Napoleon Bonaparte is considered to be one of the greatest military leaders in history. Born August 15, 1769 into a middle class Corsican family, Bonaparte was educated in military schools before joining the army and becoming a commander and subsequently the Emperor of France.
Fact 1. Napoleon’s success in battles within Europe was followed by success in the Middle East when Ottoman-ruled Egypt was conquered in 1798. The main target of the wars was to secure the trade routes to India which were controlled by the British.
Fact 2. A key attribute to success in endeavors is possessing a lucky streak which was named the “Napoleon Factor.” This was based on Napoleon’s observations on successful generals in wars.
Fact 3. Napoleon’s rise to power has been defined as a rarity in world history. Henry Kissinger ranked Napoleon as the fifth most powerful individual in the world.
Fact 4. Napoleon was familiar with Islamic culture and society due to his close relationship with the Egyptians during the military campaigns in Egypt from 1798 to 1799.
Fact 5. Napoleon excluded traditional sacramental rites during his coronation defining his position as being above the Pope. The relation with the church was further exacerbated by other actions including publishing the Imperial Catechism in 1806, chairing the National Council of Bishops in Paris in 1811, and negotiating the Concordat of Fountainebleau in January, 1813.
Fact 6. Napoleon exploited the Church to further his ambitions of being exalted to a position higher than the Pope. Church feasts, such as Ascension Day, All Saints Day, and Christmas were declared as state festivals. State occasions, such as July 14 and December 2, the anniversary of his coronation, were sanctified by the Church.
Fact 7. Napoleon’s close relationship and engagement with Muslims caused speculation on the extent of his involvement with Islamic culture and religion including conversion.
Fact 8. Napoleon was of the opinion that financiers and bankers had no boundaries with regards to patriotism and decency. To finance wars, instead of approaching bankers, Napoleon sold the territory west of the Mississippi to Thomas Jefferson for $3 million in gold. This transaction was known as the Louisiana Purchase.
Fact 9. Bankers and financiers profited heavily from the ensuing battles and wars. This was exemplified amongst the leading bankers of Europe, such as the Rothschilds, who were financing the British during the Battle of Waterloo. The Rothschild group falsely manipulated the market by dumping British guineas immediately after the battle which were recouped later by buying them back and, in the process, multiplying their gains by 20 times.
Fact 10. Towards the end of Napoleon’s military career, drained of financial resources and continuing defeats, Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba followed by a second imprisonment on the island of St. Helena where he died on May 5th, 1821.