Storytime: Napoléon Bonaparte

Today is the 200 year anniversary of the death of the original Emperor, Napoléon Bonaparte, who inspired me through my life journey. Napoléon died on the island of Saint Helena, in the South Pacific, after living one of the most intrepid and adventurous lives one could imagine. 

As famous as his life is, there might be a few facts you didn't know about this man. 

1. He was from Corsica

Napoléon was born in 1769 on the island of Corsica, in the south of France, at the same year that the island was conceded to France. His real name was Napoleone di Buonaparte, from Italian origins. His parents were part of the Corsican resistance, fighting against the French, and his father was even Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI. Napoleone later changed his name to Napoléon as he became a figure in French politics.

2. He was a war master

Napoléon is known as one of the finest commanders and military geniuses that this world has seen. His war strategy inspired many books and allowed him to win thousands of battles and take over several countries. The battle of Austerlitz is often seen as a tactical masterpiece by Napol
éon, because of the near-perfect execution of a calibrated but dangerous plan, which resulted in a landslide victory. 

3. He coronated himself

Napoléon's coronation took place at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, in Paris, in 1804. Wearing a laurel wreath on his head, he symbolically held a replica of Charlemagne's crown upon his head, before placing it on Joséphine's head, his wife. This had never been seen before, as Pope Pius VII, who would have normally hold the crown, was simply a witness of the scene. The following year, he was crowned King of Italy at the Cathedral of Milan and appointed 18 Marshals of the Empire to secure the army's allegiance. It was the start of the Empire.

6. He loved champagne

Our favourite Emperor was, of course, a champagne drinker! In fact, he was very good friends with Jean-Rémy Mo
ët, who he met at military school. There, a real ''bromance'' was born, which lasted forever. Napoléon would take his men to the Moët cellars before any battle, which led Moët to play quite a supporting role in French history. The house even created the Moët Impérial after the late Emperor in 1869, and has continued to produce it under that name ever since!

5. He revolutionised France

Napoléon is at the origin of some of the most important pillars of French society. He created high schools, universities, departments, the Legion of Honor, the numbering in the streets (e.g.12 Smith Street), the Arc de Triomphe, but also the Civil Code, which represents the foundation of many legal systems around the world. Although it has been updated, courts still rule under this Civil Code in France. Thank you Napoléon! 👏 ​
6. He was a writer

Napoléon was the opposite of a playboy: deeply in love and committed to his true love: Joséphine. This shows in the many love letters he wrote to her throughout their love life, which over time became more and more erotic: “I hope before long to crush you in my arms and cover you with a million kisses burning as though beneath the equator". How romantic!


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