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Profile of the Day: Napoleon I

Profile of the Day: Napoleon I

Napoleon I

Today we remember French Emperor Napoleon I, who was born on this day in 1769. Commonly called Napoleon Bonaparte, the French military commander and emperor conquered much of Europe during his rule, making France one of the strongest empires in Europe until its collapse in 1815.

Napoleon was born on August 15, 1769 on the island of Corsica to Carlo Maria di Buonaparte and Maria Letizia Ramolino. Although the family were of minor Corsican nobility, they were not wealthy. His father was a lawyer and served as Corsica’s representative to the court. He secured Napoleon scholarships and by the age of 9, Napoleon began his education in France. After graduating from a French military academy, Napoleon became a second lieutenant in the artillery regiment of the French army.

During the later stages of the French Revolution, Napoleon gained significant military and political prominence and in 1799, he installed himself as First Consul in a coup d’etat. By 1804, he had declared himself Emperor of France. Through a series of victories during the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon established France as a dominant power in Europe. However, his defeat at the Battle of Leipzig against the allied forces of Austria, Prussia, Russia and Sweden forced Napoleon to retreat to France. Once the coalition’s forces captured Paris in 1814, Napoleon was forced to abdicate and exiled to the island of Elba. In February 1815, Napoleon escaped his exile and regained control of France again, but his rule would be short lived. By June, Napoleon was defeated at the infamous Battle of Waterloo.

Napoleon died six years later on May 5, 1821 at the age of 51.

Explore Napoleon I’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re related to the French emperor.

View Napoleon I’s Geni Profile


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Image: Wikimedia Commons / National Gallery of Art


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