Author of the painting: Jacques-Louis David

Ajaccio, France, August 15, 1769-Santa Elena, UK, May 5, 1821

Napoleon Bonaparte was a key figure in French history during the nineteenth century. Military cunning and determined, he eventually became the Emperor of France, although he is a character that has been admired by some and criticized by others.

He received a military education, which facilitated his ascent into the ranks of the armies during the French Revolution. Later he became a great leader obtaining important victories such as the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1798. The following year he led a coup, promulgated the Constitution of the Year VIII and became First Consul.

Artist: Jacques-Louis David

Artist: Jacques-Louis David

In 1802 he was appointed consul for life while still ascending to power. He was crowned emperor in 1804 and during his administration he authorized the creation of the Bank of France, and established the Napoleonic Code, one of the most influential documents in terms of legislation, which allowed freedom of religion and abolished the rights based on birth. In May 1805, he was crowned king of Italy, an appointment he held until 1814.

He expanded his empire by conquering vast lands and then negotiated a peace with Europe that did not last long. After high-profile losses and the fall of Paris he was exiled on the island of Elba. Returned to power in 1815 and returned to lead his troops, but in that same year he had his last defeat as emperor at the Battle of Waterloo. He was confined to the island of St. Helena, where he died.

He has transcended as one of the greatest military geniuses of history, among other things, he revolutionized military organization.