Josephine Beauharnais

Article

July 5, 2022

Josephine Beauharnais (fr. Joséphine de Beauharnais, born Marie-Joseph-Rose de Tascher de la Pagerie) (fr. Marie-Joseph-Rose de Tascher de la Pagerie); June 23, 1763, Trois-Île, Martinique - May 29, 1814, Malmaison) — the empress of France (1804-1809), the first wife of Napoleon I. Through her children, Josephine was related to several royal families of Europe.

Biography

Early years of life

Marie-Joseph-Rose Tachet de la Pagerie was born in the town of Trois-Îles on the Caribbean island of Martinique to the noble family of Joseph-Gaspar de Tachet, a marine lieutenant, and Rose-Claire de Verges de Sanois. At the time, her father owned a sugarcane plantation and became somewhat impoverished after a hurricane destroyed their estate in 1766. Josephine spent part of her childhood in a convent, where her parents sent her to be educated. Meanwhile, the girl's impoverished father was looking for a suitable groom for his daughters, also in order to improve the family's financial affairs. First, Edme's father's sister, Josephine, arranged for the marriage of the youngest daughter of de Tachet, Catherine-Desire, and Viscount Alexandre de Beauharnais, a descendant of one of the rich and aristocratic families of France. However, on October 16, 1777, young Catherine died in Martinique and it was decided that Josephine would take her place. In October 1779, she came to France with her father and married Viscount Alexander on December 13, 1779. Alexander was 20 years old at that time, he continued to lead a secular life, left his wife alone, and the marriage was not happy. Despite this, they had two children - Eugene (1781-1824) and Hortensia Beauharnay (1783-1837). During another absence of her husband, on a business trip to America, Josephine began to lead a social life herself, arrange receptions, receive guests. This caused the husband's displeasure and suspicion of infidelity. The viscount sued the Paris court for a divorce, but lost the case. Despite this, the married life of Josephine and Alexander was actually destroyed and she returned with her children to her father in Martinique. After four years of divorce, Alexandre de Beauharnais managed to persuade Josephine to return to France. In 1791, when she returned, her husband had already taken an active part in the French Revolution, was a member of the Constituent Assembly, and commanded the revolutionary army. �