October 17, 2021
Napoleon Bonaparte, as Emperor Napoleon I (French Napoléon Bonaparte or Napoléon Ier; * August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio on Corsica as Napoleone Buonaparte; † May 5, 1821 in Longwood House on St. Helena in the South Atlantic), was a French general , revolutionary dictator and emperor of the French. Coming from a Corsican family, Bonaparte rose in the army during the French Revolution. He proved to be a military talent of the first order. Especially the campaigns in Italy and Egypt made him popular. This enabled him to take power in France through the coup d'état of 18th Brumaire VIII (November 9, 1799), initially as one of three consuls. From 1799 to 1804 as First Consul of the French Republic and then until 1814 and again in 1815 as Emperor of the French, he headed a dictatorial regime with plebiscite elements. He was the second husband of Joséphine de Beauharnais. After the divorce, Napoleon became the husband of the Habsburg princess Marie-Louise of Austria. Through various reforms - such as that of the judiciary through the Civil Code or that of the administration - Napoleon shaped the state structures in France up to the present day and initiated the creation of modern civil law in occupied European states. In terms of foreign policy, supported by the army, he temporarily gained control over large parts of continental Europe. From 1805 he was also King of Italy and from 1806 to 1813 protector of the Rhine Confederation and appointed family members and confidants as monarchs in several other states. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire initiated by him in 1806, the state structure of Central Europe became a central issue in the 19th century. In the beginning he himself had spread the idea of the nation state outside of France, but the success of this idea made it difficult to maintain the Napoleonic order in Europe, especially in Spain, Germany and finally also in Russia. The catastrophic outcome of the campaign against Russia from 1812 onwards shook his rule over large parts of Europe, led to the wars of liberation and ultimately to the overthrow of Napoleon. After a brief period of exile on Elba, he returned to power for a hundred days in 1815. In the battle of Waterloo he was finally defeated and banished to the island of St. Helena until the end of his life.