria, occupied Vienna, and (Dec. 2, 1805) defeated the allied Russians and Austrians at Austerlitz. The Russians retired from the contest under a military Convention; the Austrians signed the peace of Presburg (Dec. 26, 1805); and the coalition was destroyed. His intervention in germany brought about the erection of the Confederation of the Rhine July 12, 1806. This confederation, which was placed under his protection, ultimately embraced nearly all the states of Germany except Austria and Prussia. Its erection, together with other provocation, caused Prnssia to mobilize its army in Aug., and Napoleon presently found himself opposed by a coalition with Prussia, Russia, and England as its principal members. He crushed the Prussian army at Jena and Auerst&ä;dt Oct. 14; entered Berlin Oct. 27; fought the Russians and Prussians in the drawn battle of Eylau Feb. 7-8, 1807; defeated the Russians at the battle of Friedland June 14; and compelled both Russia and Prussia to conclude peace at Tilsit July 7 and 9, 1807, respectively. Russia became the ally of France; Prussia was deprived of nearly half her territory. Napoleon was now, perhaps, at the height of his power. The imperial title was no empty form. He was the head of a great confederacy of states. He had surrounded the imperial throne with subordinate thrones occupied by members of his own family. His stepson Eugène de Beauharnais was viceroy of the kingdom of Italy in northern and central Italy; his brother Joseph was king of Naples in southern Italy; his brother Louis was king of Holland; his brother Jerome was king of Westphalia; his brother-in-law Murat was grandduke of Berg. The Confederation of the Rhine existed by virtue of his protection, and his troops occupied dismembered Prussia. He directed the policy of Europe.
England alone, mistress of the seas, appeared to stand between him and universal dominion. England was safe from invasion, but she was vulnerable through her commerce. Napoleon undertook to starve her by closing the ports of the Continent against her commerce. This policy, known as "the Continental system," was inaugurated by the Berlin decree in 1806, and was extended by the Milan decree in 1807. To further this policy he resolved to seize the maritime states of Portugal and Spain. His armies expelled the house of Braganza from Portugal, and Nov. 30, 1807, the French entered Lisbon. Under pretense of guarding the coast against the