Originally Napoleon Bonaparte. Known as “the Little Corporal.” 1769–1821.
Emperor of the French and King of Italy (1804–1814). A brilliant military strategist, he overthrew the French Directory (1799) and proclaimed himself first consul and, later, emperor (1804). His military and political might gripped Continental Europe, but after a disastrous winter campaign in Russia (1812), he was forced to abdicate (1814). Having been exiled to the island of Elba, he escaped, briefly regained power, and was ultimately defeated at Waterloo (1815) and exiled for life to the island of St. Helena. His codification of laws, the Napoleonic Code, still forms the basis of French civil law.
portrait by Anne-Louis
Girodet de Roussy-Trioson