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Who was Napoleon and why is he important?

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masterderock | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 16, 2009 at 3:48 AM via web

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Who was Napoleon and why is he important?

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jilllessa | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted April 16, 2009 at 10:33 AM (Answer #1)

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I am assuming that you are asking about Napoleon Bonaparte, also known as Napoleon I.  Born on the island of Corsica, Napoleon overcame his backwater birth to become one of the greatest military leaders of all time.  After rising through the ranks of the French Army, Napoleon became a commander in Italy where he had success against the Austrians.  After a defeat by the British in Egypt, he returned to France where he took advantage of the political instability of the Revolutionary government to overthrow that government and take control of France, initially as called First Consul, in 1804 he had himself crowned the Emperor of France and embarked on a campaign to subdue all of Europe under his control.   Eventually Napoleon conquered all of Western Europe save for Great Britain.  He overreached his power, however, when he attacked Russia in 1812.  Unprepared for the Russian winters, Napoleons troops suffered from both hunger and cold as the campaign became a disaster.  Napoleon was finally defeated and exiled to the island of Elba.  He later escaped and was again defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.  He was then sent to the island of St. Helena until his death in February of 1821.

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