Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769 in
Ajaccio on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. Through his military exploits
and his ruthless efficiency, Napoleon rose from obscurity to become Napoleon I,
Empereur des Francais (Emperor of the French). He is both a historical figure
and a legend—and it is sometimes difficult to separate the two. The events of
his life fired the imaginations of great writers, film makers, and playwrights
whose works have done much to create the Napoleonic legend.
decided on a military career when he was a child, winning a scholarship to a
French military academy. His meteoric rise shocked not only France but all of
Europe, and his military conquests threatened the stability of the
Napoleon was one of the greatest military commanders in history.
He has also been portrayed as a power hungry conqueror. Napoleon denied being
such a conqueror. He argued that he was building a federation of free peoples in
a Europe united under a liberal government. But if this was his goal, he
intended to achieve it by taking power in his own hands. However, in the states
he created, Napoleon granted constitutions, introduced law codes, abolished
feudalism, created efficient governments and fostered education, science,
literature and the arts.
Emperor Napoleon proved to be an excellent civil
administrator. One of his greatest achievements was his supervision of the
revision and collection of French law into codes. The new law codes—seven in
number—incorporated some of the freedoms gained by the people of France during
the French revolution, including religious toleration and the abolition of
serfdom. The most famous of the codes, the Code Napoleon or Code Civil, still
forms the basis of French civil law. Napoleon also centralized France's
government by appointing prefects to administer regions called departments, into
which France was divided.
While Napoleon believed in government "for" the
people, he rejected government "by" the people. His France was a police state
with a vast network of secret police and spies. The police shut down plays
containing any hint of disagreement or criticism of the government. The press
was controlled by the state. It was impossible to express an opinion without
Napoleon's own opinion of his career is best stated
in the following quotation:
I closed the gulf of anarchy and brought
order out of chaos. I rewarded merit regardless of birth or wealth, wherever I
found it. I abolished feudalism and restored equality to all regardless of
religion and before the law. I fought the decrepit monarchies of the Old Regime
because the alternative was the destruction of all this. I purified the
· 1769 Napoleon Bonaparte fødes
· 1793 Napoleon tilslutter sig jakobinerne og bliver
· 1796 Napoleon bliver leder af Frankrigs Italiens-hær og gifter sig
· 1799 Napoleon bliver Frankrigs hersker.
· 1804 Den
generelle lovsamling Code Civil gennemføres og kejserdømmet indføres.
Ved Austerlitz slår Napoleon den østrigsk-russiske hær.
· 1807 Ved Freden i
Tilsit befæster Napoleon sit greb om Europa. Napoleon forsøger at erobre
· 1812 Napoleon indleder det skæbnesvangre felttog mod Rusland.
1813 Napoleons hær bliver besejret ved Leipzig.
· 1814 Napoleon opholder sig
· 1815 Napoleon overtager atter magten, men taber ved Waterloo og
føres til Sankt Helena.
· 1821 Napoleon dør.
Napoléon Bonaparte ( 1769 -1821)
Napoléons liv er fortælling om en af verdenshistoriens store, såvel militært som
politisk. Hans sans for præcision, overblik og brændende vilje til sejr gjorde
ham til måske Europas dygtigste feltherre. Hans magttørst bragte ham en
kejsertitel og i en tid positionen som europæiske hersker. Redskabet var den
franske hær, som han rafinerede til en velfungerende