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Born to Corsican nobles,Napoleon was educated at the Royal Military School at Brienne-le -Château, before being accepted at the Ecole Militaire de Paris. Put in charge of the Army of Italy, Napoleon showed his strategic genius and defeated the Austrian armies before embarking on a military expedition to seize Egypt. Covered in glory, he returned to France to take power for good,firstly with the title of First Consul then from 2 December 1804 as Emperor of the French.
The Empire marked the most brilliant military period in French history. European armies were defeated by French troops for almost ten years at famous battles like Austerlitz, Eylau, Tilsit, Wagram, Jena-Auerstedt, until the invasion of Russia and the defeat at Berezina.
The Emperor abdicated in 1814. Exiled to the Isle of Elba, Napoleon Bonaparte prepared for his return and soon landed at Golfe-Juan, receiving a hero’s welcomeas he headed for Paris. Louis XVIII, the brother of Louis XVI, in power since the fall of the Emperor, then fled to Belgium but England, Prussia, Austria, Russia and Sweden formed a seventh coalition against Napoleon which numbered some 700,000 men. Exiled once again, the Emperor died in 1821 on the island of Saint Helena. A state funeral was held to commemorate the return of his ashes to mainland France which were buried in Les Invalidesin Parison 15 December 1840.