Thursday, August 15, 2013
August 15 - Napoléon Bonaparte
Napoléon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769, on the island of Corsica into a family of noble Italian ancestry. He trained as an artillery officer in France, rose under the French First Republic (1792), staged a coup d'état in 1799, and in 1804 was proclaimed emperor. Thereafter, for 17 years, he waged a series of conflicts, the Napoleonic Wars, against every major European power. Though he ended the chaos and lawlessness that followed the Revolution, critics consider him a tyrant who was untroubled by wars causing thousands of deaths – perhaps six million – or the plunder of conquered regions. He disrupted economic life in Europe for a generation. He is widely regarded as one of history’s greatest military commanders because of the success of his military campaigns, in which he sought to destroy rather than outmaneuver enemy armies, many of which outnumbered his own. Napoléon is known to have had great intellectual powers and a hypnotic personality. The Duke of Wellington said his battlefield presence was worth 40,000 soldiers.