Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Brief History of France- The Napoleon Years

For those of us who love all things France, we thought we would give you a brief history lesson on the country we all love so much! Enjoy learning about gorgeous France and the Napoleon years, which influenced so much of the country.

Napoleon Bonaparte, a Corsican and military genius came into power when he became emperor of France in 1800. Napoleon was popular for creating constitutions and fair laws, which included respect for religions and the abolishment of slavery in France. He was also a large supporter of the education of science, arts, and literature. He was also noted for ending the feudal system in France. His laws have had a lasting impact on French law, today; their laws are still based on principles of Napoleon’s Code Civil.

Napoleon was trained as an artillery officer in mainland France and rose to prominence under the French First Republic, where he led successful campaigns against the First and Second Coalitions arrayed against France. He also led a successful invasion of the Italian peninsula. In 1799 he staged a coup d’etat and installed himself as First Counsel, five years later the French Senate would proclaim him emperor. The first decade of the 19th century saw the French Empire under Napoleon engaged in a series of conflicts, the Napoleonic Wars, which involved every major European power and expanded much of Frances territory and influence in Europe. The Peninsular War and invasion of Russia in 1812 was the turning point in Napoleon’s successes. Napoleon would end up being by the Sixth Coalition at Leipzig, ultimately being exiled to the island of Elba, where he would escape and return to power less than a year later. He was ultimately defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in June of 1815. Napoleon would spent the last six years of his life in confinement by the British on the island of Saint Helena.

In 1848, Napoleon’s nephew, Louis, became emperor and was renamed Napoleon III. Napoleon I died at the age of fifty-two, he is largely responsible for the mass expansion of France and it’s territories.


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