Napoleon was born August 15, 1769 in Corsica. He was raised moderately affluent and family connections gave him opportunities to study. He was admitted to a military academy at Brienne-le-Chateau in 1779, here his accent and constant misspellings marked him with ridicule. He studied for five years at the academy then moved to the military academy in Paris. After the death of his father, Napoleon returned to Corsica in 1786.
In April of 1793 Bonaparte and his family moved to mainland France. Upon his return to France, Napoleon returned to service with the French army. He quickly rose in the ranks with his support for the Jacobins, a far left political movement. After the execution of Louis XVI of France, Maximillian de Robespierre became the head of the Committee of Public Safety. During the Reign of Terror (1793-1794) over 40,000 people were executive. Jacobins and Robespierre feel from power and ambitious military leaders like Napoleon were ready for leadership opportunities.
Napoleon used his political skill to create a new constitution that created a first consul. This position allowed Napoleon to appoint ministers, generals and civil servants. Napoleon reformed the economy legal and educational systems. He reinstated the Roman Catholic Church and instituted the Napoleonic Code. He negotiated a European peace. In1802 he was chosen consul for life and in 1804 proclaimed emperor of France.
Peace with England lasted three years but in 1805 a naval triumph against Napoleon at Trafalgar leads Napoleon to abandon his plans to invade England. Military defeats in Russia caused the loss of over 400,000 soldiers and Bonaparte was exiled to Elba. He returned to power, but was still unable to defeat the British. At the Battle of Waterloo Bonaparte was defeated. He abdicated in 1815 and was sent to the island of St. Helena where he died on May 5, 1821 of stomach cancer. Bonaparte was married to Josephine de Beauharnais form 1796 to 1810 and Marie Louse, Duchess of Parma from 1810 to 1821.