Saturday, June 4, 2011

5 Interesting Facts about Napoleon Bonaparte

Search string Napoleon Bonaparte was on the top at Google today. I could not identify what is the reason for the interest sparkling for this great figure, but Napoleon’s miraculous and controversial personality still serve as source of inspiration for his multiple fans, big authors, and prominent film makers. So, we will devote a post to him as well.

Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. Through his military exploits and his ruthless efficiency, Napoleon rose from obscurity to become Napoleon I, Empereur des Francais (Emperor of the French). He is both a historical figure and a legend—and it is sometimes difficult to separate the two.

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In this post, we will review several facts from life of Napoleon – interesting, funny, and tragic.

Little Nabulio

He was born Napoleone di Buonaparte and his parents called him Nabulio. When he was a schoolboy, royal inspectors examined each child on how his studies and personal development were coming and then recommended a future career. One of Napoleon’s reviews said he was distinguished in mathematics, but “very poor in social accomplishments” and said he should become a naval officer. Another one reported that he was domineering and stubborn, and a third one said he should look to the army for a job.

Secret of Napoleon

The great Napoleon Bonaparte could have won the Battle of Waterloo if not only with that hemorrhoid he had. He could have the chance and advantage from the British by attacking earlier in the day, but Napoleon Bonaparte delayed his attack because he suffered greatly from hemorrhoid pain that morning.

Napoleon Bonaparte suffered greatly from hemorrhoid pain during many of his battles, as the tension of battle apparently caused his sphincter muscles to tighten horrendously on his hemorrhoids, thereby generating massive pain and discomfort for him. He used bathing to help control his hemorrhoid pain, but during the battle of Waterloo he was having a hard time dealing with constipation, which made his discomfort and possibly his pain much worse and, he had no time to sit in a bath to ease his miserable state.

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Napoleon and Josephine

Josephine’s real name was Rose (Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, to be exact) but Napoleon didn’t like it. He renamed her Josephine and she went with it.

Josephine was the older woman – she was 32 when she married 26-year-old Napoleon. She already had two children by her first husband Alexandre François Marie de Beauharnais. Their daughter, Hortense, actually married Napoleon’s brother Louis. Napoleon, of course, had requested it, and the marriage was an unhappy one.

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Napoleon and Josephine ended up divorcing not because of the affairs, which both of them were having, but because Josephine was unable to produce an heir to the throne. She agreed to a divorce so Napoleon could marry his mistress, Archduchess of Austria Marie Louise, in the hopes that she would be able to have his son, and indeed she did. Another fun fact: Marie Louise was the grand-niece of Marie Antoinette.

Despite the divorce, and despite the fact that he told a friend that he truly loved her but didn’t respect her, Napoleon’s last words were, “France, armée, tête d’armée, Joséphine.”(“France, army, head of the army, Joséphine.”)

Napoleon and Slavery

Following a peace with Britain that culminated in the Treaty of Amiens (1802), Napoleon initiated an ambitious project to re-establish the French overseas empire. One element of this scheme was the re-establishment of slavery, which had been abolished during the French Revolution, in France's Caribbean colonies, including Saint-Domingue (Haiti). The failure of the French campaign in Haiti and the breakdown of peace with Britain, dashed Napoleon's colonial dreams. After his return from exile on Elba, Napoleon desired to recreate his rule as a new "liberal" empire. One element of this effort was abolishing the slave trade. The slave trade in the British Empire was abolished in 1807, although slavery wasn't eradicated in the British West Indies until 1833.

Napoleon’s decision to reinstate slavery in France’s oversea colonies is controversial and had badly affected his reputation.

Napoleon Death

During his reign of more than a decade, Napoleon at times controlled most of Europe, was defeated and exiled, escaped, reclaimed his title, met his final military defeat at Waterloo, and was exiled again to the Atlantic Ocean island of St. Helena. He died there six years later in 1821. Ever since, the circumstances of his death have inspired spirited debate.

Some experts argue that powerful men—French, English, or maybe a combination—feared the ex-emperor might escape exile again and retake France. Some of these conspiracy proponents suggest that Napoleon was slowly poisoned with arsenic, perhaps in his wine or food. Studies of Napoleon's hair have revealed high levels of arsenic, but critics say medicines and even hair tonic of the era sometimes contained the toxic element.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

awsome pics who took them

Anonymous said...

Marie Louise was not his mistress. Marie was chosen as a suitable wife, being from the powerful Habsburg family. It was said they were well-suited for each other and the marriage was happy until they were separated upon his exile to Elba.