Napoleon I
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Napoleon I

by: J. T. Lawson


Napoleon I, or Napoleon Bonaparte, was the ruler of France when the Louisiana Purchase was transacted. He was born in Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. Napoleon was one of the greatest military commanders in history. It can be said that he was the greatest military genius of his time.


Napoleon Bonaparte is both a historical figure and a legend. According to legend, he stood only 5 foot 2 inches tall, but in reality he was 5 foot 6 inches tall. He introduced many reforms to France. By himself, he led complex military maneuvers while also controlling the press, the police system, foreign policy, and domestic policy.


On January 16, 1785, at the age of 16, Napoleon received a commission in the French Army as a 2nd lieutenant of artillery. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 1791 and to captain in 1792.

Napoleon proved to be a great administrator. He won many battles for France, but suffered his greatest defeat at Waterloo in northern France. Napoleon was exiled to St. Helena on October 15, 1815, and died at Longwood on St. Helena May 5, 1821.

Important Dates Involving Napoleon I

August 15, 1769- Napoleon I was born at Ajaccio, Corsica.
March 9, 1796- Napoleon I married Josephine de Beauharnais.
November 9, 1799- Napoleon I came to power in France.
December 2, 1804- Napoleon I crowned himself emperor of France.
December 2, 1805- Napoleon I defeated the allied armies of Austerlitz.
July 12, 1806- Napoleon I started the confederation of the Rhine.
October 14, 1806- Napoleon I defeated the Prussians at Jena and Auerstedt.
June 14, 1807- Napoleon I crushed the Russians at Friedland.
July 5, 1809- Napoleon I defeated the Austrians at Wagram.
April 2, 1810- Napoleon I married Marie Louise of Austria.
September 14, 1812- Napoleon I occupied Moscow.
April 11, 1814- Napoleon I abdicated his thrown.
May 4, 1814- Napoleon I was exiled and arrived on Elba.
March 20, 1815- Napoleon I returned to power in France.
June 18, 1815- Napoleon I was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.
October 16, 1815- Napoleon I was exiled to St. Helena.
May 5, 1821- Napoleon I died at Longwood on St. Helena.