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Napoleon Bonaparte – from gilded conqueror to inglorious exile

Posted in Historical articles, History on Sunday, 30 October 2011

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This edited article about Napoleon originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 851 published on 6 May 1978.

Napoleon, picture, image, illustration

Napoleon in exile on the island of St Helena,, by Severino Baraldi

On the remote island of St. Helena in the Atlantic, one of the world’s greatest generals died on 5th May, 1821.

His name was Napoleon Bonaparte and he had risen rapidly to power when, following the French Revolution in 1789, the new republic needed able officers.

This gave Napoleon the chance he was seeking. He organised the army and with it gained victory after victory for the French people. Under his generalship, French armies overran practically the whole of Europe. Almost alone, Britain continued to defy him.

In 1804, Napoleon was crowned emperor of the French.

Gradually, other nations rose against him. Enemies closed in on Paris from all sides and the city had to surrender. Napoleon was deported to the island of Elba in the Mediterranean.

Napoleon escaped, and resumed the throne. All Europe raised fresh armies to crush him, and he was defeated by British and Prussian troops at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Later, he surrendered to the British and was exiled to St. Helena, where he died.

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