“Imagination rules the world.” – Napoleon Bonaparte.
Who: Emperor of the French
What: Created the Napoleonic Code, sold the Louisiana Purchase, won several wars.
Where: Born in Ajaccio, died in St Helena, all of Europe in between.
Why: Ambition, rising out of poverty in the wake of the French Revolution
When: 15th August 1769 – 5th May 1821
Born into Corsican nobility, Napoleon studied in military academy in France, and went on to become Emperor of the French. Created the Napoleonic Code, fought several wars in Europe, usually against the combined powers of Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria, united in seven different coalitions. Napoleon sold French Louisiana to the USA, called the Louisiana Purchase. He extended French territory, including satellite states, to include modern day Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and parts of Germany and Poland. His disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812 was the beginning of the end: around 685,000 soldiers of the Grand Armée invaded, only 120,000 returned, having reached Moscow, and forced to retreat in the Russian winter. After being defeated by the Sixth Coalition in 1814, he was exiled to the island of Elba, escaped, came back for 100 days, and was defeated by the Seventh Coalition at Waterloo, being exiled this time to St Helena, where he died in 1821. And we wasn’t particularly short.