30 Interesting Facts About Napoleon Bonaparte
1) In his youth Napoleon dreamed to become a famous author because In the french army the top positions were reserved for the noblemen but his family came from minor nobility. He wrote a brief history of Corsica and even a novel, Clisson et Eugénie.
2) One of his teacher at the military academy of Brienne-le-Château, described him as quiet and solitary, frightfully egotistical, proud, ambitious and aspiring to everything. His school report said: It would go far, in favorable circumstances.
3) During the battle of Toulon Napoleon was wounded several times, he even risked to have a leg amputated.
4) Napoleon was an amazing propagandist, he didn’t cross the Alps with a white stallion but with a mule.
5) In the spring of 1795 Bonaparte headed for Paris where he frequented the salons, there the women who dominated French society held court, one noble woman said about him: “he wore badly made dirty boots and a nasty round hat pulled down over his eyes an overall sickly effect was created by this thinness and his yellow complexion”
6) Since his career was not progressing as he wished he wrote in a letter to his brother Joseph “If this continues, my friend, I will end up by not stepping aside when a carriage passes by.”
7) Pasquale Paoli, Corsica’s governor, called him “a big inexperienced guy”.
8) Initially, Josephine, his first wife, was not attracted to him at all, in fact, she told one of her friends she had to overcome a feeling of repugnance. “He was serious, with no sense of humor and skinny”.
9) Napoleon gave to his bride, Josephine, a medallion, on it were inscribed the words “to destiny”.
10) When he was elected supreme commander of all French forces in Italy He had never commanded an army before, young and untested, no one expected very much from him especially his own generals. Everyone was making fun of him before he got to Italy. But as soon they saw him they changed their mind. One of his general said “I don’t know why but the little bastard scares me”.
11) The nickname “the little corporal” was probably given to him during the battle of Lodi because Napoleon took over the sighting of one of the cannons himself, which was a job usually done by a corporal.
12) When Josephine arrived in Milan to visit Napoleon, during the campaign of Italy, he filled the palace with flowers in her honor.
13) Bonaparte wrote a political tract in support of Robespierre.
14) After winning against the Austrians he himself negotiated At the Treaty of Campoformio (17 October 1797) and when the Austrians objected to his demands he turned on them in a rage he flung to the ground a porcelain tea service and shouted, “Your Empire is nothing but an old maidservant, accustomed to being raped by everyone! This is what will happen to your monarchy!”
15) The battle of the pyramid against the Mamluks was a meeting between the Europe of the future and the Egypt of the past. The French lost roughly 300 men, the Mamluks 5 thousand.
16) Napoleon brought with him to Egypt a remarkable group of mathematicians, artists, and engineers they wanted to produce a monumental description of Egypt, 24 volumes of text and pictures. They discovered the Rosetta stone that will be the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphic. All their discovery laid the foundation of Egyptology.
17) The campaign in Egypt was a military disaster however had been a propaganda triumph when he arrived back in France everybody was praising him.
18) Probably the sphinx was damaged by a cannonball from the french army during the battle of the pyramids.
19) After the campaign of Egypt he took with him a mammluk as his personal bodyguard.
20) While Napoleon was fighting in Italy Josephine cheated on him. When he returned home to Josephine and discovered it, he locked himself in his room and refused to see her for hours and decided to divorce her. But Josephine kept knocking for the whole night at his door crying and promising she will never betray him again. Finally he forgive her but from that moment on he would do as he pleased him with other women.
21) During the coup d’etat Bonaparte was loosing control of the situation but Lucien, his brother, pressed his sword against the chest of Bonaparte and said “if Napoleon aspired to take over the government I would kill him myself”.
22) About religion Napoleon said “If i govern a Jews nation I should restore the temple of Solomon, religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.”
23) He wasn’t short for the average height of the period, he was portrayed as a little dwarf by the British just for propaganda.
24) When their kids were not behaving British mothers used to threaten them saying that Napoleon would come and get them.
25) When Napoleon declared himself emperor Beethoven denounced him as a vulgar person who lowered himself to the level of an ordinary king. Beethoven had dedicated his third symphony to first consul Bonaparte but then he angrily blotted out out his name. “He, too, then, is nothing better than an ordinary man! Now he will trample on all human rights only to humor his ambition; he will place himself above all others and become a tyrant!”
26) When he had to refuse his throne he tried to kill himself.
27) When Napoleon escaped from Elba the English probably knew his plan:
“Before he decided to attempt this bold move [escape from Elba], visitors to his court had told him that he was more popular in France than ever, and that the country would embrace him again. One of these visitors was Austria’s General Roller, who convinced Napoleon that if he escaped, the European powers, England included, would welcome him back into power. Napoleon was tipped off that the English would let him go, and indeed his escape occurred in the middle of the afternoon, in full view of English spyglasses. What Napoleon did not know was that there was a man behind it all, pulling the strings, and that this man was his former minister, Talleyrand. And Talleyrand was doing all this not to bring back the glory days but to crush Napoleon once and for all.” From the 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Greene.
28) He had three sons Napoleon II with Marie Louise, Léon with Eléonore Denuelle, Alexandre with Marie Walewski which where both illegitimate. Alexander Walewski clearly had his father traits.
29) Napoleon was able to constantly recruit soldiers for the Grande Armée because France had the largest population in Europe at the time: France 30 million, Austria 25, Prussia 10, Great Britain 9.
30) When Napoleon started the Russian campaign the Grande Armée was formed by 680,000 soldiers when they crossed the Berezina river only 27,000 fit soldiers remained. It was a complete disaster.
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