Napoleon was 51 years old when he died in exile on the island of St. Helena, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Born in 1769 on the French-controlled island of Corsica, he rose to prominence as an officer during the wars of the French Revolution. He rose quickly through the ranks of the army, commanding an army in Italy that achieved staggering successes against overwhelming odds in the late 1790s. He seized control of the French government in 1799, overthrowing the Directory. By 1806, he was Emperor of the French, and he led the nation in a series of bloody wars against coalitions made up of most of the other kingdoms of Europe. He was exiled to the island of Elba in 1814 after a series of disastrous defeats. He returned one year later to retake control of the French army, leading it to defeat at Waterloo. After this defeat, he was exiled to the remote island of St. Helena. He died of what was probably stomach cancer on the island in 1821.