Capable Man of History: Napoleon

Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader who was a key figure during the French Revolution and was the leader during successful campaigns and revolutionary wars in France’s rich history. Born in Ajaccio, Corsica, in France, his parents were called Letizia Ramolino and Carlo Buonaparte. 

Who is Napoleon? 

A French military leader and emperor with a fearsome reputation, Napoleon managed to conquer much of Europe in the early 19th century. This all came after he rose through the ranks of the military during the French Revolution, eventually coming into power in 1799 following the momentous coup d’état and then going on to name himself as emperor five years later in 1804. Famous for leading wars against large European nations, Napoleon was also a clever and highly knowledgeable military man who was focused on growing his army of fighters and making France a formidable force. Indeed, he succeeded, although it all came crashing down after the failed French invasion of Russia in 1812. The defeat, which clearly didn’t go down well with Napoleon and the French people, resulted in him abdicating the throne in 1814 before being exiled to Elba, an island. The French military leader and emperor did have a stint in power once again in 1815, although he was forced to stand down in the end, eventually moving to Saint Helena after losing the Battle of Waterloo. 

Life and Legacy 

Napoleon’s family were of Italian origin who emigrated to Corsica, where he was born in the 16th century. The de facto leader of the French Republic and First Consul from 1799 to 1804 was the fourth child and third son of the family. Not many would have predicted him to become such a prominent figure in history, with Napoleon’s story being taught to youngsters in France and beyond. He is clearly a common figure in pop culture. English film director and producer, Ridley Scott, is making a movie on Napoleon, and countless movies and books written about the leader, with there also even being a Napoleon: Rise of an Empire slot game based on him. The fact that he came from humble beginnings to become a formidable opponent to many of Europe’s major nations is quite remarkable, although perhaps less so when learning about his parents who showed similar fighting spirit, namely after joining the Corsican resistance and fighting against the French to maintain independence.


His mother was said to be tough on discipline but also showed a great deal of love to a son she evidently adored. As he grew older, he travelled to the French mainland and went to a religious school where he also managed to learn French alongside his fluent Corsican. During his formative years, though, Napoleon Bonaparte was the victim of bullying, largely down to his accent and because of where he was born, but also due to his short stature and the fact that he hadn’t quite mastered the French language yet. Fast forward to 1784 when he finished his studies and Napoleon trained to become an artillery officer, eventually becoming the first-ever Corsican to graduate from the École Militaire. 


After his exile to the British-held island of Saint Helena in October 1815, Napoleon eventually died on the island on May 5, 1821. Although the exact cause of his death isn’t known, it is widely thought that he passed away due to stomach cancer. Despite wanting to be buried along the banks of the Seine with the French people he adored, Napoleon was instead buried on Saint Helena, although in 1840 his remains were returned to France at Les Invalides in Paris. Widely regarded as being one of the world’s greatest military leaders, Napoleon will never be forgotten.