The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, 1769-1799

NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE was born in 1769 in Ajaccio, CORSICA, an island annexed by France in 1768. Hitherto it had been a possession of the Republic of Genova, with a long history of resistance to Genoese rule. Napoleon, during his early years, regarded himself a Corsican rather than a Frenchman. In 1778, at the age of 9, young Napoleon was enlisted at Royal Military College at Brienne; in 1784 he entered the Royal Military School at Paris; in 1785, at the age of 16, he was appointed second lieutenant, in 1792 captain.
Napoleon sympathized with the Jacobins, and on the occasion of Robespierre's arrest and execution (July 27th 1794), feared for his own life.
On Sept. 16th 1793, Napoleon took command of the artillery in the siege of the fortresses of Toulon, which had been taken by English and Spanish forces, and were besieged by Jacobin forces. On Dec. 17th, Toulon fell; precision artillery fire forced the occupants to withdraw. Back in Paris, Napoleon was charged with protecting the Directory (Oct. 5th 1795), as the mob prepared for another round of the revolution. Napoleon dispersed the crowd. At the age of 26, he was promoted general and commander of the Army in Italy (Feb. 3rd 1796). He changed his name into Napoleon Bonaparte.
In a campaign lasting from Oct. 1796 to February 1797, Napoleon defeated the Austrians, was in control of much of Northern Italy. Authorized by the Directory, Napoleon signed the PEACE OF CAMPO FORMIO with Austria, reshaping the political map of Italy.
The Directory dispatched Napoleon to Egypt, where he landed on July 2nd 1798. His fleet being destroyed at ABOUKIR by the English fleet under LORD NELSON limited the effectivity of the campaign. On Oct. 9th 1799, Napoleon, having abandoned his army in Egypt, returned to France. On Nov. 9th, a Coup d'Etat replaced the Directory by the CONSULATE, with Napoleon Bonaparte, at age 30, being appointed as FIRST CONSUL, for a period of 10 years. He took residence in the TUILERIES.

The Napoleon Bonaparte Internet Guide, from Univ. Doetinchem, NL
Homepage from La Fondation Napoleon Bonaparte, in French and English
Timetable : France during the French Revolution and under Napoleon Bonaparte. An annotated Chronology of Civil and Military Events, by Richard Orsinger, 1997
Links on Napoleon Bonaparte from looksmart
VIDEOS Napoleon, 1955, director Sacha Guitry, bw, 123 min., unfinished. Extensive on Napoleon's early years

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 9th 2004

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